The first period (Epistle to the Ephesian Church)
This period extends from the beginning of the Church of Christ to the second half of the Apostolic age. In his Epistle, Christ notes the particularly valuable qualities of the Ephesian Church, namely, its work and patience. Patience brightened the Ephesian Church. One humiliation followed another. “And hast borne, and have patience, and for My name’s sake and have not grown weary” (Rev. 2,3) – thus Christ addresses the angel of the Ephesian Church, which symbolizes the Ministers of Christ. Christ also notes in his Epistle that his true Ministers could not tolerate the depraved and exposed impostors who tried to impersonate the apostles of Christ. Christ also notes the positive factor That his Ministers hated the works of the Nicolaitans, who called to live immorally, not restraining the desires of the flesh, assuring that the Lord would forgive and cover everything with love, no matter how many believers consciously sinned. This immoral doctrine was vigorously repulsed in the first period of Christianity.
Noting the positive aspects of the Ministers of the Ephesian Church, Christ at the same time throws them a reproach: “But I have against you that you left your first love. Remember therefore whence thou hast fallen, and repent, and do the former works; and if not so, I will soon come to thee, and will move thy lamp from its place, if thou repent not.”2,4-5).
What is the expression of this abandonment of the first love? In a slight departure from the Evangelical simplicity of the early days of Christianity, which in the first days of its origin looked like this: “there was no one among them who needed, for all who owned lands or houses, selling them, brought the price of what was sold and put at the feet of the apostles; and to each was given what 4: 34-35); ” yet the believers were together, and had all things in common.” 2.44). Then, in the first period of Christianity, the principle of equality began to be violated; among Christians, property inequality began to appear. This circumstance Christ characterizes as the abandonment of the first love.
And another deplorable deviation began to occur in the first period of the history of Christianity. After the death of the apostles, who personally surrounded Christ during his earthly life, the work of God began to continue their successors. In the pages of the history of Christianity they are called Apostolic disciples. The immediate successors of the apostles were Clement, Polycarp, Ignatius, Barnabas. They heard the instructions of the apostles, worked with them together. But in spite of all this, they soon deviated from the teaching entrusted to them. This evasion has to do with the administration of the Church. In their Epistles, the successors of the apostles began to magnify the personality of the Bishop extremely, thus violating the Evangelical simplicity of the early days of Christianity, as the personality of the Bishop began to divert attention from Christ. In this Christ also sees the abandonment of the first love.