Chapters two and three in the book of Revelation contain specific messages from Jesus to seven churches located in Asia Minor. That area is now part of western Turkey. Each church receives rebukes and encouragement from the Lord in accord with its condition. His instructions apply not only to those seven churches of long ago, but also to the church in all ages and in all places.
The first letter is addressed with these words: “Write this letter to the angel of the church in Ephesus.” This is the only one of the seven churches that is mentioned elsewhere in the New Testament. The church at Ephesus was founded by the Apostle Paul on his third missionary journey. The city was filled with pagan worship, especially with its great temple of Artemis, built in honor of the goddess of fertility. Despite being in the center of paganism, the church had grown and prospered. It seems to have been founded somewhere between 53-56 A.D.
Now fast forward some forty years to 95 A.D. What has been happening to the church during that interval? The answer comes in seven short verses in chapter two of Revelation. Jesus sends a message to that church where He says in essence: “I know all about you. I know that you work hard, you have great patience, and you don’t tolerate false teachers. I commend you for that.” He then brings to their attention one very serious flaw. In plain terms He says: “I have this complaint against you. You have lost your first love.” His message to them is also for us. It is for each of us to stop and consider whether or not we have become so busy and distracted that we are not loving God and others as we should. If that is the case, Jesus gives the remedy. Repent!
– Terry A. Morrison