Now, let us see, second, What Christ says in the praise of Ephesus. "I know thy works." It is Jesus that knows them. Now, does this make you quake - does it make you fear - does it make you tremble from head to foot, to think that the eye of Christ is upon you, that He says, "I know thy works" Why should it?
Because when Jesus says to you, I know thy sin;
you should say to Him, I know Thy sufferings.
When He says to you, I know all thy wants, that thou hast many;
then you should say to Him, I know Thy fullness.
When He says to you, I know that thou hast got little strength;
then say you to Him, I know that Thou hast got all strength - that Thou art Almighty.
When He says to you, I know thy folly;
then say you to Him, I know Thy wisdom - what treasures of wisdom and knowledge are in Thee.
When He says unto you, I know what darkness is in thee;
then say you to Him, I know what light is in Thee.
For what does David say in the 139th Psalm? "O Lord, Thou hast searched me, and known me. Thou knowest my down-sitting and mine uprising; Thou understandest my thought afar off. Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O Lord, Thou knowest it altogether" and then rejoicing he says - "How precious also are Thy thoughts unto me, O God! How great is the sum of them! . . . Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting."
But then Jesus knows your good works too; He knows every cup of water given for His sake; He knows every throb of love in your bosom for Himself - every act of affection to His people, to the brethren. Every believer feels that his own works are nothing, and it is right that he should feel so; every believer looks upon them in this way, because he feels there is so much vileness in everything he does - such a mixture of motives.
For instance, if you were to be kind to a stranger, you may have in doing so but one grain of love to Christ, and a hundred grains of other feelings; perhaps love of praise, or a desire to be thought well of. Now I will tell you what Christ does; He sprinkles the hundred grains with His own blood, He forgets them all, and treasures up the one grain of love to Himself, and says unto you, "I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience."
Robert Murray M'Cheyne, The Seven Churches Of Asia (Fearn, Tain, Scotland: Christian Focus Publications, 1986), 7-8.