7. “And hast not fainted.” More accurately, it is “hast not grown weary.” What does He mean by this? Earlier He said that they had grown weary, and now He says they have not grown weary. Well, this is one of the great paradoxes of the Christian faith. I can illustrate it by what Dwight L. Moody once said when he came home exhausted after a campaign and his family begged him not to go to the next campaign. He said to them, “I grow weary in the work but not of the work.” There is a lot of difference. You can get weary in the work of Christ, but it is tragic if you get weary of the work of Christ.

These seven words of commendation, which the Lord Jesus gave to the local church at Ephesus, also apply to the period of church history between Pentecost and A.D. 100, which the Ephesian church represents. Now He has one word of condemnation:

Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. (Revelation 2:4)

They had lost that intense and enthusiastic devotion to the person of Christ. It is difficult for us to sense the state to which the Holy Spirit had brought this church. He had brought the believers in Ephesus into an intimate and personal relationship to Jesus Christ. He had brought them to the place where they could say to the Lord, “We love you.” This may seem like a very unimportant thing to us today, but their love for the Lord was very important to Christ. He was saying to the Ephesians, “You are leaving your best love.” They hadn’t quite departed from that love, but they were on the way. It is difficult for us in this cold, skeptical, cynical, and indifferent day in which we live to understand this. The world has intruded into the church to such an extent that it is hard for us to conceive of the intense, enthusiastic devotion the early church gave to the person of Christ. The early church first went off the track not in their doctrine but in their personal relationship to Jesus Christ.

Ephesus was a great city, and it had many attractions that were beginning to draw believers away from their first love for Jesus Christ. This was the church that became so potent in its evangelism in that area of about twenty-five million people that even the Roman emperors and the nobility of that day had an opportunity to hear the gospel. In that area there was such a mighty moving of the Spirit of God that it has probably never been duplicated since.

My friend, a personal relationship is all-important. We are so involved in methods—I am rather amused at some of the Band-Aid courses which are being offered—and they are making Band-Aid believers. Generally, the course is some little legal system that gives you certain rules to follow and certain psychological patterns to observe which will enable you to solve all your problems. They try to teach you how to get along with yourself (that’s a pretty big order!), with your neighbors, and especially with your wife. All of those relationships are very important, and a great many people think that if they can follow a few rules, they will have the key to a successful Christian life. My friend, let me put it in a nutshell by asking one question: Do you love Jesus Christ? I don’t care what your system is, what your denomination is, what your program is, what little set of rules you follow, they will all come to naught if you don’t love Him. Although some systems are better than others, almost any system will work if you love Christ. An intimate relationship with Christ will make all of your relationships and all of your Christian service a joy.

Used by permission of Thru the Bible
From Dr. J. Vernon McGee’s Edited Messages on Revelation ©1994