“To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: ‘The words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand, who walks among the seven golden lampstands. (2) “‘I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false. (3) I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary.
(4) But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. (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.
The God of the Old Testament is also the God of the New Testament. The same principles apply, as Hebrews 12:22-29 demonstrates:
But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, (23) and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, (24) and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.
(25) See that you do not refuse him who is speaking. For if they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape if we reject him who warns from heaven. (26) At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” (27) This phrase, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of things that are shaken–that is, things that have been made–in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain. (28) Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, (29) for our God is a consuming fire.
Just as the Jews in Jeremiah’s time had to repent or suffer God’s punishment, so the church at Ephesus had to repent and rekindle their love or be removed. A very serious warning to every age. The warnings run through Jeremiah and bear a remarkable similarity to Jesus’ warning to the church at Ephesus. For example, Jeremiah 7:2-3:
“Stand in the gate of the LORD’s house, and proclaim there this word, and say, Hear the word of the LORD, all you men of Judah who enter these gates to worship the LORD. (3) Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Amend your ways and your deeds, and I will let you dwell in this place.
And the LORD said to me, “Proclaim all these words in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem: Hear the words of this covenant and do them.
and say, ‘Hear the word of the LORD, O king of Judah, who sits on the throne of David, you, and your servants, and your people who enter these gates. (3) Thus says the LORD: Do justice and righteousness, and deliver from the hand of the oppressor him who has been robbed. And do no wrong or violence to the resident alien, the fatherless, and the widow, nor shed innocent blood in this place. (4) For if you will indeed obey this word, then there shall enter the gates of this house kings who sit on the throne of David, riding in chariots and on horses, they and their servants and their people. (5) But if you will not obey these words, I swear by myself, declares the LORD, that this house shall become a desolation.
The warning stands for us too, in passages like Matthew 24:12-13:
And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. (13) But the one who endures to the end will be saved.
It is very easy to get caught up with the cares of this life and lose one’s first love. Scripture repeatedly tells us to increase in doing good and showing love. For example, 1 Thessalonians 4:9-10:
Now concerning brotherly love you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another, (10) for that indeed is what you are doing to all the brothers throughout Macedonia. But we urge you, brothers, to do this more and more
And 2 Thessalonians 1:3:
We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers, as is right, because your faith is growing abundantly, and the love of every one of you for one another is increasing.