Title: YOU HAVE EVERYTHING BUT THE MOST IMPORTANT
Text: Revelation 2:1-7
Shattered windows, dried-out shingles, peeling paint, overgrown grass, untrimmed shrubs…what are these the signs of? (A home that has lost its inhabitants) What a sad picture! And yet, a house that has become lifeless is not as tragic as a church that has become loveless. Imagine a congregation whose commitment has grown stagnant and indifferent. That’s what happened to the church in Ephesus. Read Text.
The believers in the church at Ephesus allowed their flame to grow cold and Jesus confronted them in no uncertain terms. However, He also provided them with a solution. If you have lost the fire for Christ, you can find the fuel to rekindle it in His letter to Ephesus.
Knowing the background of the church and city enhances our understanding of Christ’s sharp words to the church at Ephesus. The church there was founded by the Apostle Paul along with Pricilla and Aquila (Acts 18:18-26; 19:1-10). Paul ministered there for more than two years because of its strategic location and then left Timothy to carry on (1 Tim. 1:3). Ephesus was a major metropolis of that day – a city of 200,000, and was known for its wealth, study of the sciences and medicine, and was a center of many temples. The shrine of Diana is located here, and the ruins of the theater still remain. It was a center of emperor worship; there were temples to Tiberius, Claudius, Hadrian, Sererus, and Artemis. Each citizen was obligated to burn incense to the “god” Caesar annually and was then issued a certificate of compliance. Christians refused to burn incense and say “Caesar is Lord,” and as a result, they suffered intensely.
If Jesus were to write you a letter in this kind of situation, what would He say? Let’s find out.
How’s the strength of your first love for Christ? When you think of the three strengths of the Ephesian Church, how are you doing? Are you hard working because your energy flows out of grateful love for all He has done for you? Are you patient with others because you know how patient He has been with you? Are you carefully discerning between good and evil and choosing that which honors Him the most?
In other words, if this letter were written to our church, which lines would you instantly think would apply to you? And what will change in you tonight because of the application of the two-edged Sword to your life?