We do not find any reference to the active energy and power of the Holy Spirit to produce blessing in any of the seven messages to the churches. In the course of the messages we do not even find the Son of Man giving grace to the church world, as in, ‘My grace is sufficient for you’. The messages are judgments of man’s efforts and works in responsibility before God. They are not the assessment of God’s efforts or sovereign work. The Son of Man is looking at the candlesticks that are on earth, and He is judging the form and condition of the professing church. Ephesus, the first church in the series, is the representation of the condition of the entire church world soon after the life of John. This is a time following Pentecost and its original blessings. It is the time after apostolic order and power in the early church.
The Active Energy of the Holy Spirit
It is not that there weren’t any issues to be sorted out in the early church. But it was a time in which the power of the Holy Spirit was active – Peter is delivered from the hands of Herod, and Paul and Silas set free from prison in Philippi (Acts 16:26). Philip is performing miracles in Samaria and later is translated from one place to another (Acts 8:5-6, 39). The energy of the Holy Spirit is found in audible messages in a number of instances (Acts 8:29, 10:19), as well as in visions, dreams, and detailed prophecies. There was also apostolic order through the Holy Spirit in Peter’s dealing with Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5:1-10). Apostolic authority is shown in Paul’s ministry, especially in His dealings with the Corinthian church. The signs of an apostle were evident during the time of the early church (I Cor. 2:4, II Cor. 12:11-12).
The dynamics of this time are aptly described in the book of Acts by a Pharisee named Gamaliel, when the apostles were brought before the Jewish council:
(34) “Then one in the council stood up, a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law held in respect by all the people, and commanded them to put the apostles outside for a little while. (35) And he said to them: “Men of Israel, take heed to yourselves what you intend to do regarding these men. (36) For some time ago Theudas rose up, claiming to be somebody. A number of men, about four hundred, joined him. He was slain, and all who obeyed him were scattered and came to nothing. (37) After this man, Judas of Galilee rose up in the days of the census, and drew away many people after him. He also perished, and all who obeyed him were dispersed. (38) And now I say to you, keep away from these men and let them alone; for if this plan or this work is of men, it will come to nothing; (39) but if it is of God, you cannot overthrow it—lest you even be found to fight against God.”
Ephesus: the Time after the Apostles
The church was started by the sovereign grace and work of God. The active energy of the Holy Spirit was present, as well as apostolic power. “And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.” (Acts 2:47) It was not a work of man in responsibility, but the outward manifestations of the Holy Spirit sent down to the earth to establish the beginnings of the church. By the grace and power of God a sure foundation was laid for the building of God (I Cor. 3:10). Now the time of the apostles was ending, and Ephesus, the first of the seven churches, represents this time. This is definitely the occasion when another man builds on the foundation in human responsibility. “But let each one take heed how he builds on it.”
What could be expected in the church world after the apostles were gone? This passage spoken by Paul to the Ephesian elders seems unusually appropriate:
“For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves.”
The candlesticks represent the corporate responsibility of the professing church. Even though John saw seven in his vision, symbolically it is only one candlestick seen seven times. We are looking at seven periods of time and/or distinct characters of Christendom on the earth. Ephesus is the first period of time. And I continue to use the phrase ‘on the earth’ because that is where responsibility is looked at and judged, and that is where the vision takes place.
“To the angel of the church of Ephesus write,
“These things says He who holds the seven stars in His right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands: (2) “I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars; (3) and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary. (4) Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. (5) Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent. (6) But this you have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.
(7) “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.”’
Ephesus: the removal of the Candlestick is threatened
The character of Christ to Ephesus is one in which He exercises judgment. In a sense I believe this character is applied to all seven churches in a general way, for He is walking in the midst of all seven candlesticks. I believe this is true also because this is the only church of the seven for which the candlestick is specifically mention in the message. This is not the presentation of a specific ecclesiastical character for the needs of Ephesus, but the general statement that Christ is judge of Christendom from beginning to end.
