Chapter 2 – Letter to Ephesus

Jesus Addresses Ephesus -2

v.5 “Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place – unless you repent.

This is a strong admonition, but at the same time, I see it as a very tender appeal by Jesus because of one word:

“REMEMBER…”

Memory is a powerful and driving force. Otherwise, we wouldn’t return to the ocean for a walk on the beach, to a restaurant for our favorite food, or to an old photo album for the umpteenth time. Memorable recollections of pleasant experiences always cause us to return to those things that we’ve enjoyed in the past. That’s why I believe Jesus uses the word. Not just to command them, but to arouse in them into a fond memory of their early love with Him. So they would correct their condition by their own volition and not require Him to chasten them.

Okay, but we can’t neglect the ultimatum: Ephesus must repent and return to their first love quickly or else they would be chastened by having their “lampstand” removed from its place. What does that mean?

Keep in mind that the Church is symbolized as a lampstand because our primary function to Christ is that of a light-bearer to uphold light (Matt.5:14-15). When we, the Church, uphold Jesus Christ (Who is light; John 8:12), we serve Him because we illuminate Him to the world. On the other hand, when a wrong attitude quenches the work of the Holy Spirit, and we no longer enlighten hearts with the love and glory of God, our usefulness to Christ ceases; a concern, incidentally, that generally plagued even the Apostle Paul (I Cor.9:27).

Much the same way you and I would remove a lamp that becomes faulty because it’s no longer useful, Jesus threatens to remove Ephesus. Not that it meant a loss of salvation; the congregation was at risk of losing any future opportunity to be of service to Him.

v.6 “But this you have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.”

It’s generally accepted that the Nicolaitans were an early heretical sect that arose during the apostolic period of the church, and in some cases influenced it (much as they did Pergamos and Thyatira). Although their origin is somewhat of a mystery, their practices were most likely pagan in nature and crowded with idols and idolatrous worship.

It’s also possible that this sect embraced a system of ideas involving tyrannical lordship over the church; that is, they pretended to have apostolic authority in order to rule over the affairs of new Christians in the early Church. This is drawn by some commentators from the meaning of the name nicolaitans, which in Greek means, “to overcome the people.”

Whoever the Nicolaitans were, though, Jesus found their deeds abhorring, and further commended the Ephesians for keeping them out of the congregation.

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