Revelation 2:1–7 (ESV)
THE SEVEN LETTERS:
#1: To the Church in Ephesus
2 “To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: ‘The words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand, who walks among the seven golden lampstands.
2 “ ‘I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to
be false. 3 I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary. 4 But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. 5 Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent,
and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent. 6 Yet this you have: you hate the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. 7 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says
to the churches. To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.’
This letter is addressed to the angel of the church in Ephesus. The “angel”
probably is referring to the pastor of the church, who delivers God’s Word to the people. This letter is to the church in Ephesus, which is a historic church that actually existed. All seven churches are historical, yet these seven churches
likely apply to the churches even today. The messages and warnings are just as valid today as they were in John’s day. Today’s letter speaks positively to the church: “‘I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance,
and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false. 3 I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary.”
The church in Ephesus had done a commendable job of rejecting evil and false teachers. This message I think could almost be written to the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod. We have held strong in church doctrine and rejecting false teachers.
Where many denominations are giving into the ways of the world, or teaching "feel good" teachings that attract large numbers at the expense of teaching pure doctrine, many are being followers are given a false hope. The Word of God is not to be watered
down for the sake of making it attractive to more people. One of the problems that was going on with the Nicolaitans was one of sexual immorality. Unfortunately, sexual immorality is being endorsed by many main stream denominations for the sake
of being politically correct and adjusting to the ways of the world. The Lutheran Church Missouri Synod has held firm in upholding the Biblical teachings, but unfortunately that cannot be said of all Lutheran denominations, nor some of the other Christian
The warning to the Church in Ephesus is this: “4 But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. 5 Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and
do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent.” The first love is of Christ and love for others. It is a joy to see adult converts who are excited for the Lord.
It is contagious! It impacts us, others, and what we do. The Apostle Paul named off many spiritual gifts and then said if you don’t have love, you have nothing. When love starts diminishing with a congregation, they become inwardly
focused instead of outwardly focused. The Great Commission (Matt 28:18-20) gets set aside. What part of the Great Commission is inwardly focused? I fear that this is happening maybe within the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, but it also seems
to be happening across the board for all denominations. The warning is to repent and to return to your first love. I pray, Lord, help me to see area’s in me that need changing and help me to repent and to return to my first love which
is you. Teach me to share that love with others. Help me to identify and avoid false teachers and false teachings. Shape and mold me to do your works and stay focused on the blessing you give me, especially the forgiveness of sins, salvation,
and eternal life. Let me to never take them for granted. Amen.