The King now addresses His subjects. Here, Jesus speaks to His church, to seven local churches. John has seen how Jesus walks among them, and holds their servants (2.1, compare 1.12,16). Now as He speaks, He gives both judgement and grace, cutting through sinful behaviour and false belief, and promising grace for those who receive His Word (1.16). When we’re tempted to believe that Jesus isn’t with us, doesn’t care, or doesn’t speak, these words are a great challenge, and a comfort.
Hard work for the Lord might be a cover for hard hearts. Knowing the right truths doesn’t mean having the right love. This is the problem with the church at Ephesus. It is a particularly evangelical church sin. No amount of labour and doctrine can make up for an absence of love for Jesus (vv.1-4). We’re not saved by our soundness, but by the love of Jesus, known and responded to. Do we need to come back to Him (v.5)?
And when the Christian journey is costing us so much, we need the reminder that we’re not losing, but winning. We believe in a Resurrection God (v.8). We need to weigh our problems in the scales of eternity. We are not home, yet, and things might get even worse (v.10). But there is a crown of life to come, and not even death can take it from us (vv.10-11). Hallelujah!
A Prayer to Pray
My Saviour, You are all I need. But You know how I get distracted, and discouraged. Fix my heart on You and Your promises, Lord. Grab my heart, strengthen my faith, purify my love. For Your sake. Amen.