Jesus through John, His Jewish secretary, dictated seven different letters to the seven Churches in Asia. He wanted to make sure that He addressed certain problems or issues they were having at the time. But they also tell us about problems we still face today.
To The Messengers.
Ephesus is addressed first because the problem they had is the most important issue for the Church to address in these last days.
Why did Jesus say, “To the ANGEL of the Church of Ephesus,” and not simply “To the Church of Ephesus?” Most people seem to think He was addressing the whole Church. If so, why did He use the word, “angel?” To whom is He really speaking?
Angel, in Greek, is the word, “Ángelos” It can refer to an angel, as in one from heaven, but simply put, it means, “Messenger.” Also, notice that the word is SINGULAR. Who is this messenger for each of these Churches?
It cannot be an angel from heaven because of the phrase, “Remember from where you have FALLEN.” Jesus would not allow a fallen angel to shepherd His Church. He is speaking to a human messenger: THE SENIOR PASTOR.
His goal is to encourage, admonish and correct some wrong doctrines, which were found in five of them. The only two pastors who were not corrected were the ones at Smyrna, who were under great persecution at that time, and Philadelphia. We’ll get to those later.
Please don’t be confused by the portion of the passage which says, “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.
When Jesus “REMOVES YOUR LAMPSTAND,” it does not mean you lose your salvation. That is NOT possible. He will, however, allow your church to shut down and prevent you from being a pastor if you don’t “Repent,” i.e. “Change your mind,” and teach the truth. He loves both you and the people too much to allow wrong teaching to hurt His flock.
You Have Left Your First Love.
The spotlight isn’t shining on you and me, on what we are doing or not doing. Preachers are POINTING IN THE WRONG DIRECTION.
Under the Old Covenant, God commanded the people to “Love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your and soul and with all your mind.” But has anyone done that? Can anybody do that? BIG FAT NO! We try…..and fail MISERABLY!
SO God TOOK US OUT OF THE EQUATION.
“In this is love, NOT that we loved God, BUT THAT HE LOVED US and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”
“For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but FAITH WHICH WORKETH BY LOVE.”
What is the FAITH that they were lacking? The belief in salvation by grace in Jesus’ FINISHED work. It is Jesus…..PLUS NOTHING.
We don’t keep our salvation by trying our best to obey the Big Ten. When you know how much you are loved by Him, you love Him so much more you can’t help but want to please Him. Obedience becomes that fruit rather than the root.
Our HOPE is that Jesus is going to return, take us out of this world before the Great Tribulation, so we can be with Him forever. We are much less apt to be afraid of those things coming on the earth in these end times knowing that we are soon out of here. We know our citizenship is in heaven, not on earth so we’ll be less attached to things here.
Our LOVE for God and for our fellow man takes on new meaning when we understand Who first loved us so much He took ALL our sin and shame on Himself and bore it in our stead. In that knowledge, it’s so much easier not to judge others, knowing that our right standing in God has nothing to do with us and EVERYTHING to do with Jesus.