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Sunday, Jan. 15th, 2017 - AM - From Ephesus to Eden - Part One (Rev. 2:1)

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Rejoicing Through Revelation  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  45:37
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The Way of the Tree of Life is open to those who would hunger and thirst after righteousness, there is sweet nourishment to be received from Jesus’ hand for those who repent and turn to Him!

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Revelation 2:1–7 KJV 1900
Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks; I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars: And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name’s sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted. Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent. But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.

Introduction:

Illustration- Adam expelled from Eden to fight for food; Abraham flees to Egypt to fight off famine; Jacob runs to Haran to fight for his own life; Moses flees to Midian to fight for his own life; Elimelech abandons Jerusalem to fight for his own life; Naomi returns from Moab after having left Jerusalem the house of bread. It's bitter to be away from the nourishment of God, the truth of the matter is that God is never the One who abandons us, we abandon Him, sometimes for causes that we think are worth fighting for, but it is a way that leads us to desert places in our soul and spirit.
The church at Ephesus is the only church in the New Testament to which two apostles addressed letters. When Paul wrote to Ephesus, it was the climactic church of the day. Of all the truths revealed through Paul, none excel the truths revealed in the epistle to the Ephesians. There are two notable prayers in that epistle. In the first, Paul prays that the Ephesians might have more light, and in the second he prays that they might have more love. “That ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ; which passeth knowledge” (Eph. 3:17–19). When John wrote to Ephesus, it was the crisis church of the day. I have somewhat against thee, said the Lord, thou hast left thy first love (2:4). The furnace was still there, but the fire had gone out. There was still a measure of warmth, but the coals no longer had a bright, red luster; they had merely a dull and dying glow. With that slow but certain cooling of passion for Christ, distance had crept in. Paul wrote to the saints, John to the angel. [John Phillips, Exploring Revelation: An Expository Commentary, The John Phillips Commentary Series (Kregel; WORDsearch Corp., 2009), Re 2:1–7.]
Main Thought: Ephesus had learned that the road of religiosity ends in depletion; but the Lord reveals to the pastor of the church there that the road of repentance leads to replenishment.
Sub-intro:
See PTS Course Notes...
Here follows a pattern for the Seven Letters (with exception to two not receiving rebuke - Smyrna & Philadelphia):
I. Destination (Rev. 2:1); II. Commendation (Rev. 2:2-3); III. Condemnation (Rev. 2:4); IV. Exhortation (Rev. 2:5-6); V. Declaration (Rev. 2:7)
Of the seven churches, four were in danger of losing their candlestick status (Ephesus, Pergamos, Sardis, and Laodicea), one needed to rid itself of heresy (Thyatira), and two received commendation (Smyrna and Philadelphia). The issues and status of each of the churches have relevance to all NT churches in the world at any time. [Thomas M. Strouse, To the Seven Churches: A Commentary on the Apocalypse of Jesus Christ, Selected Works of Dr. Thomas M. Strouse (Bible Baptist Theological Press, 40 Country Squire Rd., Cromwell, CT 06461, 2013), 81.]
Body: Notice-

I. The Care Christ Has for His Church (Rev. 2:1)

A. The Recipient and Congregation (Rev. 2:1a)

Revelation 2:1 KJV 1900
Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks;

1. The Charge

"1 Unto the angel ... write;"
Note - Pastor, this letter is addressed to you... Take utmost care how you handle its contents! It will make or break your Lampstand!

2. The Church

"of the church"
The church in Ephesus had a small beginning. When Paul visited Ephesus, he found only twelve believers in the city. They had been won to the Lord by the immature but impressive preacher Apollos. As a result they had been misinformed on the presence of the Holy Spirit; they seemed to lack a consciousness of the Spirit in the life of the believer and the awareness that He had already been sent into the world (Ac. 19:1–7). After Paul’s instruction to these twelve, he began to teach in the synagogue. He taught for three months. But the Jews were hardened and refused to believe. They murmured against the message. Therefore, Paul moved the church into the school of a philosopher, Tyrannus. There he preached Christ for two whole years. During this time it is said that the church was instrumental in sounding forth the Word throughout all Asia: “So all they which dwelt in Asia heard the Word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks (Ac. 19:10).
The Lord worked special miracles by Paul in Ephesus and the church witnessed some amazing things. From all evidence, the spectacular was necessary in order to get through to the people. As always, God did everything He could to reach a people. These experiences show the great love and movement of God toward man (see Ac. 19:11–20). In viewing these accounts, we must keep the background of the city in mind. Ephesus was a hot bed of Oriental magic and superstition. The people were an emotional and sensual lot, easily moved to feelings. They were a devoted people, an expressive people, a loving people, and equally a lovable people (Re. 2:1–7, esp. 4).
As Paul preached and God worked miracles, many believed and the church grew mightily. The believers gave great evidence of changed lives by living for Christ right in the middle of an immoral and pagan society. On one occasion, the church demonstrated its new found faith by building a great bonfire and setting aflame all of its pagan and magical literature. [Leadership Ministries Worldwide, Revelation, The Preacher’s Outline & Sermon Bible (Chattanooga, TN: Leadership Ministries Worldwide, 1996), 27.]

