But I have this [one charge to make] against you: that you have left (abandoned) the love that you had at first [you have deserted Me, your first love] ~ Rev. 2:4 (Amplified Bible)
In Revelations this charge is against the Ephesus assembly. And today this same charge is held against the “church” both individually and corporately.
In the previous verses the angel (messenger) acknowledges their endurance and their intolerance of the wicked as well as testing and judging those who call themselves apostles. In doing so they have found them to be impostors and liars!
The Ephesus assembly was recognized for their industry and activities, laborious toil and trouble. Yet in all their toiling for the Lord’s Namesake physically they have deserted Him spiritually. Their hearts have abandoned their first love.
In all their building and church activities they have strayed far away. The passionate love that drove them to laboriously toil for the Lord has been replaced with coldness. Their intimacy became religion. Their affections shifted. Grace poured upon them in times of troubles now forgotten
“Remember then from what heights you have fallen” (v.5a)
Can you hear what the Spirit of the Lord is saying? Consider, bring to mind, take into account where I have first encountered you. Who was the One who captured you in your fall? The depth of your brokenness was hopeless to the eyes of man but I saw the end from the beginning.
When you lost all hope, I gave you hope. When you felt worthless, I gave you worth. When you were in darkness, I shined My Light. When you felt useless, I gave you purpose. When you had nothing, I gave you everything. When you sought me, you found me. When you lacked understanding, I gave you knowledge. When you asked for a sign, I gave you revelation. When My will became yours, I gave you a vision. When you asked for power, I gave you My anointing. As your influence, along with your name gained prominence, your affections for Me shifted towards yourself.
You honored Me with your lips but your heart was far from me (Matt. 15:8) In my Name you profess the wonders and miraculous manifestation of your works in which My hands have never touched. Yet, in my mercy I allowed you to continue in hopes that you recognize your ineffectiveness and cause you to return. But you have totally abandoned Me otherwise you would have been able to discern the source in which you operated from.
“Repent (change the inner man to meet God’s will) and do the works you did previously [when you first you knew the Lord], or else I will visit you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you change your mind and repent.” (v.5b)
Our first love caused us to seek Him at all times, we prayed, fasted, evangelized, and radically testified of His works with everyone that had ears. If they refused to listen, we were willing to talk to the walls because we had this fire within us like Jeremiah. Our lamps were always lit and set upon high places for all to see! We heard His voice like the sound of rushing waters and in His presence we soaked in day and night.
Can we confess that we possess the same passion we had at first? Are we burning with love for Jesus? Is His word in our heart burning like fire shut up in our bones? Is our lamp stand filled with His oil or our own?
The charge is against us. How will we plead: Guilty or Not Guilty?
Do not allow the enemy to deceive you to think that you’re not guilty if you are! Loving Jesus with ALL your heart (not half-hearted), soul and mind (Matt. 22:36) is the greatest commandment and if he can cause you to compromise and break this one, he will cause you to break them all.
Ask the Lord to search your heart and reveal the depth of your love for Him. Repent Beloved and serve Him with the love that will be your driving force until He returns.
“He who is able to hear, let him listen to and give heed to what the Spirit says to the assemblies (churches). To him who overcomes (is victorious), I will grant to eat [of the fruit] of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.” (v. 7)
You and I are the church! Let us take heed brothers and sister in Christ. And let us pray for the church as a whole that we may return to our first love and be declared NOT GUILTY!