Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. Consider how far 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. – Rev. 2:4-5 NIV
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The disciple John, who seemed to be the only one amongst all the disciples of Jesus Christ, that did not die the death of a martyr was in prison on the Island of Patmos when he was given a vision about the seven churches in Asia. Just like the churches today, they all had their positives and negatives and because the Almighty God desires that His children aspire for perfection at all times, He revealed to them the areas of their imperfection so that they will not miss the reward for all their efforts at living the Christian life style.
The Church in Ephesus was the first on the list, not necessarily because they were worse than the others, with the revelation of what looks like a report card of their Christian activities in verses 2 and 3 of the second chapter of the biblical book of Revelations, and summarised as follows:
- They were putting in lots of hard work in support of their faith in the ministry of Jesus Christ.
- They were willing to persevere and refused to be weary in working for the ministry of Jesus Christ.
- They were intolerant of wicked people.
- They have been let down by the conduct of people who claim to be Apostles.
However, as positive as all these qualities may be, the likelihood of receiving the desired reward for all these efforts was slim because of an identified lapse amongst them which is that they had forsaken the love they had at first. The implication of this lapse that seems so minor in the midst of their several positives was that their lamp stand will be removed on his arrival and relocated, although they still stood some chance of avoiding that because of their dislike for the adherents of the doctrines of Nicolaism. (By the way, the Nicolaitans teach the heresy that the freedom that the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ brought includes freedom to practice ritual sex which the laws of Moses outrightly condemns.)
Removed lamp will imply that they will stop enjoying the benefit of walking in the light of God and begin to experience all the effect of walking in darkness which will be the natural consequence of the removal of the light. Under such conditions, all their positives will count for nothing. They will find themselves experiencing those same things that the people that they have been against are going through. There will be no difference between them and those who have not been obeying the instructions of the Almighty God and it may just be that their destiny will be the same with such people. It therefore means that all their efforts to live the Christian life and to steer away from wicked people would have been wasted, all because of a simple case of not continuing a particular act.
Although the particular action that they stopped demonstrating was not stated in the scripture, there is no doubt that the people involved had a clear understanding of what was been referred to. That initial love, probably for the Church of Christ, made them do some things which seems to be what is missing at the moment and was threatening their reward for commendable performance in other areas of the Christian life. They were lucky to be told of how their reward was been threatened and did not have to find out only after the lamp had been taken away but that is not always the case.
There is the need for all to know what the Almighty God expects from them and the need for them to not stop doing same in order to avoid working so hard and still live the life of one in darkness. Many there are today who cannot understand why their lives have been characterised by events that are not worthy of the amount of effort they seem to have invested into their Christian life. Some in this situation console themselves that their situation is the Will of God for them. This may not be true as it may just be a case of working hard doing the right things but not doing the needful.
There is an expectation from the Lord of everyone and it is not always the same for all. Yes there is the general expectation which seems like the minimum standard expected to be met by all but each individual or group seem to have additional targets that must be achieved to perfect their Call. Do not just work. Identify the specific area that God is expecting extra performance from you and work on them. Doing the needful whilst working on the basics remains the only assured approach to getting your reward in full. The Church in Ephesus had all those positives but seem to have two additional areas that must be added to their work but were only excelling in one which was their dislike for the Nicolaitans amongst them. They will do better if they go back to doing those things that they were doing when they had not forsaken the love that they had initially.
It is essential to do the normal things but identify the specific areas that He wants you to work on and you can begin to get out of that darkness situation because, He will then return your light. May God’s lamp continue to burn in our lives in Jesus name. Amen.