"Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love" (Revelation 2:4).
Can a church be highly successful and fallen at the same time? The church at Ephesus was just that. This church, which was one of seven mentioned in Revelation 2 and 3, had many wonderful characteristics. For example, they were a working church. "I know thy works, and thy labor" (v. 2). They were also a church that exemplified patience in the face of difficult trials and persecutions. "I know . . . thy patience . . . and hast borne, and hast patience . . . and hast not fainted" (vv. 2-3). They also took a strong stand against doctrinal error and false teachers. "Thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars" (v. 2). They wanted no growth at the expense of holiness in the area of sound doctrine. All of this was done in the defense of the name of Christ. "For my name's sake hast labored" (v. 3). Yet they were "fallen" (v. 5).
This fallen condition was so serious that the Lord instructs them to "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" (v. 5).
What caused this fallen condition? "Thou hast left thy first love" (v. 4). They had a heart departure from the Lord Jesus Christ. They were out of fellowship with the One they so strongly defended. Gradual coldness had crept in; fervent love for Christ had been abandoned. The only answer to this serious dilemma was to "Repent, and do the first works" (v. 5). Works that came from a heart deeply in love with Christ.
In the eyes of man the church at Ephesus was a highly successful one, but in the eyes of God they were fallen! NPS