Thoughts on the Passage
“The angel of the Church of Ephesus” – angel here means messenger. It is likely referring to the pastor/spiritual leader of that community of believers rather than a real angel. This was the one who was responsible to share God’s words to the people.
The vision of Jesus to the Church at Ephesus.
-- Jesus is holding the seven stars (the seven churches)
-- Jesus is walking in the midst of the candlesticks.
This church sees Jesus as the Head of the churches – caring for the churches; this is much like their role. Ephesus was the first church established in this whole region – and is recognized as the leading church of the area. It has a lot of history and tradition as a result. It is known for its deep biblical understanding and the bishop of the whole region (ie John) lived here. They exposed false leaders (Paul warned that these people would try and come in like wolves to attack the church). They hated the deeds of the Nicolaitans – people who said compromise by worshiping the other gods was fine. They were good, firmly grounded in the word of God and yet lacking love.
Jesus warns this church, "If you do not repent and return to your first love, then I will remove your candlestick from its place." I do not think that God would destroy this church – most of the other churches are even worse and do not receive a similar warning. No, I think that God would remove it as the lead church. The honor and authority that they have will be removed and given to another. God will not let a strong bible believing church – that lacks love – be the one that leads. That is a warning for many churches today as well. It is a warning for our church.
The blessing – the privilege to eat of the tree of life in heaven talks about the promise of eternal favor from God. God’s promise is that no good thing will be withheld from them. This compares to the great wealth, beautiful clothing and fine things withheld from the Christians because they were kept out of the agora – marketplace because they would not worship Caesar. God’s greatest blessings would be theirs for eternity.
Time to Prayer
Father, this church is a warning to me. I can be a sound person of faith – but not pleasing to You. We can be a church that keeps out the evil that tries (and often succeeds) in getting into the church, but You are not happy with the church. Tradition, great privilege as the first church in a region, or a history of evangelism in the past does not mean that God will continue giving them His special honor. It takes a restoring of our love for Jesus – and then to the broken world around us – to see God’s continued blessing on our lives. So Father, forgive me from focusing on actions, theology or tradition rather than on being a person who releases love to all who are in need. Give me Your heart of love. I pray in Jesus' Name, Amen.