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I believe they must have run to the cabinet and pulled out the letter Paul had written them some 35 years before.

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They turned to Ephesians and read, "Grace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ with love undying" RSV , and wept as they realized their love was already dead. It was love for Christ primarily, but love for Christ always issues in love for one another as John had taught in 1 John And so they turned back to the first chapter of Paul's letter, and read in verse 15, "Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints, cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayer" Ephesians They had to admit it.

It was gone. A coldness toward one another had fallen upon them.

PICTURE #2: WEEDING – A.D. 54-56.

A spirit of criticism cropped up with every problem, and people pointed fingers and blamed one another. The pew was too hard. Or the music was too loud. Or, why in the world did they let her sing? The first love was gone. How ashamed they felt. They knew better. They had been exposed to the Apostle Paul's teaching on love. They remembered the truth of 1 Corinthians All their oratorical sermonizing and teaching was like sounding brass and a tinkling cymbal without love. All their gifts, and their knowledge of the Scriptures, and even their faith, was worthless, if they did not have love.

All their good works, all the money they gave to the poor and to foreign missions--every bit of it worthless, if they did not have a warm, unselfish love for God and for one another. Of the three great Christian virtues--faith, hope, and love--the greatest by far is love 1 Corinthians The Ephesian church had lost it. A church without love is a church without life.

Without this essential ingredient, everything else degenerates into a weak, struggling, ineffective, powerless shell. But the heart is gone. Christ had put his finger on the problem at Ephesus, and their souls were smitten with remorse and shame. Well, what can be done about it? The challenge is found in Revelation First we must remember. We must meditate a little on the love we once had, the warmth and blessing of a right relationship with Christ and with other believers we once enjoyed.

It is from this position that we have fallen. Think of it, brethren. This was a great church.

The Churches of Revelation: Ephesus - The Loveless Church | United Church of God

One of the largest churches in the world, filled with people who were working feverishly, patiently bearing suffering, separated from all evil, and doctrinally pure. Yet the church was fallen. All because their love had waned. They let it happen. After remembrance, the next logical step is repentance. That involves sorrow, but sorrow is only the beginning. Repentance means a complete change of mind.

It's taking responsibility for our sin and not blaming anyone else. Where my devotion to the Savior has dimmed, I must learn to love Him anew, to elevate Him to first place in my life again. Where critical attitudes have captivated my thinking about my pastor, and my Christian friends, I must cry out to God to give me love for them, appreciation for them in spite of their faults and mistakes. Where my love for a lost world has all but disappeared, I must plead for a passion for souls without Christ. My whole attitude must be reversed--there must be genuine repentance. Then after we remember and repent, we must repeat.

Christ says in verse 5, "Do the first works. The time they spent in the Word--not just to get their doctrine correct but to really know their Lord through the Word. We must begin loving again as it was in those honeymoon days with the Savior. We must do it, beloved. What if we don't feel like it? What if we don't feel that warmth we first felt so we don't feel motivated? God never tells us we have to feel like doing it. He just says do it. If we obey, the feelings will follow.

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  7. There is no alternative. There is no putting it off. We must do it today. Vance Havner has titled his book on the seven letters, Repent or Else! That is what the Lord has said. See it right there in Revelation Or else what?

    Do you know what that means? I think the Ephesians knew what it meant, like believers in no other city. Ephesus was a city of change. Originally it was built on a hillside overlooking its harbor. But as silt from the river settled, forming a plain between the harbor and the city, they moved the city closer to the sea. But the harbor continued to fill up, so that it became treacherous for ships to enter. Some think this is why, in Acts 10, the ship in which Paul rode, failed to stop at Ephesus, but went on down to Miletus.

    Already, Ephesus's supremacy was declining.

    This city of change was changing again, and this time it was passing right out of its place of influence. Today there is nothing left of it whatsoever. A once thriving city is covered in mud. Of the once thriving church in that city, nothing remains.

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    The lampstand represented the church, but remember it also symbolized the church: a testimony to the world. The testimony is going to be destroyed, Christ said, unless you repent.


    Your influence for Christ will be taken away. Your leadership among the churches will be changed and given to another. No church--not even Emmanuel Faith Community Church --has a permanent place in the world. It is continuously on trial. If it fails, its lampstand is removed, its light is terminated. There are churches today whose lampstands have been removed. Their congregations congregate, their ministers minister.

    But there isn't any light. Their influence for Christ is over. Listen, I don't want to belittle any of the four things for which they were commended. Those things are important: their works and their endurance, and their purity, and their perfect orthodoxy. But they left their love--and when they did, they died. God gave their place of testimony to another church. Oh, that we might see it today! Unless there be love, the lampstand is removed.

    The picture now is of a church that has been carefully nurtured to the point of strong health. About a decade after the church had been started, Paul wrote a letter to the Ephesians commending their faith and love. A careful reading of this epistle shows that they had done well.