The Son of Man threatens Ephesus with the removal of their candlestick if they do not repent. The threat is to the professing church as a whole. The candlestick belongs to Christendom. If the candlestick is removed, it would mean the corporate body is no longer an acceptable testimony to the truth of God and the glory of Christ on the earth. So there are a few thoughts from the outset to keep in mind:
- For Ephesus, He begins to walk in the midst of the candlesticks, which is slightly different than the wording from chapter one (Rev. 1:12-13). With Ephesus the Son of Man is beginning to exercise His judgment of the responsibility of the professing church.
- The removal of the candlestick is when the corporate body of professing Christianity is no longer a legitimate witness and testimony for God on the earth. This is when Christendom no longer properly shines as a light to this dark world. In the reality of the seven churches, this occurs with either Thyatira or Laodicea, or both. But its removal is what is threatened with Ephesus as the first church.
- Unless there was repentance of the entire corporate body of Christianity, there would be the removal of the candlestick. Ephesus did not repent. Neither did the following two. By the fourth church this command to repent and return from where you have fallen is no longer entertained as a possibility for the corporate body by the Lord.
The Son of Man as Judge
He walks among the candlesticks in the character of the Judge, clothed with a garment down to His feet and girded about the chest with a golden band (Rev. 1:13). This is in contrast to His previous character as High Priest for the church, in which His loins would be girded about, and He would be washing our feet as a servant. As High Priest for the believer He removes all defilement and impurities from us resulting from our walk in this world (John 13:1-7, Heb. 4:14-16). But walking among the candlesticks the Son of Man’s garment is girded about the chest with a golden band representing divine righteousness in judgment. It was to the Son of God as the Son of Man that the Father has committed the right to all judgment (John 5:26-27). He is here to see if the church world has an answer for the grace previously received, the sovereign work of the Holy Spirit. Holding the stars, He is the One with all power and authority in heaven and on earth (Matt. 28:18). Is the light from the candlestick burning bright?
The Son of Man is not blind to the good qualities and work that He finds (Rev. 2:2-3) and is quick to emphasize these good things. The professing church at this time would not allow evil to take up residence within, even testing all who say they are ministers of God. He finds much that is acceptable, “I know your works, your labor, your patience…” Where He can find some good He always takes notice of it and encourage it. But the paramount question is what is the source and root of the labor? Is it still love for Jesus Christ? Is this a work springing forth from their love of the Lord, or has it become a labor in His name only?
The apostle Paul, writing to the Thessalonians, is continually reminded of their ‘work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ…’ (I Thess. 1:3) In the time of Ephesus the Lord finds works, labor, and patience, but it is no longer a work of faith, a labor of love, and a patience of hope in Christ Jesus. They had left their first love.
Ephesus: the Professing Church has lost its First Love
We must remember these are questions being asked of the corporate entity, and that the individual is not being addressed. Has professing Christianity, as a whole, lost its first love? Has Christendom already decayed from the original position of the church? Has the candlestick dimmed from the amount of light it was given in its first position of blessing?
The question of our love for Jesus has to be viewed in the light of His love for us. Our love is in reciprocation to His love shown first. “We love Him because He first loved us.” (I John 4:19) The question of the love of the corporate body for Him must be a reflection back to Him based on His love for the church, as a corporate entity.
“…just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, (26) that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word,(27) that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.”
“And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.”
His love for the church went beyond death. Christ was the One who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to change His state, but made Himself of no reputation, taking on the form of a servant, the likeness of sinful man (Phil. 2:5-8). He bore our sins and was made sin for us. The condemnation and wrath that we deserved was placed on Him. In the plan of God and in doing the will of God, He became obedient unto death, the death of the cross. He went down under death to deliver us from all the power of the enemy, and to release us, who through fear of death were all our lifetimes subject to bondage (Heb. 2:14-15). In order to bring many brethren to heavenly glory, it was fitting for Him, as the author of our salvation, to be made perfect through sufferings (Heb. 2:9-11). And now we have this:
“For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church.”
