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.e. Jesus]. 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. You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary.
Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. 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.
A letter from home while a child is away at camp is a life saver. A well-written love letter can completely change a relationship. Yep. There is no doubt about it. Letters can be truly powerful things. So if Jesus were going to sit down and write a letter to you or your church today, what do you think He would say? Would He commend you or challenge you? Chances are He would do both because that's exactly what He did with the church at Ephesus.
First Jesus encourages the believers at Ephesus with all they are doing right. A pretty long list! They are living out their faith in good deeds. They are persevering in the faith through persecution. They're effectively refuting bad doctrine and all without growing weary! What an encouragement that Jesus knows. Jesus sees. He has not forgotten about us or our struggles. He is intimately aware and involved in His church, constantly tending to His lampstand (in this passage a metaphor for the church) to ensure it continues to shine brightly in a dark world. Jesus knows you, your successes, and your struggles.
Second, Jesus confronts His followers with the charge that they have forsaken their first love. The terms used here are the same used of a husband putting his wife away or divorcing her. Jesus is saying the believer's in Ephesus over time has grown cold towards Him and in their hearts have forsaken Him. Have you grown cold in your love for Jesus over time? Does your passion burn as brightly as it ever did? I know that in many ways I have lost that first love type of faith and worship.
Jesus, forgive me for growing cold. Reignite that flame in my heart. Help me to give you "first love" faith and worship. Be glorified in me in every way.
For further reading...
- Revelation 1-3:22- Read the intro to Revelation and the letters to the seven churches.