When we look at Revelation 2:1-7 we see the Church at Ephesus fits this description perfectly. Our Lord told this church that He knew them well and He was aware of all that they had been through. He commended them for their appreciation for sound doctrine and godly behavior. So this was a church that worked hard, that knew the Scriptures, that called sin ‘sin’ and that would not let anybody preach who had not been called to do so. Sounds like a pretty stable church, right?
The Ephesus Syndrome
However, in verse four our Lord says, "I have somewhat against thee because thou hast left thy first love." (KJV), or "You have forsaken your first love," (NIV) There is a drastic switch in the conversation from complementing to convicting. Forsaken means to give up – Jesus used to be first in our lives but we have removed Him from that position, and He wants us to know that He is aware of the switch. Somewhere along our journey we have put the business of church, the battle for doctrinal purity, and the pursuit of church growth ahead of our passion for God’s presence.
However, Jesus does not dismiss the Church at Ephesus without giving them clear instructions on how to turn this ship around.