Summary: These letters deal with the good, bad, and the ugly.


Bible Study:

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

through Ephesus.

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

major cases.

e. Annual games were held here.

C. The church in Ephesus was informed.

1. Paul spent many hours laboring with the brethren here

(Acts 20:31).

2. Timothy the evangelist (2 Timothy 4:2,5), labored with this congregation as their preacher

(1 Timothy 1:3).

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.

D. Commendation:

1. They worked and toiled, v.2. The word toiled is

discussing the fact that they labored until the point

of exhaustion.

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.

a. Is it proper for us to question men today?(Hebrews 13:17),(1 John 4:1).

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

(Acts 2:38; 2 Corinthians 7:9- 10).

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

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