I know all the things you do. I have seen your hard work and your patient endurance. I know you don't tolerate evil people. You have examined the claims of those who say they are apostles but are not. You have discovered they are liars. You have patiently suffered for me without quitting. But I have this complaint against you. You don't love me or each other as you did at first.
The church at Ephesus was a church that had taken a stand. They did not tolerate evil and they made sure truth was taught. These Christians suffered for the name of Jesus. I believe that if this church were around today we would look at it as a model. A true Bible believing truth-telling church!
For all the good things this church was doing they had missed the point. Yes, they valued truth and morality, but they forgot the most important thing: LOVE. Jesus wants us to understand that the most important thing we can have in our church families and in our lives is love. Without love everything we do is meaningless. The first 3 verses of 1 Corinthians 13 stresses this point: but if I didn't love others, it would be of no value whatsoever (vs. 3; NLT). Love is essential to what we do for God.
How is our love for Jesus seen? Ultimately it is not seen in the stands we take or the truth we proclaim. Our love for Jesus is seen in our obedience to His commands. "If you love me, obey my commandments," (John 14:15; NLT). Don't limit obedience to the do nots of scripture. Obedience isn't just about morality, but it is also about completing our responsibility.
Our love Jesus comes out in our commitment to the Great Commission. In other words it is about reaching out and making disciples, not just proclaiming the truth. Making disciples involves more than just sharing the truth with people, it is also about showing God's goodness to the world.
When we love Jesus not only will we proclaim the truth, but we will also show compassion. It is easy to stand up and tell people the truth God has revealed in the Bible, but it is something entirely different to love people indiscriminately.
The Ephesian Church had no trouble with the truth, but they did have trouble with love. First they lost the love they had for Jesus and that flowed into a lack of love for people. To be the church God wants us to be we have to love Jesus first, and allow that love to affect every other relationship we have.
Our love for Jesus is best seen in our love for people. We can be right all we want, but if we don't show compassion to others we will be ignored. If we love Jesus we will try to love people the way He did.