Revelation 2:1-7 To the Church in Ephesus
2 “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 2 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. 3 You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary.
4 Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. 5 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. 6 But you have this in your favor: You hate the practices of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.
7 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.
It is absolutely awesome that our GOD not only gives us a way to Glory through JESUS CHRIST but a road map through HIS word. Is GOD real? Real and serious enough for the living CHRIST to send a message through John to HIS church in Ephesus at some point after Paul, their spiritual anchor, had passed on. This passage demonstrates the importance of the church because you don’t “call out” something you don’t care about it. It’s like when we hear the whining, “Why is coach (insert Mom, Dad, Teacher) so hard on me”? It is generally not because they hate you and want to see you fail. Indeed it’s just the opposite.
This passage reminds me of a great explanation of this process I recently heard. It describes three stages to the Christian process. First is justification. This occurs when we accept CHRIST as our LORD and savior. The second is sanctification. This is the journey that begins after we accept CHRIST and believe. It is also the most difficult stage because this is where the evil one sets his focus. He wants to do everything to keep us from the third stage of the process, glorification. This is when GOD’s purpose is achieved through us and HE is glorified.
The sanctification of the church at Ephesus is in trouble and the path to glorification is being threatened because they have forgotten the feeling they had at justification. The love and passion experienced when they discovered CHRIST and the stain and stench of sin removed has faded from memory. Although they are going through the motions, the excitement and hunger is missing. They are instructed to go back to the basics. They are told not to focus on attendance, meetings, events, or problems. Indeed they are not to focus on the church at all. To do so will result in the loss of the light! The church at Ephesus is forcefully encouraged to focus on one thing, CHRIST!
HEAVENLY FATHER, we are you creations, your children, your church. Please send your HOLY SPIRIT to open our eyes and fill our hearts with your glorious purpose. Strengthen and protect us as we are so often tempted to shift our focus away for the light. We ask this in the name of JESUS CHRIST! Jim L.