There is no question concerning the Lord’s love for the church. It will never waver or diminish. This would be impossible. But can He be satisfied without the return of the Bride’s love to Him? Isn’t it true that only the response of love can satisfy the love first given? It does not matter what the professing church accomplishes in work and labor, if love for Christ Himself is not the motivation. Many great things done in the name of Christ would be judged wood, hay, and stubble if the true intentions and motives were known. He is the Word of God, the discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart, and there is nothing hidden from His sight (Heb. 4:12-13). Having loved the church and given Himself for it, He desires her love in return. Any Bridegroom would have such an expectation of His betrothed. If there is no love for Him, it doesn’t matter what we are doing. It is as a sounding brass or clanging symbol (I Cor. 13:1-3).
Ephesus: Christendom has left its First Position
There should be no question in any believer’s mind that the professing church has lost its first love (Rev. 2:4). Christendom has left its first position of blessing. This constitutes decline and decay from its original state. The corporate body as a whole is not willing to remember from where it has fallen (Rev. 2:5). This is not a call for individuals to repent. It was the entire church world that was called on to repent and return to its first position. But professing Christianity would not and did not. It slowly became more interested in its own earthly glory than showing forth the glory of its missing Head in heaven. It would soon, as a corporate entity, start gathering earthly riches rather than laying up treasure in the heavens. The candlestick of witness and testimony for Christendom was destined to be removed, even from its beginning in Ephesus.
The feebleness of the church world’s love for the One it professes is the first principle of failure of man in responsibility to God. The beginning of decline and decay in Ephesus would certainly lead to the predicted apostasy of the church world (II Thess. 2:3, I Tim. 4:1-3, II Tim. 4:3-4). When asked to ‘do the first works’ it is the Lord wanting to bring them back to their point of departure. Yet professing Christianity was heading in a certain direction, and even the exhortations of her Lord would not change her course. Decline and decay had set in. Apostasy would follow.
The Work of God – the Work of Man
Can Christendom be restored? When we understand the spiritual and moral impact of the seven messages, we realize that the possibility of restoration has long passed. Can the church world experience Pentecostal power and blessings again? Once more, according to the Son of Man’s messages, this is foolish and pretentious thinking. It is the blindness of Laodicea, the refusal to see as God sees (Rev. 3:17), and ultimately declining to agree with Him.
There is an urgent need today for spiritual wisdom and discernment concerning the differences that exist between the work of God and the work of man. Because the Arminian and Judaizing leaven has so saturated Christendom today, it is almost impossible for the majority of Christianity to see any distinction. We said before that the work of God is what cannot fail. The work of man always does. The work that God does is eternal. The work that man does will pass away. The work of God will serve to glorify only Him. The work of man gives man a reason to boast. I pray that every believer will be able to see these differences. The Scriptures make these distinctions abundantly clear. But the leaven the church world has embraced exalts man, in human effort and human accomplishment, whatever it may be. We no longer accept the clear distinctions the Scriptures establish between the two. Men have to water down the truth of Scripture because it is so condemning of man’s work.
Often our human thoughts are that we are doing the work of God. This is quite a presumption for anyone to make. Yet the leaven demands of us that we mix it up this way – the work of God ‘depends’ on man doing it. We are always doing something. What we can say about the church world is that it is always doing something. We would like to think it is the work of God. When God created the heavens and the earth, it was the work of God. In other words, the work of God was done by God. That is what makes it the work of God. And that is why He alone receives all the glory. He did not need man to do it. He did not ‘depend’ on man.
But you may say that God does depend on man for His will to be done. You may say that, at this time, God has chosen to become dependent on man to do His work. Do you really want to say that? Do you really want to teach that? Do you want to say that God is dependent on man for anything? Can the Creator become dependent on the created? Can He do this and still remain God? If you reason this way, then you do not know God. You do not know who God is, and what God is.
You may say God depends on us to preach the gospel. I agree that God has given the church the gospel, and has privileged us to be used as instruments of His grace to sinners. The preaching of the gospel is the common way God works in salvation. But if it severs His purposes, He will knock a man down on the road to Damascus and save him, and do it all without man’s preaching. This is the work of God, and it is God who does it. Whether it is by preaching or not, it is God working if a man is saved. Why? It is eternal life that is given to man. Only the work of God is eternal.
