© Thomas Kinkade ~ Streams of Living Water
Out of His great love for this church that abandoned their first love, the Lord Jesus offers the solution to their problem. This is a great act of grace and reveals to us His great care and concern for His bride (cf. ). This provides us with a good lesson on how to graciously confront sin. Consider His counsel to the Ephesian church, “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” (). In this verse He provides them with a three-fold strategy to recover their first love: Remember, Repent, and Return.
Firstly, He tells them to “Remember therefore from where you have fallen.” The word “remember” is in the present tense indicating an on-going action. This is the first step to recovering our first love; we need to remember what it was. The Ephesian church is to recall it’s past enthusiasm and unwavering loyalty to the Lord Jesus Christ and then compare that with their condition in the present. In a sermon Spurgeon insightfully said,
“Once you were never wearied with hearing of Him and serving Him. Never were you overdone with Christ and His Gospel—many sermons, many Prayer Meetings, many Bible readings—and yet none too many! Now sermons are long, services are dull and you must have your jaded appetite excited with novelties. How is this? Once you were never displeased with Jesus, whatever He did with you. If you had been sick, or poor, or dying, you would still have loved and blessed His name for all things.”
The second step to recovery is to repent. Once we come to the realization that we have departed from our unwavering and enthusiastic loyalty to the Lord, we need to repent. The idea behind this word is a deliberate change of our thoughts and actions, which results in a 180-degree turn. It is no good having great memories that lead to meaningless conversations or to regret. We need to remember with the purpose of repenting.
Finally, after they have remembered and have repented, they are to return and “do the works you did at first.” There is no point just standing there and reflecting on the good old days! They need to run back and do those first works. These are those actions that marked their enthusiastic love and loyalty to Jesus Christ. The Lord Jesus said, “if you love me keep my commandments” (). They are to obey out of deep love for their Saviour and recover their first love.
25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.
5 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.
12 Therefore I intend always to remind you of these qualities, though you know them and are established in the truth that you have. 13 I think it right, as long as I am in this body, to stir you up by way of reminder, 14 since I know that the putting off of my body will be soon, as our Lord Jesus Christ made clear to me. 15 And I will make every effort so that after my departure you may be able at any time to recall these things.
15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.