Welcome to the third week of an indefinite series that will take us all the way to the end of time itself. Yes we are covering the enigmatic book of Revelation and associated end-times prophecy. It’s going to take a long time and we are just getting started.
If you missed the first two weeks, you really need to watch or listen or read them on our website so you can be in full context of what we are covering.
Last week we covered chapter 1 and the Revealing of the Real Jesus Christ, the Anointed One, in all of his glory! Any other Jesus is a fraud.
With that said – I need to make a note about the video I showed before service last week from Talladegah Nights. The point of that video was to show how true it is that we all tend to make Jesus into what we want Him to be. No disrespect was intended toward our Lord.
This week we are going to get started on the first thing Jesus told John to do, which is write some letters to seven churches in Asia.
We touched on it last week, but let’s go back to the end of chapter one where Jesus gives His orders to John. Really, we need to begin at the beginning of the vision to capture it all.
9 I, John, your brother and companion in the suffering and kingdom and patient endurance that are ours in Jesus, was on the island of Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus. 10 On the Lord’s Day I was in the Spirit, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet, 11 which said: “Write on a scroll what you see and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum,Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea.”
12 I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands, 13 and among the lampstands was someone like a son of man, dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. 14 The hair on his head was white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. 15 His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. 16 In his right hand he held seven stars, and coming out of his mouth was a sharp, double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance.
17 When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. 18 I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.
19 “Write, therefore, what you have seen, what is now and what will take place later. 20 The mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand and of the seven golden lampstands is this: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.
So, John has a vision and he sees Jesus in all of his Kingly glory. Part of that vision included these seven golden lamp stands and seven stars that Jesus held in his right hand.
After John does the face-plant reaction and Jesus comforts him, Jesus then gives John the interpretation of those symbols and he gives him a command.
19 “Write, therefore, what you have seen, what is now and what will take place later. 20 The mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand and of the seven golden lampstands is this: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.
So, the seven lamp stands are the seven churches, and specifically the seven churches that he had listed with the trumpet voice at the beginning of the vision.
Those seven churches are the churches of seven cities which were located in what is now Turkey: Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum,Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea.
These were all real cities that existed at the end of the first century when John was on Patmos. They all still exist in some form today, though most of them have different names now. We will talk more about each of them in detail later.
So, a few questions about the vision:
Why golden lamp stands?
These would be golden vessels that contained oil and a wick that would burn. And while there likely is some symbolism in their use, it is not spelled out by Jesus here other than that they represent these seven churches. Therefore, whatever else they represent is not that important for what he is about to talk about.
A better question is why 7 churches? Why not 8 or 3 or 1 or 100?
It’s the same as asking why 7 days of creation?
It comes down to the fact that in God’s creation, numbers have meaning. And the number 7 means completion.
Thus, the seven days of creation means 7 literal days, but it also means that creation is complete.
When Jesus told Peter to forgive 70 times 7, he was telling him to forgive at least 490 times, but mostly he was telling him to forgive completely.
Also, the 7 years of tribulation and all the 7’s involved in the judgments are literal AND symbolize total and complete judgment.
So, while in this case we are talking about 7 literal churches, the 7 also indicates that these are letters to the complete church, the whole church, which includes you and me. And some of the language in the letters themselves help us to see that. Which is why it is important that we go through them.
So, the seven lamp stands represent seven specific churches but also represent all churches over all time.
Let’s talk about the SEVEN STARS that are the seven angels of the churches.
Who these angels are is not important other than they represent and/or are responsible for these churches. We don’t really see anywhere else in scripture that angels are in charge of churches, so some have suggested that the Greek word used here, angelos, which literally means “messenger”, is referring to the pastors of the seven churches. But it doesn’t really matter. The message is really to the people of the seven churches and the whole church.
What IS important is that Jesus holds these seven stars in his hand. (note: stars used as symbols of angels will come into play several times in this study)
Holding them in his right hand specifically symbolizes control, his sovereignty. It also symbolizes his care and protection of these churches.
Now back to the lamp stands and Jesus walking among them.
Jesus walking among them, with his eyes burning like fire and his feet like burnished bronze – symbolizes how Jesus is ever present and ever watchful of his churches and is judging their actions – as we will see in the letters.