The corrupting leaven of human achievement has Christianity thinking and teaching that God truly needs our help or His plan is lost. Can the prophetic Scriptures be that unstable? No they are not! Prophecy is the infallible Word of God that cannot return to Him void, but will accomplish exactly His purposes (Is. 55:10-11). And for that very reason, prophecy – future things – cannot be, in any way, dependent on the responsibility of man.
What I see in prophecy is the ‘times of the Gentiles’ which involves Nebuchadnezzar’s great image in his dream and the four beast world empires seen in Daniel’s dream (Dan. 2:31-33, 7:2-7). Again, the coming of Christianity or the preaching of the gospel never changes the character of the four beasts. And what is it that destroys the great Gentile image? Is it the preaching of the Christian gospel? Rather, it is the stone made without hands, the coming of the Son of Man, which destroys the statue, grinds it into chaff, and then grows and fills the whole earth as the kingdom of the Son of Man (Dan. 2:34-35).
The corrupting leaven has Christians thinking that God places another person’s eternal destiny in their hands, dependent on their actions and works in responsibility. There isn’t another thought in Christian teaching that is more self-exalting in pride than this. But this simply is not true. The history of man in the Scriptures proves that man, in his responsibility, is always a failure. God would never base someone’s, no, anyone’s salvation on a principle that is destined to fail. It is God who gives eternal life, and He quickens whom He wills (John 5:21, 24-26, 17: 2-3). And when He does so, it is His work, and no one can snatch them out of His hand (John 10:28-29, 6:37-39).
The Sovereign Work of God
Creation was the sovereign work of God. The cross of Jesus Christ was the sovereign work of God. The Holy Spirit sent down at Pentecost was the sovereign work of God. Every sinner saved is the new creation of God, born of God, and the sovereign workmanship of God created in Christ Jesus (II Cor. 5:17, John 1:12-13, Eph. 2:10). The enlightenment of the Reformation was the sovereign work of God. The rapture of the church, her blessed hope, will be the sovereign work of God, the power of God by resurrection and change. When Satan is removed from the heavens and cast down to the earth, it will be the sovereign work of God. When he is bound in chains in the bottomless pit, and the Antichrist and Roman beast cast into the lake of fire, it will be the sovereign work of God. When all Christ’s enemies are destroyed by the sword out of His mouth, this too will be the sovereign work of God. Daniel’s interpretation of the king’s dream refers to this as ‘the stone made without hands’ coming out of heaven to strike the feet of the great Gentile image – ‘without hands’ means divine sovereign power as the source or agent.
Israel saved and protected as a remnant during the tribulation is the sovereign work of God’s choice and providential power. Israel restored in the land during the coming millennium, there doing all God’s law in obedience, is another example of the sovereign grace and power of God – He writes His law on their minds and hearts, so they will do it and be the most blessed nation on the face of the earth (Deut. 28:1-13). The point is: God does His work, and He never becomes dependent on man. Also, the candlesticks are not His sovereign work, but rather the works of man in the professing church. The candlesticks are being judged by God. If they actually represented God’s work, He would not be judging them.
The Question of Evil Within
“…you cannot bear those that are evil.” (Rev. 2:2) The church was to be the manifestation of the power of God in goodness and truth in the midst of this evil world. In the professing church the conflict with evil would be within the corporate body. Early on Satan was allowed to come in and sow tares. The corruption and evil is there. It came in through the failure of men in responsibility (Matt. 13:25). The evil grows like weeds until it dominates the crop. This thing is spoiled, it is in ruin. Ephesus may have been a time when the evil wasn’t tolerated, but they had left their first love. Where there is decline and decay, there will always be the question of whether there is evil within. Eventually Christendom became comfortable with the corruption – it was even profitable in a worldly way for the church to embrace it.
“…you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.” (Rev. 2:6) This involved a doctrine of outright evil acts in the name of Christ and in a false character of grace. It was connecting fleshliness with spirituality, and that Christians were released by grace from obeying moral law. It was a joining of Christ with evil. We are permitted to hate what Christ hates. We should always oppose what Christ opposes.
