Remembering Our First Love

Gary Wilkerson

You may remember Ephesus from the New Testament; it was one of the largest churches during that time. This all started when Apollos was preaching to 12 men, then the Apostle Paul came along. There was a move of the Holy Spirit, then 12 turned into dozens then hundreds then thousands. History tells us that within a few decades, there were about 60,000 Christians in Ephesus.

The Apostle John was the pastor of the Church of Ephesus around the year 90 AD, when Emperor Domitian came in to build temples of worship to himself. If you’ve studied Revelation, you know there's a mark of the beast coming. In the 1st century, though, there was another kind of mark. Before you could go into the agora, the place of shopping, you had to dip your finger in the ashes of a sacrifice to the idol of Domitian, and you wiped those ashes on your forehead. When you did that, you were allowed to go in and shop. 

The Apostle John refused to participate in this, and Emperor Domitian had him exiled to the island of Patmos. While John was on this island, Jesus gave him messages for the early churches. These letters are important because it had probably been about 40-50 years since Christ walked the earth. 

How many of you know the feeling of following Christ for a decade, or maybe many decades? Sometimes, without even knowing it, we drift a little bit. We lost the passion of our first love, but we don’t notice that we have because we’re so busy, and our “to-do” list keeps us occupied. We are no longer stirred in our hearts for the glory and power and presence of God. Is this you? 

If Jesus were to write you a letter today, what would he have to say? 

We are nothing without Jesus. We have no power in our wisdom or our own strength. Scripture notes, “Thus says the Lord: ‘Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me…” (Jeremiah 9:23-24, ESV). Do you passionately know and understand the Lord? Are you seeking him day and night? If we haven’t or we once did but have forgotten to recently, we can start today.