Don't Abandon Love (Revelation 2:2–4) - Radical

Don’t Abandon Love (Revelation 2:2–4)

“I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance. Now you cannot bear those who are evil. But if tested, those who call themselves apostles and are not, and have found them to be false. I know you enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake and you have not grown weary. But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first.”
– Revelation 2:2–4

I want to make the connection here between if you listen to podcast episode when we prayed through Revelation 1:9 and this phrase “patient endurance,” now we see that same phrase used two times in Revelation 2:2–4, as we see this exhortation from Jesus to his church saying, “I know that you are patiently enduring and that you are standing up against those who are evil in the church and in the world. And you are enduring patiently, bearing up from my name’s sake and you’re not growing weary in that.” So they’re patiently enduring, but they’re doing this without love.

Revelation 2:2–4 Points to the Importance of Love

And there’s a lot we could dive into here about what kind of love this is talking about. Is this is talking about love for God? Is this is talking about love for others? And without going into exhaustive study here, I think it’s both. When you look at the context here in Ephesus, and you look at what Jesus is saying, “They were patiently enduring in their faith, but they had lost love for God with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength.”

Is that possible to patiently endure, to do all kinds of things in our faith, to stand against evil, and to bear up under pressure, but to lose love for God? Apparently, it is. And not just for God, there’s a lot here that we could point to that shows they’ve lost the love they had at first for others and the love for leading others to Jesus, love for people in the church, and love for people outside the church.

This Verse Leads Us to Pray for God’s Love in Our Lives

So I just want to lead us to pray for love in each other’s lives today. As we patiently endure through trial and tribulation, God, we don’t want to patiently endure without love you. Think about your word in 1 Corinthians 13, that if we have faith that moves mountains, but we have not love, we’re missing the whole point. God, we pray that our lives would be marked by love for you today, with all our heart, all our soul, all our mind, all our strength. We don’t want to just patiently endure through trial. We want to love you more through trials. Lord, we want to love you more, and we want to love others more. We don’t want to just patiently endure and fight against evil, and bear up with strength, and do it without love, selfless love for people around us in your church.

Revelation 2:2–4 Helps Us to Love the Church

God, help us to love your church well, to love brothers and sisters in Christ well, to live, to build them up. And God, we pray you help us to love the lost well, help us to love people who without Christ well. God, we pray for patient endurance in our lives with love for you, with a wholehearted love for you, and with selfless love for others. God, may it be so. And not just on us, we pray as we’ve done all this month for our brothers and sisters in Afghanistan.

We pray for their patient endurance with love, with love for you, with love for the over 38 million Afghan people. God, help us all to love those Afghan people. Men and women, children help us to love them through prayer. Help us to love them through giving for the spread of the gospel. Lord, help us to love them by being willing to go to them. And help us follow your lead to go to them if you call us to. And we pray for that kind of love in our brothers and sisters who live there. We pray in each of our lives today for patient endurance. Endurance marked by wholehearted love for you and selfless love for others. In Jesus’ name, we pray according to Revelation 2:2–4. Amen.

David Platt serves as a pastor in metro Washington, D.C. He is the founder and chairman of Radical. He is the author of several books, including Radical, Radical Together, Follow Me, Counter Culture, and Something Needs to Change.

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