Revelation 2:2-3 “I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked people, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary.”
What do we take with us from this courageous, persistent, intense, and passionate pursuit? (1) That boldness and passionate faith that is unafraid to publically live and speak for Jesus. I don’t mean in a pushy, aggressive, disrespectful - “in your face” method, but in a loving, caring “this is what I believe and this is how I will live” approach. In some ways, we do not deserve to compare ourselves to those committed Christians around the world who do not live in countries with religious freedom, because we haven’t had to live that. But, we so want to learn that passion from them; their constant, persistent toil in perseverance and never getting tired of doing “right” in righteousness with the Lord, their God. Do we want that for ourselves, for our community, and for those who follow a tireless pursuit to live passionately and intensely for Jesus Christ?
(2) Where in the world did ordinary people, like us, get the courage and passion to come to their secular humanistic culture of false religions and make such a difference? The Christians in Ephesus were totally committed because they loved God and loved one another. Part of their tirelessness was their mutual love and support of each other. When we’ve “forgotten our first love”, that doesn’t mean who you loved first of all; that is obviously God. But it does mean that if you are in God, what was the very first expression of love that you see? To love each other.
Matthew 22:37-40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
In the culture that we live, we need to be consistently publicly live for Jesus. But it will only happen of we who believe in Him care about the Christian community and about the lost. And I worry that Christianity is so fractured, divided and spending so much time fighting each other on internal issues that do not matter in reaching a lost and dying world, so we won’t have the support and encouragement to passionately live for Jesus. (3) If we, as followers of Jesus Christ, would offer to the world that does not know the Lord a fountain of the living water of eternal life that only Jesus provides for today and for eternity, they may learn to say: “Where is it in life that I find, not the gods of this world, but the community of Jesus Christ? “ How will you and I make that statement to the world, which so desperately needs to hear it? Somewhere in our wealthy and powerful secular cities, is someone who wants to testify and let passersby to know in a quiet and unintrusive way, who is Lord of lords and King of kings – Jesus Christ, the Messiah, the Son of God, the Savior of the world. That to me is the message of Ephesus.