The Letter to the Church of Ephesus
“A Loveless Church”
May 10th, 2009
· All roads lead to Rome, but all roads go through Ephesus.
· Sea coast city- “The Metropolis of Asia”
· Center of worship to the goddess Artemis
· This brought lots of travelers
· A hotbed of immorality- Temple prostitutes, an asylum for prisoners, all of the garbage that comes with being a seaport.
· Great past leaders: Pricilla and Aquila, Apollos, Paul, Timothy, and finally John.
· It was also a place that had more than its share of false teachers.
· The church at Ephesus was known as the mother church of the area and as such was proud of this role.
I) The True Head of the Church. (vv. 1-3)
A) The One who holds the stars and walks among the lampstands. (v.1)
1) This picture of Christ lets the church at Ephesus know right off the bat that even though they saw themselves as the mother church it was Christ and only Christ who is head over the church.
2) Jesus is the One who is concerned for them and who is in control. As well the idea of Jesus walking in the midst speaks of His involvement in the church as well as His complete authority over it.
B) I know your deeds. (v. 2)
1) They could not tolerate wicked men or those who taught false doctrine. There were many different false teachers but the two that seem most prevalent where those who denied the humanity of Jesus and those who preached a doctrine of compromise.
2) They had contended for the faith and had not grown weary. (v. 3)
(a) Yet in the process of contending for the faith they had grown cold in their love one to another.
II) Speaking the Truth in love. (vv. 4-6)
A) Yet I have this against you. (v. 4)
1) You have forsaken (left it behind for something else) your first love.
(a) What was this first love? Was it a love for God or a love for their fellow man? Yes to both.
· Mark 12:30- Great Commandment
· Eph 1:15- your love for one another
(b) We need to see that one of the greatest things that we have been called to is to love God and love one another.
· We cannot say that we love God if we don’t love one another. (1 John 4:20)
B) Remember the height from which you have fallen- you have fallen a long way.
1) Didn’t happen overnight- Cayster river- the city of Ephesus sits about six miles inland yet in time the city lost its status as a seaport because its seaport silted up.
2) We don’t lose our love for God and one another overnight- often times it is very gradual. Yet this is as serious as any of the other things that God is going to address in these other churches.
3) This was a church that had sound biblical teaching, yet sound biblical teaching without love is empty. (1 Cor. 13:1)
4) We fall into the trap of not being loving when we stop practicing what scripture teaches. (1 Cor. 13:4-6)
C) Repent- total 180 degree change of heart, mind and actions.
1) Do the things that you once did. (1 John 3:18) there needs to be a practical outworking of our faith.
D) If you do not repent-
1) God will come and remove their lampstand- the church and each believer is to be a place and person who reflects the light of Christ. (Matt. 5:14-16) When we cease to love we cease to reflect the light of Christ and we have lost our reason for existence. The light of Christ will not be extinguished it will be moved to another place.
2) God is serious about having a loving church and Christians who love Him and His people.
III) A True promise for the overcomers. (v. 7)
A) The one who overcomes is not the one who has overcome an earthly foe but is one who has remained faithful to the will and teaching of God.
B) In this case the overcomer is the one who when confronted with the truth moves in obedience to what God has said.
C) The promise is not easy days on this earth but real life, eternal life, a life of eternal joy with God when we pass from this life to our real life with God.