3. The City

"of Ephesus"
About forty years earlier the Apostle Paul had established the assembly at Ephesus and put Aquila and Priscilla in charge of it (Acts 18:18-28).{236} Later, Paul came back to the ecclesia and moved it to a rented school building, attempting to reach all of Asia (Acts 19:9-10). The impact of the Ephesian assembly on the worship of Diana resulted in a near riot, and consequently Paul left for Macedonia (Acts 19:13-20:1). Later, on his trip to Jerusalem he stopped by Miletus and met with the elders of the Ephesian church (Acts 20:17-38). After exhorting them in their ecclesiological ministry, he left for Jerusalem (Acts 21:1ff.). At some point the Apostle left Timothy at Ephesus and then wrote his two Epistles to his son in the faith (cf. I Tim. 1:3 et al). Tradition links the Apostle John to the Ephesian church, and he may have written his Epistles and Gospel to this church, as he wrote and sent Revelation to the church at Ephesus as the first of seven addressees (Rev. 2:1).
Ephesus was the opulent{237} capital and most significant city of the Roman Province in Asia, sitting at the mouth of the Cayster River, three miles from the western coast and opposite the island of Samos. It was easily accessible by land or sea, and the ideal location prompted Paul to say, “for a great door and effectual is opened unto me, and there are many adversaries” (I Cor. 16:9). The city had an interesting history, including its total conflagration on the night that Alexander the Great was born. In time it was rebuilt by the wealthy Ephesians, and ultimately housed the Temple of Diana (the Artemesion),{238} the deity whose image “fell down from Jupiter” (Acts 19:35). The magnificent Temple was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World and drew multitudes of devotees for worship and banking.{239} The foundation of the Artemesion was ten steps high, with one hundred and twenty-seven pillars, sixty feet high, forming a colonnade around its four hundred and twenty five feet length and two hundred and twenty feet width base.{240}
[{236 This Christian couple trained Apollos “more perfectly” (avkribe,steron) in the latest Pauline theology through their theological school under the aegis of the Ephesian evkklhsi,a (Acts 18:24-28).}
{237 The wealth of Ephesus, and consequently of some church members, evinces from the First Epistle to Timothy, in which Paul gave exhortation concerning riches. For instance, the women church members were not to dress immodestly by over-dressing (i.e., excessive hairdos, inordinate jewelry, or lavish garb), and the wealthy were to invest in the storehouse of the local church (I Tim. 2:9 and 6:17-19, respectively).}
{238 “The Temple of Artemis (Diana), whose splendor has almost become proverbial, tended chiefly to make Ephesus the most attractive and notable of all the cities of Asia Minor.” John Tuttle Wood, Discoveries at Ephesus: Including the Site and Remains of the Great Temple of Diana (NY: Cornell University Library, 2009 reprint of 1885 edition), p. 4; cf. also pp. 147-285.}
{239 Assuming the protection of Artemis, devotees deposited their material wealth within the Temple. In like manner, the Lord’s assembly is the depository for spiritual wealth, i.e., the Scriptures. The evkklhsi,a has the responsibility both to defend and distribute this spiritual wealth. One should notice that the Apostle used several banking terms in I and II Tim. (cf. “commit’ [I Tim. 1:18; cf. Lk. 12:48]; “committed to thy trust” [I Tim. 6:20; II Tim. 1:14]).}
{240 Strouse, En Epheso: An Exegetical Commentary on the Epistle to the Ephesians, p. 12. Paul had the biblical authority and audacity to claim that the little house church where Timothy ministered was “the pillar and ground of the truth” in Ephesus (I Tim. 3:15).}
{Thomas M. Strouse, To the Seven Churches: A Commentary on the Apocalypse of Jesus Christ, Selected Works of Dr. Thomas M. Strouse (Bible Baptist Theological Press, 40 Country Squire Rd., Cromwell, CT 06461, 2013), 82–84.}]

