"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 lampstands: I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked men, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary. Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. Remember the height from which 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. But you have this in your favor: You hate the practices of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God. (NIV)
In Revelation chapter 1, John, the Apostle was exiled on the Isle of Patmos because, as he puts it: for the "Word of God" and the "Testimony of Jesus Christ". (Revelation 1:8-9) While in exiled, John said: "On the Lord's Day I was in the Spirit, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet,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."" I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands, 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. His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. In his right hand he held seven stars, and out of his mouth came a sharp double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance. 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. I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades. "Write, therefore, what you have seen, what is now and what will take place later." 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.
John begins to write these 7 letters to each of the seven "angels" (minister, pastor. or presbyter) of these seven churches. Each letter is unique in the fact that Jesus addresses each church leaders by introducing Himself to them by one of many of his attributes. to Ephesus, He introduces Himself as: "He that holds the seven stars in his right hand". What did this title mean to the Church Ephesus and to it's Pastor?
According to the Barnes Commentary Notes, it meant the following:
A. The Church of Ephesus and their pastor was to focus their attention to this attribute of the Saviour because "this attribute" deserved their special regard. It was this attribute that constituted "the reason" for attending to what Jesus said. In this case:
a. Jesus reminded them that "He" held the seven stars-emblematic of the ministers of the churches-in his hand.
b. That he walked in the midst of the lampbearers-representing the churches themselves; intimating that they were dependent on him.
c. That he had power to continue or remove the ministry.
d. That it was by his presence only that those "lamp-bearers" (Pastors) would continue to give light.
God has absolute control over the ministry, and the fact that he walked amidst the churches, and that his presence is necessary to their perpetuity and their welfare, seem to be the principal ideas implied in this representation. These truths he would impress on their minds, in order that they might feel how easy it would be for him to punish any disobedience, and in order that they might do what was necessary to secure his continual presence among them. These views seem to be sanctioned by the character of the punishment threatened (Rev. 2:5), "that he would remove the candlestick representing their church out of its place."
I. God's Commendation to Ephesus
A. Evangelistic work ethic:
Ephesus showed great patience and perseverance while diligently carring out the great comission of Matthew 28. they showed no signs of weariness had a fierce intolerance for false teachers, ministers and brethren in the church fellowship.. This church was a good example of one that "endured hardness" for Christ. It was said that they had a zeal, that was according to the knowledge of God. even though they were heavy persecution.
B. Ephesus had an intolerance for evil.
The Ephesians who converted to Chrisendom ridded themselves of every idol and would not allow the pagan practices of Ephesus to infiltrate their fellowship. They had no sympathy with their doctrines or their practices, they were utterly opposed to them. They had lent them no countenance, but had in every way shown that they had no fellowship with them. The evil persons here referred to were, doubtless, those mentioned in this verse as claiming that "they were apostles," and those mentioned in Rev 2:6 as the Nicolaitanes. the "C. The Church of Ephesus had a hatred for the Nicolaitanes.
Nicolaitanes" were a "facton" within the Church in Ephesus who were instrumental of developing a religious system of " separation of the Clergy from the Laity" that created a "priestly order" as a moden replica of the Old Testament order of the Priests, Levites and "common people". Remember, when Jesus died on the cross, the Bible said the "veil curtain" in the Temple of Jerusalem separating the "Holy Place" from the "Most Holy Place" was torn from top to bottom, eliminating the need for a Intercessory Priesthood, because Jesus Christ became our Great High Priest.
In essence, the Pharisees and Priest were no longer needed because a person could now petition God for themselves without going to and presenting a "sacrificial offering" to the Priest. Their purpose was to establish a so-called Holy Order of Men to in rulership over the laity. From this they left God's "New Testament" plan for calling the called "pastors", but "Clergy, Bishops, Archbishops, Cardinals, and Popes". This church was not deceived but knew this was a false practice that didn't please God. This is why every new teacher and minister came under close scrutiny and if they were found to be false teachers of ministers, they were quickly thrown out of the Ephesian felowship.
II. God's rebuke of the Church: "Backslidden"
The Apostle Paul founded this church. The name "Ephesus" meant "to let go" and "to relax". Paul wrote a warning to this church in Acts 20:25-31:
"Now I know that none of you among whom I have gone about preaching the kingdom will ever see me again. Therefore, I declare to you today that I am innocent of the blood of all men. For I have not hesitated to proclaim to you the whole will of God. Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers.a Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood. I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. So be on your guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears".
"You have left your first love" What did this mean?
The sin that Christ charged this church with was their decay and decline in holy love and zeal: The people in the Ephesian church lost their zeal and fire for Christ. Theire enthusiasm had waned and the ferver they displayed when they first came to Christ was nearly non existent. How doeas this church's situation apply to us?
As individuals Christians often lose much of their first love over the course of time. for this reason, many modern churches sponsor revival meetings to revivie the enthusiasm and ferver the member once had but has waned because of the barrage of the trials and spiritual attacks . For the new convert in Christ, there is usually a great euphoria that well up in their emotions when they first receive him, embracing the meaning of His Crucifixion, Burial and Resurrection. and hears the great news that they will not die and go to hell now and
(1.) The first affections of men towards Christ, and holiness, and heaven, are usually lively and warm. God remembered the love of Israel's espousals, when she would follow him withersoever he went.
(2.) These lively affections will abate and cool if great care be not taken, and diligence used, to preserve them in constant exercise.
(3.) Christ is grieved and displeased with his people when he sees them grow remiss and cold towards him, and he will one way or other make them sensible that he does not take it well from them.
III. God's Warning to this Church:
A. Remember from where you have fallen.
The Church was challenged to return to their "former" days when they had a zeal for God that breathed enthusiasm and ferver.
The people in the Church at Ephesus" were charged to to change all of their backslidden mindset and purposes," and, along with this change their behavior and conduct and demeanor toward god and the things of God.." .
C. Do the First works
The works which were done when the church was first established. That is, manifest the zeal and love which were they had when they stood boldly in opposing error,eous and false teachings and teachers. and in doing good. They were to return to doing what they did in the first and best days of their piety, the days of their "espousals" (Jer 2:2) to God. They were to go back to studying the Scriptures and living completely by them under the unction of the Holy Ghost.
[0r else I will come unto thee quickly and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent]