Revelations 2:1-7 Only those who love God supremely will be mighty in word and deed
Revelations 2:1-7 Only those who love God supremely will be mighty in word and deed
“To the angel of the church in Ephesus write:
The One who holds the seven stars in His right hand, the One who walks among the seven golden lampstands, says this:
‘I know your deeds and your toil and perseverance, and that you cannot tolerate evil men, and you put to the test those who call themselves apostles, and they are not, and you found them to be false; and you have perseverance and have endured for My name’s sake, and have not grown weary. But I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Therefore remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you and will remove your lampstand out of its place—unless you repent. Yet this you do have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will grant to eat of the tree of life which is in the Paradise of God.’
Christ praises the church in Ephesus for its “deeds… hard work… and perseverance,” and for steadfastly holding on to the right doctrine. Despite their fervour for the word and deed, they are not effective in word or in deed. Many believers mistake love for God as zeal for the word and deed. To love God supremely is to commune and emulate His virtues, wisdom and power continually. One cannot be mighty in word and deed by focusing on studying the word and doing the deeds. For they are but by-products of one’s supreme love for God. However, the more we commune with God and emulate Him, the more we become mighty in word and in deed. Today’s devotion reminds us that only those who love God supremely will be mighty in word and deed.
“To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: The One who holds the seven stars in His right hand, the One who walks among the seven golden lampstands says this:
The recipient of the letter is the angel of the church in Ephesus. Bear in mind that the letter was written not just to the church in Ephesus but also to churches that bear its characteristics. The angel receiving the message is tasked to raise overcomers through men and women of God. It is interesting to note the flow of the message is as follows:
Christ -> Apostle John -> The Angel -> The Churches
Christ sends the message by the handwriting of John who charges the angel to send the message to the churches of the world. Christ not addressing the angels directly speaks of the stature of the Apostle John in relation to the angels. John begins his reign with Christ by charging the angels with the message.
‘I know your deeds and your toil and perseverance, and that you cannot tolerate evil men, and you put to the test those who call themselves apostles, and they are not, and you found them to be false; and you have perseverance and have endured for My name’s sake, and have not grown weary.
One thing that is commendable in the Ephesian church is their zeal to keep their doctrine pure. They cannot put up with inaccurate doctrines. Neither can they tolerate those who break the 10 commandments. Their perseverance is admirable for they have not slacken in up holding what they perceive as the truth.
But I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Therefore remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first.
That said, there is a very serious problem in the church: you have left your first love. First (protos in Greek), means the first importance; that which is supreme. What is this first love? The Apostle Paul wrote to the church in Ephesus,
Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love. – Ephesians 5:1
The church must repent to fulfil the spirit of the law which is love. To love God is to emulate Christ in all aspects of His life, which is divine love, wisdom and power. The desire for Christ-likeness must become the foundation for all other pursuits including deed and doctrinal accuracy. In essence, the ultimate purpose of the law is to provide us a frame work to bear the fruit of divine love.
How does first love relate to others? We are to love one another by seeing ourselves as part of a bigger body. In so doing, we begin to build up one another. Paul wrote,
but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love. – Ephesians 4:15-16
or else I am coming to you and will remove your lampstand out of its place — unless you repent.
The lampstand carries the light of God. When the lampstand is removed, God’s presence leaves the church. And the church loses its calling and mandate to rule with God. Consequently, the church loses its might and becomes an empty shell of falsities and deeds.
Yet this you do have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.
However, the Lord commends the church in Ephesus for rejecting the deeds of the Nicolaitans. The Nicolaitans seek to justify their immoral deeds by exploiting gaps in shallow doctrinal teachings. Shallow teachings are breeding grounds for falsities.
He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will grant to eat of the tree of life which is in the Paradise of God.’
He who hunger (has an ear) for the truth, that which may be inconvenient and offensive, will hear the voice of the Spirit. Jesus said,
“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand.” – John 10:27-28
The true seekers of God will not assimilate falsities no matter how good and convincing they may sound. The Christ-Self within them will detect and reject that which is stained. These are the overcomers to whom are granted to eat of the fruit of life in paradise.
Only those who love God supremely will be mighty in word and deed.
To love is to emulate
Love is manifested in every toddler by their desire to emulate their parents. In love, they mimic their parents’ mannerism, speech, clothing and daily activities. Similarly, this love is expressed through our desire to emulate our heavenly Father. In fact, God’s greatest pleasure is to see His children grow to become like Him. For this reason, the Son is sent so that we may know the Father to become perfect as He is perfect. Jesus said to Philip, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father.” John 14:9.Therefore, to walk in love is to be like God in His virtues, wisdom and power.
Love translates knowledge into Christ-likeness
A great number of churches today are deceived into thinking that their pursuit of knowledge equate their supreme love for God. Thus, they become big on biblical knowledge, but unfortunately small on manifesting the divine characteristics of Christ. They plough through Genesis to Revelation thinking that will help them grow as a Christian. However, their approach to knowledge is mental, devoid of conviction and experience. For example, in Paul’s prayer for the Ephesian church,
I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. – see Ephesians 1:18
Many bible teachers spend hours debating and teaching about what Paul really meant. But they have never experienced what is the riches of the glory and the greatness of His power. Hence, their teachings have become heavy on reasoning but light on experience. Because they did not experience it, they cannot lead others to it. Nevertheless, it is our supreme love for God that inspires us to commune with Him so as to experience the riches and His power. Sadly, many cannot give up the trappings and busyness of life so as to love Him supremely.
Deeds without Christ-likeness is of no value
Concerning spiritual abilities and work, Paul said,
If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing. – 1 Corinthians 13:2-3
Unless we walk in love; which is Christ-likeness, our deeds are of no value. However, many perceive ministry achievements as a measurement of one’s love for God. The harder one works, the bigger the numbers, and the greater one’s love for God. For this reason, we see many toil and persevere to reach out to the masses. Some even have a penchant for exposing other people’s sins. The possession of spiritual gifts do not infer God’s approval. Although many claim to operate in visions and dreams, very few actually communicate with God mouth to mouth. As Christ sees the Father’s face and communicates with Him continually, so do we. Therefore, we must pursue communion with God and Christ-likeness above knowledge, spiritual abilities or ministry achievement.
Only those who love God supremely will be mighty in word and deed
Jesus loves the Father supremely by becoming like Him. As a result, Jesus became mighty in word and in deed (see Luke 24:19). One cannot be mighty in word and deed by studying the word and doing the deeds. For they are but by-products of one’s supreme love for God. However, the more we commune with God and emulate Him, the more we become mighty in word and in deed. As we make God our first love continually, we will be given wisdom to discern the hearts of people and to solve the complex issues of life. God will reveal to us His plans for the nations. And He will give us power to move bigger mountains and destroy the devil’s works.
Take time to visualise ourselves in Christ’s glory. The reason why Christ appeared to John and instructed him to record what he saw, is so that believers may visualise themselves in Christ’s glory wearing the same robe, having the same hair, feet, eyes and voice (see Revelation 1:12-16). Before Christ can be manifested through our life, Christ must first be actualised in our soul.
Dear Lord, change my heart and cause me to love you supremely. Let the attributes of Christ be actualised in my thought and desire. Use me to manifest the mighty works of God in word and in deed. In Jesus’s name I pray. Amen.