First Love

The first chapter of Revelation holds the key to the Book of Revelation. Everything in that first chapter pictures Christ in His people. There are many books on Revelation with an emphasis on tribulation, judgment, antichrist, etc., that make a lot of money for their publishers. The emphasis of the book, though, is the revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ and His Kingdom.

John described the voice of the Lord as the sound of many waters (verse 15). The river of life, the Word, was flowing through the many-membered Christ. Christ dwells in His people and speaks through His people; it has always been that way. He spoke through Jeremiah, Isaiah, and all the prophets. Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. I Peter 1:10-11. It is the same in the New Testament. Paul spoke of some of the Corinthians who were seeking proof of the Christ speaking in him (II Corinthians 13:2). And it is the same today. Christ is speaking through His many-membered Body. In the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man…and His voice was as the sound of many waters (Revelation 1:13, 15).

The book begins: The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to show unto His servants things which must shortly come to pass…. The rest of the chapter speaks of Jesus Christ being revealed in His Church. Chapters two and three are the seven letters the Lord tells John to write to the churches. In this message we are going to look at the letter to Ephesus.

Revelation 2:1 Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith He that holds the seven stars in His right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks.

He holds the seven stars: The last verse in chapter one tells us that the seven stars are the angels (aggelos = messengers) of the seven churches. These messengers in the hand of the Lord are the sheep He spoke of in John’s Gospel. My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give unto them eternal life, and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of My hand. John 10:27-28.

Who walks in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks: The Lord walking in the midst of the churches means He is functioning in and through them. This is the Body of Christ in action.

Genesis 3:8 talks about God walking, too. And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day. The Garden that He walks in is His Church. He walks in the midst of the Garden in the cool of the day. What is the cool of the day? It is the morning and the evening. Don’t think of this as a 24-hour day, but your spiritual day. There should be many new days for us, new experiences, new walks with the Lord, new awarenesses. The Lord walks in the cool of the day. The Lord is walking in the morning of your new day, bringing forth new awarenesses and experiences in Him. Then in the evening of your day He is walking again, bringing forth the fulfillment of that which He began in the morning of your day. Then, a new day begins again – the Lord walking in the coolness of your day. In this way the Lord is walking in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks, bringing about His will for your life and for the Church.

Revelation 2:2 I know thy works, and thy labor, and thy patience, and how thou cannot not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and have found them liars.

He commends the church in Ephesus. “I know your deeds, your works. I know how you have labored, and have been able to stand firm.”

Revelation 2:3-4 And have borne, and have patience, and for My name’s sake have labored, and have not fainted.
4 Nevertheless I have somewhat against you, because you have left your first love.

The first love is not necessarily the first one in order. When it talks about the first love here it means the most important one. For example, when Jesus was asked which was the first commandment, He did not say the first of ten. He said, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: and thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength; this is the first commandment (Mark 12:29-30). The Church in Ephesus was guilty of the same thing that some ministers are guilty of today. They had worked hard and were steadfast. They were even spiritually mature enough to discern the false apostles, but they had lost their first love – the most important love of all. Their relationship with the Lord had slipped. The most important ministry of all is our ministry unto the Lord, to love Him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, and no amount of other ministry can make up for that.

Revelation 2:4-5 Nevertheless I have somewhat against you, because you have left your first love.
5 Remember therefore from whence you have fallen, and repent, and do the first works.

My pastor once talked about this. A couple is at odds and can’t seem to get their problems worked out so they go to a marriage counselor. They are told to go back to the first things, the little things – hold hands, go for a walk. You would be surprised what the little things can do. We often overlook the little things that mean so much. The Lord is saying here to remember from where you have fallen. Remember how it was before your life got so busy that your ministry to the Lord was waning.

Revelation 2:6 But this you have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.

The first part of this word, nico, is part of the name Nicodemus. Nico means ruler. What is the laity? The people in the congregation are called the laity. So the Nicolaitans rule the people. Now there are two ways to look at this. You could say someone is ruling the people, usurping the Lordship of Christ, or it could be the congregation ruling the ministry of the church. Either way man is ruling and God hates it.

Revelation 2:7 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcomes will I give to eat of the tree of life which is in the midst of the paradise of God.

What is the Spirit saying to us in this message? Our love for the Lord is more important than church ministry.

Copyright © 2008 by Henry DuBose