B. The Redeemer's Credentials (Rev. 2:1b)

Revelation 2:1 KJV 1900
Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks;
That the message is from Jesus, following the same form as oracles in the Old Testament (also T. Abr. 8A), plainly implies Jesus’ deity.{7}
{7 The form was also used in messenger formulas (e.g., 2 Kings 18:19; T. Job 7:10/8), but oracles imply a divine source.} {Craig S. Keener, Revelation, The NIV Application Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1999), 105.}]
He is the One Who “holdeth” the seven stars and “walketh” in the midst {...243} of the seven candlesticks. His grip on the seven stars was strong and His presence in the seven candlesticks was perpetual, Christ revealed. The verb [for holdeth] means to grasp with power in order to hold one in custody, as Matthew employed it, saying, “And consulted that they might take Jesus by subtilty, and kill him” (Mt. 26:4; vide Rev. 20:2). It denotes the resurrection power which overcame death, Peter averred, saying, “Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it” (Acts 2:24). Christ’s omnipotent resurrection power holds the pastor of each NT assembly. His presence in the assemblies was active and habitual, walking{244} spiritually in their individual locales. John had seen the Lord walk supernaturally on the sea (cf. Jn. 6:19), and now he wrote that Christ walked spiritually in the NT congregations, showing His great care and concern for the immersed church members.
[{243 Cf. this adjective in ecclesiological passages such as Mt. 18:20; Heb. 2:12; and Rev. 1:13.}
{244 Peripate,w is the root of this present participle and the source for the noun “peripatetic.”} {Thomas M. Strouse, To the Seven Churches: A Commentary on the Apocalypse of Jesus Christ, Selected Works of Dr. Thomas M. Strouse (Bible Baptist Theological Press, 40 Country Squire Rd., Cromwell, CT 06461, 2013), 85.}]

1. He Holds His Messengers

"These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand,"

a. Selection

b. Protection

c. Authority

d. Accountability

Jesus Christ is the One who holds the ministers of the churches in His hands. This means that the minister …
• is chosen and picked out of the world by the hand of Christ
• is nourished and nurtured by the hand of Christ
• is placed where he is by the hand of Christ
• is cared for, secured, and protected by the hand of Christ
• is given a very special closeness to Christ by being held in His hand
• is expected to be an instrument in the hand of Christ
• is responsible to the hand of Christ
• is to be held accountable by the hand of Christ [Leadership Ministries Worldwide, Revelation, The Preacher’s Outline & Sermon Bible (Chattanooga, TN: Leadership Ministries Worldwide, 1996), 27.]

2. He Walks in the Midst of His Churches

"who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks;"
Jesus Himself walks in the midst of the churches. If that was true then, it undoubtedly is true today. That thought is sobering to know our Lord invisibly observes and inspects respective churches. It also is comforting to know He is always near. [David H. Sorenson, Understanding the Bible, An Independent Baptist Commentary - Hebrews through Revelation, vol. 11, Understanding the Bible, An Independent Baptist Commentary (Northstar Ministries, 2007), 360–361.]
Note also that Christ is in the midst of all the churches. He has no favorites; He shows no partiality whatsoever. There are no denominations and no barriers with Christ. If a body of believers truly follows Christ, He is in their midst, right there with them. [Leadership Ministries Worldwide, Revelation, The Preacher’s Outline & Sermon Bible (Chattanooga, TN: Leadership Ministries Worldwide, 1996), 28.]

II. Considering Christ's Concerns for His Church (Rev. 2:2-6)

A. The Good (Rev. 2:2-3)

Revelation 2:2–3 KJV 1900
I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars: And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name’s sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted.

1. Works

"2 I know thy works,"

2. Labor

"and thy labour,"
...The Greek means “labor unto weariness.” [Robert Jamieson, A. R. Fausset, and David Brown, Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible, vol. 2 (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997), 555.]

