The Message to Ephesus
Book of Revelation Chapter 2 verses 1 through 7
Today we will begin to look at those seven churches that the Lord told John to write about.
Remember Jesus has given us this time to make those necessary changes to make each church to be a better church.
Jesus picked these seven churches because they represent the church as a whole.
Notice also Jesus speaks to the individual church as independent churches, and no church is to make rules over another church.
Every church is to be a church established in the name of Jesus Christ.
They also represent the seven ages of the church and we can be certain that we are in that final church age!
The City of Ephesus was the capitol of the Roman province of Asia Minor. Ephesus may have been the richest province of all the Roman territories.
It was the Apostle Paul who visited this area on more than one occasion, so we can be sure the true Gospel was preached in all these churches.
This same area had been colonized by the Greeks before they fell to the Romans.
We should also remember the Temple of Diana was located in Ephesus which had the largest theatre in the world.
It would hold 50,000 spectators.
In fact it is said that this temple may have been one of the seven wonders of the world at one time.
Different religious beliefs were everywhere, but Christianity is the work of the One true God!
1Co 15:32 If after the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantageth it me, if the dead rise not? let us eat and drink; for to morrow we die.
1Co 15:33 Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.
1Co 15:34 Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame.
The Church at Ephesus was established by the Apostle Paul and sustained by the work of Priscilla and Aquila.
Apollos preached in this church.
Timothy preached in this church.
What were some of the obstacles?
The Jews hated the Christians.
The city was full of idolatry and false priests.
There was the effect of riches all over this city.
There was the open display of sensual pleasures everywhere.
We know that there were at least four more Christian churches in the area. Those four that are not mentioned are the Church at Troas:
Act 20:5 These going before tarried for us at Troas.
2Co 2:12 Furthermore, when I came to Troas to preach Christ’s gospel, and a door was opened unto me of the Lord,
The Church at Miletus:
Act 20:17 And from Miletus he sent to Ephesus, and called the elders of the church.
The Church at Colossae:
Col 1:2 To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ which are at Colosse: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Church at Hierpolis.
Col 4:13 For I bear him record, that he hath a great zeal for you, and them that are in Laodicea, and them in Hierapolis.
It is well known that there were even more churches that had been established in Asia.
The Lord Jesus will begin with the Christian Church in Ephesus, but He is standing in the midst of all these churches that He has called out.
What this means is the Book of Revelation of Jesus Christ is written unto these four churches just as is intended for all churches!
Every true Church will fit into at least one of these seven categories.
Every Church from then until now will exist in every Church Age with the named church being the most dominant Church.
Though all these types of Church existed in the day of Ephesus, the particular traits of Ephesus dominated the first Church Age.
The greatest cause of persecution of the Church during this Age came from the Emperors of Rome beginning with Nero and ending with the Emperor Diocletian in 310 AD.
Some would say that this Age of the Church had its beginnings in the Apostolic Age and ran to the Constantine Age, keeping in mind that even today we can find the remnants of each individual church.
Let’s begin by listening to the Lord Jesus Christ speaking to the Church at Ephesus.
*****Rev 2:1 Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks;
Rev 2:2 I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars:
This message is written toward Ephesus, but it is actually written to the Messenger or the Pastor of the Church at Ephesus.
The Greek Word “angelos” which could mean Angel and an Angel is a Messenger sent from God.
Heb 1:13 But to which of the angels said he at any time, Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool?
Heb 1:14 Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?
This same Greek word is derived from two other Greek words “ago” which means to lead and “agelay” which means a drove.
These two words put together would mean a Shepherd or Angel, so we know by the way it is used, it means the Pastor of the Church at Ephesus.
This message is from Christ Jesus because in Chapter One we established that it is Jesus who holds the seven stars in His right hand of power and stands in the midst of the candlesticks which are these seven churches.
In fact the Lord Jesus says He is walking in the midst of these seven churches and Ephesus in this lesson.
What are the things Jesus knows, as He walks in the midst of this church?
This church had been established by the Apostle Paul and later led by Timothy almost a duplicate of the Apostle Paul in many ways.
Jesus says He knows the “effort” put forth by this church to spread the “Gospel” and everything else this church does.
Jesus says He knows the “labor” that is put forth to spread the “Gospel”.
Jesus says He knows the “patience” of the is church as they attempt to honor God the Father through His Son Jesus.
