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Devotional - week of July 16, 2006


what happened in Ephesus?

 

And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit …Ephesians 5:18

 

In Acts 20:20 and 20:31, Paul reminded the leaders of the church at Ephesus that for three years he had taught them all things that would be helpful to them.

 

He taught them how to be filled with the Spirit and that the fruit of the Spirit is love. A few years later he wrote a letter reminding them to be filled with the Spirit and he told them that he prayed for them to be filled with the love of God. His prayer was:

 

… that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; {and} that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.  Ephesians 3:17-19

 

What more could a spiritual leader do to guide his disciples into a life of love? However, some years later Jesus had to say:

 

'But I have {this} against you, that you have left your first love.  Revelation 2:4

 

The first love of a believer is the fruit of the Spirit that they experience in the first months following their conversion to Christ—that is the filling of the Holy Spirit. That filling is a sovereign gift of God. It is a foretaste of what the Christian life can be. The first love is kept alive the same way it began—by the filling of the Holy Spirit.

 

Sadly, the church at Ephesus ceased receiving the filling of the Spirit. Jesus then told them the cost of forsaking their first love.

 

'Therefore … repent … or else I am coming to you and will remove your lampstand out of its place—unless you repent.  Revelation 2:5

 

How did the believers in Ephesus lose their first love? Based on Paul’s personal testimony in Romans 7, the Ephesians lapsed into legalism. They moved from living a life of dependence on God to a life of doing things for God. This was the result of their ceasing to experience their spiritual crucifixion, burial and resurrection.