“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.”
King James Version (KJV)
2:5 It is not possible for any to recover the first love, but by taking these three steps, 1. Remember: 2. Repent: 3. Do the first works. Remember from whence thou art fallen - From what degree of faith, love, holiness, though perhaps insensibly. And repent - Which in the very lowest sense implies a deep and lively conviction of thy fall. Of the seven angels, two, at Ephesus and at Pergamos, were in a mixed state; two, at Sardis and at Laodicea, were greatly corrupted: all these are exhorted to repent; as are the followers of Jezebel at Thyatira: two, at Smyrna and Philadelphia, were in a flourishing state, and are therefore only exhorted to steadfastness. There can be no state, either of any pastor, church, or single person, which has not here suitable instructions. All, whether ministers or hearers, together with their secret or open enemies, in all places and all ages, may draw hence necessary self - knowledge, reproof, commendation, warning, or confirmation. Whether any be as dead as the angel at Sardis, or as much alive as the angel at Philadelphia, this book is sent to him, and the Lord Jesus hath something to say to him therein. For the seven churches with their angels represent the whole Christian church, dispersed throughout the whole world, as it subsists, not, as some have imagined, in one age after another, but in every age. This is a point of deep importance, and always necessary to be remembered: that these seven churches are, as it were, a sample of the whole church of Christ, as it was then, as it is now, and as it will be in all ages. Do the first works - Outwardly and inwardly, or thou canst never regain the first love. But if not - By this word is the warning sharpened to those five churches which are called to repent; for if Ephesus was threatened, how much more shall Sardis and Laodicea be afraid! And according as they obey the call or not, there is a promise or a threatening, #Rev 2:5|,16,22; #Rev 3:3|,20. But even in the threatening the promise is implied, in case of true repentance. I come to thee, and will remove thy candlestick out of its place - I will remove, unless thou repent, the flock now under thy care to another place, where they shall be better taken care of. But from the flourishing state of the church of Ephesus after this, there is reason to believe he did repent.
Re 2:5 Remember, etc. Note what this exhortation includes: (1) From which. They had been at a height of excellence. (2) Thou hast fallen. 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. I will come. 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 lampstand 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 moldering 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 lampstand will finally be removed from its place.