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Addresses on the Seven Churches: 1: Ephesus

By G.V. Wigram


      REVELATION 2: 1-7.

      *This lecture, as well as one or two others, is very imperfectly reported. But though fragmentary, they have their special value, and are given to complete the series. -- ED.

      CHRIST sympathizes with God as well as with us; therefore He judges us according to the blessing He has bestowed on us. If Christ is the High Priest to maintain our access, etc., He opens the "thoughts and intents of the heart." (Heb. 4) So here Christ has done great things for this Church, and is looking for some suitable response that God can see in her. Sympathy and warning are always associated. It is because He loves that He comes to search. He must, on the very ground of love to me, search my works now. If Christ's love is perfect towards me, He desires that when I come face to face with God, He should find my works perfect before Him; that is, walking before Him according to certain traits of character. The things done are not so important before God as the formation of character. Many things He has to repress, and one object of Christ in searching and trying is to prove His own work in us to God.

      A candlestick is the medium of giving light in testimony, and it always has reference to Christ. He holds it in His hand. There is no real fruit but that which is from the tree; and there is no real light but what comes from Christ the Life. Whatever was given from Christ when here, as the Light, was always in the power of life. The light is in "earthen vessels" with us. There is no light at all in the old nature, but the new nature is the medium of testimony; Christ's nearness and Christ's upholdings are essential to testimony. Approval first, and then reproof here; man takes knowledge of works, God takes knowledge of growth as well as works. He expects us to walk with Him according to the light given. Here were works in the midst of an evil world, and in the midst of difficulty, patience, hating evil, etc., are taken knowledge of by God. There is a double meaning in coming here with praise. It is not only individual, but He is coming to see what the effect of the light is in association with Himself, and this is to be manifested to God. Trial brings out the proof of what Christ has wrought in a soul to God, and this is sometimes the reason of trial being sent. "The Lord knoweth" means, not only being cognizant, but approval. Christ has sown much, and He expects much; He loved much, and He looked for much in return for that love. "I do see a reflection of my love in their hearts, but not equal to the measure I have spent on them." "Thou hast lost thy first love." This is not so much that the object was changed, not so much singleness of motive lacking as purity of spirit in acting. Rev. 2: 5. There is a difference between dealing with a people in flesh and in Spirit -- His dealings with Israel, and here in Revelation. There it was through the outer man here through the inner man. Confession is to be made, but upon a different principle. We have to separate between what is flesh and what is Spirit. Truth nourishes the inner man.

      Rev. 2: 7. There is a double contrast in this promise to what man had at the beginning. First, man was shut out from it. Second, that was the paradise of man; this is the paradise of God. We have it in Him (by faith) who has overcome. We have not got it literally yet, because in these bodies of sin and death. There is a glory proper to the last Adam. Eating of the "tree of life" has nothing to do with fixity of state, but it is having direct access to the person of Christ, in whom I now know that I have eternal life. He will be the centre of a sphere, including the heavenly and earthly. We shall be where He is, and shall have unhindered access to Him out of whom all that scene has flowed. We shall have access to (though we shall never fathom) all the divine glories and relationships between Christ and the Father -- all the fields will be open to us. The chief delight of all will be in seeing how Christ is honoured. The power of victory is in going after Christ. "This is the victory that overcometh the world, even your faith." Christ is the centre and power of testimony. He says, "I know and see each one of you, and I would cheer you up with the thought of what is mine to give in that scene which is preparing, which you shall have as overcomers." It is a solemn thought that God does care for testimony. He that hath an ear, let him hear."

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See Also:
   Addresses on the Seven Churches: Introduction
   Addresses on the Seven Churches: 1: Ephesus
   Addresses on the Seven Churches: 2: Smyrna
   Addresses on the Seven Churches: 3: Pergamos
   Addresses on the Seven Churches: 4: Thyatira
   Addresses on the Seven Churches: 5: Sardis
   Addresses on the Seven Churches: 6: Philadelphia Lecture 1
   Addresses on the Seven Churches: 7: Philadelphia Lecture 2
   Addresses on the Seven Churches: 8: Philadelphia Lecture 3
   Addresses on the Seven Churches: 9: Laodicea

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