3. Patience

"and thy patience,"

4. Refusal to Compromise

a. Concerning Evil

"and how thou canst not bear them which are evil:"
...evil men are a burden which the Ephesian Church regarded as intolerable. We are to “bear (the same Greek, Ga 6:2) one another’s burdens” in the case of weak brethren; but not to bear false brethren. [Robert Jamieson, A. R. Fausset, and David Brown, Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible, vol. 2 (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997), 555.]

b. Concerning False Teachers

"and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars:"
Tertullian [On Baptism, 17], and Jerome [On Illustrious Men, in Lucca 7], record of John, that when a writing, professing to be a canonical history of the acts of Paul, had been composed by a presbyter of Ephesus, John convicted the author and condemned the work. So on one occasion he would not remain under the same roof with Cerinthus the heretic. [Robert Jamieson, A. R. Fausset, and David Brown, Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible, vol. 2 (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997), 555.]
Satan had mimicked the divinely-given office of apostle at Corinth and now at Ephesus, as Scripture reveals, saying, “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works” (II Cor. 11:13-15). These pseudo-apostles were no doubt included in the domain of grievous wolves about which Paul warned the Ephesian elders (vide Acts 20:29-30). They were led by the father of lies (cf. Jn. 8:44), placing themselves in the tragic category of “liars,” which destiny shall be the lake of fire.{257} Apparently the Ephesian assembly exercised church discipline on the “false apostles” and removed them from the membership (cf. I Cor. 5:6-7; cf. also II Tim. 2:16-18).
[{257 Cf. Rev. 21:8; vide the other use of this tris legomena word in Acts 6:13.}
{Thomas M. Strouse, To the Seven Churches: A Commentary on the Apocalypse of Jesus Christ, Selected Works of Dr. Thomas M. Strouse (Bible Baptist Theological Press, 40 Country Squire Rd., Cromwell, CT 06461, 2013), 88–89.}]

c. Concerning Persecution for Righteousness' Sake

"3 And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name’s sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted."
Note - There are seven words of commendation (completion), and only one word of condemnation (unity); followed by one more commendation, making eight (new beginnings).

B. The Bad (Rev. 2:4)

Revelation 2:4 KJV 1900
Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.
"4 Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love."
This busy, separated, sacrificing church really suffered from “heart trouble”—they had abandoned their first love! [Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, vol. 2 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1996), 572.]
Jesus also had criticism for the church at Ephesus. They had “left their first love.” That love is not defined, but it likely was their love for the Lord Jesus Christ. Though they had done all they were called to do, yet it had become perfunctory and the love for their Lord had waned. In turn, things such as soul winning, service, and separation had begun to fade as well. [David H. Sorenson, Understanding the Bible, An Independent Baptist Commentary - Hebrews through Revelation, vol. 11, Understanding the Bible, An Independent Baptist Commentary (Northstar Ministries, 2007), 361–362.]
1. The church and its believers had lost their feelings for Christ. The Greek says, “your love the first [love].” Believers had left their first love. Christ was no longer first in their lives. They were putting themselves and their own affairs first, and they were putting the church first—the programs, services, ministries, and fellowship of the church. They had become more attached to the church than they were to Christ.
⇒ They had lost their feelings of warmth and tenderness for Christ.
⇒ They had lost their sensitivity to Christ, their fervor, spark, and unction.
⇒ They were not fellowshipping and communing nor praying and sharing with Christ—not like they did when they were first converted.
⇒ They were not walking in a consciousness and awareness of Christ’s presence, joying and rejoicing in Him throughout the day.
Simply stated, they were not having personal fellowship with Christ, walking and sharing with Him like they once did. They were not as attached to Christ as they had been. They were more attached to other things and other involvements of life. They loved their church and they had the right beliefs, and they were even ready to fight for the truth of Christ. But they did not love Christ, not in a personal and intimate way, not to the degree that they walked and shared with Him, fellowshipped and communed with Him all throughout the day, not in the sense that they took blocks of time and got alone with Him and prayed and shared with Him.
Thought 1. Picture a young man who falls in love with a young lady. He wants to spend time with her and share with her. He wants to become attached to her and make her first in his life. This should always be our desire with Christ.
“And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold” (Mt. 24:12).
“Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him” (Jn. 14:23).
“For the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God” (Jn. 16:27).
“Grace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity” (Ep. 6:24).
“Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory” (1 Pe. 1:8).
“Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love” (Re. 2:4).
“Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come into him, and will sup with him, and he with me” (Re. 3:20).
“Go and cry in the ears of Jerusalem, saying, Thus saith the Lord; I remember thee, the kindness of thy youth, the love of thine espousals, when thou wentest after me in the wilderness, in a land that was not sown” (Je. 2:2).
2. The church had lost its love for people. The church saw a rupture take place in its fellowship and in its love for one another. When the church was first founded, a deep love existed among the members (see Ac. 20:17–38). The church had a loving heart and a helping hand—a readiness to labor together even through persecution. But something happened. What? There is no explanation. So all the negative things that rupture a fellowship or erase love are applicable: criticism, grumbling, jealousy, a selfish mind.
“A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another” (Jn. 13:34–35).
“This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you” (Jn. 15:12).
“Let love be without dissimulation [hypocrisy]. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good” (Ro. 12:9).
“Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment” (1 Co. 1:10).
“For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?” (1 Co. 3:3).
“Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently” (1 Pe. 1:22).
[Leadership Ministries Worldwide, Revelation, The Preacher’s Outline & Sermon Bible (Chattanooga, TN: Leadership Ministries Worldwide, 1996), 29–30.]

