Revelation: Ephesus Lost its First Love

Peter Barnes: Revelation 2:1-7

(19 November 2017)


Ephesus was the most important city of proconsular Asia, and probably the fourth largest city of the ancient world. Paul worked there for three years (Acts 20:31); and later Timothy stayed there (1 Tim.1:3). About 30 years after First Timothy was written, Christ spoke of His professing people at Ephesus (Rev. 2:1).
1. Christ commends perseverance in good deeds and in gospel truth.

– 2:2-3, 6. The church at Ephesus was hard-working, vigorous and energetic.

– 2:2b; see 2 Cor.11:13; Acts 20:29-30; 1 John 4:1.

– 2:6. The Nicolaitans seem to be the New Testament equivalent of the followers of Balaam – 2:14-15. Hence Ps.119:104.
2. We need to maintain the freshness of our first love to Christ.

– 2:4. The Moffatt translation has that ‘you have given up loving one another as you did at first’, but John writes more broadly than that.

– Eph.1:15. John Newton wrote of ‘the honest vehemence of a young convert’. But see Matt.24:12; Jer.2:1-3.

William Cowper:
Where is the blessedness I knew
When first I saw the Lord?
Where is the soul-refreshing view
Of Jesus and His Word?
3. Christ gives us corrections, warnings and promises.

– 2:5. Three things: ‘remember’; ‘repent’; and ‘do’.

– 2:5, 7a.

– 2:7; 22:2; Col.3:14.