In the letter to the first church, Jesus introduces himself as one who is present , active and ruling all his churches. He hasn't forsaken or given up on anyone. He continues to foster the growth and success of any church, of anyone who seeks to follow him. And he reminds us who is the boss. Most churches have a senior/leading pastor. Most member believe, as far as the church is concerned, that pastor is calling the shots. Not true. The head of the body of Christ, the family of Jesus, is still Jesus. And he still expects us to do things his way.
The church was "good" at following his standards. The bible does draw lines, and it would be good to stay on the right side of those lines. This church excelled at recognizing where the lines fell, how to stay within them, who went outside them, and what to do about that.
The church was "good" at morality; the church was "bad" at love.
Some people look at the "bad" as failing to keep their "first love." And some look at it as failing to love as "at the first." So, one says the relationship with Jesus was not right. The other say they became so focused on discerning calling out evil, that they forgot God's #1 priority -- love!
The first two and most important commands, according to Jesus, are to love God, and to love people. No matter which way you look at it, this church had its priorities messed up.
I sometimes think that one feeds the other. If your relationship with God grows the way it should, you take on the qualities of God -- the first big one being love. And if you love people, you develop the heart and mind-set of God.So, your understanding of God and your relationship with God grows.
If they did not get their priorities with God straight, the church would die. If they did not follow the priorities of God, the Spirit of God would cease to flow through them. The relationship would dry up. The things that give any church life would cease to exist. So, the church would diminish until it was gone.
If they turned around and got it straightened out, they would eat from the "tree of life." God planted a tree in the first garden before the world broke. The tree provided life and healing. This new tree would do the same, but it will also be planted before the throne of God. So, they will have life, healing and continual availability to the presence of God. The relationship will grow more real in a way it has never been with anyone, except Jesus.