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Exploring Revelation
318
“The letter to the Church of Ephesus”
by Art Sadlier   
September 2nd, 2007

It would be helpful if you would open your Bible to Revelation Chapter Two and keep it before you as we study this letter.

The letter begins: "UNTO THE ANGEL OF THE CHURCH".

Remember we said that the word ''ANGEL" means "one who is sent to deliver or teach a message." The pastor is the one called of God to bring and teach God's Word to the church. God is a God of order, there is order in the church. We are to respect God's order and follow it. That in no way means that the message of Revelation cannot be read and studied and understood by all believers. In fact all are exhorted to read and obey the Book. (Rev. 1:3)

Over and above all the study we might do on our own, we need to sit under the teaching and preaching of God's messenger, the Pastor. That is God's purpose for every believer.

"THE CHURCH OF EPHESUS "

Asia Minor, modern day Turkey, was the cradle of Christianity. By the second century there were hundreds, perhaps thousands of churches there.

Today, in modern Turkey there are 60 million people, less than 1% of them are Christians, most of them are nominal Christians, leaving only a handful of true believers. Why Is That? If you notice as you read these letters,a re-ocurring theme is: "The warning of the removal of the candlestick," de-commissioning of a church for failure to obey the Lord. That is exactly what happened to the churches to whom these letters were written. We can look around and see the same process taking place, in varying stages in present day churches.

We need to remember that this warning is no idle threat by our Lord!

EPHESUS was the capital, and the largest city of Asia Minor. It was a great Seaport, and it was a very immoral city. They worshipped the pagan goddess Diana. Their worship involved 1000 temple prostitutes. Understand that this gospel is not hindered by the sinfulness of the people to whom it is given. Nor is the believer unable to live victoriously for God in even the most wicked environment, though he must keep himself unspotted from the world.

The apostle, Paul, established the church and pastored it for three years. Timothy followed Paul as pastor and John followed and pastored the church for some years. It was a large, well taught, spiritually strong church.

VERSE TWO:

"I KNOW," our Lord's message came out of His knowledge of the church. Our Lord knows ALL about each church. Remember verse one, "who walketh up and down in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks".

Christ is constantly evaluating each church. He is there in a special way each time the church meets - do not fail to be in each church meeting, the Lord is there, and He expects you to honor Him with your presence, and why not? It must be a priority in our lives.

Each church is loved by Him, each Church is precious to Him. He is constantly present to lead and bless each church, to teach and to purify. But, He is especially present to evaluate each church.

What does Christ find as He evaluates this Ephesian church? "I KNOW THY WORKS! This was a working church, a zealous church. In order to better understand this church, and to see what kind of people they were pause, and read Acts 19:18-20.

They had forsaken their old lives, they had sold out to reaching the lost, no effort in the Lord's Service was too much.

"AND THY LABOR", Labor = Toil, Strenuous, Exhausting Effort. The Lord is saying, "I know you have labored to the point of exhaustion".

At that point of their experience, I know what their answer would have been, "Lord, we serve you because we love you", "Lord, what we do in Your service is not labor, it is the joy and delight of our lives." "Lord, we will not only labor for you, we will gladly die for you!" Does that describe your heart attitude today? Can you look back on days gone by when that was your experience?

'I KNOW THAT THOU CANST NOT BEAR THEM THAT ARE EVIL", they confronted evil when it dared to raise its head in their midst. They would not compromise with sin. As the Lord looked at, and evaluated this church, how pleased He must have been with what He saw.

"THOU HAST TRIED THEM THAT SAY THEY ARE APOSTLES AND ARE NOT, AND HAST FOUND THEM LIARS." False movements and false teachers were dead meat when they came to Ephesus. No seeker-friendly perversion of what Christ intended the church to be would be tolerated.

They knew what they believed and why they believed it! All kinds of false teachers came their way. Pause to read Acts 20;29-31.

VERSE THREE. "And has borne, and hast patience, and for My name's sake hast labored, and hast not fainted." They were what a Model Church ought to be! How we need to measure ourselves, and our church up against the Ephesian Church.

One of the constant factors in the life of the church of Jesus Christ is change. It might be a good and profitable exercise to take some serious Quiet Time to reflect on our lives, and ask the Spirit of God to show us the changes that may have come into our lives, good changes and bad changes.

The Church of Ephesus underwent a change! Next week we will look at that change.

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