Revelation 2:1-7: The Address to the Church in Ephesus

Revelation 2:1‑7  •  2 min. read  •  grade level: 9
In this address, may we not say that we have a presentation of the church, as seen by Christ in the closing days of the apostles? In each address it will be found that the Lord presents Himself in a character that corresponds to the condition of the church. At this early stage of the church's history there were no outward signs of departure. Christ is still seen as the One who holds the seven stars in His right hand, and walks in the midst of the churches. Does this not indicate that those who were set in subordinate authority under the guidance of the Lord to represent His interests in the assembly, were still held in His power and under His direction? Moreover, the Lord was still able to walk in the midst of the churches, and not outside the door as in Laodicea.
In this early stage of the church's history there was still much that the Lord could approve. The saints were marked by labor and endurance in the Lord's service. They had borne trial for Christ's Name, and had not wearied. They had resisted every attack of Satan from without to corrupt the church by false pretension and evil deeds.
Nevertheless, while outwardly blameless, the Lord, who knows the heart, has to say, “I have against thee, that thou hast left thy first love.” Here we have the root of all failure in the church in responsibility. One has said, “What injures and finally ruins, is invariably from within, not from without. In vain does Satan seek to cast down those who, resting on Christ's love, have Him as the loved object of their life and soul.” Having lost their first love for Christ, the Lord has to pronounce the solemn words, “Thou art fallen.” However outwardly blameless their testimony might be before the world, the church was a fallen church in the sight of the Lord. The warning follows that unless there was repentance their candlestick would be removed. If the first love for Christ was lost, the light before men would fail.
What is true of the church as a whole, is surely true in the history of any local assembly, as, indeed, of each individual believer. The root of all failure is within, in the heart, and unless there is repentance the outward testimony will, in the government of God, cease to have any power.
Nevertheless, if, as we know, there was no recovery on the part of the church as a whole, it was possible for individuals to overcome this solemn inward failure and to maintain first love to Christ. To such the Lord would reveal Himself as the Tree of Life—the hidden source of spiritual sustenance in the paradise of God, where no enemy will ever intrude to draw our hearts from Christ.