The Paradise of God
At the end of His message to Ephesus He speaks directly to the true believer – the overcomer. The promise He gives to the individual believer is that he will eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God (Rev. 2:7). This is not the paradise in which God came down to visit man, to see what man was doing, and found sin. In that paradise man was thrown out. It was ruined by the sin of man. Rather what is promised is the paradise that God has made for Himself – God’s rest, and God’s heavenly glory. This is where the tree of life is – in God’s paradise. By virtue of the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, God will take every believer there, to go out no more (Rev. 3:12). God does not swear in His wrath that the redeemed shall not enter His rest. It is to the redeemed it remains that they will enter in (Heb. 4:1, 6, 9-11). These are the justified in Christ, who no longer fall short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23-24).
In God’s paradise there are not two trees. Man gained the knowledge of good and evil in the garden, but this was through disobedience and under the mastery of sin. By our redemption in Christ we now possess a purged, sanctified, and perfect conscience – it is part of our redeemed nature (Heb. 9:9, 14, 10:1-2, 14). But while we are still on this earth, the principle of sin resides in the flesh. When we are brought to the paradise of God, sin will, of necessity, have been removed from our flesh, our bodies glorified. There we will possess the knowledge of good and evil according to the holiness of God. This being established, there is but one tree for the redeemed in the paradise of God – the tree of the life of God (Rev. 2:7). Man has had enough of the other tree.
Further, the paradise of God is not on the earth. The rest of God is not the millennium on earth. The millennium is the reign and kingdom of the Son of Man over the earth. But all that remains on the earth during that time in still man in Adam, man in the flesh, with the principle of sin in the flesh. And God’s rest and paradise will never be where sin is present. During the millennium the glorified church will be in the kingdom of their Father in the heavens (Matt. 13:43).
In summary, what are the principles that are settled in Ephesus?
- The assembly in this world and on this earth is subject to the judgment of God. Jesus would examine its whole existence and place before God as light-bearer in the world.
- God would set the professing church aside on earth. He would remove its candlestick if it departs from its first spiritual energy and position in blessing.
God had placed the assembly (church) to be a true witness of what He had manifested in Jesus Christ, and what the Son of Man is when He is exalted on high. If it did not witness this, then the professing church is a false witness, and must be set aside. God may have patience and has shown tremendous patience with the corporate assembly. He may propose she return to her first love, and He does this. But if there is no return of the corporate assembly, the candlestick is removed, and Christendom ceases to be God’s light-bearer to the world. The first estate must be maintained, or God’s glory and His truth are falsified.
Ephesus had maintained consistency. Christ approved of that and He encourages her by showing His approval. But she could not forget herself and think only of Christ, which should always be the first results of receiving grace. The first fruits were gone. There were works of labor and patience, but missing were faith, hope, and love – all to be in and of Christ. There was good to be commended, but still they had lost their first love. The assembly had fallen. The Son of Man asked the professing church to repent and return to its first position, to do its first works. This the corporate body, as a whole, would not do. The Gentiles grafted in by faith, have not continued in the goodness of God (Rom. 11:21-22).
The epistle to the Ephesian church represents the knowledge and intelligence of the body of Christ concerning the revealed counsels of God towards her (Eph. 1:3-12). The book of the Ephesians represents the expression of what the assembly of God was as originally established by God (Eph. 1:22-23, 2:11-22). It is ironic that the first decline and failure of the professing church is pictured in Scripture as the church of Ephesus.
The Ephesus of Paul’s time is not the Ephesus that existed when John was on Patmos. The Ephesus of John’s time becomes the demonstration on earth of the decay and decline of the professing assembly. God would eventually remove her candlestick. His patience would be shown towards the assembly as He had shown it in His longsuffering with Israel. The assembly would not maintain the testimony of God in the world any better than Israel had. The professing church eventually would cease to be a valid witness for God on the earth.
