Revelation 5-7

"I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked men, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. You have persevered and endured hardship for My name, and have not grown weary. 

Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love.

Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place."                 Revelation 2:2-5, NIV 

This is the scene: Jesus is talking to the apostle John about the various churches. The churches He talks about are referred to as "lampstands" at the end of chapter one. Remember that distinction, for it will become important later.

Jesus begins by telling the church at Ephesus that they are doing well in so many areas. They are hard workers, they persevere, they don't accept false teachers even if they claim to be apostles, they endure hardship - the list goes on and on. Any husband or wife would be proud to be married to one with so many excellent attributes. In fact, Jesus mentions at least six things they are doing right in this short passage.

But there is a problem. They have forsaken their first love!

So, what's the big deal, you might be wondering. Six out of seven ain't bad... or is it. Wives, would you accept a hard working husband to whom you were no longer the most important woman in his life? Husbands, would you remain with a hard working woman - virtuous in every way - except for the one little thing that they had another man in their life?

The answer is no, we would not... and neither would Jesus. The New Testament refers to the church as the bride of Christ. When that bride is unfaithful by going back into the world - even if she does many other things right - she cannot remain the bride of Christ. That's why Jesus tells His bride, the church at Ephesus, if they don't change their ways that He will remove their lampstand.

That means they no longer get to be the bride of Christ. That means they are no longer part of the church.

Do you see why it is so important for us to keep studying? We have a specific set of rules laid down by a loving Father and a devoted Savior. They are pleased when we do things well, but They expect us to remain faithful to Them! Jesus put it this way, when talking to another church about their split devotion to Him:

"I know you deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm - neither hot nor cold - I am about to spit you out of my mouth... Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with Me... He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches."                                 Revelation 3:15-21, NIV