Revelation 2:1-7 ESV
Message to Ephesus
“To the angel of the church in Ephesus write:
The One who holds the seven stars in His right hand, the One who walks among the seven golden lampstands, says this:
‘ I know your deeds and your toil and perseverance, and that you cannot tolerate evil men, and you put to the test those who call themselves apostles, and they are not, and you found them to be false; and you have perseverance and have endured for My name’s sake, and have not grown weary. But I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Therefore remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you and will remove your lampstand out of its place —unless you repent. Yet this you do 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 grant to eat of the tree of life which is in the Paradise of God. ’
Christ tells us that the Church is in His hand. He has become the one stand for all the lampstands, the foundation and cornerstone and vine from which we are all branches. The churches serve to give light to the world, with their source being The Light
Ephesus began well. Their works include good deeds, endurance, and love, but somewhere along the way they faltered. They've lost the love they had. They've fallen. Jesus urges them to turn, to repent, and return to their first love.
He knows, for all things are before Him. There is no hiding place, no cover of darkness between Him and us. We are fully revealed before His eyes.
Not everything is as it might appear. Not everyone is whom they say they are. Sometimes this is deliberate, misguided, or just a mark of confusion. To test something or someone, there has to be a frame of reference. The Lord is our frame of reference and His word connects us to His light, and is our guiding star. Without His Spirit there is no way to discern between spirits, for this is a gift of the Spirit. The only way to know something is false is to know the truth. This church is commended for their testing and discernment of falsehood. It is because they have been exposed to and know the truth that makes this possible.
He recognizes their perseverance and not growing weary and their endurance, so they still follow after Him, but their hearts do not burn with the passion they once had. They are still doing the same things, but may just be going through the motions. Their hearts are not in sync with their deeds for the kingdom. He knows this.
The good news is they can still return. He is faithful and there is still time, but it won't be forever. A thousand years can be a long time, but it is a finite amount of time. He has placed the lampstands, but He can move and remove them. The meaning might be interpreted both ways.
In this and the letters to come we see the following:
"He who has an ear, let him hear"
This goes back to the gospel message. It is given to those who receive it. We all have ears, but not everyone understands or accepts the word revealed by God.
These are the words of life, from the tree of life.
And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.