This whole picture is of King and Lord Jesus being in complete control and in close contact with his church, both in a protective fashion and in righteous rule and judgement. And he has some important things to say to his church that they better take heed to.
But before we talk about what Jesus says to his churches, let’s talk about what Jesus specifically tells John to do. The wording here is important.
He tells John to write what you HAVE SEEN, WHAT IS NOW, and WHAT WILL TAKE PLACE LATER.
He’s telling John to write about the past, the present, and the future.
What he has seen, we have already read – the vision of Jesus and the lamp stands. He also wrote about what he had seen when he wrote his gospel before this.
He’s about to start writing “what is now” – as in scribing the letters that Jesus is about to dictate.
And when he’s done with that, he’ll be directed to write about future events – future from the “what is now.”
This is basically the outline of the book of Revelation. And the way we will know when he starts talking about future events will be at the beginning of chapter four when he begins with
After this I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven! And the first voice, which I had heard speaking to me like a trumpet, said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after these things.”
At that point, Jesus is done dictating the letters – and the voice John hears now says he will show him what must take place after these things. In the Greek that is the exact same phrase as in chapter 1. META TAUTA – after these things.
Jesus told John to write what is now, and what will happen META TAUTA. And chapter four begins with Jesus telling John he is going to show him what will happen META TAUTA.
All this to say the general consensus among scholars and commentators is that the letters to the churches are both letters to the specific churches named, but also to the Christian church as a whole as it has existed since that time and will exist until the events of chapter four take place.
That period of history, which we are currently still in, is what we call the “church age”.
The church – Christ’s Ekklesia – began when the Holy Spirit descended on Peter and the gang on the day of Pentecost, and it will end when Jesus comes back to snatch us away – an event commonly called the rapture, which we will talk about at length in a few weeks.
But for now, the important thing to gather is that we believe we are currently still in the church age. And that the events that begin in chapter four are still future to us.
Which means that we, along with those seven literal churches, and the church throughout the past 2,000 years are the collective addressees of these seven letters. So, we must take heed to what they say.
To be honest, until I did this study, I always wondered why these seven letters were included in a book about the future. But now I know why. Because they are letters to us and to our children and grandchildren and all generations of Christ Followers.
There is another interesting theory about these letters that at first I did not fully buy into, but the more I have studied, the more plausible and downright probable it seems to me. Which also makes the content of these letters all the more important and urgent to take in and obey.
It’s a theory called the historical-prophetical theory. It’s a theory that suggests that the seven churches in Revelation do not only represent seven literal first century churches and the whole church throughout time, but that each successive church/letter represents a specific period of time in the church’s history since it began. There are many that subscribe to this and have laid out timelines with possible dates of when one church period begins and ends based on important key events in our history.
So, as we go through the letters, we will also be getting into a little bit of church history – which is never a bad thing to learn. Just remember that, while this theory is plausible, it is not spelled out in Scripture, so we shouldn’t try to start making predictions or change our theology based on it.
Now, with all of that said – let’s look at the first letter: Ephesus.
You might as well get used to a lot of background and introductory information in this series, because as I said the first week – Revelation, in essence, is the last chapter of a very long and intricate story – and the author (God) assumes you have read and understand the rest of the story so he doesn’t have to repeat it. And even though I know most of you have the rest of the bible memorized, for the sake of the few of you that do not I will do my best to bring up the relevant background information and other parts of the story so that we can all be on the same page when going through this. Deal?
Ok, on to Ephesus.
For each of the letters I’m going to first read the letter, then break down its different parts. There is actually a repeatable pattern to each.
Let’s do this first one and we’ll see how it goes.
1 “To the angel of the church in Ephesus write:
These are the words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks among the seven golden lamp stands. 2 I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked people, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. 3 You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary.
4 Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. 5 Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place. 6 But you have this in your favor: You hate the practices of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.
7 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.
Each of the seven letters will follow a similar pattern to this one.
They all begin with, “To the angel of the church in _______ write:”
They all end with, “Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”
They all begin with a different title/description of who the letter is from (all are from Jesus).
Most have commendations – good things Jesus has to say about them – and most have condemnations – things Jesus has a problem with that they need to fix. Some only have one or the other.
And they all say something about the one who is victorious.
As we go through each letter, we will look closely at each one of those parts. We will also learn what we can about the named cities at the time of writing and the churches that the letters are to. And I will cover details about the possible church period that each church is might represent.
