In Revelation 2-3, John shares with seven churches (who were located in modern day Turkey) a revelation he received from Jesus addressed to them. The Church in Ephesus is commended for their good works, their rejection of evil, and for not following false teachers. These are some of the strengths of this church. However, this also plays into their weakness.
The church in Ephesus’ weakness was not loving each other. Even though they believed the right things, they were missing the most important thing: love. If we don’t love one another then we are missing the heart of the Gospel. If we are not careful, this can be true of all of us. When we are convinced that we are right (even if we really are right), we can sometimes look down on those who are wrong or disagree with us. If we don’t love others well, then we may not actually know God as much as we think.
To put it another way, think of it like this: Stated belief + actual practice = actual belief. How we live demonstrates what we actually believe. None of us are perfect, but if we are following Jesus, we will love others better than we otherwise would.
In Matthew 22:37-40 Jesus tells us that loving “God with all our heart, soul, mind is the greatest command… [and] the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.” Therefore, if we say we love God but don’t love others, we don’t actually know and love God.
John ends his address to the church in Ephesus with an encouragement that all who are in Christ and follow him will be welcomed into God’s Kingdom and will take from the tree of life once again.
All of this shows us that right belief always leads to love. If we truly know God, we will love others.
Love someone in a tangible way that you wouldn’t normally do as a reflection of the way God has loved you.