Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love.
Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place— unless you repent.
The “frog-in-the-pot” parable you likely know— the illustration in which a frog is placed into a pot of lukewarm water and with a slow increase in temperature to boiling and tragically the undiscerning frog is boiled to death. Many churches today are in a similar danger. Subtle changes have occurred and increased to a dangerous point. Some contributors to a watered-down church is the emphasis on a seeker-sensitive approach to grow a church, aggressive Calvinism, Replacement theology, the Contemplative movement, kingdom dominionism, Hebrew Roots, the Emerging Church or “Jesus and…” movements.
Those often most likely to sense this are foreign missionaries returning to their home church after years away. Coming home to a church with familiar location and faces, yet a diminished appreciation and emphasis on Jesus as Lord and Savior. No longer living in ways submitted to Scripture, nor in anticipation of His soon return and a diminished view of the reality of Heaven, or Hell.
The church of Ephesus as seen in Revelation 2:1-7 was very much a church which had forgotten Jesus. They had drifted. Jesus himself addresses this church. Their error was to “have left (their) first love.” Lovingly he exhorts them to remember, repent, and do. They were a strong church in many good things— causes and works to help, great patience and tolerance, hatred of evil, truth seeking, and all of these tirelessly. It was just that they forgot and moved Jesus to the back-burner. The departure from one’s love of Jesus, no matter how slight… no matter if couched with a lot of good activity, without the love of Christ as the primary, it is still a departure. He warns them to get right again… love Him with all their heart or else He would “remove the lampstand.” Such removal would result in their no longer reflection of Jesus, who is the “true light.” Such a slide is dangerous, often resulting in a “falling away,” (II Thess. 2:3 & I Tim.4:1).
Dear church family… I can’t remind you enough to keep Jesus as your first love, spend your life to use in ways that acknowledge His love for you as demonstrated by His going to the cross for you. And then responding in holiness and keeping His commandments because of such a great love. Be careful of subtle departure. Hebrews 2:1 warns us of “drifting away.” A drift is not traumatic or quickly noticeable, in fact it can even be smoothly comfortable. The scary part of drifting is its subtlety.
Has that happened? If you are currently drifting simply do what Jesus dictates—remember, repent and do the first works, return to your first love, appreciate your salvation by His sacrifice alone, worship God and love His people, word and ways…
Nothing can separate you from His love!