bible study devotion

Rekindle your first love: devotion

Dr. Andrew C S Koh

mock up image of a book cover


Revelation 2 and 3 are Christ’s seven letters to the seven churches of Asia Minor i.e. Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea. These letters had a seven-preset template consisting of, the destination church, a description of Christ, initial commendation, censure, a call to repentance to avoid serious consequences, final commendation, and a promise of rewards for those who overcome. Christ is omniscient. He knew all the strength and weaknesses about each of these churches. Each letter always ends with, “he who has a ear to hear, let him hear“, which is a call to listen very carefully. The letter to Ephesus was the first letter to first of the seven churches of Asia Minor, which is Turkey today. 

Revelation 2: 1-7

1 “To the angel of the assembly in Ephesus write:“ He who holds the seven stars in his right hand, he who walks among the seven golden lamp stands says these things: 2 “I know your works, and your toil and perseverance, and that you can’t tolerate evil men, and have tested those who call themselves apostles, and they are not, and found them false. 3 You have perseverance and have endured for my name’s sake and have not grown weary. 4 But I have this against you, that you left your first love. 5 Remember therefore from where you have fallen, and repent and do the first works; or else I am coming to you swiftly and will move your lamp stand out of its place, unless you repent. 6 But this you have, that you hate the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. 7 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the assemblies. To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the Paradise of my God

Revelation 2:1-7

Ancient Ephesus was infamous for pagan worship. It was home to the temple of Artemis, the centre of pagan worship of the Greek goddess Diana. Paul lived and ministered in Ephesus for 18 months during his third missionary journey. He taught in the synagogue for 3 months but when the hostile, unbelieving Jews persecuted him, he relocated to the school of Tyrannus, Acts 19: 9-10.. Here, he taught, preached, and shared the gospel to the Jews and Gentiles from Asia Minor. Timothy and apostle John also played prominent roles in the Ephesian church at various times. 

The destination church of this letter was Ephesus. Christ described Himself as “He who holds the seven stars in his right hand, he who walks among the seven golden lamp stands”. The seven stars represent the seven angels of the seven churches. Christ holds the seven stars in His hands. The seven golden lamp stands or menorahs symbolize the seven churches of Asia Minor. Christ walks among the seven golden menorahs i.e. the seven churches. He had close and personal contact with the churches and was never far from them.

Now, the initial commendation. Christ is omniscient. He knew everything about the church of Ephesus. He knew about their suffering, perseverance, and faithfulness. He commended them because they discerned and  rejected evil men and false apostles. They endured hardship and persecution for Christ’s sake and in Christ’s name, and yet were faithful to their calling.

Now, the rebuke. Christ censured them for losing their first love for Him. They neglected personal time and intimacy with Christ such as quiet time, prayer, praise and worship, communion, and bible study. Christ encouraged the Ephesian Church, to repent and take steps to return  to Him. Work of the ministry cannot substitute personal time and fellowship with Christ. They must repent, dethrone self, enthrone Christ, surrender to Him, and make Him centre of their life.

Now, the warning. If they do not repent, Christ will come quickly and dismantle their church.

Now, the final commendation. Christ commended them for rejecting the works of the Nicolaitans. According to the second century church father, Irenaeus, Nicolaitans were followers of a Gnostic sect, founded by Nicolas of Antioch in Acts 6:5. Gnosticism is a dangerous, heretic cult to be rejected at all cost

Now, the promise of rewards. Those who overcome, hear, and heed His words will be rewarded with the fruit of the tree of life in the new heaven and new earth in the new Jerusalem.. 

God placed the tree of life in the centre of the garden of Eden for Adam and Eve to enjoy.  After the fall, Adam and Eve were banished from the garden of Eden. But God will bring back the tree of life into the new heaven and earth in the new Jerusalem, Revelation 22:2. Those who make it to heaven will be able eat the fruits from the tree of life. 

But when some were hardened and disobedient, speaking evil of the Way before the multitude, he departed from them, and separated the disciples, reasoning daily in the school of Tyrannus. This went on for two years, so that all the Jews and Greeks who lived in the province of Asia heard the word of the Lord.

Acts 19:9-10

On this side of the river and on that was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruits, yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.

Revelation 22:2


Remember your first love for Christ? Remember how fervent you were when you first became a Christian?

Do not lose your first love for Christ. Do not allow your love for Christ to go cold. Do not neglect personal quiet times, bible study, prayer, praise and worship, and communion with the Lord. 

