The book of Revelation contains seven extraordinary letters that were dictated to the Apostle John by Jesus toward the end of the first century. The letters are addressed to seven different churches that had been started since the resurrection of Jesus. This verse is from the first letter, which is addressed to the church in Ephesus.
Jesus tells them that they have abandoned the love they had at first.
The church in Ephesus was started by Paul in the early 50’s AD when Paul lived in the city for two years. Since the book of Revelation is written at the end of the first century, the church in Ephesus is less than 50 years old when Jesus makes this statement. This is younger than many churches here in the U.S. Commentators differ on whether the love Jesus is referring to is for God, for others, or perhaps for both. By the time this letter is written, the faith of the Ephesian believers has moved from a love-filled faith to something very different.
In the context of faith, it is not uncommon for love to be replaced by a sense of duty. Instead of our motivation for ministry arising from our love of God, we can easily drift into doing medical ministry as a duty. Even something as intimate as our personal devotions can become devoid of love and be replaced by duty.
Our lesson from this verse is to be aware of our motivation for our faith actions. Are we doing things out of love for God, or has our love for the Lord dissolved into something else?
If we find that our love has grown cold, we should follow the command of Jesus in the very next verse.
He tells us to remember.
We should remember the love we felt when we first came to know Him…and the love we felt for others. We should remember the grace He extended to us when we first met Him and all the wonderful things He has done for us. And if there are faith actions like personal devotions we have neglected, we should make the time to rekindle that love.
Prayer: Lord, help me to always remember the love You have for me!