What Was Jesus’ Message To The Church In Ephesus?
Name: Rebecca L.
Question: I would greatly appreciate it if you could clarify the verse a day of Thurs. June 14/18 which is from Revelations 2:4-5, I have read it several times and what I understand is that Christ is saying that he has something against those who have forgotten our first love (GOD) and if we do not repent that he will quickly remove our candlestick, unless we repent. Is he talking to a church? Or someone specific? I even tried reading the whole chapter to get the “just” of it, and am not quite sure.. Thanks
Name: Brandon T. Ward
Answer: Thank you for the question Rebecca.
Jesus Christ is specifically talking to John, however, Christ’s Words are directed to each of the seven churches mentioned in Revelation 2-3. Concerning the verses you asked about, His Words are directed to the church of Ephesus.
Before we move forward, it is important to understand the point in time we are dealing with.
Please turn your Bible with me to,
10 “I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet,”
John is speaking in verse 10 and the great voice was the voice of Jesus Christ, (Revelation 1:12-13;18). John was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day. That would be the Millennium which is after the Tribulation of Satan.
What did Christ say?
I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea. – Revelation 1:11
If you continue and read through Revelation 2-3 you will find only the churches of Smyrna and Philadelphia were accepted by Christ, all of the others Christ found fault with, yes even Ephesus as we will learn.
Why is it so important to understand the time reference?
We know the Millennium is future to us, Christ has not yet returned. We also know these churches no longer exist in Asia or anywhere else for that matter, so this message was for John to bring back to his present time to share with those churches.
However, these words still apply to us in our present day, but they are not for any particular denomination or building. I feel they belong to the people themselves, it is what each and every one of us accepts into our heart as truth.
Now we can pick it up with Christ’s Words concerning “the church of Ephesus“, (Revelation 2:1).
2 “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:”
3 “And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name’s sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted.”
These are good Christians, they really are. They are holding people accountable to the Word of God, no doubt about it.
4 “Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.”
Who is their first love?
Obviously, it is Jesus Christ.
How could they be doing His Work, yet forget about their first love?
On one level I think this can happen to all of us if we are not careful, we may think of Christ, talk about Christ and the Word, but is the Word really alive in us or has it faded away just a bit?
On yet another level this echos the Words of Christ in Matthew 7, let us read them together.
21 “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.”
22 “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?”
The church of Ephesus certainly fits this bill, they did right by Christ, but not to the fullest, not completely, their lamps ran out of oil. Had they not, Christ would have never uttered the following words;
“And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity”. – Matthew 7:23
Turn back with me to,
5 “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.”
“The seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches,” (Revelation 1:20).
Essentially, Christ is saying the church of Ephesus is going to lose their church, lose their ministry, lose their place in the Kingdom of Christ if they do not accomplish their first work, that is accepting and staying true to Christ.
The church of Ephesus left their first love, they left Christ. We know during the Tribulation of Satan many people, including Christians the world over are going to partake in The Great Apostasy by leaving Christ and unknowingly accepting and worshiping the false messiah who is Satan.
This is why Christ would say depart from me in Matthew 7 and this is why Christ would say they have left their first love in Revelation 2.
Do not be like the church of Ephesus, stay true to your First Love, stay true to Christ everyday.