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Week 4 August 2023, Devotion Part 2

But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Revelation 2:4

Among those who rain down their blistering comments on either the complainer or the columnist are never the mates of the mournful wives. If they actually looked up from the sports page to check on the commotion, they would be dumbfounded to find themselves the object of such public scrutiny and scorn. Being average red-blooded men, they would think the world had gone crazy. Why all of a sudden the clamor over reading poetry or holding hands with the woman they have lived and slept with all these years? High time for getting some grandkids so the little lady can get busy again. Jeez!

Jesus, make no mistake, is the “wife” – the aggrieved Spouse – who wrote the original letter of complaint and warning to the church at Ephesus. “I know your deeds and your toil and perseverance, and that you cannot endure evil men…and have endured for My name’s sake, and have not grown weary. But I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Remember therefore 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.” (Part 2 of 2)

Comment: Good grief – are we jumping from the frying pan into the fire? Coming from the spicy harlotry lamented by Ezekiel, are we asked to be hotly indignant over today’s spiceless monogamy? Still, a troubled family’s dirty linen aired in public, often boils down to He said She said. My overly dramatized literary ploy simply wants to press home the fact that in the household of faith, the believer can only take one side: His!

When Jesus was asked, “What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?” He replied, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent” (John 6:22-29). A cursory glance at the Ephesian church makes it look like a well-oiled machine. Yet we realize that it’s a relationship issue. Paul had written to the Ephesian husbands that they ought to “nourish and cherish” their wives, “as Christ does the church.” Our Lord clearly prizes a love relationship that is intimately personal and exclusive. As for the neglected “deeds” of Christ’s stern reprimand, we might get a clue by looking at His “works” and how they came about. “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself. He does only what he sees the Father doing. Whatever the Father does, the Son also does” (John 5:19). It follows that Christ’s works were not driven by human need, but by His primary identification with His beloved Father. He submitted to Him to the point of becoming “obedient to death.” Preparing His disciples for that day, Jesus said, “Truly, truly I say to you, the one who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also, and greater works than these he will do, because I am going to the Father” (John 4:12). We cannot exceed the “quality” of His works, but rejoice that the “quantity” matters. After Pentecost, the indwelling Holy Spirit empowered believers of every age all over the world to perform deeds done in Christ’s love, driven not by human need or sympathy, but by glad obedience to His commands Revelation 2


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