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Rekindle

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Revelation 2:1–7 AV
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:

We’re going to place our focus for a minute on verse 4, “Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.”
Perhaps there is nothing as powerful as “first love”. It is something that burns into your entire being. Like the first time you caught a fish. Can you remember that? Or the first car you had. Or the first time you held your child in your arms? Or that first kiss. That first flame. That first love imprints upon us and burns into our memories in indescribable ways. First love, doesn’t always mean first as in the first time, but can mean the First Place. When I met my wife, I can remember that she was the first woman I had ever truly committed my life too. Believe it or not, I was so afraid of committing to her, that I actually considered ending our relationship. But I am thankful that I was able to overcome my fears, and marry the love of my life.
Song of Solomon 8:6–7 AV
Set me as a seal upon thine heart, as a seal upon thine arm: for love is strong as death; jealousy is cruel as the grave: the coals thereof are coals of fire, which hath a most vehement flame. Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it: if a man would give all the substance of his house for love, it would utterly be contemned.
Song of Solomon 8:6 AV
Set me as a seal upon thine heart, as a seal upon thine arm: for love is strong as death; jealousy is cruel as the grave: the coals thereof are coals of fire, which hath a most vehement flame.
Can you remember where the Lord found you? Can you think back that far? Can you remember the conviction of sin setting in, and how uncomfortable you felt? Can you recall the abasing of your pride, as the Holy Spirit continued to warn you with threatenings, or wooing you with love, to the cross of Jesus? Can you remember when you surrendered your soul to the care of the Lord? Can you remember calling on His name and trusting Him as your Savior? Can you remember?
Do you remember those first days, when you walked carefully, very sensitive to sin, not wanting anything to come between you and your Savior? Can you remember the joy of those first days? Can you remember how easy it was to tell others of Christ? Can you remember the hunger you had for reading the Bible, for praying, going to church to be with Christians who loved you?
The Church at Ephesus was a special church in the Scriptures, they were the FIRST that had come to know Christ in that particular region of Asia Minor. They were not only the FIRST church in that region, but all the other churches the Lord had a special message for owed their existence to the church at Ephesus being a strong, Biblical church, on fire for God.
Let’s give just a bit of context here:

