To the Church in Ephesus
This in Revelation 2:1-7 is the first of the seven letters to the churches of Asia.
Each of the seven letters begins with a depiction of Christ. Here we see him in the midst of the seven golden candlestick, which represents the churches. This tells us that He is in control. He is able to allow them to continue on or to remove the candlestick. This book emphasizes victory in Jesus, John 14:6. But this letter indicates that He is in control.
The History of the City and Church in Ephesus
With the penning of Revelation we have the ability to go back and look at the history concerning the churches.
In about A.D. 52 the Apostle Paul on his 2nd missionary journey, he goes to Ephesus , we can read the account in Acts 18. We know that the church was established there in Ephesus.
Some information regarding the history of the city of Ephesus.
From the wickedness of the city of Ephesus we can learn to look for the need of Christ. Everyone needs Christ, John 3:16. We, the church, need to be ready to plant the gospel with those who we meet daily. Paul saw an opportunity to go into Ephesus, and we should follow his example.
About 2 years later, 54 A.D., in Acts 19:20-31, we can read that Paul returned there during his 3rd missionary journey. He labored there in Ephesus that he labored there, for about 3 years. The church grew, and became well established.
About 1 year after he had left, we see that Paul called the elders to meet him in Miletus as he was traveling back to Jerusalem. In Acts 20, we see that he issues to them, a warning, that people will arise among themselves that will seek to draw some away from the church to follow after them.
A few years following this, about 62 A.D. during Paul's imprisonment. He writes his letter to the church the Ephesians. They seem to be stable and strong. Yet, at the end of the book, in chapter 6 , he tells them to put on the whole Amour of God. We see a picture of the church that is growing, they have elders, they have grown to be exemplary by 62 A.D..
Then, later in 63-67 A.D. you find 2 epistles. He is imprisoned again, and he writes to young Timothy telling him to abide in Ephesus. It seems that some of his previous concerns have arisen within the church there at Ephesus. In 2 Timothy 4:2, he reminds Timothy to preach the word. Then he warned, 2 Timothy 4:3, that there would come a time when they would not endure sound doctrine.
Looking back we see that the Church of Ephesus was sound, strong. In the midst of an ungodly world, it had been given the power to stand.
The Revelation to the Church in Ephesus
About 30 years after Paul penned his last letter to the church at Ephesus.
Jesus gives them a commendation, He said, "I Know"
- Their Works
- Their Labor -- toiling on
- Their Patience
- That they cannon bear those who are evil
It seems that the church had the ability to use the word, to put it into action, to test those who claimed to be an apostle, or who sought to teach falsely. 1 John 4:1, Acts 17:11.
This church was standing forth, who was working, laboring, fighting against evil, trying the false teachers, marking them, Romans 16:16.
Jesus went on to Commend, in Revelation 2:6
- He went on to say that they hated the Nicolaitans.
So it seems odd, when He had something to say against them.
Thou hast left thy first love. Revelation 2:4
- They have fallen
- Reminder of where thy have fallen from.
- What were they before? First Love & First Works
They have fallen from their first love, and first works. We see they were working, but this tells us that God desires us to be more than just being doers. Being doers is commanded, when Paul wrote Titus he commended them three times to be ready unto every good work. Matthew 7:21-23, we have a choice whether to obey God. We can't pick and choose.
Are we Guilty of Living a Check Mark Life
- How do you describe your Christian life?
- Do you participate in attendance?
- Do you participate in the acts of worship?
- Do you hold to and recognize false teaching?
Do we remember our first love?
- Worship in Spirit and in Truth
- Do we worship in truth, but miss the spirit?
- Do we labor in love?
"We give thanks to God always for all of you, making mention of you in our prayers; constantly bearing in mind your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the presence of our God and Father," - 1 Thessalonians 1:2-3
- 1 John 4:19
- Hebrews 6:9
- John 13:35
- Ephesians 4:16
- 1 Peter 3:15
- James 2:20
- Galatians 6:5
- James 2:6
If you read the book of Ephesians, you will see that they are doing for one another, working, laboring, and trying those who say they are authority, but are not. It's more than that, it's a love that manifests itself in every way. But, the works that I do are motivated by that love. It seems that in the church had gotten to that point that they were in very real danger.
- Isaiah 1:10-20
God, through the prophet talks about the sacrifices that offered. God looks to the life that we live. It's more than just doing things, your heart has to be brought into accordance. It's your heart, that He looks to. They offered their sacrifices, their oblations were vain.
Do you know the difference, in a faith that worketh by love, it seems they had lost it at Ephesus.His desire was, and is for the heart, not simply the fulfilling requirements.
"If ye love me keep my commandments." - John 14:15
You can keep his commandments, and not really have that love.
The Church in Ephesus had Fallen
- Revelation 2:5 Remember from whence thou aren't fallen
If we're guilty of this it's a do, or die situation we're in. We can change, return back to my first love, my first works. Do you remember your day of salvation? Do you remember the love that motivated you?
- I Know, Revelation 2:1
The message is, I Know. No matter how you present yourself to the world, He knows the labor of our heart. We need to go back to the foot of the cross, and remember our first love.
The Lord knows the labor of love. It's not enough to serve God unless it's led by the heart, love.
Guest Speaker Jack Williams, Minister, 39th St. Church of Christ, Independence, MO