Revelation 1:1-3 lets us know this book was written to a specific group of people, slaves of Christ.
slaves-1401-doulos…- properly, someone who belongs to another,…believers who willingly live under Christ’s authority as His devoted follower, (HELPS Word-studies).
Revelation also comes with the promise that those who read, hear, and keep what is written will be blessed. The book of Revelation tells things that are clear and things that are not right now. But those who live in the time of the Tribulation will see all clearly as they experience the scriptures becoming their reality. For now, to read and study Revelation along with all of scripture helps put pieces together and sheds light on the events happening. Revelation warns God’s wrath is coming upon the whole earth, Jesus Christ is returning as the King of all nations, and false Christians will be known and much more. Jesus begins His warnings of coming judgment in letters written to 7 churches.
Church in Ephesus, Revelation 2:1-7
The first thing Jesus does is to reveal Who He is to His church. He says, I am holding 7 stars in My right hand and I am walking among 7 golden candlesticks. What is He talking about?
Revelation 1:20 gives us the answer, the stars are the leaders of the church and the lampstand is the church. Why are believers called lampstands? Briefly, in the tabernacle the lampstand was the only light in the holy place (Exodus 25-27).
In John 8:12, Jesus says He is the Light of the world. In Matthew 5:14, believers are the light of the world because Christ is in them. We are Christ’s light in darkness. The right hand is a symbol of Christ’s authority and power over His church. What did Jesus see as He walked among the church in Ephesus?
Revelation 2:2-3,7 are a list of commendations.
- hard working,
- does not tolerate evil,
- able to test and weed out false apostles,
- does not let suffering get them down and wear them out,
- they hate the Nicolaitians as Jesus does
What an impressive list. On the outside things seem to be great but it was forgotten that God does not look at outward appearance, He looks at the condition of our heart (1 Samuel 16:7). That is why the problem out weighed the works.
Revelation 2:4 KJV Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love.
The problem was their heart attitude and not their works. Why? Because the love for Christ was not the driving force behind their works.
The word left is the picture of divorce (Revelation 2:4).
The church is called the bride of Christ. Love is an act of our will this means they willfully left love and turned to their works. How important is this?
1 Corinthians 13:1-3 tells us plainly you can do and have it all but if love is absent you are useless and the works gain you nothing. Jesus gives a solution and a warning to anyone who will listen.
Revelation 2:5 KJV 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.
So What Was The Point of This Letter
Do not replace your works for your love of Christ Jesus. We are to obey out of a loving relationship with Jesus, nothing else measures up to God’s standard (Matthew 22:37).
Jesus says the only acceptable solution is repentance, of what, idolatry. They were proud of their works not humbled God loved them. What is the warning? Jesus says I will destroy you. Did He?
Where Is The Church of Ephesus
The church in Ephesus no longer exists. It is gone, which means they did not repent. Repentance is necessary to eat from the tree of life. Why? The tree of life is salvation, that is, Jesus Christ. Jesus is warning today works will not save you. The most important thing in a believers life is their relationship with God. It is our love for and living faith in Jesus Christ that ought to prompt our service to God. Jesus says to heed His warning and repent if you believe works is how you are righteous before God. This is God’s mercy in the warning and solution. This is God’s love in wanting no one to perish.