The Message to the Churches

The Apostle John back in , received a vision of Christ on the Island of Patmos.
Revelation 1:9–10 AV
I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ. I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet,
Revelation 1:9–20 AV
I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ. I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet, Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea. And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks; And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle. His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters. And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength. And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last: I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death. Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter; The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches.
Rev. 1:9
Did you know that is what the Lord’s voice sounds like often in Scripture.
1 Thessalonians 4:15 AV
For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.
1 Thessalonians 4:16 AV
For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
:9-
In , John identifies that his message is for the seven churches of Asia minor in particular, but later in the Book of Revelation, John is told the book is for the whole world.
1 Thessalonians 4:13–14 AV
But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.
We notice several things from ;
Revelation 1:5 AV
And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,
John sees the Risen, Glorified Lord, executing the office of priest.
Revelation 1:12–13 AV
And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks; And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle.
Rev 1:
The seven candlesticks represent the churches according to verse 20. The Son of man is a clear reference to the Lord Jesus. He was clothed with a garment down to the foot, He had a golden girdle around His chest, this would be His High-Priestly garments. On earth, In the Past, He was a prophet, in the present, He is acting as our priest, and in the future, He will return as King.
Revelation 1:14 AV
His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire;
His head and his hairs being white like wool, as white as snow, this represents the righteousness of our Savior, He once took our sins upon Him,
Isaiah 1:18 AV
Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.
Only Christ could take the dirty garments of sin, wash them in His blood, and make them white as snow!
“his eyes were as a flame of fire” this is not the eyes of the Lord during His earthly ministry. These eyes are symbolic of penetrating power, to look to the heart of every matter, and to cast perfect judgment. He was the Great Physician during His earthly ministry, now He is the Great Inspector. He sees us as we truly are.
It is not the baptismal “water of regeneration” but the “washing of regeneration” in His own blood.
Revelation 10:11 AV
And he said unto me, Thou must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings.
Our Lord specially revealed Himself to the Ap
Interesting note:
1. Ephesus means “fully purposed”
2. Smyrna means “myrrh.”
3. Pergamos means “much marriage”
4. Thyatira means “odor of affliction”
But the first 3 chapters of Revelation in particular, are for the churches.
5. Sardis means “red ones”
Revelation 1:4 AV
John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne;
6. Philadelphia means “brother love”
7. Laodicea means “rights of the people”
This message to the churches was hand-delivered by the resurrected, glorified Lord.
Revelation 1:9–11 AV
I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ. I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet, Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.
Rev 1:9
The Apostle John hears this voice, its a powerful voice. Its a called “a great voice, as of a trumpet...” That voice tells John that He is the Alpha, Omega, the First, the Last, and what he sees he is to write in a book and to send it to the seven churches there in Asia.
a. God has no authority in the last church; the people have the authority.
John knows that voice. He knows that proclamation. He turns to see His Lord! But instead of seeing the Christ that ascended up to heaven, He sees the same Christ that is in His full glory. This description that the Scriptures give us is so different than the Christ that is preached in the modern pulpits today!
Revelation 1:12 AV
And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks;
Those seven candlesticks (or lampstands) according to verse 20, represent the seven churches John is to write too.
Revelation 1:13 AV
And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle.
I especially like that part, “in the midst of the seven candlesticks...” that tells us where Christ is right now, or at least, where He should be…in the midst of His churches. “Son of man...” Obvious reference to the Lord Jesus, “clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle...” He had His high-priestly garments about Him. Gold in Scripture, represents deity, and the garment down to the foot represents majesty.
Revelation 1:14 AV
His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire;
White like wool, white as snow...
Isaiah 1:18 AV
Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.
Only Christ could take a dirty garment, stained by sin, and make it white as snow!
2 Corinthians 5:21 AV
For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
Revelation 1:5 AV
And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,
“his eyes were as a flame of fire...” His eyes are eyes that test our works, our lives, and bring them under Divine Scrutiny. (See ; ; )
1 Corinthians 3:10–15 AV
According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.
Jeremiah 23:29 AV
Is not my word like as a fire? saith the LORD; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces?
Hebrews 4:12–13 AV
For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.
Revelation 1:15 AV
And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters.
The seven golden candlesticks are the seven churches (See )
And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they were burned in a furnace=brass represents judgment in Scripture. The brazen altar where sacrifices for sin were conducted was made of brass, and symbolizes God’s judgment of sin upon the sacrifice in the place of the sinner. Christ stands as one who was judged for us, and one who judges us. (See ; )
V14 His head and his hairs white like wool=wool represents purity and righteousness, as white as snow=a righteousness not of man, but of God; his eyes were as a flame of fire=His eyes are eyes that test our works, our lives, and bring them under Divine Scrutiny. (See ; ; )
Acts 17:31 AV
Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.
V15 And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they were burned in a furnace=brass represents judgment in Scripture. The brazen altar where sacrifices for sin were conducted was made of brass, and symbolizes God’s judgment of sin upon the sacrifice in the place of the sinner. Christ stands as one who was judged for us, and one who judges us. (See ; ) his voice as the sound of many waters=Six, He is the unanswerable One. We are told that his voice [was] as the sound of many waters (v. 15). Imagine arguing with Niagara Falls! Imagine standing at the foot of the falls with some 12 million cubic feet of water roaring down each minute and trying to argue with a thunderous voice like that! A mighty waterfall pours out its thundering sound with a deafening roar, unmoved alike by the apathy, the animosity, or the admiration of those that hear.
Revelation 2:18 AV
And unto the angel of the church in Thyatira write; These things saith the Son of God, who hath his eyes like unto a flame of fire, and his feet are like fine brass;
Phillips, J. (2009). Exploring Revelation: An Expository Commentary (). Kregel; WORDsearch Corp.
John Phillips said this about His voice:
He is the unanswerable One. We are told that his voice [was] as the sound of many waters (v. 15). Imagine arguing with Niagara Falls! Imagine standing at the foot of the falls with some 12 million cubic feet of water roaring down each minute and trying to argue with a thunderous voice like that! A mighty waterfall pours out its thundering sound with a deafening roar, unmoved alike by the apathy, the animosity, or the admiration of those that hear.
Phillips, J. (2009). Exploring Revelation: An Expository Commentary (). Kregel; WORDsearch Corp.
Who are we to think that we’ll be able to ever give a reason for disobeying?
Revelation 1:16 AV
And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.
Rev. 1:
Verse 20 again interprets this verse for us, the seven stars are seven angels, one per church. Many interpret the angels to be the pastors of the churches, since one of the ministries of angels is being messengers. Some hold this to mean that there is an angel that stands before the throne to give account for each church’s spiritual condition before God. Either way, we are told that He holds the starts in His right hand. They are in the perfect place of Sovereign Protection. God protects His preachers, and He protects His flock. He is the Great Shepherd.
Out of His mouth went a sharp twoedged sword…
Ephesians 6:17 AV
And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
Hebrews 4:12 AV
For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
His countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength…
Hebrews 1:3 AV
Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;
I like what John Mac said about this passage:
John MacArthur Sermon Archive Rekindling Your Love for Christ

it pictures Christ moving in his church, the seven golden lamp stands are the seven churches, says in verse 20. So you have a picture of Christ, in all his glory, moving in his church. You see him empowering his church. You see interceding for his church as a high priest. That’s what the robe and the girdle mean. You see him purifying his church with his flaming vision and varnished bronze feet. You seem him commanding his church with his voice. You see him reflecting his glory through his church like the sun shining in it. Here is Christ moving in all his glory in the church. He is the center. He is everything in the church.

