Ephesus | Revelation 2:1-7
In Chapter 2 and 3 we find a series of letters within the book of Revelation. — Directed and dictated by Jesus to the 7 churches in Asia (Red letters). —To the people in the churches “who have an ear.”
—Each letter follows the same pattern:
- —1) Introduction: (Description of who Jesus is, from Revelation 1:12-17)
- —2) Commendation: (what they are doing right)
- —3) Critique: (condemns things that must change)
- —4) Prescriptions: (tells them how to fix it)
- —5) Promise: (Implementation of His prescription)
The 7 churches = The Church age. From the Apostles, till present day. —Represent the attitude, heart and seasons of the church. —Even their names are meaningful.
These letters were to be read and along side the rest of the book. —While specifically addressed, —all letters served as an encouragement and warning to all hearers (us) (Hence the promise of ch 1.3).
[TEXT>>] 1 “Write this letter to the angel of the church in Ephesus.
Angel: angelos means messenger. —Used interchangeably between men and angels. —It is speaking of the pastors. >> Angels don’t need mail nor be corrected.
The City of Ephesus:
- —The Jewel of Asia
- —They had the first world bank.
- —Largest amphitheater.
- —The 2nd largest library (Over 200,000 books)
- —Temple to Diana (7th wonders of the ancient wonders of the world, nothing compared to it. >> worshipped Diana through sexual immorality through prostitution)
- —Bacchus: god of wine was prominent.
Ephesus: (Darling-Desired), was founded in Acts 18 by Paul. —It was born in persecution, but on fire for Jesus. —Revival broke out. .
“They burned idols, their witchcraft, sorcery and incarnation books they burned in public, they were worth several million dollars” (Acts 19.19)
Born in a place of hostility —Christina were burned on the stake —They faced great temptation and persecution.
Sometimes we think we have it harder than every generation of Christians… But we don’t.
In spite of having great Pastors and teachers. —Paul found it. Timothy pastor It. —Pricilla, and Aquila, —Apollos, —before this, John pastored it, It always come down to Personal responsibility.
[TEXT>>] —This is the message from —the one who holds (present, active) the seven stars (Revelation 1:20 The stars = the angels, the pastors… Daniel 12.3) in his right hand, —the one who walks (present, active) among the seven gold lamp-stands:
Holds the stars (Ch 1.20 The stars = the angels, the pastors). Walks in the midst of the churches.
—He writes to deal with the problem of intimacy. —Christ walking in the midst of the church. Assessing the church. (Here with us)
Many say, “Well, I know the Bible says that I should be in fellowship but I don’t feel I need to”
Hebrews 10:25 “not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.”
“I know the Bible says that I should be in church, in fellowship with the believers, —but —I’m not —into church.”
—That’s too bad —because Jesus is: —You can worship God anywhere you like, but Jesus is in the midst of His people.
“—Yeah, but the churches around here are really hurting,” they’ll say. —So were these. —And yet Jesus was in their midst.
“The Church is a not a museum for perfect people, —but a Hospital for the hurting.”
[TEXT>>] 2 “I know all the things you [do] (ergon=energy- Busy working hard).
[TEXT>>] (I know)—I have seen >> your hard work: —Labor- laboring to the point of exhaustion, even to the cost of pain. —The Lord commends them for this.
They were not just sitting on the sidelines. —They were busy serving the Lord. —They were in the game, leaving it all in the field, no matter the pain. —Laboring in the Lord’s vineyard even at the cost of pain.
God is always looking, seeking and calling workers, not pew potatoes.
Look at the likes of —David, —Elisha, —Moses. —James, John, Andrew were fishermen, Matthew was collecting taxes… They were workers.
God never uses the Lazy, not matter how talented you may be!
What are you gonna do with your life? —How are you going to send it ahead. —Only what you do for Christ will last.
—Are you laboring, involved in ministry in the church?
[TEXT>>] (I know) >> your patient endurance: Patience – hupomone – “to endure – under pressure.” —The ability to keep holding on even while you kee facing, attacks, temptations and sufferings.
—This was a tough church under tough circumstances. They were burning Christians on the stake, feeding them to lions, —but —they —did not —fear, —they were “A Lean mean preaching machine”
[TEXT>>] (I know) >> you don’t tolerate evil people: Kakos: based on their character.
—They practice church discipline.. —They notice those who were not repentant of their sin they put them out, —Lest their hearts became —dull, —callussed.
Churches are called to: —Reject —Restore —Reconcile. —We are called to restore the sinner —Reject the person creating division and —Reconcile our personal differences.
The problem is: we Reject, put out the sinner, we Restore the person who causes division (know the Bible) and Never settle our personal differences.
