All You Need is Love
Lord, “How great is the love [You] have lavished on us, that we should be called children of God” (1 John 3:1).
Read REVELATION 2:1-11
 “To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: These are the words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks among the seven golden lampstands:  I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked men, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false.  You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary.  Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love.  Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.  But you have this in your favor: You hate the practices 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 give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.  “To the angel of the church in Smyrna write: These are the words of him who is the First and the Last, who died and came to life again.  I know your afflictions and your poverty-yet you are rich! I know the slander of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan.  Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life.  He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes will not be hurt at all by the second death. Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
ReflectWhat was good and bad about these churches?
The good, the bad, and the challenging! That seems to be the pattern for the messages to the seven churches in western Turkey. First up is cosmopolitan Ephesus—a thriving gateway to Asia. It was academically and financially strong, and infamous for its thousands of priests and priestesses, many of whom were sacred prostitutes. Jesus encourages the church by recognizing its perseverance, courage, and refusal to tolerate immorality and religious pretenders (2). That was extreme praise considering they were living in a culture described by theologian William Barclay as the “Vanity Fair of the Ancient World.” However, they had lost one vital thing—love for God and one another (4). Their passion had been replaced by doctrinal obedience and duty.
There is no mistaking the priority Jesus places on love (5). Living within a society poisoned by corruption and selfish ambition, we are also called to love. The church in Ephesus thought they had everything, but in reality had nothing. Conversely, the church in Smyrna was plagued by their poverty and yet was described as “rich.” The difference? Love!
How would Jesus describe your church? Pray for his help in any area where your church needs to grow.
Lord Jesus, Lord of the Church, work in me and my church so that we can be worthy of Your praise.
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