For a while their love for God was so great & so infectious that people were drawn into their fellowship. Great sermons were preached, & wonderful things were happening. And they were known far & wide for their steadfast faithfulness, even in the face of persecution. But then, people who used to pray a lot gradually stopped praying. People who may have been giving a lot gradually stopped giving. People who used to witness to the lost gradually stopped witnessing. Until finally, when Jesus looks at this church, He says, “This I have against you. You have forsaken your first love.” (Melvin Newland)
The city of Ephesus was the largest of the seven cities in the Roman province. The population of the city was 300,000 people and boasted about an amphitheater that could seat 25,000 people. The city was the religious mecca of the Roman province housing the temple of Artemis (Latin meaning Diana) one of seven wonders of the world. Biblical erudites viewed each church symbolically through the prism of unfolding history. The church of Ephesus falls into the late apostolic times.
The number seven is used in the text as a symbol of completion. Christ is holding seven stars in His right hand. The seven stars represent the pastors or messengers of God. Christ holding them in His right-hand represents the position of authority. Christ is walking in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks. The seven golden candlesticks represent the seven churches who the letters have been penned to. Christ walking in the midst signifies His activity within the church. This gives the church the assurance to carry out the divine stentorian call to humanity salvation has been provided by the shed blood of Christ.
The church was commended by Christ for it’s activity and follow through. The church of Ephesus was a laborious and patient group of believers. The church had a truculent work ethic of accomplishing the mission at hand. The church had an aversion to those who were evil Greek (kakos-bad, harmful). The church denounced the false apostles who were disseminating pernicious teachings. The church had spiritual discernment to detect false leaders who lying in their midst. The church exemplified the spiritual intestinal fortitude to preserve the sacrosanct truth.
In conclusion, Christ had a copious amount of good commendations for the church of Ephesus. Christ noticed the church had forsaken it’s first love. The word love here in the Greek is agape (the self-sacrificing kind of love). What does this mean to forsake your first love? The church in Ephesus was lacking in deep devotion to Christ. How the church today needs to heed this same warning, that orthodoxy and service are not enough.Christ wants believers’ hearts as well as their hands and heads.