Who had been the hardest operating Christians in the Bible? The answer have to certainly be Paul and his buddies, but several folks will say it was the church at Ephesus. They say this since of what Jesus mentioned in his letter to the church: “I know your deeds and toil” (Rev two:2a).
Commentators make a great deal of Jesus being aware of the Ephesians’ deeds and toil, as although an impressed Lord was recording their labors in his scorebook. But the original word for know basically signifies “I see”. It is not necessarily a commendation. In these letters, Jesus says, “I know” in regard to each excellent deeds (Rev. two:19) and undesirable deeds (Rev. three:1, 15).
When Jesus says, “I know” to the Ephesians, he’s saying “I care.” Due to the fact he loves us he is intimately acquainted with our lives. He knows what we’re carrying out. It is a excellent point that he knows, but it may well not be a excellent point that we’re carrying out, and this was the case with the Ephesians.
“I know your deeds and toil.” Several think that Jesus was commending the Ephesians for their difficult operate, but the word toil signifies labors, intense weariness, and beating. The Ephesians had been taking a beating. They had been operating themselves to exhaustion. Why would the Lord commend them for that?
Jesus mentioned, “Come to me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28). The Ephesians had been weary and heavy-laden. They had been a busy church in a busy city. They had been operating all sorts of applications, ministries, and activities. They met each and every day of the week and twice on Sunday, and they had been worn out.
Contrary to well-known opinion, Jesus does not commend the Ephesians for operating themselves into a miserable state. He does not say, “Well performed you excellent and difficult-operating servants.” But nor does he rebuke them for operating as well difficult. He basically says, “I’m conscious of how difficult you are operating.” He’s constructing up to some thing, and it is this. “You have left your initially love” (Rev two:four).
Your initially like is not your like for God it is God’s like for you. He is the Supply and the Provide of all agape like. To say the Ephesians had left their initially like, is to recognize they had been no longer abiding in the love of God. Like the prodigal son, they had walked away from their Father’s like.
That Jesus would speak of the Ephesians’ labor and lost like speaks volumes. These guys had as well a great deal going on. Living in the busiest city in Asia, they had been burning the candle at each ends and burning themselves out in the procedure.
By operating ourselves to distraction and by attempting to earn what God freely delivers, we can come across ourselves far from the like of God. He absolutely has not stopped like us, but we do not really feel the like. We really feel beaten down, exhausted, bone-weary. Happily, there is a remedy.
As a result bear in mind from exactly where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at initially. (Rev two:five)
What the Ephesians had been carrying out (operating difficult) was acquiring in the way of what they weren’t carrying out (getting from Jesus), which is why Jesus tells them to quit what they’re carrying out and return to what they did ahead of. This is a message for all weary Christians: Quit what you are carrying out and do what you did at initially.
What deeds did we do at initially?
You enjoyed Jesus. When you initially entered the kingdom you may well have performed nothing at all at all except recline at his feet. “Do that,” says the Lord. “Stop attempting to give to me and acquire from me. Stick to Mary who sat rather than Martha who stressed.”
Sadly, this is not the recommendation you will hear from these who elevate functions above grace. “Doing what you did at initially signifies praying and studying the word and evangelizing with the enthusiasm you had when you initially came to Jesus.” In other words, the difficult-operating Ephesians will need to operate even tougher and so do you. “Through difficult operate we prove our like and sustain our excellent standing with God.” Beware this graceless message! The mindless pursuit of religious busyness—even excellent functions performed in the name of Jesus—will distract you from the like of God. You will finish up with toiling in the kitchen rather of reclining with Jesus in the lounge.
The takeaway, the remedy, the ticket to freedom
If you are worn out from carrying out the Lord’s operate, you can in all probability relate to the Ephesians. They had been a difficult-operating bunch of believers, but they had been dying on the inside. They had been busy constructing, but their labor was in vain.
Why do we push ourselves previous breaking point? It can take place since we’ve forgotten how a great deal God loves us. We assume we have to prove ourselves or come up with the goods, but none of this stress is from the Lord.
You had been produced to acquire your Father’s like. Shed sight of your Father’s like for you and you will drop your way. You will fall from the safe spot of grace into the realm of dead functions. You will grow to be restless, insecure, and empty on the inside. You will attempt to replace his like with lesser factors.
If the Ephesians could leave the like of God, everyone can. But the excellent news is these who wander can come residence once more. If you have lost your initially like, Jesus shows us the way back: Recall, repent (alter your considering), and do what you did at initially. Go back to the spot of your initially like, when Jesus was your almost everything. Make each and every work to enter his rest and let nothing at all move you.
Extracted and adapted from Paul Ellis’s new book, Letters from Jesus: Getting Excellent News in Christ’s Letters to the Churches. Obtainable for preorder now.