In Revelation 2, Jesus addresses the church at Ephesus, some 30 years after Paul had written his letter here. The church at Ephesus loved the truth; they shunned evil; but Revelation 2 tells us that Jesus had this against them: they had abandoned the love they had at first. What had happened? We saw at the beginning of Paul’s letter (in Eph 1:15), that he heard of their faith and their love toward all the saints. He commended them for it. Yet 30 years later, it seems they kept their faith, but lacked a certain love. And John MacArthur is helpful here; he says, “The current generation was maintaining the church’s teachings, but it had left its first love. They had sunk to the place where they were carrying out their Christian responsibilities with diminishing love for their Lord and others.” They loved the truth; but perhaps they lost their love for proclaiming it.
My friends, I believe that we love the truth; but I wonder if we love to proclaim it. I wonder if we’re more concerned what they’ll think of us, rather than what God thinks of us, when we let opportunities pass by. And I’m not just talking about inviting them to church; that’s a given; that’s fairly easy. Invite them into relationship with Christ Jesus. Speak of the manifold wisdom of God and all that He has done for you and what He will do for them. And suffer ridicule if need be. Maybe we need some unpadded, contact sport suffering in our Christian life. We certainly need to live out and share our faith boldly, making known the manifold wisdom of God. Do you know what happens to churches when that’s not the case? The Apostle John warns the Ephesian church what will happen if they stay on that path of abandoned love to God and others in Revelation 2:5, “Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent.” We’ll stop shining as a light in this community; we’ll be a social club. That would be more tragic than closing our doors: to have the appearance of godliness, all the while denying its power (2 Tim 3:5).