Summary: The problem with Ephesus is they were doing so much inside the walls they never went out. They were a “come-and-get-it” church and not a “go-and-get-them” church. This church saw their culture as something you stay away from.
“What Makes a Church Ugly?” Ephesus.
The world tries to get it right, but in all of its wisdom it can never measure up to the truth of God—it is all foolishness. LOVE is not a feeling to be lost—but it can be forsaken. LOVE causes us some great and full feelings—such as courage and passion as well as grief and sorrow.
Why do marriages lose the loving feeling? Top Reasons: Fatigue. Work. Finances. Conflict. Communication. Fun. Sex. Isolation.
The same is true for churches. Tired, overworked, underfinanced, conflict within and without, lack of communication, it isn’t fun anymore, and no intimacy—with God and His people. And a closed-in, me-my-4-and-no-more mentality.
The problem with Ephesus is they were doing so much inside the walls they never went out. They were a “come-and-get-it” church and not a “go-and-get-them” church. This church saw their culture as something you stay away from. Inside the church = safe, outside the church = evil. People were welcome to come IN to the church (change to be like us) and they could stay OUT of the church.
DOING WITHOUT BEING DRAINS LOVE. The church needs to keep the MOST important thing THE most important thing!
THIS SPIRIT IS SAYING
About the Christ:
Jesus speaks to the church to do 3 things: Remember…Repent…Remove
What was the problem?
I have this against you: You have forsaken your first love.
Forsaken = divorced, abandoned, forsaken, walked away from, went on and didn’t take with you, left where it was, dismissed it.
First = protos = first in priority, highest, foremost, the one ahead of all the others
Love = agape = total commitment in love; a love that sacrifices; a love JESUS’ true followers are recognized by.
Now why? How could this happen? How could the Ephesian Christians do such a thing? --Forsaken their First Love. Walked away from their foremost commitment?
I received this letter from an associate of mine in ministry about a couple who were having some marital problems. See if you can recognize the feelings that are communicated in this letter—maybe in someone you know:
Whatever “forsaking their first love” may mean, the love they once had put them at a HEIGHT! Because the “forsaking and divorce” caused them to be in a FALLEN state! Their commitment moved them to a higher state (like getting married, let every married man say AMEN!—hey I know I married up!) and their walking away from that love, moved them to a lower state (let every married woman say, “You got that right!”). Jesus says they needed to do what?
Remember = means to reflect, keep in mind, think about for awhile, mentally chew on this—you are NOT where you once were! You are sub-level, not just below average but you are flunking, you are not even on the shelf, you are no longer on the list, you are nowhere on the radar, YOU ARE REMOVED!
That which you have divorced has placed YOU in a divorced position. That which you have left behind has left YOU behind. That which you have dismissed has dismissed YOU; In forsaking, you are now the forsaken; in your letting it go you got let go. It is as if you stepped out of a moving car and thought you’d keep going…and you do, for a little while; AND WHILE you are rolling on the side of the of road, reflect on this—you just stepped out on love.
It was LOVE that was taking you somewhere; it was LOVE that put you on the road and kept you going; it was LOVE that gave you status and moved you up and it was LOVE that gave meaning to your intolerance for evil and your tolerance for the name of Christ—LOVE gave purpose to your testing the liars and to your not growing weary. LOVE gave you meaning, purpose and HOPE!
And the Ephesian Christians had let it go. How about you? Have you?
If your Christianity seems to be lacking something, start here with the Ephesian Christians needed to and REFLECT that you have FALLEN from a HEIGHT! Or perhaps you never WERE at a height and so you need to step on IN the LOVE boat of Christ and GET ON BOARD the ark called THE CHURCH and make a LOVE COMMITMENT to JESUS!
SIGNS OF A RELIGIOUS SPIRIT
1. Fear Driven—fear of people, fear of failure, fear of change, fear of unfamiliar, fear of not being good enough which produces a performance-based feeling rather than a grace-based approval.
2. Comfort Status—change is a curse and what is known and familiar is praised
3. Guilt and Shame—as if we need to atone for past sins ourselves
4. Works based—when we DO things to gain approval and if we do enough we have a right to make requests or to feel worthy or be good enough