By James Sanders
The church at Ephesus had an illustrious history. The Lord Himself praised her labors, her toils and her patience. Ephesus had tried those who claimed to be apostles and had proved them liars. But something was amiss; Ephesus no longer had the flush of enthusiasm she had once enjoyed. The church at Ephesus had left her first love (Rev. 2:4). The preaching continued as it always had-the doctrine was sound and the application of the Text sure. But something had gone wrong. The church was working-even the Lord spoke of her labors and toils. Attendance, perhaps, was good-but something was missing. That something was the kindness of her youth, the love of her espousals (Jer. 2:2). Ephesus had left her first love.
But the Lord would allure her and speak comfortably unto her (Hos. 2:14). He would lead Ephesus along the way back home:
“Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent and do the first works; or else I will come quickly unto thee, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent” (Rev. 2:5).
First, He says Remember. Memory is the treasure house of the mind. It is here that precious monuments and joys are kept and preserved. Memory is the first step back home. The prodigal son remembered and so returned to his father (Luke 15:17). The first step of the way back home is to realize that something has gone wrong. As long as there is a memory which can wet the eyes with tears, there is hope for the wayward and the prodigal.
Second, He says Repent. Repentance is the most difficult step of all. Repentance is the humbling of the heart; it is the admission that the fault is ours and ours alone. The prodigal’s response was, “I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned.” Repentance demands that we face ourselves, our failures and our falls. There are many who take the first step of remembrance but never trod the path of true repentance.
Third, He says Do. The step of repentance is not meant to drive a man to despair. Rather he is to bring forth fruits meet for or worthy of repentance (Mt. 3:8). Repentance that does not compel a man to change his life is useless. Doing is the last step on the return journey.
Christian reader, when was the last time you prayed earnestly? Can you remember what it was once like to sing psalms which would pluck the very strings of the heart? Would you not like to go back home again? When was the last time you really got something out of worship-when was the last time you put something in it? “All of God’s children get weary when they roam-don’t it make you want to go home@ – now?
Truth Magazine, XVIII:34, p. 12
June 24, 1974