The port city of Ephesus was the main city of Asia Minor and the major religious and commercial center. It had a coliseum that seated 20,000, an amphitheatre that could hold 100,000, the great temple to the goddess Diana, and a population of over 2 million, with many additional people visiting the city each day.
The apostle Paul traveled there in the early 50’s and rented the school of Tyrannus for 2 years, where he taught the Bible. Many people were saved and a church was founded, where Titus and Timothy and Apollos taught, and the apostle John pastored.
Each church, and letter, represents a period of history. The Church at Ephesus represents 33-100 A.D., the years of the early church.
Jesus starts out each letter by revealing something about Himself- a portion of the description given by John in chapter 1. “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:” ~Revelation 2:1
Then He continues by pointing out the good things He has seen in them. “‘I know your deeds and your toil and perseverance, and that you cannot endure 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.'” ~Revelation 2:2-3
But. Then Jesus shows them what they are doing wrong and warns them to change their ways. “‘But I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Remember therefore 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.'” ~Revelation 2:4-5
They had left their passion, their all-or-nothing, on fire love for Jesus. And He told them to remember. ♪♫♪ Remember, repent and repeat, come fall at the Saviour’s feet. ♫♪ (One of my favorite bands, Telecast, sings that song.) And that is what Jesus is commanding this church, and us, to do. Remember your first love, your passion for Jesus and the Truth. Repent from walking away from it, from Him. Repeat the actions that you did at the beginning, when you were closely following Him, and walking in the Truth.
Each letter closes with a promise. To the church in Ephesus, and to us- “‘To him who overcomes, I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the Paradise of God.'” ~Revelation 2:7b, eternal life, forever with God!
We are also told to listen at the end of each letter- “‘He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.'” (2:7a, 2:11a, 2:17a, 2:29a, 3:6, 3:13, 3:22). We all have ears, but we need to CHOOSE to listen, and to apply what we hear to our own lives.
Lord Jesus, help me to remember, repent and repeat!