And in doing all of that, I will do my best to point out what all of this has to do with us and how we should respond to what Jesus is saying.
We will be spending the rest of our time today on this first church at Ephesus, and the rest of the churches we will cover over the next three weeks. Don’t miss them! There’s far more to these letters than you probably thought by just reading them. In fact, if the rapture really is going to happen before the tribulation – these letters are really the most important thing in Revelation to us who already believe because the rest of the book won’t even apply to us.
But with that said, in these letters Jesus uses his strongest language for the people who call themselves his followers but who really are not. These letters, if nothing else, will tell us where we really stand while we still have the chance to make changes.
(I get much of this historical data from the commentary of John MacArthur.)
Some of what I’m going to say you already heard in the video I played at the beginning.
Although not its capital (Pergamum was the province’s official capital), Ephesus was the most important city in Asia Minor. (Since the Roman governor resided there, it could be argued that Ephesus was the de facto capital.) Its population in New Testament times has been estimated at between 250,000 and 500,000 people.
The city’s theater, still visible today, into which the frenzied rioters dragged Paul’s companions Gaius and Aristarchus (Acts 19:29), held an estimated 25,000 people.
Ephesus was a free city, meaning it was self-governing within limits, and no Roman troops were stationed there. The city even hosted athletic events, rivaling the Olympic games.
Ephesus was the primary harbor in the province of Asia. The city was located on the Cayster River, about three miles upriver from where it flowed into the sea. Those disembarking at the harbor traveled along a magnificent, wide, column-lined road (the Arcadian Way) that led to the center of the city. In John’s day silt deposited by the Cayster River was slowly filling up the harbor, forcing the city to fight to keep a channel open. That battle would ultimately be lost, and today the ruins of Ephesus are located some six miles inland from the sea.
Ephesus was also strategically located at the junction of four of the most important Roman roads in Asia Minor. That, along with its harbor, prompted the geographer Strabo (a contemporary of Christ) to describe Ephesus as the market of Asia.
But Ephesus was most famous as the center of the worship of the goddess Artemis (Diana)—a point of great civic pride (Acts 19:27, 35). The temple of Artemis was Ephesus’s most prominent landmark. Because its inner shrine was incredibly secure, the temple served as one of the most important banks in the Mediterranean world. Further, the sale of items used in the worship of Artemis provided an important source of income for the city (cf. Acts 19:24). Every spring a month-long festival was held in honor of the goddess, complete with athletic, dramatic, and musical events.
The worship of Artemis was unspeakably vile. Her idol was a gross, many-breasted monstrosity, popularly believed to have fallen from heaven (Acts 19:35). The temple was attended by numerous priests, eunuchs, and slaves. Thousands of priestesses, who were little more than ritual prostitutes, played a major role in the worship of Artemis. The temple grounds were a chaotic cacophony of priests, prostitutes, bankers, criminals, musicians, dancers, and frenzied, hysterical worshipers.
Huddled in the midst of such pagan idolatry that characterized Ephesus was a faithful group of Christians. It was to them that Christ addressed this first of the seven letters.
We know a good deal about the church at Ephesus because it was the home base of the Apostle Paul for three years and many of the big names spent time there including Timothy and John himself. It is actually believed that John, the one penning these letters for Christ, spent the last few decades of his life there in Ephesus where he penned his three letters and where he was likely arrested and exiled to Patmos from. We believe he returned there when his exile was lifted, and that is where he died.
Ephesus plays a significant role in the stories of Acts, with many miracles and large numbers of new Christians forming there in the early years. It was truly a church on fire! And the letter that Paul wrote to the Ephesians is one of the richest books of the New Testament.
Jesus addresses his letter to the Ephesians as from him who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks among the seven golden lamp stands.
The significance of this description is that Jesus is pointing out that He has been with them this whole time, and he is holding them in his hand. He sees them and he protects them.
And this is what he has to say to them…He talks about the good things first.
2 I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked people, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. 3 You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary.
Jesus begins with “I know your deeds.” He says this or something similar to each church, and the nuance of the Greek is that he has full and complete knowledge about everything about you. The term deeds is a generic way of saying what you’ve done, how you’ve been. Jesus knows and sees all with his burning eyes.