[TEXT>>] (I know) >> You have examined the claims of those who say they are apostles but are not: You have (discernment) discovered they are liars: Discerning. —They understood what a false teacher is (not easily fooled). —They knew who were the real apostles (Governmental Authority). —They pursued doctrinal purity.
—Paul warned the Ephesians:
Acts 20:29–31: For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves. Therefore watch, and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears.
The Ephesians took Paul’s warning seriously. (Acts 17 like Berians)
[TEXT>>] 3(I know)>> You have patiently suffered for me without quitting: They continued serving the Lord, without becoming weary.
—They showed a godly perseverance that we should imitate.
By all outward appearances, —this was a solid church: —worked hard, had —great outreach, and —protected the integrity of the gospel.
[TEXT>>] 4 “But… I have this complaint against you. You have left your first Love.
Notice, not lost, but left your first love… “I need to correct you, there is one thing… and this one thing outweighs the rest of the other things you are doing, because it will ruin the rest of your life!”
What should drive the church: —is: that it is in love with Jesus Christ.
We can labor hard in outreaches, be patient in hardships, >> be busy with many ministries —but without LOVE For Jesus, it means nothing.
We can be so right, doctrinally, that we could be DEAD right. = the danger in today’s church is dead orthodoxy.
—Perfect outwardly, but empty without the Love of Jesus!
1 Co 13:1–3 “—Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, >> I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal (Noise). And —though I have the gift of prophecy, and —understand all mysteries and —all knowledge, and though —I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, —I am nothing. And though —I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and —though I give my body to be burned, —but have not love, it profits me nothing.”
Jesus is saying “I died on the cross —that we may have this relationship not religion. There is a crack in your foundation, —in the long run, everything else you are doing will fall down”
What is first love?
Je 2:2 ““I remember how eager you were to please me as a young bride long ago, how you loved me and followed me even through the barren wilderness.”
2 Co 11:2–3 “For I am jealous for you with godly jealousy. For I have betrothed you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.”
Engagement love: dating love, going steady… Tunnel vision love… Lost your mind and can’t see anything else love… —can’t wait to see them, —call them, —hear them… —be around them…
Engagement love uses its own definitions of the words like: forever, always, never. —I never want to do anything without you. —we are always going to be together, —you and I forever!
Married love can cool down. The dictionary changes: “you always do that… you never help me…
ENGAGEMENT LOVE: You dress nicely, deodorant, open her door, leave her notes, can’t wait to be set aside just for each other.
Married love: they’re lucky if you brush your teeth, if she’s not in the car before you start the car, she’s staying, you can’t wait to be at work.
You can be doing everything right… Work hard to provide for your family, have dinner every night together, or keep the house clean, the kids fed, and food at the table.
But without love, there is just emptiness, apathy instead of excitement. Loneliness instead of togetherness.
All things done right without romance, without intimacy, leaves us empty, longing for more, desiring for more without reciprocation.
Love can turn into DISDAIN —if you stop feeding —the Flame of Love.
Jesus says to them/us, you are doing many things, but where is the intimacy, where is the romance.
Isaiah 42:3 “He will not crush the weakest reed or put out a flickering candle.” He says this out of Love. —Where’s your passion that once drove you closer and closer to me.
1 Th 1:3, “remember —your work of faith, —Labor of love, and —Patience of hope”
Notice in this letter to the Ephesians, they had everything except the Love.
(tells them how to fix it) [TEXT>>] 5 —Remember from where you have fallen —Repent (Turn back to me) — (Repeat) do the works you did at first: —Diagnosis: Remember from where you have fallen. —Here’s the way Back: [APP: The greatest enemy for my intimacy with Christ, can be my business]
—Remember (arotist, active, present) from where you have fallen: (be continually remembering and start now) —Start now, remember and keep on remembering what it was like to be head over heels for Jesus.
Listen, if you are in compromise, luke warm, or cold… Start this morning, remember and keep on remembering (what was it like?)
—To walk in His peace, —His grace, —His love. —The place where every choice you made was a reason for prayer! What store should I go? —I have for lunch —what street?
This is always the first step in getting back to where we should be with the Lord.
When the Prodigal Son was in the pigpen, the first step in restoration was remembering —what life was —like back in his father’s home (Lk 16:17–19).
—Repent (Turn back to me): This is not a command to feel sorry. Metanoya, make a u-turn.
The Lord says to you “the direction you are traveling is taking —you further, and further away from me. —You need to make a U-Turn”
It is an —urgent appeal for >> instant change of —attitude and —conduct, before it is too late.
—Repeat (do the work you did at first): This means that —Go back to the basics, —to the very first things they did when you first fell in love with Jesus. —Things that we should never outgrow, they are Essentials. —EX>> Meat and Potatoes… Beans and Rice… The bread and Butter >> Essentials.
