Read Revelation 2:1-7
1 “Write this letter to the angel of the church in Ephesus. This is the message from the one who holds the seven stars in his right hand, the one who walks among the seven gold lampstands: 2 “I know all the things you do. I have seen your hard work and your patient endurance. I know you don’t tolerate evil people. You have examined the claims of those who say they are apostles but are not. You have discovered they are liars. 3 You have patiently suffered for me without quitting.
4 “But I have this complaint against you. You don’t love me or each other as you did at first! 5 Look how far you have fallen! Turn back to me and do the works you did at first. If you don’t repent, I will come and remove your lampstand from its place among the churches. 6 But this is in your favor: You hate the evil deeds of the Nicolaitans, just as I do.
7 “Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches. To everyone who is victorious I will give fruit from the tree of life in the paradise of God. (NLT)
Some churches talk so much of truth and orthodoxy that they are blind to the fact that they are cold, unwelcoming places lacking in warm-hearted love. Other churches talk so much of love and acceptance that they have given up any doctrinal solidity and are vaguely religious-glee clubs.
The church at Ephesus was at risk of the former error. They could sniff out heresies at twenty paces. They stuck to their guns when their beliefs were attacked. They were dogged in their perseverance under trial. But in the meantime they had lost their love of God and one another. They had learnt that the evil one has an uncanny ability to turn a virtue into a vice. Doctrinal correctness had swamped warm-hearted love—when in fact they can and should readily coexist.
Beware of loving ‘truth’ in such a way that we appear unwelcoming to others. Beware of loving orthodoxy in such a way that we turn our backs on those struggling with orthodoxy. Beware of making love of the Bible our cornerstone when it ought to be our love for Jesus.
Love for God and others certainly involves sound beliefs. It is possible to have both sound doctrine alongside warm-hearted acceptance of others. It is possible to think correctly about God and also love him with some sort of passion. May we never let our spiritual arteries get silted up with sour orthodoxy and grim duty that we lose our love.