May 13, 2022 – Friday
Revelation 2:5 NIV
5 Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.
The above are Jesus’ words to the church in Ephesus. Before we look at this verse in detail, let’s have some context. Jesus begins speaking directly about the church in Ephesus in verses 2-3, 2 I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked people, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. 3 You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary.
These are words of great praise from Jesus, so what could have caused Him to speak so strongly in verse five? To answer that we need more context which comes in verses 4-6, 4 Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. 5 Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place. 6 But you have this in your favor: You hate the practices of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.
There is a complete turn around between verses 2-3 and verses 4-5. What is it Jesus holds against the church in Ephesus? They have forsaken the love the had at first. Barnes’ Notes on the Bible tells us, The love here referred to is evidently love to the Saviour; and the idea is, that, as a church, they had less of this than formerly characterized them. In this respect they were in a state of declension; and, though they still maintained the doctrines of his religion, and opposed the advocates of error, they showed less ardor of affection toward him directly than they had formerly done.
Barnes goes on to add: In regard to this we may remark that what is here stated of the church at Ephesus is not uncommon; individual Christians often lose much of their first love. It is true, indeed, that there is often an appearance of this which does not exist in reality. I don’t know about any of you, but when I read that, my emotions said, “Ouch!” Then I read more closely and yes, it is true many individual Christians often lose their ardor for Christ. Or they appear to do so as Barnes states, there is often an appearance of this which does not exist in reality.
I would add, it may or may not exist in reality. For some this is certainly true and because Jesus states it, we know it is true of the church in Ephesus. But for many, there is the problem to be resolved, once one’s initial ardor and zeal for Christ declines, how do we live our day to day lives in a way that continues to express our love for Him? Verse five gives a strong clue, Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place. The key, I believe, is to Repent and do the things you did at first! What did we do at first as new believers? Perhaps we were consumed with reading books of the Bible, reading books about the Bible, spending time in prayer every day, many times a day, joining a Bible study. And then, many or most of us, we simply got too busy with our lives to continue in large part.
I think Jesus is encouraging us to look at what we used to do to show our love for His amazing mercy and sacrifice on the cross for us when He adds verse six, But you have this in your favor: You hate the practices of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. We can use this as a starting point and move from there to finding ways to show our love for Him. I like the idea in Galatians 5:6b, The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love. How are we expressing our faith? Or the idea in James 4:7, Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Many know the second half of this verse, but often forget the first half, Submit yourselves, then, to God. How are we doing at submitting ourselves to God?
Prayer: Heavenly Father, I am thankful Your Son made it so clear it is up to us to find a way to continually show and express our love for Him. – In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Riley D. Driver – Pastor
Calvary Chapel of Dayton
Who were the Nicolaitans?
They were called a sect and it is believed from Nicolas, one of the seven deacons mentioned in Acts 6:5. According to ancient writers, their doctrine and their lives were corrupt. They allowed practices of abominable lewdness and adulteries, as well as sacrificing to idols. They pleaded to be recognized as a branch of Christianity, of Christian liberty. We see this in some churches even today.