- The Word: You were in the word… All the Time.
- Prayer: We prayed all the time… (even in the supermarket.)
- Fellowship: Because they were family, you enjoyed the fellowship of the saints.
—We would drive an hour to hear the Lord speak, and to be in fellowship.
But when people leave their first love, they grow cold: —Critical >> of worship, of what people are wearing, what others are doing.
Has (The word, Prayer, Fellowship, serving the Lord) become routine more than romance.
Would the Lord say to you: “I can see something that is eating you away —like termites, —at the heartbeat of what drives all that you do. —You need to deal with it today, because it will knock you down, —break you, —it is making you ineffective.
—Remember, your first Love. —Remember From where you have fallen… —Remember You were —up high with he Lord in the Honey Moon. —Repent because your attitude stinks. and —Repeat: do what you used to do at first… “
[TEXT>>] —(Because) If you don’t repent, I will come and remove your lampstand from its place.
Listen, this very important: —Not LOSE your salvation. —Rather, your testimony, —your light will be gone, —you’ll be an old miserable critical Christian.
Rom 5.5 “The Love of Christ is shed abroad from our hearts”
You can not give anyone the cold unless you have it. —You can not be a witness for Christ and tell them Jesus loves you and to trust in His life changing transforming power, if the Love of/for Christ and His life transforming power doesn’t abound in you. God won’t use you in that way.
It is good for us personally, congregationally, to have Jesus examine our hearts, our fellowship and —diagnose the problems and —prescribe a solution to our shortcomings.
This is 30 years after Paul sent the letters to Ephesian. Back then, that church was a heavenly minded church. —But now 30 years later they had lost it.
[TEXT>>] 6 But this is in your favor: —You hate the evil deeds of the Nicolaitans, —just as I do.
What Jesus Hates
Jesus saying “I hate” only found twice in Scriptures. —The deeds of the Nicolaitans: Nikeo = Conquer – laotian = laity… The re-establisher of the priest hood.
They wanted to be the middle man between God and man,— taking the place of Jesus… (Jesus died so we all can have access to the Father in His name).
Shepherding movements, who to marry, what house to buy, where to live, etc…. —Pastors were telling people, come to me and I’ll ask the Lord and tell you….
You can ask the Lord yourself and let Him lead you. He will, He has promised. — You don’t need a man between you and Jesus. — We have the scripture, leadership in the church… Jesus said, I hate that… they are Enemies of the cross.
Biblical Example Pastoral Care!
Matt 23:11 “The greatest of you shall be the servants of all.”
2 Cor 1:24 “We do not have dominion over your faith, helpers of your joy.”
Phil 1:9 “I could command you, yet for christ sake I beseech you.”
1 Pe 5:2–3 “Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, willingly, not grudgingly—… Don’t lord it over the people assigned to your care, but lead them by your own good example.”
[TEXT>>] 7 “He who has an ear, let him hear to the Spirit and understand what He is saying to the churches (Buildings don’t have an ear… churches have an ear. Attitude… it is saying right now!). To everyone who overcomes/victorious —I will give fruit from the tree of life in the paradise of God.
Overcome: 1 John 5.4 “Whatsoever is born of God overcomes the World” who overcomes the world, He who believes in Jesus Christ…
Rev 12:11 “they overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony”
Those who overcome those who believe and —have the passion of their love of Jesus. —They hold on to the fact that Jesus loved me, —died for them and reciprocate their Love for him.
Did they listen?
Did they listen? Did they fan the flame of Love, or did they neglected it? Tradition tells us that the same thing that happened to the city of Ephesus happened to the Church in Ephesus.
The City of Ephesus revolved around the Port of Ephesus. The harbor was slowly silted up by the river (Küçük Menderes). They were warned to maintain the port by removing the low amount of silt that was coming in. A few feet per year, A simple and not complicated process would have been enough. But in their negligence, the silt little by little began to build up. Year after year, the shoreline got further and further away. To the point that today it is about 6 miles away from the Aegean Sea.
The loss of its harbour caused Ephesus to lose its access to the Aegean Sea, which was important for trade. People started leaving the lowland of the city for the surrounding hills. The ruins of the temples were used as building blocks for new homes. Marble sculptures were ground to powder to make lime for plaster.
Church tradition tells us that, the Ephesians heard the message, at first. They repented, but soon after stopped kindling the fire, stopped maintaining the love, to the point where their light has been removed. There is no church in it today. It is Muslim ran, once a story of great revival has become a place of desolation.
—Jesus died for us that we may enjoy a deep profound relationship with God, not Religion:
—If you don’t know christ as your savior and —you don’t know where you are going when you died… I’ll give you an opportunity to get right with Christ right now… Come up.