So you can understand why, after seeing this great vision of Jesus Christ in His holiness, John would fall at His feet:
Revelation 1:17–18 AV
And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last: I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.
Rev 1:17
So picture for a moment, the pastors of these churches coming to see John in exile, John hands them the book of Revelation, and says, this is the final book, this is what is going to happen in the future, but before you get to that, Christ Has a Message for You.
So this church of Ephesus, too, had a message.

I. She had a special beginning.

Paul started the church.
Acts 19:1 AV
And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples,
Paul found some disciples that needed a pastor. He began pastoring them.
Acts 19:8 AV
And he went into the synagogue, and spake boldly for the space of three months, disputing and persuading the things concerning the kingdom of God.
Acts 19:1
He goes into the Jewish synagogue to teach the Gospel.
Acts 19:1 AV
And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples,
Acts 19:9 AV
But when divers were hardened, and believed not, but spake evil of that way before the multitude, he departed from them, and separated the disciples, disputing daily in the school of one Tyrannus.
Acts 1:
After many peoples hearts were hardened, and began to ridicule the Gospel message and teachings, Paul separated the disciples...
Acts 19:10 AV
And this continued by the space of two years; so that all they which dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks.
Acts 19:11 AV
And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul:
So for a full two years, Paul preached, miracles were performed, insomuch that even false teachers began mimicking Paul. They tried casting out some devils in the name of Jesus. Funny story. It didn’t work. But moving on,
The powerful message of the Gospel was spreading like wildfire…before Facebook, before Twitter, before Cable TV, before radio, before newspapers, before smartphones…
Acts 19:17–20 AV
And this was known to all the Jews and Greeks also dwelling at Ephesus; and fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified. And many that believed came, and confessed, and shewed their deeds. Many of them also which used curious arts brought their books together, and burned them before all men: and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver. So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed.
Acts 19:17-
Acts 19:
The revival was so effective, that it caused great loss to the profiteering taking place by the false idol worship of the goddess Diana. We are in mixed company, but this was a very devilish religion that made the sensual the most important thing, and great vice was a result of this religion. Modern day USA. They were so mad that they started rioting about the financial loss that they had incurred.
This church had great leadership. Paul, Timothy, Aquila, and Apollos.
It showed.
But where is the church now?
It doesn’t exist.

II. She had all the workings of a great church.

1. They were a hard-working church.

Revelation 2:2–3 AV
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.
Rev. 2:2
Works: work, performance, the result of object of employment, making or working
Labour:

to strike. Beating, wailing, grief with beating the breast, equal to

This word means they worked very hard…even during times of grief and pain from persecution.
Patience:
The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament 5281. ὑπομονή hupomonḗ

to persevere, remain under. A bearing up under, patience, endurance as to things or circumstances

No matter what, this church stuck it out...

2. They were a doctrinally-sound church.

“how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and hast tried them which say they are apostles and are not...”
This church didn’t allow sin to go unchecked.
This church didn’t allow doctrine to go untested.
One preacher said this:
This church is just as straight as a gun barrel. (You can be straight as a gun barrel theologically, and empty as a gun barrel spiritually.)

III. She was going through the motions.

“Thou hast left thy first love...”
I had a conversation with a preacher up in Laporte, IN. He told me when he got to that church, it had the makings of a great church. But he shared the problem with me:
He said,
“Take some flour, baking powder, salt, cut in shortening, pour in some milk, mix it together and put it on the plate, but what is it missing? Fire. It needs to get in the oven and get heated up.”
That was the problem the Lord had with Ephesus. Is that the problem He is having with us? Are we just not fired up? How do we get our fire back?
Thank the Lord, that a Scriptural church can get her fire back. We just got to do what the Book says:

IV. Remember…Repent…Repeat.

Revelation 2:5 AV
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.
Revelation 1:5 AV
And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,

1. Remember…

Rev 1:
We need to look back to where we strayed, where our love got cold, we need to remember what we were like when we first got saved, we need to get back to that love.
Nowadays, Christians have excuses for every reason to be worldly. But I don’t have to because I have liberty in Christ.
I had a conversation with a man that told me Baptists are especially bad about pointing out don’ts. Don’t do this, don’t do that, etc. etc.
Maybe he is right in one way…but the reason we didn’t do those things when we first got saved was because of our love for God.
2 Corinthians 6:17–18 AV
Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.
2 Corinthians 7:1 AV
Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
2Cor 6:17-
Let’s get back to that holy fear of our God because we love Him. Let’s be used for His honor, with His hand upon us.

2. Repent.

To decrease in our love for God is sin in the highest form.

3. Repeat.

“Do the first works...”
Do what we used to do.
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