August 3rd Do You Love Jesus?


Reading: Revelation 2:1-7

The first message is to the angel of the church in Ephesus. Paul founded this church in about 52 AD (Acts 18). In approximately 65 AD Paul’s apprentice, Timothy, became the pastor (1 Tim 1:3). Tradition tells us that after Timothy, the Apostle John himself became their pastor. After John, at the time this book is written, (while John is exiled in Patmos), Onesimus, the former slave (see the book of Philemon) is temporarily the pastor.

Who is this angel? There are a number of theories: first, that every church has a guardian angel and that this is a prophetic message to that being. Second, some have thought that the ‘angel’ is the overriding ethos, atmosphere or mood of that church, it’s unspoken character, which all churches seem to have, whether it be proud, welcoming, bullying or gentle. Third, and this gets my vote, that the ‘angel’ doesn’t mean a supernatural being here, but the messenger, that is the pastor of the church. In the Greek translation of both the Old and New Testaments, the word ‘angelos‘ sometimes refers to a human messenger or herald, one who represents a king or who carries an important message. So in this instance the ‘angel’ of the church in Ephesus is possibly ‘Onesimus’: the slave turned pastor.

Jesus is positive about a number of things in their fellowship: their hard work (2) has not gone unnoticed, they have stood firm (2) and had huge perseverance even in the face of trials and hardship (3) and even at great cost had opposed a movement to join their Christian faith with the pagan practices around them (2,6). However, (and this is serious) while doing all this they have lost their ‘first love’ (4). They have doggedly put their hand to the grindstone and with one foot after the other they have drudged on, but they have lost in the process the joy of their salvation. Sadly, their deep love and delight for Father, Son and Holy Spirit, once very present, is now missing. The matter is so serious that Jesus says that unless they have a change of heart, and start working on their affection for the Lord he may remove their lampstand, (5) that is, close the church.

To delight in God (Ps 37) and to love him with our whole being (Deut 6:5, Luke 10:37) are perhaps the greatest commands in the Bible. Yet business for God, and our own cares can sometimes squash the love for God right out of us. Perhaps today we need to return to our first love. Maybe you need to stop what you’re doing right now and ask his forgiveness for a cold heart, and ask him to renew the joy of his salvation in your life. Possibly, there is a need to worship him right where you are, sing to him of your love! Augustine wrote, “A Christian should be an alleluia from head to foot.” That is the reality. That is the truth of our lives. God made us, loves us, redeems us and provides for us, He knows your deeds, but he wants your heart! God still wants and always will want, churches and people that are passionately loving him.

Jesus says,

“…. Do you truly love me?” (John 21:16 NIV)

For memorisation

“Repent, and do the things you did at first” (Revelation 2:5)

Prayer,

Father, when the music fades, all is stripped away and I simply come, longing just to bring something that’s of worth, that will bless your heart. King of endless worth no one could express
how much you deserve. Though I’m weak and poor all I have is yours, every single breath. I’m coming back to the heart of worship and it’s all about You Jesus. I’m sorry, Lord, for the thing I’ve made it, when it’s all about You, it’s all about You, Jesus. Jesus I love you. Amen.
(‘When the music fades’ by Matt Redman)

Comments:

  • Rachel Prentice says:

    Verses from an old hymn I used to sing, which spoke to me then and more so today –
    Where is the blessedness I knew when first
    I saw the Lord? Where is that soul-refreshing view, Of Jesus and His Word?
    What peaceful hours I once enjoyed! How sweet their memory still! But they have left an aching void The world can never fill.
    The dearest idol I have known, Whate’er that idol be, Help me to tear it from Thy throne And worship only Thee. So shall my walk be close with God, Calm and serene my frame; So purer light shall mark the road, That leads me to the Lamb..

  • Mary Dicker says:

    I sometimes find it is in the silence that I know God most intimately, when the music fades, when all is stripped away, when there are no distractions, when I intentionally choose to be present to God’s love for me, then I begin to understand and experience the prayer below.

    Lord Jesus Christ, be over me to shelter me,

    * under me to uphold me,

    * about me to protect me,

    * behind me to direct me,

    * ever with me to save me.

  • Lisa Holmes says:

    The lamp is not the light but the light shines through the lamp 🙂 Ultimately it is Jesus who has the responsibility and leadership of the churches – he is concerned with individuals and churches before the vision is caught up with world events. Jesus is not simply an observer – he is actively engaged, walking AMONG the lamp stands – this is all about relationship. Jesus loves us more than we can ever really comprehend – do we respond in love for him – Jesus first in everything, Jesus at the centre – Challenging isn’t it??! Busyness so much easier than Being; Activity than Adoration? Experience tells me that the more time I spend simply WITH Jesus – the more other stuff just kind of gets sorted!!!

  • Janet R says:

    When I first accepted Jesus into my heart I was like a child who had just received the best present ever. I would tell everyone I met all about him with great excitement. But new presents become familiar over time and loose their sparkle. Thats where the analogy stops because unlike any other present Gods love “is new every morning” Lamentations 3:22-23. My prayer for me and us all is that we would live our lives in the truth of that promise and every morning be like that child who has just received the best present ever.

  • Harry Alston says:

    I believe that loving the Lord is an action activity rather than just a display of emotion and warm feelings. Emotions are fickle and can change from hour to hour. Jesus says this three times in John 14 &15 as if to stress the importance -“If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love. Perhaps our “first love” is to delight in His word and act upon it.



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