Each and every church have need of patience as the church continues in this world, until the Lord returns to take us home.
1Ti_1:16 Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.
In every church, we must labor for Jesus and then patiently wait to see if there are results while still applying sunlight and water to that seed that was planted.
The Apostle Paul preached to this church with these words:
Eph 4:1 I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,
Eph 4:2 With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love;
Eph 4:3 Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
Eph 4:4 There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;
Eph 4:5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism,
Eph 4:6 One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.
Eph 4:7 But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.
Jesus says He knows that this church hated evil.
Why is this so important?
3Jn 1:11 Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good. He that doeth good is of God: but he that doeth evil hath not seen God.
We are all to hate evil, but we are never to hate the sinner who does that evil
We could say that Jesus knows everything that goes on in every true church!
Jesus knows all the good and all the evil that goes on in every church!
This means that in each church that has the presence of Jesus, He is there to lead and guide that church!
A church that does not have the presence of Jesus Christ, is not a church by Biblical Standards!
We also realize that some false preachers, calling themselves apostles, had come through this church and they found them to be liars.
When we know the Word of God and it is written in our hearts and our minds, we should be able to tell if a preacher is preaching the truth or preaching with lies.
The church at Ephesus was able to do this.
Then Jesus repeats Himself.
*****Rev 2:3 And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name’s sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted.
My pastor preaches many times about turning up the heat within us.
When we were first saved, we were on fire for God. As time goes by if we are not careful that fire will begin to grow dim and in some, that fire will go completely out.
We simply cannot allow this to happen to us.
Listen to Jeremiah:
Jer 20:8 For since I spake, I cried out, I cried violence and spoil; because the word of the LORD was made a reproach unto me, and a derision, daily.
Jer 20:9 Then I said, I will not make mention of him, nor speak any more in his name. But his word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay.
If the Word of God is within our hearts, then it will want to come out!
We cannot allow the things of this world to discourage us in the work the Lord has given us to do.
Afflictions and reproaches will increase as we get closer to the arrival of our Lord Jesus.
Persecutions will increase as we get closer to going home.
We must understand these things and keep on going for the Lord!
The message of Jesus Christ is not a burden! It is a message of hope in a wicked and dying world!
The message of Jesus Christ is all about love!
We are filled with the fruit of the Holy Spirit and this church was taught these things.
Eph 5:8 For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:
Eph 5:9 (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;)
We can be sure that the church in Ephesus had been taught these things from the church in Galatia because all the works of the Apostle Paul were passed from church to church.
Gal 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
Gal 5:23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
Gal 5:24 And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.
When we grow cold, we then grieve the Spirit, and He cannot do His work within us and within the church.
Let us all turn up the heat and get busy about the work of the Lord.
Remember the Lord Jesus Christ is the foundation of the Church!
Those that gather in any other name are not a church built on Jesus Christ!
If not for the Love of God, we would all end in a burning hell and then a lake of burning fire.
We must remain in one heart, one mind, and in one accord for our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave His all when He did not have to!
When we allow sin to overwhelm us, the church will grow cold!
Mat 24:12 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.
Mat 24:13 But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.
Mat 24:14 And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.
This Church needed to turn up the heat and get back on fire for our Savior.
This church needed to remember back to the time the Apostle Paul who through much persecution, taught this church about a perfect Savior who loved them enough to die for them!
Again the message of Jeremiah:
Jer 2:1 Moreover the word of the LORD came to me, saying,
Jer 2:2 Go and cry in the ears of Jerusalem, saying, Thus saith the LORD; I remember thee, the kindness of thy youth, the love of thine espousals, when thou wentest after me in the wilderness, in a land that was not sown.
This is the message that should be preached in all those churches that have followed in the path of this church in Ephesus.
What was the remedy given to this Church by the Lord Himself?
*****Rev 2:5 Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.
It is a fact that if Jesus was here and preaching to the churches today, they would run Him out of many churches, and He would not be allowed to preach!
Jesus says to “remember” “or else”!
There is not much of that “or else” preaching going on today!
In every so called “House of God”, unless the flame of love for the Lord Jesus Christ, which includes His Gospel, is not kept bright and glowing, He will withdraw His support.
A Church without the “Spirit of Jesus” is not a church at all, but just a social club where people gather to give praise to the devil!
Repentance has become an unknown word to many who claim to be Christian today!
Remember what Jesus said and we see He warned us many times.
Mat_24:5 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.
