Summary: In Revelation 2:1-7 Christ sees not only our works but our heart. As believers He calls us back to our first love in a Battle Cry of Love. Christ clarifies His expectation for the church.
Today is Super Bowl Sunday, and it’s obvious that a lot of people really love this day. Some love the pure competition of football. Others, are Patriots or Eagles fans. Some paid out as much as $10 000US for a ticket. Some love to tailgate party, others are looking forward to eating their body weight in pizza and chicken wings. Some just watch for the ads. Regardless of all of this, we know however that ultimate love is something very different.
Many things are to characterize Christians, but the supreme characteristic of a genuine Christian is love for God. When challenged to name the single greatest commandment of the law, Jesus replied, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the great and foremost commandment” (Matt. 22:37–38). He challenged His disciples to make love for Him the highest priority of their lives: “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me” (Matt. 10:37–38). In John 14:21, 23 He added, “He who has my commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him. … If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him.” True children of God, Jesus declared, will love Him (John 8:42; cf. 1 Pet. 1:8) and be known by Him (1 Cor. 8:3). To discern Peter’s spiritual condition, Jesus asked him three times, “Do you love Me?” (John 21:15–17). Paul defined Christians as those controlled by “the love of Christ” (2 Cor. 5:14). Those who love Jesus Christ are blessed (Eph. 6:24); those who do not are cursed (1 Cor. 16:22). While love for the Lord Jesus Christ will always be present in true Christians, it can fluctuate in its intensity. Christians will not always love Jesus Christ with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength, and to fail to do so is sin. There is no better illustration in Scripture of the seriousness of allowing love for Christ to wane than this letter to the church at Ephesus.
(7 CHURCH SLIDE)
The seven churches addressed in Revelation chapters 2 and 3 were actual existing churches when John wrote. But while not precisely duplicated, they also represent the types of churches that are generally present throughout the entire church age. Five of the seven churches (Smyrna and Philadelphia being the exceptions) were rebuked for tolerating sin in their midst, not an uncommon occurrence in churches since. The problems in those five churches ranged in severity from waning love at Ephesus to total apostasy at Laodicea. Further, any church in any age could have a mixture of the sins that plagued these five churches.
Believers are called to minister in the midst of a war. Not only do they face opposition from Satan and his demonic impact, but within themselves, our own human flesh is subject to fatigue, distraction and at times coldness of heart. To combat these forces both internally and externally that lure us to self-indulgence and coldness of heart, we must hear the “Battle Cry of Love” from Christ in Revelation 2.