Ephesus separates deeds from love: Revelation 2:1-5
To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: These are the words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks among the seven golden lampstands. I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked people, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary. Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.Revelation 2:1-5
The book of Revelation
Revelation is a hard book in itself to explain as there are many symbols to unpack. For example, in this passage the word “lampstands” refers to a Christian church. The author of this book is the Apostle John who receives a very symbolic vision from Jesus. In this vision Jesus warns 7 different churches. I want to highlight his first warning to the church of Ephesus.
The warning to the church of Ephesus
Jesus commends the church of Ephesus on their good deeds, perseverance, work ethic and endurance. Yet, in verse four, His warning is that they’ve abandoned their love they once had for Christ. The kind of love Jesus refers to is the Greek word, Agape. Agape is the meaning of the highest form of love; love for God and his Son (Jesus), for Gods people, each other and even enemies. Jesus then tells the church to repent because they cannot have good deeds without love (agape).
Good deeds and love must work together – you cannot have one without the other
In writing this I find myself relating to the church in Ephesus. I could easily be writing, and recording from selfish reasons, treating it as a good deed or a task to check off the list. Doing “good deeds” will have a positive effect on peoples lives regardless of motives, but to what end? I want my writing to flow from a place of love for God, so people can experience His love through it. Let’s face it, I ain’t much of a writer, but I am a lover of Jesus. I am devoted to writing because it keeps me accountable to learning God’s word. This increased knowledge of Him returns in me loving Him more!
But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.2 Peter 3:18
Good deeds are a natural outpouring from your love of Christ
Just like the Ephesus church we can take our first love for granted. We are all guilty of sin and we tend to judge ourselves and each other about how ‘good’ we appear. But only God knows man’s heart (Proverbs 21:2). Good deeds don’t earn us eternal life, Jesus paid for our sins on the cross. His blood for our sins. I thank God that my faith is not based upon what I can do but based on what Christ has already done. I have a freedom in him despite my sin and imperfections. Staying true to learning Gods word will help us refocus our hearts back to that first love.
Remember who He is in you, reflect on the cross, repent of your sin, and love Him first because He first loved us.
We love because he first loved us1 John 4:19