Summary: This sermon will charge the apathetic and encourage the faithful.
Intro: Christ writes seven letters to seven different churches. These messages have a three-fold meaning:
1. primary association-to the church
2. personal application-to the individual
3. prophetic anticipation-seven stages in the
I. The Assembly
According to legend, when pioneers came to the
mainland of Asia minor, being uncertain where to
settle, they consulted an oracle which told them
that a fish and a boar would show them the place.
One night, as they were cooking fish, one fell out
of the firepit with a live coal attached which set
fire to some nearby brush. A boar hiding in the
bushes fled in fright but was pursued and killed.
Recalling the word of the oracle, the founders built
the city on the spot where they killed the boar.
This was the founding of Ephesus.
Years, decades, and centuries passed and this city
became plagued with paganism. A man named Paul
visited and brought hope.
*The Ephesus letter was addressed to the spiritually strong apostolic church of the first century.
*The period that is forecast prophetically in this letter runs from the church’s beginning at Pentecost to approximately A.D. 160.
II. The Author (2:1)
*In each of the seven letters Christ is described differently. Here He is: “He that holdeth the seven stars in His right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks.”
*The “stars” are the angels (or messengers) of the seven churches and they are held in His right hand--the place of power, protection, and provision.
*In the early days of the Church, Christ was in the center as the recognized Head, and men took instructions from Him (Eph. 1:20-23).
*The stars are His light-bearers; He holds them. They derive their light and power from Him.
*In every assembly of believers where Christ is honored as the Head, He walks among them.
III. The Approval (2:2-3)
*In each of the seven letters Christ says, “I know thy works” (2:2,9,13,19;3:1,8,15).
*Having all-seeing eyes, He knows and is therefore qualified to approve or disapprove.
*He approved them for their:
---sacrificial service-“thy works and thy labour” (2:2)
*the Greek word for “labour” means diligent labor even unto weariness and exhaustion.
---steadfastness-“hast patience…and hast not fainted” (2:3)
*Amidst Judaism with its legalism and ceremonial law, and paganism with its superstition and immorality, the Ephesian church was fixed, firm, and not fickle.
---separation-“canst not bear them which are evil” (2:2)
*Men were given oversight in the work because of their spiritual maturity and not because of social prominence or financial worth.
*Today it makes little difference what people are like morally or spiritually, just so we get them into our church and on the membership roll to swell the number.
---spiritual discernment-“hast tried them…found them liars” (2:2)
*They know what they believed and why they believed it and were loyal to the Truth.
---spiritual stand-“hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitans” (2:6)
*The Nicolaitans were an early heretical sect.
*The term was applied to those who originated the system which divided the church into two divisions—the clergy and the laity.
*Whatever their deeds were Christ hated them.
IV. The Admonition (2:4)
*They maintained a spirit of sacrifice, steadfastness, separation, and spiritual discernment as well as taking a stand, however they were guilty of a sin that only Christ could detect.
*They had left their first love.
*Christ warned His disciples of this: (Matthew 24:8-12)
*They could not be charged with having no love at all for Christ, but they had left their first love—their honeymoon love.
*There is a difference between doing things with love and doing things without love:
A boy and girl walk down the street,
She trips, he murmurs, “Be careful, my sweet!”
They wed and tread the same old street,
She trips, he screams, “Pick up your feet!”
*Sacrifice, even to the point of poverty and martyrdom, if it have not love, shall profit nothing (I Corinthians 13:3).
*Like Martha, we can become so occupied with doing for Christ as to miss becoming like Christ (Luke 10:38-42).
*It could be said of Ephesus, “The honeymoon is over.” What does Christ see in our hearts as He walks among us?
*Are you eager and earnest in your private devotions?
*Has your heart chilled toward Christ and His Word?
*Does your Heavenly Bridegroom grieve because you have fallen out of true love for Him?
V. The Appeal
*Call to mind those early days when you first were saved from your sin
*It may wound our pride to compare a victorious and joyous past with a sad and failing present, but there is no other way back.
*Repentence is a change of mind toward our sin which results in a change of direction.
*Nothing short of genuine repentence and return to her “first love” could save Ephesus from here complete collapse.