One of the most popular letters in the New Testament is the one Paul wrote to the Ephesians. One of the reasons for its popularity is that it is so full of positive things. The church at Ephesus was an exemplary fellowship. They were strong in the faith, faithful in doctrine and generally caring. Most churches today would do well to follow their example. But, by the time the Apostle John had his revelation on the Isle of Patmos, this church had a problem which God felt must be addressed even though they were still unique in many ways.

The Spirit says of them, "I know what you do. You work hard, and you never quit. I know that you don’t accept evil people. You have tested those people who say that they are apostles but are really not. You found that they are liars. You continue to try without quitting. You endured troubles for my name. And you have not become tired of doing this." (Revelation 2:2-3 ERV) Yet with all these complements, they were still lacking. The Spirit puts it this way. "But I have this against you: You have left the love you had in the beginning." (Revelation 2:4)

"You have left the love you had in the beginning." What a strange thing for this great church! Unfortunately it was true. One has to wonder how many churches today might receive this same warning.

First loves are usually special in any setting. An air of excitement belongs to our "firsts." The intensity and fervor of them is seldom matched. However, time is a great moderator. Most will find the luster and excitement of those fresh beginnings grow a little dim with the passage of time. That is why we must always work to maintain our passion for anything that is worth keeping. It is certainly no different with matters pertaining to God, His work, His Church, and His Son.

Do you remember when you first discovered the true meaning of salvation?

Can you remember how your "firsts" in the faith felt?

Remember those times when you were stirred by some great message and you knew you would take whatever steps were necessary to fulfill God's will for you. Is the burning desire you once felt still there?

In Ephesus, the passion was gone. It may likely be gone from most today. Just how serious is this one thing? How concerned should we be? Listen to the words of Jesus:

First loves are usually special!
"So remember where you were before you fell. Change your hearts and do the things you did at first. If you don’t change, I will come to you. I will take away your lampstand from its place." (Revelation 2:5)

Does that sound like God doesn't have concern for this matter?

We usually think of repentance when one has committed some gross sin, but is it that serious to simply lose our passion for the Lord and His work?

God was very alarmed that a church with many fine characteristics had lost some measure of that initial fire of love. Perhaps we should be more concerned as well. After all, one of the passages of encouragement in the Christian walk clearly says, "We should think about each other and see how we can help each other to show love and do good things." (Hebrews 10:24) If you have lost your first love for the Kingdom and for the Lord, repent and restore it once more. We all owe it to each other to stir one another to love and good works and to love the Lord with all that we are!