In Revelations 2 John records a message to the church at Ephesus. Jesus tells John to write to the church and acknowledge that it has worked and persevered for His name’s sake, was intolerable of evil people, and that the church has weeded out false prophets.
However, Jesus holds something against the church. He says “I have this against you, that you have left your first love.” He tells the church to repent and “do the deeds you did at first”. What are these deeds that they stopped? Well, Love and acts of Love. They stopped loving each other and their neighbors.
The consequence of not repenting and refocusing on the deeds (acts of Love) of the past was that Jesus would come and remove the church’s “lampstand out of its place.” In Revelations 1 Jesus says that the seven “lampstands” are the seven churches. It makes sense to me that if the church’s “lampstand” is removed, it will no longer be accounted as a light that shines God’s love to the world. The church is supposed to shine the light of Christ to the world and if the church fails at the basic principle of Loving one another, then it should cease to exist. Jesus is the true light of this world. (John 1) If Jesus removes the “lampstand” from the church, then there will be nothing there but darkness and death.
Peter too had tough words for the churches he was writing to. In 1 Peter 4:7-8, Peter tells the churches “the end of all things is near”. He tells the churches to be diligent in prayer and to “above all” love one another. Then, he tells the people of the churches to use their strengths to help each other and to serve as if serving with “the strength which God supplies”.
1 Peter 4:17-19 NASB, “For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? And if it is with difficulty that the righteous is saved , what will become of the godless man and the sinner ? Therefore, those also who suffer according to the will of God shall entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right.”
There are too many verses to list here where we are commanded to love on another in the Bible. Take time to read the book of 1 John. Read the whole book, it’s only five chapters. Here are the highlights; Love each other, believe Jesus is the Son of God, and keep away from idols! Jesus tells us in Mark 12 that the greatest of the commandments is to love the Lord and to love your neighbor as yourself. Who is our neighbor? In Luke 10 Jesus tells us the story of the Good Samaritan, that story ends in verse 37 with us learning that our neighbor is anyone who we see that is in need of Love.
- Are you failing at loving your neighbor?
- Are you too busy worrying about the Confederate Flag to love your neighbor?
- Are you too busy worrying about somebody’s legal immigration status to love your neighbor?
- Are you too busy wondering if someone is getting a marriage document from the government to love your neighbor?
- Is your church failing at loving each other and your community?
Your church and your community will die spiritually if you are not sharing the LOVE of Christ and shining the light of life that is Jesus!
Peter tells us that the judgement of God starts first with the church. 1 Peter 4:17-19 NASB “For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? And if it is with difficulty that the righteous is saved , what will become of the godless man and the sinner ? Therefore, those also who suffer according to the will of God shall entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right.” If we, the church, can’t pass the judgement, as the church of Ephesus was judged, then how will the lost in our communities ever be Saved?