Ephesus.  The first of seven letters the Lord wrote to the seven churches in Revelation 2 and 3.  Remember?  Do you know what the name Ephesus means?  It means beloved.  It carries with it the sense of love – but not just any kind of love.  Ephesus conveys the kind of love you have for your spouse.  Passionate.  Trusting.  And above all else, faithful.

heart-240Maybe that’s why Jesus said,

“I know your deeds and your toil and perseverance, and that you cannot tolerate evil men, and you put to the test those who call themselves apostles, and they are not, and you found them to be false; and you have perseverance and have endured for My name’s sake, and have not grown weary.” *

Ah, good words.  A very good affirmation to a struggling, but loved church.  Feels good to hear the Lord say that about them, doesn’t it.

But He also said this,

“But I have this against you, that you have left your first love.” *

Uh, now that’s not a very good word from the Lord.  It’s not a very good affirmation for a church that was beginning to slide from the heights where it once stood.  And it doesn’t feel so good either.  It hurts bad.  Down deep.  Down close to the heart.

But there was more…

“Therefore remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you and will remove your lampstand out of its place – unless you repent.” *

And from there the letters get, with one exception, progressively worse.  Until we reach the letter to the Laodiceans.

mud-225Laodicea.  Do you know what Laodicea means?  Sadly, it means, “the people rule” or “the rule of the people.”  Far cry from beloved, isn’t it.  And therefore the Lord said to them:

“I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot. So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth.” *

By the way, the term “spit” in our vernacular means something more like vomit.  Projectile vomit.

What happened?  Can what happen to the seven churches also happen to us as individual believers?  You bet your sweet Bible it can!  And it has!

You do know, don’t you, that the seven letters to the seven churches in Revelation 2 and 3 accurately picture all of church history in startling detail?  But did you also know that the same seven letters also paint a sad, harrowing portrait of a church’s, or an individual Christian’s, slide from spiritual fervency to… well, lukewarmness.  From being the beloved to being what the Lord vomits out of His mouth.  Ouch.

Let me suggest you take the time and study the seven letters of Jesus to the church today.  It will change you life… guaranteed.

* Revelation 2:2-3, 4, 5; 3:15-16