To the angel of the church in Ephesus write:
These are the words of him who holds the sevens stars in his right hand and walks among the seven golden lampstands: I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance…… Yet I have this against you: you have forsaken your first love.
Each of the seven letters begins with a description of the one who speaks taken from Chapter 1 and here it is the one who holds the seven stars (the angels of the seven churches) in his hand and who walks among the seven lampstands (the seven churches), so what he knows is first hand.
What he knows in v.2-3 is wonderfully encouraging and empowering for the church here in Ephesus is standing firm in works, righteousness, theology and perseverance, yet, v.4 they have forsaken their first love. The implication is that they are doing all the right things and yet either the driving force, namely their love for Christ is not what it was when they first turned to him or that all the good things they are doing are just going through the motions. Their love for Christ was the high point in their first flush of new life in Christ but they have fallen from it and the only solution is to repent and start again. For failure to do so will result in the lampstand being removed and that is serious.
Indeed, sometime during the second century the Church in Ephesus died. We do not know if the first recipients of this letter from Jesus caused them to repent but even if they did it would appear to have been short term.
Reader, and I say the same to the writer as well! examine your deeds and what drives you in the doing of them. Is you love for Christ as strong and wonderful as it was the day you first believed? Or has it perhaps waned or even begun to grow cold?
It is easy to go through the motions in the Christian life, doing all the right things, serving, working, hating what is wrong v.6 but without the love which should overflow towards the Saviour and thus to others. If you have perhaps lost that first love then seek the Lord and ask him to fill you again.
Equally you may be even deeper in love with Jesus now than when you first committed your life to him. If that is the case beware of becoming complacent and satisfied with what you are doing. Rather, with the help of his Spirit, strive for greater love, greater service in response to his infinite love for you.
Each of the letters ends with a challenge to hear and apply the message spelled out and the word here to the Church in Ephesus is that ‘the one who overcomes will be given the right to eat from the tree of life which is in the paradise of God.’
Lord Jesus in your power and love enable me to be an overcomer to the glory of your name.