"On the Lord's Day I was in the Spirit, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet, which said: "Write on a scroll what you see and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea." (Revelation 1:10-11 NIV)
John, one of the first Christians had come to Patmos to bear witness to Jesus and there he meets his risen Lord in a vision. Jesus tells him that he should not be afraid, and encourages him to write a message to the seven churches. The messages were designed for each assembly’s special problems and circumstances. There are different interpretations of how these messages should be understood, however, as with the Bible in its entirety, these messages will only be made alive by the Holy Spirit's enlightenment. Sometimes they have been interpreted as a description of the various historical stages of the Church. Sometimes they have been understood as addressing certain churches struggling with various problems in the present. Above all the messages concern the individual, and the conditions that you and I may end up in.
John´s assignment was 1) to describe the problem, 2) to show what the situation should be and 3) to tell how the reward looks like for those who are victorious over the problems.
In Ephesus the problem was that the church had lost its first love. "Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. Remember the height from which you have fallen! But I have against you, that you have forsaken your first love. Think about where you've fallen, and repent and do the same actions as before." (Rev. 2:4-5)
God knew about all the good people of Ephesus still made and he commended them for being resilient and for having withstood much for Jesus' sake. But the motivation, the love of God and men, no longer existed.
The promise to those who turn back and again let their lives be guided by the divine love, is that they will eat of the tree of life - the tree that provides eternal life.
Lord, if my love has grown cold, I want to come close to You, so close that You can reach me with your Love and light me anew.