The church at Ephesus had several things going for it in Revelation 2. Jesus said, "I know your works (they were working for Christ!), your toil (they were laboring and toiling for Christ) and your patient endurance (they were persevering in the faith in the midst of trials), and how you cannot bear with those who are evil (they did not tolerate false teaching), but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false. I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name's sake, and you have not grown weary.....so far so good. They sound like the church we would want to join. Doctrinally sound, disciplined, and persevering. BUT But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. OK. They had fallen out of love with Christ. They were doing and believing right, but they were not feeling right! Now notice what Jesus says. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent."
Please note that this is the only church that Jesus threatens to snuff out! This is the only church He threatens to remove...and yet, they seem to be much better than some of the others. Have you read the accounts in Rev 2 and 3. Please do and please note that this is the only church he threatens with extinction...and why??? Not because they were a bit off doctrinally. Not because they were stumbling and falling. Not because they were weak. But, because they were not in love with Christ! What does this say about our church? And since churches are made up of people...what does this say about us? Are you in love with Christ?
What shall we do in order to love God aright? Thomas Watson, offers the following three suggestions.
1. Wait on the preaching of the Word. As faith comes by hearing, so does love. The word sets forth God in his incomparable excellencies; it deciphers and pencils him out in all his glory, and a sight of his beauty inflames love.
2. Beg of God that he will give you a heart to love him. When king Solomon asked wisdom of God, it pleased the Lord. So, when you cry to God, Lord give me a heart to love thee, it is my grief I can love thee no more; surely this prayer shall please the Lord and he will pour out his Spirit upon thee. His golden oil will make the lamp of they love burn bright.
3. You who have love to God, keep it flaming upon the altar of your heart. Love, like fire, is ever ready to go out. Thou has left thy first love. Through neglect of duty, or too much love of the world, our love to God will cool. O preserve your love to him. As you would be careful to preserve the natural heat in your body, so be careful to preserve the heat of love to God in your soul. Love is like oil to the wheels, it quickens us in God’s service. When you find love abate and cool, use all means to quicken it. When the fire is going out, you throw on fuel; so when the flame of love is going out, make use of the ordinance as sacred fuel to keep the fire of your love burning.
Let us all seek to return to our first love. For, every man is right in his own eyes...but the Lord looks at the heart. We should ask how our doctrine is and seek to be right...but maybe more importantly we should check our heart and seek to love.