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“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: I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked men, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary. Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. Remember the height from which 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. But you have this in your favor: You hate the practices of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.” ~Rev 2:1-7

The church in Ephesus can be considered the role model of its time among the Christian circle. Concerning their Christian conduct, impeccable: they were fervent in their service, did lots of spiritual work, endured hardship for the Lord and did not grow weary in all these. They were also careful not to make haste to trust anyone – even when false apostles came among their midst in the name of Christ, they were soon exposed. They could be considered the perfect church, not only did they receive praises of approval from fellow churches, who sees them as the perfect example to model after; for they themselves also believed that if they were to continue to persevere in this manner, they would surely receive the crown of life. Considering such a wonderful church, and yet the Lord rebukes them of having left their first love. What exactly is this ‘first love’? Does it refer to their lost of love for the souls of man that they no longer have the passion they initially had for the gospel? Or have they taken on such a strong defense against false apostles, so much so that they have become cynical and no longer trusts people? And their hearts have turned cold and unsympathetic that they have lost their genuine love and concern they first had towards others? All these are probable reasons, however the underlying problem could probably be more severe. The Lord warned them saying, that unless they repent, He shall come upon them and remove their lampstand from their place, and stop using them as a witness to the world.

What the Ephesus church had forsaken wasn’t the passion they had for the gospel, nor the love they had for people. Rather it was their first love for the Lord Jesus – that first love they had for the Lord when they received Him as their Savior, that which was pure and innocent. Now, the Lord was no longer the center of their love. How could this be possible? Haven’t they always persevered and endured hardships in the name of Christ and are even capable of exposing false apostles? They, having kept all these things from the very beginning without ceasing, when did they ever leave the Lord? Without a doubt, they have persevered in doing exactly what they did previously even to this very day. Even so, this is only done on the surface, for within their hearts, they had already stopped doing it for the Lord. They had long forsaken their first love for the Lord! They could have sustained this spiritual work just to maintain their reputation or for their self-glorification, but one thing is sure, they are no longer doing it for the Lord. The Lord rebuked them, warning them to recollect where they had fallen. For even the Ephesus Christians themselves, failed to detect their fall, they were unaware of their own state and thought that they still loved the Lord as before. What they ought to do immediately, was to put aside their spiritual work and to repent before the Lord. They ought to plead that the Lord may illuminate them and help them to remember when they had fallen. For them to insist on doing more spiritual work would be pointless, because the Lord was coming to remove them from their place and no longer use them.