C. The Urgent (Rev. 2:5)

Revelation 2:5 KJV 1900
Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.
The imperatives were all in the second person singular, referring to the angel-pastor as the one with whom the process must begin (cf. I Tim. 4:16). [Thomas M. Strouse, To the Seven Churches: A Commentary on the Apocalypse of Jesus Christ, Selected Works of Dr. Thomas M. Strouse (Bible Baptist Theological Press, 40 Country Squire Rd., Cromwell, CT 06461, 2013), 92.]

1. Remember

"5 Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen,"
Thou art fallen. Thus, in one terse, tragic statement, the Lord sums up the problem. When Rehoboam came to the throne of Israel, he acted like the fool he was. To humble him, God allowed the Egyptians to invade Judea and to carry away as spoil the golden shields that Solomon had provided for the Temple guard. Rehoboam took the loss in his stride. He made shields of brass instead. They would do! They looked like gold. The shields would shine in the sun just the same (1 Kings 14:25–27). That is what had happened at Ephesus and what has happened to many a fundamental church. The enemy has made off with the gold of devotion, and we make do with the brass instead. “Sounding brass and tinkling cymbal” is the way Paul describes Christian duty devoid of love (1 Cor. 13:1). [John Phillips, Exploring Revelation: An Expository Commentary, The John Phillips Commentary Series (Kregel; WORDsearch Corp., 2009), Re 2:5a.]

2. Repent

"and repent,"
But He finds fault with it. His omniscient eyes look to the heart and there He finds declension. “I have against thee that thou leavest thy first love.” He, the one altogether lovely was no longer the all absorbing object before their hearts. Paul manifests the full meaning of first love. His constant cry was: “Not I but Christ”—“That I may know him;” for him to live was Christ. Declension began in the church not with less service, less suffering or anything else, but with a decreasing heart-devotion to the Person of our Lord. That is where all backsliding begins. He calls to repentance, a return to Himself. [Arno C. Gaebelein, The Annotated Bible, Volume 9: James to Revelation (Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 2009), 215.]

3. Return

"and do the first works;"
Labor is no substitute for love; neither is purity a substitute for passion. The church must have both if it is to please Him. By reading Paul’s epistle to the Ephesians, you discover at least twenty references to love. You also discover that Paul emphasized the believer’s exalted position “in Christ … in the heavenly places.” But the Ephesian church had fallen and was not living up to its heavenly position in Christ (Rev. 2:5). It is only as we love Christ fervently that we can serve Him faithfully. Our love for Him must be pure (Eph. 6:24). [Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, vol. 2 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1996), 572.]

4. The Results Should He Fail to Make the Necessary Reparations

"or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent."
Jesus enjoined them to remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works. There is a threefold sermon therein. (1) Remember their former spiritual estate—that love, excitement, and dedication when they had first been saved. It may hearken back to the days when Paul had founded the church there. He also enjoined them (2) to repent—to return to that original fervor. And then, (3) to do the first works. Though undefined, it likely refers to the fervor of witnessing after first being saved. The church originally had been a soul-winning church, but with the passing of the years, that had waned. Jesus added an ominous warning. Or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out his place, except thou repent. Implied is if a church loses its vision and determination to spread the gospel, the Lord may take the light of the gospel and place it elsewhere. The Lord is in the church planting business. When a church in a given locale ceases to reach the lost, the Lord may take His blessing therefrom and place it in a new church which will endeavor to reach the lost. Many a church building and organizational structure still stands in many a community. However, God’s blessing and the light of the gospel have been transferred to some new work, willing to fulfill the Great Commission. [David H. Sorenson, Understanding the Bible, An Independent Baptist Commentary - Hebrews through Revelation, vol. 11, Understanding the Bible, An Independent Baptist Commentary (Northstar Ministries, 2007), 362.]