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God's Letter to the Ephesians. 517.

Updated: Feb 26

Edition 517 God's Letter to the Ephesians  


Revelation 2:1-7Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks;

2 I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars:

3 And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name's sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted.

4 Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.

5 Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.

6 But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitanes, which I also hate.

7 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.


In our previous post, I introduced the seven letters written by the Apostle John from a cave. 

It's apparent that most of these churches had ONE BIG PROBLEM. Some people in their congregations would have mentioned it, but those cautions were brushed aside. Some of us may also have ONE BIG PROBLEM that others have mentioned. Are we listening?  

John commenced with Ephesus. This church's big problem was subtle but huge; it had LEFT ITS FIRST LOVE. 

I think the term first love in this letter means in order of priority or principal love. First love has a profound impact on releasing specific hormones. We've all felt them.

According to a 2017 Harvard Medical School research study, the changes can be explained.

  • Dopamine, the reward or mood-controlling neurotransmitter and hormone, is released, causing a reward/addiction effect, e.g. even if it's dangerous, we will do it. 

  • Love releases another hormone, Norepinephrine, the basis of our infatuation and euphoria. We become energised in the relationship.

  • Oxytocin, the love hormone responsible for our feelings of intimacy, is also released.   

These developments happen to all who fall in love. 

However, when we come to Christ and are baptised in the Holy Spirit, the feelings and changes are on an altogether higher plane of agape love or biblical charity, quickening our spirit and bringing it to life.

It is this plane of the Love of God that the church left as it fell from the Lord's grace. 

When lovers depart from one another, there is a distinct separation. Rarely does the connection continue. Ephesus had separated themselves from God.

It wouldn't be the only church in history to have done that. The Bible shows the nation of Israel many times departing from its Lord, regardless of the messages from the prophets. Have you found churches today where, in their progressive manner or tradition, have left God but still operate with a sign of His name out the front or on the roof? 

In the gospels, Jesus briefed His followers on the cause and effect of the passion that can be produced by first or principal love. 

In Mark 12:30, He said, ...thou shalt LOVE the Lord thy God with ALL thy heart, and with ALL thy soul, and with ALL thy mind, and with ALL thy strength: this is the first commandment. 

The love Jesus speaks of is all-consuming —every feeling, thought, desire and ounce of strength we possess is given over to the subservience of our relationship with The Almighty. And it encompasses some specific sub-elements. 

  • Matthew 6:33a But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness.

  • Luke 13:24 Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be ableMatthew 7:13-14 provides a further reflection.  Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.This gate is our first step into Kingdom life. 

Strong's concordance renders the word Strait as stenos (sten-os') G4728, meaning narrow (from obstacles standing close about). The spinal issue of Stenosis or narrowing of the spinal canal is from this meaning. 

The Greek word for Narrow is thlibō (thlee'-bo) G2346, meaning trouble, affliction and distress. 

These definitions make sense as our love to achieve these marks is a denial or narrowing of self to enter, and buffetting from Satan after that. Love and determination are the only things that help us enter and endure the walk. 

There are some 'firsts' here. In fact, they may be the first works that the Ephesian Church was directed to carry out. 

  • A first commandment of putting God before everything else and loving Him with all they had. 

  • an unparalleled desire to seek first the Kingdom of their first love as well as His righteousness.

  • and the denial of all contrary desires to enter that kingdom and walk the path for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:14).

The Church at Ephesus walked away from that opportunity of glory. 

In verse 5 of our key scripture, God gave them three sequential instructions to restore the relationship—remember, repent, and do! God hates divorce, yet that is precisely where the relationship was heading. Or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place. 

God was preparing to remove the light of the Church and, therefore, His endorsement of it. God would never have considered rescinding His contract if the Church continued with the same zeal and passion they had 33 years earlier when the Apostle Paul wrote the Epistle to the Ephesians. 

What can we learn today from looking at the one big problem? We see that despite them leaving the Spirit of God, they maintained a reflection of some of the fruit of the Spirit. They had the emotion and passion to carry out all the works, yet not the first works. Human emotion and passion poured into the Church but were mistaken for the Holy Spirit. I'm not sure we appreciate that God can leave a Church, taking with Him the illumination necessary for knowing the Lord's direction and obtaining blessing. 

If we judge this church too harshly, we might miss that this can easily happen to us. Where did they go when they left? What were the available options? It doesn't seem like they mixed with the local religions, such as Diana-ites or Mary worshippers in today's language. It looks like they didn't need God any further. They had no idea they were running on empty—no oil in their lampstand. Their own wisdom lit the path of direction. And what was the destination? What would this church have looked like five years later had that letter not arrived? 

This letter highlights ONE BIG PERIL found in the Christian walk. That of going colder minute by minute, hour by hour and day by day. Of skipping quiet times in prayer, meditation and seeking God's guidance for our daily affairs. 

In the end, our hearts empty themselves of the oil of zeal for God, as they did with the foolish virgins, but we're still attending church, still playing in the band, still sitting in the pew and saying "hi" with a smile. But we find ourselves desolate inside, running on our own directives. 

The Lord Jesus Christ's presence is the greatest gift ever for humankind. The higher we esteem Him and fellowship with Him, the greater His companionship and instruction, and the richer our lives will be. Let's treat Him like a Saviour. 



Dear Lord, your presence is all I seek. Please correct me if I do things on my own without relying on your Holy Spirit. Please help me see your complete work in these letters.


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