April 19

Written by Bill Grandi on April 19th, 2022

Have you ever received an anonymous letter? I’m not talking about the one which included a note of appreciation and maybe even a monetary gift. I like those kind! 🙂  I’m talking about one that was vindictive, accusatory, and just downright mean. I have, but I was too naive, to feisty, and to quick to react to respond correctly. What I should have done was throw it in the trash…immediately…and forgotten about it. But instead, I chose to keep it and try to figure out who sent it. An anonymous letter is a coward’s way of spewing hate.

By contrast, there was no doubt who wrote the letters to the 7 churches…and it wasn’t John.  The author signed them. He also didn’t mince any words. Take Revelation 2: 1-7 for example, the letter to the church at Ephesus.

Commendable:

  • their deeds, labor and perseverance
  • their lack of tolerance for evil
  • their discernment of false teachers
  • their dislike (hatred) for the Nicolaitans

One bad thing:

  • they had left their first love

What does that mean? I’ve actually heard several different possibilities:

  1. Their love for Jesus had cooled.
  2. Their love for truth had waned.
  3. Their desire for truth and love had been skewed. There was an inbalance.

Does it really matter in the long run? Probably not. The words are harsh, condemning, and not easily forgotten. How do I know that? Because of verse 5: Remember from where you have fallen and Repent.

I have this sneaking suspicion that the Ephesian church got one part of the equation right but not the other. They got the love right but forgot the truth. Or perhaps they allowed false teachers to come in unhindered and spread lies and pull their affection from Jesus.

I’m wondering if this is a fulfillment of Paul’s words to the elders in Acts 20: 28-31a. (Click the link for the Scripture )

What are your thoughts?

“Father, may You always be first in my heart and thoughts. Protect me from false teachers who come in like wolves dressed as sheep.”

 

8 Comments so far ↓

  1. I have been in a church where the wolf was allowed (literally) to devour women. It changed who we were.

    I have thoughts on “left their first love”: They forgot how much God loved them. He loved us first, then we loved Him back. The more we keep our eyes and hearts on His Love for us, the more we love Him in return.

    • Bill Grandi says:

      Sad about the wolf being allowed Diane. Really, really sad. As for the thoughts: good thinking. Loving Him first should be our top priority.

  2. Like Diane expressed above, I think the Ephesians had turned lukewarm when it came to their devotion to Jesus. May we all put Him first in our lives!
    Blessings, Bill!

    • Bill Grandi says:

      That is always what I thought too Martha. i shouldn’t let other people get in my head. 🙂 🙂

  3. gail says:

    I think any time you take your eyes off Jesus, and put anything else in front of him, you will find yourself in trouble. I also believe in John’s theory that you can not have love without truth, truth without love. If you think about that, you can only do that if you have Jesus first in your life.

  4. Ryan S says:

    Have you ever sat in pews or chairs during a Sunday service and knew the message was being preached for you…
    I wonder if that is what those who had an opportunity to read the letter thought. Perhapsthst is what the Bible is supposed to do every time I pick it up. The great thing is, it meets us where we are at, and if we are willing, will guide us to where we need to be…our first love.

    • Bill Grandi says:

      I can say that even though I hardly sit in a pew (we have chairs) 🙂 I also know there have been times when I have wondered how in the world did he know i was struggling with that or thinking that? Going with your thought Ryan I most definitely think the Bible is meant to do just that.