Passion or Routine

Revelation 2:1-5 “”To the angel of the church of Ephesus write,
“These things says He who holds the seven stars in His right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands: 2″I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars; 3and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary. 4Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. 5Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place–unless you repent.”
-In this passage, the word “angel” is the Greek “aggelos” which is literally “messenger,” the implication here in the Greek being that the messenger is a “pastor”. So the message is to the pastor of the Ephesian church. That is interesting because it shows that according to God’s perspective, pastors are not only shepherds of their churches, they are messengers of God’s Word to others.
-The message to the Ephesian church shows an interesting situation…one I feel is rampant in churches today. Verse 2 reveals that the Ephesian church was very active in the community; they labored to do good works. They were one of those churches that probably reached out to the poor and did good Christian deeds to those who were lost or suffering. Very active church…they probably had bulletins 8 pages long!
-Their works were excellent and God recognized how much they labored…but it wasn’t what they were doing that was the problem, it was the motive BEHIND their good works.
-Verse 4 reveals they had left their “first love”, meaning Christ. Notice how it says they “left” it, not that they LOST it. Leaving shows a willingness to leave, losing shows that you are seeking it. It’s apparent the Ephesians had left their first love and were not seeking it. They had failed to maintian their intimacy with Christ.
-The Ephesian church had allowed the RITUAL of a relationship with Christ take precedence over the RELATIONSHIP itself. The love once felt toward Christ had turned into routine. A good example of a common problem is seen in marriage…where the couple in the beginning are so “in love” with each other that they WANT to do things for each other as a result of their love…then years down the road they get bored of things…they lose that initial passion for the spouse…and the relationship goes from willingness and joy to bland routine. That’s a good example of what was happening in the Ephesian church, and sadly what happens in many of our hearts toward Christ.
-At first the Ephesian church’s works had been an OVERFLOW of their love for Christ. They had been zealous over learning more of Him and showing their love for Him. Their works, rather than being obligation, had been an overflow of gratefulness for their “groom”. Now they had lost the passion and the reason for why they did good works…their hearts which were once warm with an incredible fervor to please the Lord had gone cold, and the works thus became meaningless ritual because the intent of their hearts had changed.
-My question to you is…has YOUR heart gone cold toward Christ? Oh, you may be able to debate even the best debaters and win concerning the Bible and doctrine….you may know the Word like the back of your hand and have no hesitation to quote verses that are relevant for certain situations. You may be able to boast that you read the Bible and pray everyday without ceasing…but has your initial zeal, your initial love and passion for Christ faded?
-Christ’s desire and zeal for you is as strong as the first day you pledged to know Him…is it that way for you toward Him? Is there a passionate yearning in your heart to please Christ, truly? Or has your relationship fallen into routine and doing things only becase you think it’s expected for a Christian…”Ohhh, I’ve gotta read the Bible now because I have to make it a point to do it every day”*shuffles over and picks up Bible grudgingly*….or “Time to pray now” *sighs*…
-Has your relationship with Christ turned into a ritual of routine and duty without much feeling behind it? If this is your attitude, examine verse 5, where God tells you to repent…repent of the fact that you allowed that love and passion for Christ disappear…repent and renew. Renew that love and passion and go back to serving Christ with the zeal you once had. Do those good works NOT out of obligation…but as a natural overflow of your love and gratefulness for your Savior.
-Christ is essentially telling us, “It’s love and passion, not routine that I want with you.” Don’t let your works become light without heat.
-Look at the end of verse 5…Christ warned that if they did not repent and turn back to the passion and zeal they once had…he would come and remove their lampstand…meaning He would remove the light they had…the effective witness they had in the community…in essence He would withdraw His presence from that church. Do you not think Jesus wouldn’t do the same thing to a loveless heart? Oh He’s not going to LEAVE as in you lose your salvation…but He will remove your ministry..your witness to others so that whatever you do for Him will be bland and ineffective…the power behind that ministry will be removed.
-Jesus is looking for our HEARTS…not our WORKS…He wants us to love Him and have a zeal and passion to learn of Him and to know Him even more! He’s not impressed with the things we do that we say we’re doing for Him, if we do it out of obligation or routine. Christ does not want your works…He wants YOU!! So draw back to Him…remember the love and passion you felt when you first knew Him…rekindle that flame and serve Him with renewed passion and gratefulness…if you’ve lost that…repent and then continue doing good things for Christ but this time with RIGHT intent… If you fail to do so…just like He promised the Ephesian church…Christ will come and remove the witness you have…and the things you then do for Him will NOT store up treasure in heaven…they will be useless works.
-Don’t live a stalemated Christian life…don’t continue in a loveless relatioinship with Christ causing you to lose His empowerment…remember your first love and rekindle that passion.

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