First Love Jesus
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11. First Love Jesus
Revelation 2.1-4

Jesus says, "To the angel of the church in Ephesus write, 'These are the words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks among the seven golden lampstands. 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. You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary. Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first.'" (Revelation 2.1-4)✞

Stars and Angels

Ancient EphesusJohn of Patmos writes this letter to the "Ephesus angel" or "the messenger" of the Ephesus church. Revelation 1.20 explains, "Here is the secret meaning of the seven stars you saw in my right hand and the seven golden lampstands. The seven stars are the angels of the seven Churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven Churches." The angels represent the leaders of each of these churches. The other six churches beside Ephesus to which John of Patmos sends letters roughly radiate from Ephesus. The first letter addresses Ephesus's leader in which in ancient times was a large Greek city on the coast of Ionia in Turkey, three kilometers southwest of present-day Selcuk. It had a population of about a quarter of a million people. Founded in the 10th century BC on the ruins of the earlier settlement of Apasa, it was a bronze age city recorded in 14th century BC Hittite sources. Ephesus became the capital of Asia Minor and an important center of land and sea trade. Along with Alexandria and Antioch in Syria, it was one of the three most influential cities in the eastern part of the Roman Empire and the place where John of Patmos probably wrote the Gospel of John.

Goddess Artemis

Artemis IdolThe people of the church of Ephesus were in danger of forsaking their first love Jesus. Jesus was the emotional foundation of their Christian faith. However, Ephesus was an important center for the manufacture of silver and other metal images of the goddess Artemis. Ephesus' magnificent temple was dedicated to Artemis and described as "Ephesus' first love." Completed about 550 BC, Ephesus City was one of the seven wonders of the World and the third oldest city in the Ancient World. The only one of the seven wonders of the World still standing today is the Great Pyramid at Giza in Egypt. It stands imposingly at 481 feet high. John of Patmos spent a great deal of his ministry in Ephesus and knew its shortcomings. He knew personally that their first love was not Jesus but the pagan goddess Artemis!

Foundation Christian Faith

First LoveThe church at "Ephesus" may be famous, but it has lost its "first love of Jesus." The first love between a man and a woman is a very precious thing. In the same way, new believers rejoice at their first love of Jesus too. A lovely chorus describes this feeling written by a friend and colleague in the Church Army in the United Kingdom, Captain Alan Price. It goes, "Be the center of my life, Lord Jesus; be the center of my life, I pray." The Ephesians initially prayed that the Lord Jesus would be the center of their lives, but somehow, their first love waned. Jesus says to the church or "messenger" at Ephesus, "you have forsaken me." "You have lost the thrill of your first love."

Large Proud Church

StarsA large and proud church has developed in Ephesus. Jesus' message reminds them that he alone is still the head of the body of believers there. Matthew 6.21 tells us, "Where your treasure is, there your heart will also be." These are the words of Jesus, who "walks among the seven golden lampstands" and holds "the seven stars in his right hand." The stars and the lampstands mark Jesus' power and authority over the seven leaders and people in all churches, including Ephesus.


Lamp StandBecause the Ephesians "have forsaken their first love," God could remove their lampstand from its place. The church could cease to be a witness and not shine forth Jesus' light. Just as the candlestick in the temple gives light day and night, the church continually provides light to its surrounding community. Jesus warns them that he may extinguish their lamps if they do not return to him. The most important questions for us are still, "Is your first love, Jesus?" and "Is your light still shining for him?" We need to answer today!

"First Love Jesus"
by Ron Meacock © 2021

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