Ephesus: First Love Then and Now
As we open to Rev. 2:1-7 we are reading the personal message in Christ's last words to His Church. These verses are part of a warning about what tripped up the earliest generations of believers. Jesus wanted them, and us, to stay on the right path.
These churches were real gatherings of people 2,000 years ago. That means that Jesus saw seven different types of believers gathering at that moment in the history of His church. Have you ever thought about that?
But even more than just back then, these letters were written in God's Word to instruct all of us down through the ages that even to our time, more than likely, the Son of God has walked among us and has found here:
Believers Had Spiritual Heart Problems
The believers in Ephesus: had declined from that first love we had for Jesus.
Their hearts had experienced a gradual buildup of other things so that no longer was Jesus holding the position of first place in their hearts, in their schedules, in their concentration; and all that signaled that He was no longer the supreme ruler of their hearts.
Christ's message for them and to us today is: Love Me most; Come back to Me.
Three Powerful Habits
The heart of the message Paul taught in Ephesus, that prompted Acts 18, is captured in the words of Ephesians 4:22-24. That same message of Christ’s Lordship must fill our lives, leading to the removal of any part of our lives that displeases God. There are three clear choices we must make!
Look with me at Ephesians 4:22-24:
“that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, 23 and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.”
Start the Habit of Grace-prompted Shedding
First, Paul is asking believers to start a habit of grace-prompted shedding. This is “putting off” old habits like old clothes are so comfortable and fit us so well, that we often forget that we even have them on again—until the Spirit of God convicts us. Paul is reminding us that those who will live a life holy to the Lord must repeatedly put off the old ways.
If we struggle with anger, anger must be shed daily; and if we struggle with pride, pride must daily be shed. This is also the choice we must make for lust, greed, fear and any other byproducts of our flesh. Often believers fail to grow in their spiritual lives because they don’t understand the life-long need to shed or “put off” our old sins on a daily basis.
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