Revelation 2:1-7 NKJV
“To the angel of the church of Ephesus write ,
‘These things says He who holds the seven stars in His right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden lamp stands” ‘I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars; and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary. Nethertheless I have this against you, that you have left you first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lamp stand from its place – unless you repent. But this you have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I hate.
He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.’ ”
The church in Ephesus had it’s good points (strong areas) and it’s bad points (weak areas). They were instructed what to do to correct the bad points (weak areas).
I. Strong Areas
The church in Ephesus was praised for rejecting evil, their perseverance, and their patience. The people had faithfully labored for the Lord’s name. The people also hated immorality and idolatry.
II. Weak Areas
The church in Ephesus was lacking in their love for God. Their love for Christ was no longer fervent. The church had experienced a considerable drop-off of love to the Lord.
The church in Ephesus was instructed to admit, repent and do the first works again. Their lifestyle was to reflect their love for God. They should once again do the things that they had done before their love for God had dimmed.
Revelation 2:4-5 NKJV
“Nethertheless I have this against you, that you have left you first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lamp stand from its place – unless you repent.”
They had to admit that they had grown cold in their love for God, that they had left their first love (They had left the love feast-intimate communion with God). No matter what the situation is, you will never get anywhere in finding a solution until you first admit that there is a problem. Problems will not go away by sticking our heads in the ground and pretending that nothing is wrong. Like the church in Ephesus, we must remember where we have been and look at where we are now. Is our love for God stronger now than it’s ever been? Or have we too grown cold and turned away from our love of the Lord? Do we love the Lord with all our heart, with all our soul and with all our mind?
Matthew 22:37-38 NKJV
“Jesus said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment.”
The church at Ephesus was told to repent. They church at Ephesus knew that they were to have vibrant (throbbing with vitality and enthusiasm), intimate communion with God, however they no longer did. They had become lukewarm and complacent in their worship and communication with God. They had become pleased with themselves and what they had. They were self-satisfied.
James 4:17 NKJV
“Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.”
True repentance is turning from your sin and going the opposite way, to make a conscience decision to turn away from sin. True repentance is to ‘Go and sin no more.’ The people were to ask God to forgive them of their lukewarmness and compliancy.
After they repented for leaving their first love (the love feast – intimate communion with God), they were instructed to do the first works again. They were to once again enter into a time of intimate communion and worship with God.
Zechariah 1:3 NKJV
“Therefore say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘Return to Me,’ says the Lord of hosts, ‘and I will return to you,’ says the Lord of hosts.’ ”
If the church as Ephesus would listen to and obey the instructions given to them then they would be allowed to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God. The same is true for us today.