However, grace will always sustain the individual believer, even when the corporate body goes down in failure – in all seven messages there are promises ‘to him who overcomes’. But a warning is in order here. Even though the believer is the workmanship of God, created in Christ Jesus and preserved in sovereign grace, he has responsibility to acknowledge evil and turn from it. The believer cannot be justified in simply sailing along in the stream of corporate corruption and failure in professing Christianity, just armed with the excuse that this is all there is, and there is nothing better to do. That is not the true believer ‘having ears to hear’ or ‘overcoming by our faith’.
From the very first, judgment is pronounced on the church world. What proceeds from Ephesus are the differing states and conditions the professing church passes through to arrive at that judgment. The candlestick will be removed (Rev. 2:5).
Chapter 6: Endnotes
 In Rev. 1:10-13 Jesus Christ, the Son of Man is seen in the midst of the seven candlesticks and holding the seven stars in the power of His right hand. He is the One who lit the light of the candlesticks on the earth. He did so by sovereign grace and blessing, and as we have previously said, the house of God on the earth – the habitation of God in the Spirit – was begun as a sovereign work of God in original blessing. This was the power and energy of the Holy Spirit in the early church and apostolic power and order. The candlestick was originally lit by the Son of Man.
The character of Christ presented in the message to Ephesus is slightly different than what was found in chapter one. Here He is walking in the midst of the candlesticks (Rev. 2:1). This serves to bring out some subtle points in the use of the allegories. The candlesticks are the responsibility of the church world to be a light and testimony for God in this evil and dark world. His ‘walking’ in their midst also shows that responsibility is what is being judged. The professing church has a ‘walk’ in the wilderness of this world. It is a walk by faith (II Cor. 5:7). We are to walk as He walked (I John 2:6). Its ‘walk’ is the professing church’s responsibility. The Son of Man is the Judge, and by walking in the midst of the candlesticks, He is beginning His judgments of the responsibility of the corporate body.
His walking in their midst also shows that the candlesticks are not a part of Him, that He is separate from them. He was responsible for lighting them in sovereign grace, but now responsibility has been turned over to man. But the candlesticks are not ‘in Him’. All the wonderful truths and blessings concerning the believer/church are by sovereign grace found ‘in Christ’ and ‘in Him’. But the candlesticks – the responsibility of professing Christianity – are definitely not a part of Him or His sovereign work. The responsibility of man is the works of man, and this is what He judges.
 The threat of the removal of the candlestick of the professing church is in the first message! The temptation is to look at Ephesus and ask, “What more can the Lord want or expect?” If we have this thought at all, we entirely miss the soberness and seriousness of what is being said. What the eye of faith sees in the professing church at this time is decline, decay, and failure – the root and beginning of apostasy. Will we have the ears of faith to hear what the Spirit is actually judging concerning Christendom? Listed below are the negative implications from the message to Ephesus:
· The implication is that in the professing church there may be evil already within.
· The implication is that there is falseness in ministry in the professing church already to contend with.
· The accusation is that the professing church has left its first love – the first principle of failure.
· The accusation is that the professing church has fallen, and that the corporate entity is asked to repent and return to its first position of blessing.
· The threat is made of removal of the candlestick of professing Christianity, if the corporate entity does not repent.
· The evil doctrine of the Nicolaitans is mentioned in connection with the professing church. By the third church (Pergamos) this appalling doctrine was now welcomed within the church world (Rev. 2:15).
 Even though we know the messages were spoken by the Son of Man to the corporate entity of Christendom as a whole, and it is the external body being told to repent, it does not prohibit the individual believer from profiting from the moral content of the messages. We will find that the Lord deals with the individual in the same way that He does with the professing church. He takes notice of any departure of the individual believer from their first love. His desire is to have you as His own, and that your love for Him to be genuine, the reciprocal of His love for you. It will not be in the perfection of His love for you, but the affections for Him and the desires to be with Him must be present and growing. If they are not acceptable He will point this out to you: “Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love.” The individual’s ability and opportunity to repent is also more simplified than the same for the corporate entity. When Christ asked Ephesus to repent, He was not speaking to the individual. Applying the message and the need for repentance to the individual, however, is an easier task.