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Faithlife

Lesson 3: Letter to Ephesus

Jesus Christ Revealed  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Notes & Transcripts

INTRO:

AG:
TS: The next portion of Revelation is written to the angel of several local churches.
This refers back to 1:20
Revelation 1:20 NKJV
The mystery of the seven stars which you saw in My right hand, and the seven golden lampstands: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands which you saw are the seven churches.

The word lit. means “messenger.” Although it can mean angel—and does throughout the book—it cannot refer to angels here because angels are never leaders in the church. Most likely, these messengers are the 7 key elders representing each of those churches

Jesus addresses the pastor of the church and through him, the local church.
RS: While these little letters were to specific congregations, the lessons applied and revelation of Jesus are important for us today.
Ephesus
Revelation 2:1 NKJV
“To the angel of the church of Ephesus write, ‘These things says He who holds the seven stars in His right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands:
An inland city 3 miles form the sea. 4 great trade routes converged in Ephesus and thus it was known as the gateway to Asia. The temple to Diana, one of the 7 wonders of the world, was located there.
Paul ministered there for 3 years.
Acts 20:31 NKJV
Therefore watch, and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears.
Later, while on the way to Jerusalem, Paul met with the Ephesian elders both giving and receiving encouragement.
Acts

The Lord Revealed:

Revelation 2:
Revelation 2:1 NKJV
“To the angel of the church of Ephesus write, ‘These things says He who holds the seven stars in His right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands:
seven stars
Revelation 1:16 NKJV
He had in His right hand seven stars, out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, and His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength.
Messengers who represent the 7 churches
The pastors are held in Christ’s hand.
He controls the church and her leaders.
He watches over them.
Seven golden lampstands
Revelation 1:12 NKJV
Then I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands,
Each one represented a church
Revelation 1:20 NKJV
The mystery of the seven stars which you saw in My right hand, and the seven golden lampstands: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands which you saw are the seven churches.
This reminds me of
Matthew 5:14 NKJV
“You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.
We, like the moon, are to reflect the light of Christ to a dark world.
John 8:12 NKJV
Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”
and
John 1:4–5 NKJV
In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.
John 1:
The lampstand illustrates Jesus’ church shining forth his light to the world.
Important point: it is HIS light we shine, not our own.
That is our mission and the mission of every true church.
All activities we do must support that mission.

The Praise:

Revelation 2:2–3 NKJV
“I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars; and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary.
Revelation 2:2 NKJV
“I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars;
Your works, labor and patience
Cannot bear those who are evil and test false apostles and teachers
Sound doctrine
they would not tolerate evil ones.
They tested any so called apostle or teacher.
Compared their ministry and message to the truth.
They recognized frauds
Perhaps Paul’s advise in had prepared them for this task.
Acts 20:29–31 NKJV
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.
Acts 20:29-
Persevered and labored without becoming weary
The church at Ephesus had served for over 40 years at this point.
They had persevered and endured the hardships of those 40 years.
They had not ceased to live to proclaim and exalt Christ.

The Problem:

Revelation 2:3 NKJV
and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary.
Revelation 2:4 NKJV
Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love.
Though Jesus had praised much about the church at Ephesus, there was a problem which needed to be addressed.
They had left their first love.
Loving Jesus is at the heart of all we do.
Jesus identified a key element in expressing that love:
John 14:21 NKJV
He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.”
John 14:23 NKJV
Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.
1 Corinthians 16:22 NKJV
If anyone does not love the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be accursed. O Lord, come!
Their passion had begun to wane.
The fervor which once motivated all their good deeds had begun to turn into deeds done more out of ritual and habit.
While Jesus praised them for it, their labor, sound doctrine, and perseverance was no substitute for love.
Furthermore, now that love had slipped, the rest would probably soon follow.

The Prescription:

Revelation 2:5
Revelation 2:5 NKJV
Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent.
Jesus’ prescription was twofold.
1st Remember from where you have fallen
2nd Repent and do the first works
Jesus also included a word of warning.
If they didn’t fix this, he would remove their lampstand.
This language speaks to the fact that He would no longer consider them a church.
His judgment would put an end to it.

The Final Word:

Revelation 2:6–7 NKJV
But this you have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.” ’
Revelation 2:6 NKJV
But this you have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.
Final praise
You hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans
Irenaeus wrote: that Nicolas, who was made a deacon in , was a false believer who later became apostate; but because of his credentials he was able to lead the church astray. And, like Balaam, he led the people into immorality and wickedness. The Nicolaitans, followers of Nicolas, were involved in immorality and assaulted the church with sensual temptations. Clement of Alexander says, “They abandoned themselves to pleasure like goats, leading a life of self-indulgence.” Their teaching perverted grace and replaced liberty with license.
Final admonition
Listen!
“he who overcomes will eat of the tree of life”
Who are overcomers?
1 John 5:4 NKJV
For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.
Genesis 2:9 NKJV
And out of the ground the Lord God made every tree grow that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
zhrmdod

Conclusion:

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MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.
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