Mar 5, 2009

Devotional - Backsliding - 2

Rev 2:4  Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. 
Rev 2:5  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. 
Rev 2:6  But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitanes, which I also hate. 
Rev 2:7  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. 

Backsliding is leaving the first love. 
Nevertheless. After these words of promise a stain on the garments of the church is pointed out. 

Thou hast left thy first love. They have not maintained the ardor and devotion of the love of their earlier history. Nothing but the fervent love of the Bride can satisfy the Bridegroom. This change shows that many years must have passed since the last communication of Paul to the Ephesian church. 

Remember . . . from whence thou art fallen. Note what this exhortation includes: 1. They had been at a height of excellence. 2. They had fallen from that height; there had been a spiritual declension. 3. 

Repent. The comparison and its proof that they were retrograding should bring repentance. 4. 

Do the first works. There must be the first love, and the fruits of that love in a renewal of their first works. Unless this is done Christ will come. Not in person, but in providence and judgments. The church with a waning love will be repudiated. 

Will remove thy candlestick. "Thy" refers to the Angel of the church through whom the address is made. To remove the candlestick would be to suffer the church to cease to exist. How signally this has been fulfilled in the case of Ephesus is seen in the fact that not one vestige of the church remains, and of the city itself naught but mouldering ruins. What concerns us, however, is that this warning is addressed to every church which has lost its first love. Unless it repents, and does its first works, its candlestick will finally be removed from its place. 

But this thou hast. There is another ground of commendation. They hate the deeds of the Nicolaitanes. Opinions are not agreed concerning this sect, but it is probable that the followers of a Nicolaus are meant who taught that Christian liberty meant license to commit sensual sins. 

He that hath an ear. The call to solemn attention found at the close of each epistle. 

To him that overcometh. The Christian life is a battle and must also be a victory. The Greek word rendered "overcome," is peculiar to John. It occurs once in his Gospel, six times in his epistles, and sixteen times in Revelation, but only "three" times in all the rest of the New Testament. 

To eat of the tree of life. The symbol of eternal life. The tree is seen in Eden (Gen_2:9; Gen_3:22), here, and in the New Jerusalem (Rev_22:2). 

Paradise of God. Since the tree of life is found in both, Paradise and the New Jerusalem must mean the same. Paul uses the term as a synonym of the "Third Heaven," or Heaven itself (2Co_12:2-4).