“I know your industry and activities, laborious toil and trouble, and your patient endurance, and how you cannot tolerate wicked men and have tested and critically appraised those who call themselves apostles and yet are not, and have found them to be impostors and liars.
I know you are enduring patiently and are bearing up for My name’s sake, and you have not fainted or become exhausted or grown weary. But I have this one charge to make against you: that you have left (abandoned) the love that you had at first [you have deserted Me, your first love].
Remember then from what heights you have fallen. Repent (change the inner man to meet God’s will) and do the works you did previously [when first you knew the Lord], or else I will visit you and remove your lamp stand from its place, unless you change your mind and repent.
He who is able to hear, let him listen to and give heed to what the Spirit says to the assemblies (churches). To him who overcomes (is victorious), I will grant to eat of the fruit of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.” (Revelation 2:2-7)
The church in Ephesus had it all together. They worked hard for the kingdom. They were industrious and weren’t afraid to make a stand for Jesus. They measured any messages against the Word of God and refused to accept anything different. They were living in a time of great persecution and Jesus commends them on bearing up under it and standing strong.
Yet Jesus has a charge against them. They deserted the first works they did. They got caught up in “church” activities and left their intimate fellowship with Him behind. Obviously they must have been flying high in the Spirit for Jesus to say “remember then from what heights you have fallen.”
It is so easy to fall into doing all the right things, yet forgetting to visit with Him, to fellowship with Him. Remember, He looks on the HEART. He knows the moment we leave that first love and go into religion. He hates religion. He loves relationships.
He gives a warning to repent of this church idolatry. Anything that takes first place in our lives–including church activities–that distracts and steals our time from Him, is idolatry. He is a jealous God.
The lamp stand represents the heart or the “alive” part of the church. If we substitute good works for our personal time with Him, we become just another religious organization that has NO LIFE in it! He is the vine and we are the branches..if we disconnect from Him we dry up and wither away. Therefore, it is very important that we stay connected to Jesus, especially in these perilous times.
To those who overcome this temptation, Jesus promises that we can eat of the Tree of Life in the Garden of God…we will inherit eternal life! If you have wandered down this path and gotten caught up in working for God without walking WITH God, then turn around now and go back to your first love….to the place where you spent time with Him every day. To those who have ears to hear–listen to what the Spirit says to the churches.