Jesus gives a report to the seven churches. For some of the churches the report was good, for others it was bad.
The seven churches are:
- The church in Ephesus
- The church in Smyrna
- The church in Pergamos
- The church in Thyatira
- The church in Sardis
- The church in Philadelphia
- The church in Laodicea
The report covered the following areas:
- God’s observations of their work
- Their weaknesses
- The areas where there were problems
- Their strengths
- The actions they needed to take to bring corrective action
- The consequences if they failed to take corrective action
- The rewards they would receive if they endured to the end
To the church in Ephesus Jesus said:
I know your works, patience, labor and how you cannot bear those who 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.
In spite of these things, I have something against you.
In verse 4, Jesus said, You have left your first love
He told them to remember from where they:
- Are fallen.
- Do your first works.
- And repent
Why? Because he will come quickly and remove their candlestick out of its place.
Now, let us go back and unpack this in detail. First, some background information on the church at Ephesus.
Ephesus was a deeply religious city, and they worshipped the goddess, Diana. Turn to the book of Acts, Chapter 19. It was an ancient Greek city.
We see that the Apostle Paul spent time in Ephesus. In verse two he found some disciples who had never heard of the baptism in Jesus’ name. They only knew of John's baptism. When they were told to be baptized in Jesus’ name, they were. Afterward, Paul laid his hands on them, and they received the baptism of the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues, and they prophesied.
In verse 8 we see that Paul then spent three months in the synagogue persuading and disputing the things concerning the kingdom of God. But some of the people did not like what he was doing and spoke evil of THAT WAY.
In verse 9 Paul then took the disciples and disputed daily in the school of Tyrannus. He stayed there for two years so that all those who were in Asia heard the word of GOD.
In verse 11 God performs special miracles through Paul
In verse 17 the name of the Lord was magnified. Many people gave up their idolatry worship and curious arts and burned them.
So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed
So, we can see that the people in Ephesus saw and heard the word of God, and they knew about his miracle-working power. Later on, Paul wrote a letter to the church at Ephesus, which became Ephesians in our Bible.
When you turn back to Revelation, we see that they had begun to stray from the truth and turn to idolatry again.
Jesus said they had left their first love. That is, he was no longer the center of their lives.
How does this relate to us today?
We each have had different experiences when Jesus came into our lives. I will never forget mine when I was filled with the Holy Spirit, and I was on fire for God. I was always telling my family and friends about God and his second coming. I spent hours and hours studying the word of God. But then, years later I began to slack off. I still studied, but not as much, but I continued to read the Bible daily. After a while, I stopped sharing with others. I wasn’t as enthusiastic because it seemed like people just didn't want to hear it.
Each of us has to search ourselves and see if where we are now is better than where we began, or have we allowed the cares of this world to interfere with our relationship with God?
Jesus said, remember, from where you have fallen, backslidden
In Galatians 5:1, Paul said, “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.”
Jesus then gave them instructions:
- Remember from where you are fallen
- Repent and do your first works
What are your first works? It means to resume your former zeal and diligence. Watch, fast and pray. Come against sin and go back to loving God with all your whole heart, mind, soul, and strength.
When you go to the book of Ephesians you will see what Paul wrote to them.
When we read I John, we can see what we must do to have that relationship with God.
Jesus said I will come unto you quickly and remove your candlestick.
What does this mean? Remember, he was talking to the group of believers, not just one church.
Jesus told them in Revelation 2:6 that they were doing one thing right. They hated the deeds of the Nicolaitanes which he also hates.
Ephesus was an ancient Greek city, and history tells us that the church in Ephesus disappeared from existence. This group of believers was located in Turkey and Turkey is now a majority Muslim nation.
So, we can see the words Jesus spoke came to pass. Their candlestick was removed.
This is what Jesus is saying to us today.
Repent, do your first works over or I will remove you, which goes against the common teaching of once saved, always saved.
Revelation 2:7 “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.”