Mar_13:6 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.
Luk_21:8 And he said, Take heed that ye be not deceived: for many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and the time draweth near: go ye not therefore after them.
Joh_5:43 I am come in my Father’s name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive.
We see the way that the Apostle wrote, and it is happening more today than any other time in Church history.
The false teacher and false preacher come in their own names!
What must we do if our fire grows dim?
3) Return to doing the first works, “or else”!
There is also not much “repenting” preaching going on today.
Just what does those words “Born Again” mean.
They mean repenting!
Repenting is a complete change of heart, having a new heart toward Christ Jesus.
Repenting includes a compete change of mind, having the mind of Christ.
Repenting includes a compete change of direction, stop walking with the world, and the ways of the world, and beginning a walk with the Lord Jesus Christ!
Anything else falls into that “or else” category!
When Jesus removes the candlestick, that house will become a house of darkness.
Darkness is a symbol of the “Judgments” that are coming from the Lord!
Mat 24:29 Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:
Mat 24:30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
A so-called church without a candlestick of the Lord Jesus Christ is not a church at all!
They did have one thing the Lord bragged on them about. The hated the deeds of the Nicolaitan.
*****Rev 2:6 But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.
This Church had remained faithful to the Doctrine of the Scriptures in every way except the first commandment of Jesus.
Mat 22:37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
Mat 22:38 This is the first and great commandment.
Who or what are the Nicolaitans? In reality they are those in the Church who claim to be Christians but follow the ways of the world.
There is a certain mayor who is running for President and claims to be a Christian made in the image of God, who is also queer and proud of it. He could be said to be a Nicolaitan.
Jud 1:4 For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.
Jud 1:7 Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.
Jud 1:8 Likewise also these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities.
The Church in Ephesus had rejected anyone who had this Doctrine.
This would include all those who claim to be Christian and walk in the ways of this sinful world.
To be “Born Again” must have a real meaning and Jesus said we must be “Born Again”
2Jn 1:9 Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.
2Jn 1:10 If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed:
2Jn 1:11 For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.
Psa 101:2 I will behave myself wisely in a perfect way. O when wilt thou come unto me? I will walk within my house with a perfect heart.
Psa 101:3 I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me.
Psa 101:4 A froward heart shall depart from me: I will not know a wicked person.
The Psalmist also wrote:
Psa 139:19 Surely thou wilt slay the wicked, O God: depart from me therefore, ye bloody men.
Psa 139:20 For they speak against thee wickedly, and thine enemies take thy name in vain.
Psa 139:21 Do not I hate them, O LORD, that hate thee? and am not I grieved with those that rise up against thee?
Psa 139:22 I hate them with perfect hatred: I count them mine enemies.
Psa 139:23 Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts:
Psa 139:24 And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
In reality the Doctrine of the Nicolaitans are all those who stress that Jesus Christ did away with the Old Testament and has given all Christians liberty to live as they wish!
They stress that the spirit and soul of man are far more important than this body we live in daily and therefore the sins of the body do not change the Doctrine of Salvation. The body is free to live as it wishes!
We need to hate this doctrine just as Christ Jesus did!
Without the laws such as the 10 Commandments, we would not know how the Lord expects us to live!
What does the Lord say about all those laws given to the Jews?
Mat 5:17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.
Mat 5:18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.
Jesus Christ came to fulfill all the Law and we are part of His Body and He is the Head of the Church!
And the Holy Spirit gives us all a warning.
*****Rev 2:7 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.
In reality as Christians our redemption is based on the promises of God!
God makes many promises and those promises will be fulfilled by the Lord Jesus Christ.
As “Born Again” Christians we are to die to our old sinful ways and be born again to live in the ways of Jesus Christ.
Our salvation and redemption are based upon these promises!
We must be “overcomers” to the very best we can. We should remember that phrase Jesus used in verse five, “or else”.
That “or else” means we will miss out on the pleasures Heaven!
Psa 16:11 Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.
Notice the Holy Spirit is speaking to the Church, but He is also talking to each individual Christian.
We are given this last opportunity to try to change the direction of the church we attend to reconnect with our first love, the Lord Jesus Christ, or maybe it’s time for us to leave a church that will not return to the Doctrine of Christ and find one that does, but in the least we must remember that we are a Temple of God in our body and we need to bring our own body back in line to the ways of our Lord, and hate the doctrine of the Nicolaitans.