Summary of passage: John addressed the church in Ephesus and its angel (or messenger or priest or church). Jesus says he knows of the church’s hard work and how they have tested false prophets and endured hardships. Yet, they have abandoned him and need to repent or face the consequences. To those who hear him and overcome, they will receive the tree of life or the paradise of God.
7) The people have forsaken Jesus. They are not repenting of their sins.
8a) By doing things Jesus wouldn’t do and going against his will. By being selfish, prideful, sinful. By kicking God out of the center of your life and putting another idol there instead. By not loving others.
b) Personal Question. My answer: Walk in Jesus’ ways. Know God’s word. Obey Him. Share the gospel. Do what Jesus would do.
9) Part personal Question. My answer: Repent means to turn away from sin and turn towards making changes in your life. It’s a heart transformation and an honest effort to change. My words. My actions. My selfishness.
10a) In Genesis, the tree is an actual tree that grew and bore fruit. In Revelation, Jesus in our tree of life and in him lies our fruit. Jesus is our life. The tree in the Garden was man’s death. Believing in Jesus gives us life.
b) Part personal question. My answer: All we must do is believe in Jesus to have life and live in Paradise with God. It is hope defined. To walk with God. Forever. There is no greater hope.
Conclusions: I liked the comparison of the trees. So simple. Even for Adam and Eve it was simple. I think that’s why we fail all the time. It’s so simple it’s hard for us to believe it. We always think there’s a catch. But there’s not. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. Period.
End Notes: This is commentary on verses 4-7. See Yesterday’s POST for commentary for verses 1-3.
Forsaken means abandon–a deliberate act. The church hasn’t “lost” love. It has turned away from it.
What “love” is this? The love of Jesus or the love of people? Probably both here. We must do both. It’s easy to get caught up in the “doing” rather than the “loving”.
The first step is to always remember. Then the next verb (an action of doing) is to repent–turn away from what you are doing and go a different path. Then do the things you did at first (study God’s word, pray, evangelize, spend time with other Christians and others).
If they do not repent, Jesus will leave (“remove your lamp stand”). Immediate judgment.
Not much is known of the Nicolaitans (mentioned again in Rev 2:15). Some scholars say they were followers of Nicholas who was ordained by the apostles and who believed in revelry, adultery, and indulgence to the extreme. Other scholars say they were more gnostics who believed a physical body was intrinsically evil and denied the fact a pure, omnipotent God would take such a form. Hence, some claimed Jesus was a phantom or that God left Jesus before he was crucified. The Greek root words of Nicolaitan means “to conquer the people.”
What’s important here is this: Jesus HATED their practice. The Son of Man who was pure love hates. That in and of itself should tell us they were sinful people to the extreme–enough to be mentioned twice by Jesus. Not good. Not good at all.
This message is for us (to all who have an ear) who will overcome sin and coldness and have his heart. Reward? Heaven. The tree of life refers to Eden–Paradise. Where God lives. Paradise originally meant garden of delight. Now it means where God lives. God is paradise. In eschatology and in Revelation paradise is where God and believers are restored to the perfect fellowship that existed before sin entered the world.
“He who has an ear let him hear”. This appears in every letter (2:7, 11, 17, 29; 3:6, 13, 22). A challenge to take to heart what Jesus is saying.
“To the one who overcomes”. This appears in every letter (2:7, 11, 17, 26; 3:5, 12, 21). A challenge to be victorious over evil.