Ephesus: Come Back To Him
Revelation 2:1-7 says, “Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks; I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars: And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name's sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted. Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent. But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.”
Scripture is always relevant!
Under the instruction of Christ to write “the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place after this”, John now begins to write “the things which are.” Most scholars believe that the seven churches given to us in the book of Revelation not only represent a particular church in John’s day, but also a particular timeframe in the history of the church. The condition of each church clearly defines periods of church history that line up perfectly with one another. Christ had more to say than “the things which are” concerning these seven churches:
- Ephesus is considered to be the apostolic church: 30 – 100 AD.
- Smyrna is considered to be the persecuted church: 100 – 313 AD.
- Pergamum is considered to be the compromising church: 313-607 AD.
- Thyatira is considered to be the papal church: 607-1517 AD.
- Sardis is considered to be the dead church: 1517-1700 AD.
- Philadelphia is considered to be the missionary church: 1700-1960 AD
- Laodicea is considered to be the lukewarm church: 1960 – Tribulation Period.
We know each church that was addressed by Christ during these two chapters was an actual church in existence at that time. We know that each church addressed represents a time—a particular church age in church history. Today each one of these churches represents individual churches and individual believers all over the world. Just as the church in Ephesus, which was doctrinally sound and laboring in love, had lost its love for Christ, so are there believers all over the world who fit into this same category. There are compromising believers just as Pergamum was a compromising church. There are missionary churches just like the Philadelphia churches and missionary believers. This is a great study that defines not only seven historical churches, but seven church ages through history, seven different types of churches today, and seven different types of believers that exist today. You will find yourself and your own personal walk with God in one of these churches—which will it be?
The Church at Ephesus—doctrinally sound, but they have left their first love, Jesus Christ!
We should all take notice of how Christ starts His very first letter to a church: I am “He that holdeth the seven stars (seven pastors) in His right hand, who walked in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks (seven churches). First Christ is letting the pastor know, that He is in control, and any power that the pastor may have comes solely from the Power of Christ.
Second, and this is important, He is in the midst of the seven churches, there is nothing going on in the church, or in your own life, that He doesn’t know about. You cannot hide anything from
Him. Also understand that if He is in the midst of the seven churches, that means that He is there at the dead church. He hasn’t quit on that dead church yet, and He won’t quit.
Christ commended this church on all of its work, they were laboring for the Kingdom of God, they were patient to wait on the Lord, and they were zealous against false teachers preaching false doctrine. They even hated the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which literally means “to rule the people,” which God also hates. But the problem was they had left their first love, and Jesus Christ was their first love. It is an easy thing to become so busy learning doctrine and working for the kingdom of God that we grow cold in our personal relationship with Christ.
What is the solution? Remember, repent, go back to the beginning
Christ instructed us on how to turn around from this position. First, remember where you fell. This love has everything to do with the believer’s faith and really personal, intimate devotion to Jesus Christ. I am reminded of the prayer that the apostle Paul would pray for this very same group of believers in Ephesians 1:15-19. He would pray that the believers there would have a “spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him.” Paul wanted them, above all, to know Jesus Christ. Remember where you fell, come back to that initial love and devotion that you had when you first accepted Christ into your heart. Repent from the direction that you have been going and do the first works. This simply means to put your faith, love, and devotion all back in Christ. Fall in love with Jesus! Fall out of love with yourself, with your activity, with your church, with your friends and fall into love with Jesus. Come back to Jesus!
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