Summary: We can learn a lot from the letters to the seven churches in Revelation
How deep is your love for the church, I am not only talking about ACC, but I am also speaking about the church in general. Do you see the church as something that is meaningful and important?
I so love the church. I owe a lot to the church. It was at First Christian Church at Vandalia, MO that I found Jesus. The church is where my relationship with Jesus began and the church is where I was inspired to grow in my faith.
I owe a debt of gratitude to many people who are a part of the church that have helped me to be who I am today.
God loves the church, God cares about the church. God loves and cares about ACC also.
Over the next seven weeks, I want to take us one a journey to seven ancient churches from the bible.
As we examine the letters to the seven churches in Revelation, it is my hope that we can learn some things that will help us continue on our quest to be a stronger more effective church.
I want us to take a hard look at what Jesus has to say to these churches to see what we can learn from each church.
As we look at each of these situations, we can see how timeless God’s Word truly is.
I want us to look at these letters from an individual standpoint also. These letters, although written to the churches, ultimately have personal application since we are the Church. What is written to the Church is written to each one of us also.
(BACKGROUND OF EPHESIAN CHURCH)
Our journey starts out in Ephesus. The city was an important trade and religious center in her day. She boasted the temple of Diana, which was one of the seven ancient wonders of the world.
The city had the best harbors in Asia Minor.
Its population was ethnically diverse. Because of all of the idol worship, it was a tough place to have a church, but it was also a good place because of the cities worldwide impact.
Let us begin our visit to the seven churches of Revelation.
Let us first look at:
I. A PICTURE OF THE LORD. (1)
In each of the letters to the seven churches, John begins each letter with a description of a different aspect of Jesus. Each of the descriptions fit with the theme of each letter.
Let us look at the picture verse one paints of the Lord.
Revelation 2:1 (NASB) 1“To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: The One who holds the seven stars in His right hand, the One who walks among the seven golden lampstands, says this:
What an introduction!
This introduction serves to let the people know that Jesus has the power and authority to say what He is going to say to the church and carry out what He promises concerning them!
This description of Christ shows that He cares and knows each one of us. As we will see later, He not only knows our actions, but our motives as well.
Walking among the lampstands indicates someone who is familiar with the lamp stands (or churches). Jesus not only has the stars, but He holds them!
Jesus not only oversees the churches but He dwells with them (Matt 18:20) and He walks among them, inspects them and knows them!
Just as Jesus cared for each of these churches and He cares for the Auburn Christian Church also. He wants this church to reach its full potential.
Let us look at what the Church at Ephesus was doing that was praiseworthy.
II. PRAISE FOR THE CHURCH. (2,3,6)
It is easy to just bang on the churches for the negative things that go on, or to look only at the perceived failures of a given church.
As we look at the praise the Lord has for the church at Ephesus, it looks like they are doing a lot of thing right.
Look at what God’s Word says
What kind of things can we learn about this church? Look at verses 2,3,6 with me.
Revelation 2:2 - 6 (NASB) 2‘I know your deeds and your toil and perseverance, and that you cannot tolerate evil men, and you put to the test those who call themselves apostles, and they are not, and you found them to be false; 3and you have perseverance and have endured for My name’s sake, and have not grown weary. 6‘Yet this you do have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.