The Ephesian Fellowship

“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. (Re 2:1–7, ESV)

Roman Ruins in Ephesus

Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. (Eph 5:1–5)

Paul tells the Ephesian church to be imitators of God and to walk in love, just as ‘Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering.’ Talking about Christianity, Gandhi once said, “Don’t talk about it. The rose doesn’t have to propagate its perfume. It just gives it forth, and people are drawn to it. Live it, and people will come to see the source of your power.”

So, what went wrong? The old idiom says, “When you are up to your neck in alligators, it’s easy to forget that the goal was to drain the swamp.” For the Ephesian church, they were so busy standing against false teachers, and bad doctrine, that they forgot that they were there to be lovers, a fragrant rose, attracting those around. Whatever they had become, it didn’t reflect the Christ who stood in their midst, hence the call to repent and get back to their first love.

Published by Terry Threadwell

Dr. Terry Threadwell has thirty five years ministry experience. Author, educator and Director of the Institute of Progressive Pentecostal Studies.

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