Do not give in to persecution, trials, and tribulation. Persevere and be faithful to your calling. Christ will reward you with the tree of life, crown of life and eternal life in heaven. 

Discern and reject false teachers and have nothing to do with them. 

Repent and take steps to come back to Him. The works of the ministry cannot substitute personal time and communion with Christ. Repent, dethrone self, enthrone Christ. surrender and make Him the centre of you life.

Even the church needs to repent. If they do not repent, Christ will come quickly and dismantle our church.


Heavenly Father, help us to not to lose our first love for You. Help us to cultivate personal intimacy with You. Help us cultivate the daily habit of quiet time, bible study, praise and worship, prayer, and communion. Help us discern false teachers and reject them, in Jesus’ name, Amen. 

bible study devotion

A vision of Christ: devotion


a picture of apostle John


Revelation is the last book of the Bible. The Greek word for Revelation is apokalupsis which means to unveil. Revelation is a book that unveil the truth about Jesus Christ, who gave the apostle John a vision of future events that he must write down. God promised a blessing to everyone who read, hear, believe, and apply the teachings in this book. 

Apostle John, who was banished to the Greek island of Patmos, wrote this book from there to the 7 churches of Asia Minor, which is Turkey. 

Here, we get to see a vision of Christ through the eyes of John. 

Revelation 1:12-19

12 I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. Having turned, I saw seven golden lamp stands. 13 And among the lamp stands was one like a son of man, Daniel 7:13 clothed with a robe reaching down to his feet, and with a golden sash around his chest. 14 His head and his hair were white as white wool, like snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire. 15 His feet were like burnished brass, as if it had been refined in a furnace. His voice was like the voice of many waters. 16 He had seven stars in his right hand. Out of his mouth proceeded a sharp two-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining at its brightest.17 When I saw him, I fell at his feet like a dead man. He laid his right hand on me, saying, “Don’t be afraid. I am the first and the last, 18 and the Living one. I was dead, and behold, I am alive forever and ever. Amen. I have the keys of Death and of Hades. 19 Write therefore the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will happen hereafter.


John turned around and saw the seven golden lamp stands or menorahs, and the Post incarnate, Glorified, Risen Christ, the Son of Man. The seven golden menorahs represent the seven churches of Asia Minor. Jesus Christ stood among the seven churches. He was clothed in a robe from head to toes with a golden sash across His chest. His head and hair were as white as wool and snow. His eyes burned with fire. His feet shone like polished brass. Daniel saw an almost similar vision of Jesus Christ, Daniel 7:9. His voice was like the sound of a waterfall. The seven stars on His right represent the seven angels of the seven churches. The sharp double-edged sword from His mouth represent the Word of God. His face was brighter than the brightest sun.

John collapsed at the feet of the risen Christ, who is the first and the last, who died and rose again, and is alive for evermore. He have the keys to Death and Hades. The things that John have seen refer to the vision of Christ in Revelation chapter 1. The things that are refer to the letters to the seven churches in Revelation chapters 2 to 3. The things which will happen hereafter refer to future events from Revelation chapters 4 to 22. 

Daniel 7:9

I watched until thrones were placed, and one who was ancient of days sat. His clothing was white as snow, and the hair of his head like pure wool. His throne was fiery flames, and its wheels burning fire.

Hebrews 4:12

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart

Ephesians 6:17

And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word


Jesus Christ is the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end, the author and perfecter of our faith. He is from eternity past to eternity future, the pre-existent, self-existent, and eternal God. He is before time, space, and matter. He is the I AM, Yahweh, Adonai, Elohim, Great High Priest, Melchizedek, and Messiah. Christ revealed a vision of Himself to apostle John in the island of Patmos and commissioned him to write the book of Revelation. Today, you can visit the island of Patmos as a tourist and explore the place. The Bible is about real geography, real places, real people, real history, and real events. Jesus Christ is God in the flesh. Whoever believes in Him will be saved, John 5:24.

John 5:24, Most certainly I tell you, he who hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life, and doesn’t come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.

Hebrews 12:2, looking to Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising its shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.


Heavenly Father, I pray for the anointing of the Holy Spirit to unveil to us the book of Revelation. Help us to interpret, understand, and apply the truth of Your word. We pray for opened eyes, opened ears, opened hearts, opened minds, and opened spirits. We pray for the double-edged sword of the Spirit to convict  our hearts and train us in righteous living, in Jesus’ name, Amen.