Then he speaks of their hard work and perseverance. From what we know about the very immoral city that they live in and the persecution they likely received from the Artemis worshipers, it is truly to their credit they have endured.
He continues… I know that you cannot tolerate wicked people, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false.
He’s saying that they have maintained their integrity and dedication to the truth. No doubt they had been holding fast to the great teaching Paul had decades earlier provided in his letter to them. One passage that comes to my mind is the one that I use all the time when talking about our church, my job description, and the basis for our membership program.
11 Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. 12 Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ. 13 This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ.
14 Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. 15 Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. 16 He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.
Clearly their pastors, of which Timothy and John were a part of, took their roles seriously and the church became known by Jesus himself as a church that did not fall for the “lies so clever they sound like the truth.”
That is my daily prayer for our church. I want this to be our commendation!
3 You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary.
They have stayed strong. Perhaps they had received the letter to the Hebrews as well…
1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
Those are some good things to hear from Jesus. But then comes the..
4 Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. 5 Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.
They were doing all these good things and persevering and holding to the truth, but within all of that they had lost sight of why they were doing it. Perhaps it had become a labor of duty rather than a labor of love like it’s supposed to be.
Perhaps they had gone the way the Galatians were going which prompted a very angry letter from Paul when he said “you have fallen away from grace.” The Galatians had received the good news of Jesus Christ with joy and gladness, but quickly slipped back into trying to maintain their salvation with works of the law. And it’s not that the works of the law were bad things. God had instituted those laws, and really – a person who followed the law perfectly as God had written it could probably get the same awesome sighting the Ephesians are getting – but if you are doing all of that out of duty instead of love, then you are missing the point of grace and Christ says you must repent – change your mind and your ways OR I’M GOING TO END YOUR CHURCH!
In the same letter to the Galatians, and really in the same paragraph where he mentions falling away from grace, Paul does a great job of summing up what it is that Christ expects of his church – both back in Ephesus and now.
The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.
That’s what the Ephesians did at first, and Christ is telling them to get back to it or they won’t have a church anymore.
Interestingly, Jesus then gives them another compliment. It’s like what I’ve read in leadership books about sandwiching a criticism between compliments. It makes the bad news easier to take. Turns out Jesus had that tactic figured out long ago.
6 But you have this in your favor: You hate the practices of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.
The Nicolaitans are a bit of a mystery. We do not know for certain who Jesus is referring to here, but he does it in another letter too so we should do our best to know what we can. There is nowhere else in Scripture that they are mentioned, but we do have some information from the early church father’s writings. These are the men who were students of the Apostles and the leaders of the church once they were all gone. They wrote a lot of letters that give us vital information about how the early church operated and thought.
What we can glean from them is that these Nicolaitans may be aligned to Nicolas, one of the seven men appointed to oversee the distribution of food in Acts 6. Some argued that Nicolas was a false believer who became an apostate (meaning someone who knows the truth but rejects it), but retained influence in the church because of his credentials. Others suggested that the Nicolaitans misrepresented his teaching. Whatever its origin, Nicolaitanism led people into immorality and wickedness.
The letter to Pergamum links it with Balaam’s false teaching that led Israel astray (we’ll talk more about that when we get to that letter). The deeds of the Nicolaitans thus involved sensual temptations leading to sexual immorality and eating things sacrificed to idols without regard for the offense of such behavior – all in the name of Christian liberty. Basically the Nicolaitans were teaching the same apostasy we see happening today – that the grace and forgiveness of Christ gives us license to indulge in whatever immorality we want, because after all – Jesus paid it all!
Jesus uses strong words on how he feels about that. He hates it. And to the Ephesians credit, they did too.
After the compliments and rebukes, Jesus ends with this…
7 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
The statement “Whoever has ears, let them hear” is not talking about physical ears, but spiritual ears – ears that are eager to hear the truth and receive it whole heartedly. These are the ears of those with the fertile soil Jesus talked about in Matthew.
The simple fact is that you will get what you seek.
If you seek truth, you will find it.
If you seek justification for not believing, you will find that too.
If you don’t want to hear, then you won’t.
If you do, then you will.
Jesus is saying, and he says this to each church, “here is truth, if you really want it.”
The use of the plural “churches” gives further credence to the fact that each of these letters is really to the whole church.
