Summary: These letters deal with the good, bad, and the ugly.
An Overview of The Seven Churches of Revelation
In chapters two and three of Revelation we have an address from the Lord to the seven churches of Asia. These letters deal with the good, bad, and the ugly. Jesus is not a respecter of persons (Acts 10:34; Galatians 2:6; James 2:1). He deals with all of mankind righteously, according to His Word (John 12:48). In dealing with these seven churches, only two receive commendation, Smyrna and Philadelphia. Four of the remaining five receive both commendation
and reprimand. The church in Laodicea receives only reprimand. Jesus is clear on the fact that repentance is required to overcome His reprimand.
I. To the church at Ephesus, Revelation 2:1-7.
A. The inspired record relating to the beginning of this
congregation is found in Acts 19. Verses 17-20 highlight the
love the Ephesians had for truth and righteousness.
B. Geographic information:
1. A coastal city located off of the Aegean Sea.
2. Great economic importance.
a. Import and export. Three major trade routes came
b. Temple of Diana, or Artemis located here.
One of the seven wonders of the world. This Temple was four
hundred and twenty five feet long, two hundred and twenty five
feet wide, and sixty feet high. It had a stairway made from
solid vine from Cyprus. This was an elaborate Temple where the
god Diana was worshiped. Idol worship was a great
economic contributor (Acts 19:23-28).
c. Free city. A miniature Rome, complete with self rule,
and military might.
d. Ephesus was a judicial center. Rome would try the
e. Annual games were held here.
C. The church in Ephesus was informed.
1. Paul spent many hours laboring with the brethren here
2. Timothy the evangelist (2 Timothy 4:2,5), labored with this congregation as their preacher
3. Tradition says that John son of Zebedee spent many
of his last years here. Ephesus was only between sixty
to seventy miles from Patmos.
4. Verses 2 and 6, demonstrate the fact that the Ephesians
knew the truth. They were a doctrinally sound congregation.
1. They worked and toiled, v.2. The word toiled is
discussing the fact that they labored until the point
2. They were patient, v.2. Verse three defines their patience.
3. They would not bear evil men, v.2. The word bear means
“to support as a burden, to pick up and to carry”. They
tried those who falsely called themselves apostles, and took
the proper action when they proved that they were in error.
b. Ezekiel 3:16-21 demonstrates the principle involved here.
4. They hated the deeds of the Nicolaitans, v.6.
a. The word “Nicolaitans” is the product of combining the word
“Laos” (people), with the word “Niklam” (to conquer). We
will look further into their teaching when we study the
letter to the church at Pergamum.
b. It is not enough to love the things God loves. We must
hate the things that God hates.
c. Failure to hate what God hates is the sin of
indifference. Consider Isaiah 5:20-21.
E. The Lord’s reprimand.
1. Their love had grown cold, v.4.1 Corinthians 16:22, and
1 John 4:8 reveal the bitter consequences of failing
to keep the fires of love burning. Remember to know God is
to be known by Him (Galatians 4:9).
a. The type of love which pleases the Lord
is more than mere emotion. We are to love Him with our total
being (Mark 12:29-30). We must give ourselves to the Lord (2
Corinthians 8:5), because in Christ we are joined, or married
to Him (Romans 7:4).
b. Acts of worship must be rendered in spirit and in truth
(John 4:24). They had the truth down, but without love their
worship was in vain.
c. From the outside this congregation probably looked
like a good one to belong to. They were sound in the faith,
yet they were lost in their present condition. Consider Ezekiel
3:20 in this vein of reasoning.
F. The Lord’s counsel.
1. Repent and do the first works, v.5.
a. They were to remember where they once were and return to
that place. Repentance is more that declaring ones error,
it is a change in attitude and action. Repentance and heart
felt sorrow work together in God’s plan of salvation
2. Change or else!
a. The Lord would remove their candlestick, or lampstand. In
1:20 we are informed that the candlesticks are the churches.
Refusal to repent finally resulted in the end of their
3. Overcomers are invited to come over and eat of the tree of
a. Paradise is lost in the book of beginnings, and regained