“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 lampstands: “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. Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your 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 lampstand from its place—unless you repent. But this you have, that you hate the deeds 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 to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.”’ Revelation 2:1-7
This first is the seven messages is to the church in Ephesus. It is important to realize that these churches existed at this time but also speak to spiritual conditions that can exist in any church or an individual and it's important for use to study these seven messages and learn from them and be challenged by them. The reason many struggle is they are simply ignorant of God's word.
The one who holds the seven stars and walks in the midst of the seven lamp stands is Christ alone. This designates who is giving this message. It is also important to realize that five of the seven messages were rebukes. Many think Jesus is simply meek and mild but they fail to understand He is not only the lamb, He is also the lion. He is in the center of all that is taken place in the body of Christ. He is the foundation on which everything is built on.
Jesus begins His message to Ephesus highlighting all the good they are accomplishing as a church. It is important to recognize that before the Lord begins His rebuke that He begins by high lighting what they are doing correctly. The Lord does not ask us to be perfect, but He does call us to obedience. Obeying the leading of the Holy Spirit.
The issue that existed in the church in Ephesus is that they had left their first love. They were doing all these things outwardly that would seem were in obedience and according to the leading of the Lord. But their hearts were far from the Lord. We may honor God with our lips, but our hearts will never be hidden from Him.
The Lord calls them to repentance. To remember what they did at first and returned. This happens in the lives of many when they first come to Christ their hearts are fully given over to the Lord. But as time goes on they may drift and this is why we are commanded in scripture to endure and abide in Him. Because apart from Him we have nothing. The opportunity to repent is always before us. It simply means to turn from wickedness and sin, and to turn fully to the Lord. It requires that we change direction and begin pursuing Christ with our whole heart and being.
The Lord ends each of the seven messages with saying he who has ears to hear. He speaks of hearing and discerning with our spiritual ears. That there are many today who claim to be in Christ but do not have ears to hear. If we desire to have ears to hear it requires that we pursuit Him with our whole heart and become a person of His presence.
To Him who overcomes speaks of those who endure until the end. Throughout this life we will be tested and those who have true authentic faith will endure the test. But those who simply claim to follow Christ but their hearts are not His will not endure. It is not by accident we come to salvation but because of the powerful work of the Holy Spirit. The tree of life will be found in the new Heaven and the new Earth. Only those who are saved will partake of the tree of life. For the tree of life provides eternal life. This is why after Adam and Eve sinned they had to be removed from the Garden of Eden. For those who endure until the end and abide in Him, we will forever live in His kingdom ruling and reigning with Him. This life is but a breath and shadow compared to eternity.