Let’s have a look at the church at Ephesus in Revelation 2:1-7.
- The main problem with the church was a relationship problem (see vv4-5a). They had abandoned their first love. He who should have been close was distant. There was estrangement.
- As a result there is the threat of the church being removed (see v5b).
- The church was a faithful and zealous church. In vv2-3 and v6 you can discern how they were hard working, doctrinally sound and faithfully continuing. And yet, if the relationship with the Lord was not sorted out, it would have been removed.
- Repentance would lead to a restoration of relationship. It would lead to a participating in the tree of life in the paradise of God (see v7). This reminds us of the perfect conditions which prevailed for Adam and Eve before the fall. Alas on account of their sin, they were banished from this privileged environment (see Gen. 2:22-24). This banishment was consequent upon the severed relationship with God.
- In Genesis 3:8, immediately after the fall, we see the Lord walking in the garden. This was with a view to enjoying fellowship with Adam and Eve. Alas sin meant that Adam and Eve distanced themselves and could not share it with him. This has many reverberations as regard to what was happening with the Ephesian church.
- In Revelation 2:1 the Lord is walking in the midst of the candlesticks which are understood to be churches (see Rev. 1:20). We normally assume that he was walking in order to observe the churches and analyse their condition. However, I suggest He was walking, as per Genesis 3, to seek relationship with the churches. He desires fellowship with His professing people.
- The stars are in the right hand of the one who is walking in the midst of the churches. The stars are the messengers of the churches (see Rev. 1:20); most likely referring to the one(s) with the primary responsibility for bringing the Word into the church.
- This means that the preachers / pastors are always in the hand of the one who is walking among the churches in order to seek relationship with them. Hence, our message should be relentlessly a message formed around that of relationship. We must be grace in Christ through His cross, preachers.