Summary: Seven commendations but one complaint: Thou hast left thy first love. They were doctrinally sound, but passionately cold. Love had faded.
EPHESUS: FIRST OF 7 CHURCHES
Revelation 1:10 –2:7
Jesus, in the resurrection, returned to earth near the end of the 1st century to tell the Apostle John about the end times—the close of the Church Age, and the events that are to follow that.
He starts with a report card on 7 churches that were located in Asia … actually in what is now Turkey.
The resurrected Christ is dictating this message to John.
Let’s start in Chapter 1, verse 10:
1:10 I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet,
11 Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.
What Jesus is going to say is an accurate description of the conditions of those 7 churches at that time.
But, it also is a chronological history of THE Church from its beginning until the rapture.
We can even use his evaluation of the individual churches as a spiritual barometer to measure our own spirituality at any given time.
After we have gone through them all …ask yourself which of these letters best describes my own spiritual condition?
We’ll see how he evaluates the 7 churches!
We will learn the consequences of their failure!
19 Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter;
John is to write about:
· what he, himself, has seen.
· What existed at the time of this writing,
· What will come to pass after the church age.
This takes us up to chapter 4.
Chapters 2 & 3 are about the churches through the church age.
Chapter 4 finds the church raptured.
Chapters 4 & 5 have the church in heaven.
20The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches.
The 7 candlesticks ... literally are lamp stands ... are 7 churches.
The 7 stars ... are 7 messengers ... probably the pastors or bishops of the churches.
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;
The word for HOLDS ... means
· He holds the whole thing ...
· Nothing is hanging out ...
· Everything is within His grasp.
That is exactly the same way God holds those of us … who are trusting Jesus as our Christ.
Jesus gave us this assurance … back in the Gospel of John … Chapter 10, Verse 27:
John 10:27 “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:”
If we are saved, we hear … and follow!
28“And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.”
The Greek uses a double negative here... which means there is absolutely no possible way that we can be separated from God.
The next verse tells us why:
29 “My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.”
Back in Chapter 6, starting at verse 37… Jesus had already assured us that:
6:37 “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.
38 “For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.
39 “And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.”
Here, in this opening verse, we see that the hand of Christ is strong enough to uphold the heavens—he who walks among the 7 stars…or all of the heavens.
Yet he – Jesus, who walks among his churches – is gentle enough to wipe away our tears.
At his very moment … this same Jesus is preparing a place for us.
· It’s one of the many mansions of heaven.
· It’s a place with no more tears;
· A place with no pain ... no sickness;
· A place of no more suffering … and no more death.
This is the Christ who is addressing the church at Ephesus.
Church at Ephesus
Ephesus was the wealthiest and the greatest city in all Asia.