Jesus signs off each letter with this same statement. And in this one, he has a post script.
To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.
A promise to the one who is victorious. In this case, that person will be given the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God. In other words, that person will be in heaven with God for eternity. We’ll see this tree of life near the end of the study.
So, who is the one who is victorious? What does that mean?
John makes this clear in one of his letters written earlier:
1 John 5
1 Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well. 2 This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands. 3 In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, 4 for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. 5 Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.
The word “overcomes” in this passage is the same Greek word used in Revelation and translated as “victorious” in the translation I used.
It comes from the Greek word “NIKE” – which is where the famous shoe company got it’s name, though pronouncing it different.
The overcomers, or victorious ones, or conquerers that Jesus is speaking of are those who have their faith in Him. But notice that I included the context of John’s statement in 1 John. This faith and belief that makes us overcomers, is a faith and a belief that accompanies our love of God and His Son and is shown in our obedience.
Once again, you can’t have salvation without obedience, because to love God is to obey him. That’s what it means to make Jesus your Lord. It’s more than mental acknowledgment in some facts about his life, death, and resurrection. It’s submission to his rule and ownership of your life such that you no longer live for yourself and your own desires, but you live for Him because He died for you and He is your king.
That is what it takes to be an overcomer and eat from the tree of life in the paradise of God.
So, there you have it – the first letter. Ephesus. I’m going to save the historical-prophetical view of Ephesus until next week because I want to finish today with what this letter is saying to us – Reality Church – in 2016.
Let’s read the letter again – as if it were addressed to us.
To Reality Church…
These are the words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks among the seven golden lamp stands.
I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked people, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false.
Is this true of us? I think so. It’s probably why we are not a giant church. If you’ve heard some of my Wednesday night talks, or if you’ve had conversations with me, and if you’ve actually paid attention to my teaching, you will know that we are GROUNDED IN GOD’S WORD.
What do I tell you about God’s Word? The only way to read it is with the mindset that if I disagree or don’t like something in the Bible, then I AM WRONG and need to change. Most people don’t like that.
We are certainly not perfect, but if nothing else we do not tolerate LIES.
You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary.
Is this true of us? Well, Reality Church since the beginning with Pastor Steve has certainly endured hardship – though not of the kind in Ephesus. But we’re still kicking!
Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first.
Is this true of us?
Honestly, I believe we are in danger of that. As is every church. It’s so easy to get into the routine and forget the reason why we are even doing this. Or worse, it’s so easy to get frustrated and nit-picky and irritable when you’re doing the same unnoticed thing over and over again and forget why it is you are doing it, and who it is you are really working for.
Do you know what the cure for burnout is? LOVE
Love for God and love for each other. When we truly love God and focus on all of His goodness and everything he has done for us and to us and through us, it’s easy to serve Him.
But not only that, when we love each other the way we are supposed to love each other with the AGAPE sacrificial love we are commanded to have – then we don’t have to serve alone, and many hands make light the work.
As Paul says in Ephesians 4:16 “As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.”
Let us not forsake the love we had at first! Or we will reap the same promise:
Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.
How does that happen?
When we stop loving, we stop serving.
When we stop loving, we stop giving.
When we stop loving, we stop inviting.
When we stop loving,
there are no more people,
no more volunteers,
and no more money
– and the church has died.
May we ever be mindful of this. May we REPENT and do the things we did at first. Let us not lose the love!
But you have this in your favor: You hate the practices of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.
Is this true of us?
This fits into what I said about sticking to the truth. I think we are good here.
Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.
What a glorious promise! That’s ultimately the promise of heaven to us who are victorious! To us who believe in the Son of God. To us who love God and obey His commands. To us who believe in the promises of God and hold tightly to them!
The name Ephesus has a root word that means “desirable”. You will see in this study that each city’s name has a meaning that actually fits with what Jesus is saying. It’s quite fascinating.
But Ephesus meaning desirable makes sense with what Jesus was saying. He was saddened that they had lost their first love – which was their love for Him…because he had not lost His love for them. They were desirable to him.
And so are we. Jesus desires to be with us, to have us in relationship. He’s less interested in what we do than in where our heart beats and who it beats for. Because what is really in your heart will come out in what you do and say. He cares about our hearts and he wants us to not get so wrapped up in the doing so that we lose sight of our love.