Letters From Jesus: Ephesus

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In one letter, Jesus commends both love and hate.

Implication: If you don’t hate lies, you’re not fully loving.

Second implication: If you hate lies but don’t love Jesus, He rebukes you.

As Paul would say in Galatians, letting even an angel preach another gospel, unchecked, is not the Christian, Jesus-loving way to go.

And as Paul would say in 1 Corinthians, if you’re spot on doctrinally but don’t have love, you’re an annoying noise.

The risen Jesus gave 7 messages for churches to the Apostle John on the island of Patmos. They form chapters 2 and 3 of Revelation.

The first one is to the church in Ephesus:

“To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: ‘The words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand, who walks among the seven golden lampstands. I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false. I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary. But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent. Yet this you have: you hate the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.’”

We don’t know who the Nicolaitans were. But I think it’s fair to say that the likelihood is that they were some sort of false teachers or false sect that claimed connection to Christianity.

But what God wants us to know, what He put in His Book, is that Jesus hated their works. And He commended the (at least partially) loveless church Paul had planted in Ephesus for hating their works, too.

Jesus said that this was good.

But they also had, by and large, lost their first love. And so Jesus commanded them to repent and do the works they had done at first. You can see some of those works in Paul’s letter to the church earlier in her history:

“Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.” (Ephesians 5:15-21)

They hated the right things rightly, but they didn’t love the best thing.

Jesus wanted this church to love Him, to love each other, and to hate the works of false teachers preaching a false gospel.

If you hate lies without loving Jesus, you have nothing.

But the more you love Jesus, the more you’ll hate the works of those who lead people away from Him.

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