There’s more to being a church than sound doctrine and a busy midweek programme. Without love it’s almost all for nothing. How easy we forget that church is not somewhere we go or something we merely do; church is what we ARE in Christ. It’s not entirely programme-based or rota-based but ultimately, its relationship based.
One relationship should rise above all the others; the one relationship which holds it all together and makes sense of everything else and that’s the relationship we have with the Lord Jesus Himself.
How is your relationship with Jesus?
How would you assess the level of your love for Him? Has your love for Him deepened over the years; is it as strong as, or stronger than, it was before? Or has the temperature of your love for Jesus cooled off? How eager, how willing, are you to bow to Him, to follow His commands compared to, say, when you first committed yourself to Him?
These are not just questions for individual Christians, but for whole churches to ask. The Lord Jesus sent a letter to the ancient church at Ephesus and told them, “…you have neglected the love you had at first” (Revelation 2:4). The Ephesians were not loving Him as much (or maybe not in the same way) as they’d done before. Something had gone wrong. Was it that they loved something else more than they loved Him?
What can a church love more than Jesus? A church can love its building or its traditions or its history more than it loves Jesus. A church can love its worship songs or its activities or its missions or even its money more than it loves Jesus. Misdirected devotion can have a huge impact on how things are done and WHY things are done around the place. What drives you to turn out for the Sunday service? What drives you to become part of a church activity? Are you completely, or at least predominantly, driven by your love for Jesus? – or are you driven by guilt or by a sense of duty? – these are things you “just have to do”, and have to “be seen to” be involved in?
Anything that takes the focus – and the love – away from Christ is tantamount to idolatry. Hence why, in Revelation 2:5, He calls the church to repent, to recalibrate, to turn around and move – with all their (our) heart – in the right direction.
We note, though, that the charge against Ephesus was not that they had lost their love for Christ but rather that they had “neglected” it. This tells us that we can all deliberately leave our love and commitment for Jesus behind; if not in a single decisive action, at least in dribs and drabs.
If you lose your car keys you don’t immediately have the resources to locate them. You frantically search, you don’t have a clue. In time you might find them. But if you simply leave them, put them down somewhere, then you DO have the resources to go back to where you left them and pick them up. So Jesus says to the Ephesians, and to all who will listen, that they/we need to re-trace our steps – when and why did our love for Jesus start to cool off? Go back and sort it out.
If you are a lapsed Christian, if you are weary in your walk with Him, if church life has become a “same ol’ routine” experience then STOP! PRAY! Open your Bible and read! Talk with your pastor. Talk with people you know are enthusiastic, committed Christians. Rediscover your love for Jesus, the author and perfector of your faith, the Saviour of your soul and the Lord of your life who demonstrated God’s never-failing love for you at the cross!
If you’d like to find out more about us or chat about the above article then please consider coming along to our Sunday services (you’d be most welcome) or contact the church office on 01895 257633 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org