Unlimited Calling from the Streams of Living Water
– The Letter to Ephesus –
Far too many Christians are failing to tap the unlimited resources availed to those washed in the blood of Jesus. Stagnation in the Church, both churches and their membership failing to reach outward to the community and the world are symptoms of the Church at Ephesus.
We can find our first love again!
Note from Kip…
While it isn’t a rule, it has become more and more common that great numbers of believers and churches today reflect the attributes of the Church of Ephesus described in Revelation.
The time has come for examination and rededication, with the realization of what untapped resources we have in our grasp. This isn’t anything new, but perhaps we need to seek that renewal that only springs forth from the Living Water.
I know your works, your labor, and your endurance, and that you cannot tolerate evil people.
You have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and you have found them to be liars. I know that you have persevered and endured hardships for the sake of my name, and have not grown weary.
But I have this against you: You have abandoned the love you had at first.
Remember then how far you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. Otherwise, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent.
Revelation 2:2-5 (CSB)
These aren’t fake Christians, not a false Church. I think deep soul searching will uncover that the Church of Ephesus accurately describe more of us than we would care to admit.
We hold firmly to the faith, but we seem to do so out of principle and habit, more than faith and profession His Grace. We can point out where others are wrong and are confident in our salvation because Grace has covered us, but woe unto those others who are so mired in their sin and debauchery.
How far have we fallen? Have we abandoned the Love that brought us to our salvation and now lack the Joy which cannot be impeded by any force in heaven or earth?
It isn’t a big deal from the standpoint of being something that we find foreign to us. If it has been a while since you consciously repented then it is highly likely that it is time now to repent. Repentance is a common occurrence in the life of a faithful believer. A church that finds itself in a state of constant repentance is a thing of vitality and a beautiful gem.
It IS a big deal if we are not finding ourselves repenting frequently as the Holy Spirit through the Word of God unveils hidden sin in our lives and the cracks in the walls of our hallowed halls.
The Lord is near all who call out to him, all who call out to him with integrity.
Psalms 145:18 (CSB)
Yesterday I found myself pondering this verse in Psalms and I couldn’t help but be taken with the word ‘integrity’.
The Strongs reference for it is #571 and is defined as:
firmness, faithfulness, truth
A. sureness, reliability
B. stability, continuance
C. faithfulness, reliableness
1. as spoken
2. of testimony and judgment
3. of divine instruction
4. truth as a body of ethical or religious knowledge
5. true doctrine adv
I had to ask myself just how dangerous it was to fall into the trap of being so comfortable in my salvation that I would neglect my first love, and regiment my walk with the Lord to a set of pious principles by which I would competently employ but deep in my heart were but a mechanism by which I could judge others as not attaining my standard.
Now if my ‘standard’ is Christ Jesus, then that is all well and good but if that standard is my ‘pious principles’ then welcome to the Church of Ephesus!
Repent. Do so, if you find that your love of Christ Jesus has been undermined by your love for your achievement. Repent, if your position exceeds your pliability to the will of the Master. Repent, if you no longer are hearing the Spirit speak to you through the Word of God, and your neglect to feed on that bread of life or drink from those Springs of Living Water.
“I am the bread of life,” Jesus told them. “No one who comes to me will ever be hungry, and no one who believes in me will ever be thirsty again.”
John 6:35 (CSB)
Repent, if you have become so callous that you do not find conviction as your partner to prosper you in your walk with Jesus.
Our First Love
Betrayal of our first love isn’t a trivial matter as we see in the address to the church at Ephesus.
Christ is our standard, regardless of the measurements the world or our selfish nature wishes to proffer. He is our first love. This bread of life and spring of living water should continually be availed of along with our reliance on the guidance of His Spirit that He placed in us.
Because if we call out to Him with integrity, with faithfulness, with honesty, with sureness in truth, He will hear us as He is ever near us. Just as His love drove the act of sacrifice that saves us, that same love is constant and abiding and beckons us to abide in that love.
Remain in me, and I in you. Just as a branch is unable to produce fruit by itself unless it remains on the vine, neither can you unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in me and I in him produces much fruit, because you can do nothing without me.
John 15:4-5 (CSB)
If we find we are standing in the alcove in the Church of Ephesus, repent! His forgiveness is full and His grace covers all who will “call out to him with integrity.”
We can, we must return to our first love where communication is unlimited, we never grow hungry, and are constantly refreshed by the living water that flow within us.
I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
Galatians 2:20 (CSB)
Leaving Ephesus and heading for that city where the Lamb is the lamp that illuminates all with the Glory of God.