When people first become Christians, they usually are very excited about being saved. They want to go out and teach the whole world. They are burning with zeal. They love the Lord and want to share Him with everyone (cf. Acts 9:17-22).
A true disciple has given himself to the Lord, to be taught and used in His service (Luke 14:33; Gal. 2:20; Romans 12:1-2). Such a one will never grow weary in well-doing (Gal. 6:9). He will remain fervent in the spirit of serving Christ (Romans 12:11).
In the first century, the Christians at Ephesus somehow had lost their first love (putting Christ first in all their considerations and setting their chief concerns on Him and on spiritual things – Colossians 3:1-2). They taught the truth (Revelation 2:2) and would not tolerate false teachers. They patiently persevered and did not grow weary (Revelation 2:3). They laboured in His cause, yet they had lost their first love (Revelation 2:4).
We see that people can teach the truth and perform the acts of worship outwardly in a correct way, but still not do these things with the proper attitude of the heart.
Every act of obedient service to the Lord must be done out of genuine love for Him (1 Corinthians 13:1-3) or it is useless. If we teach or do anything in service to Him only as a sense of duty and not because we truly love Him, it will not be acceptable to Him. This is truly an important lesson for Christians to learn.
Another lesson we must learn is that we must serve the Lord by “abiding” in His teaching: “If you abide in my word, you are my disciples indeed” (John 8:31).
Finally, let us fully understand that “Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son” (2 John 9-10).