Summary: Ephesus – Everything but the One Thing - PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request – email: firstname.lastname@example.org
(1). Introduction to the Letters.
(2). The City and the Church.
(3). An Analysis of the letter.
• Address (vs 1a).
• Attribute (vs 1b).
• Approval (vs 2-3).
• Accusation (vs 4-5).
• Advice (vs 5).
• Assurance (vs 7).
• Appeal (vs 7).
Most people have an opinion about their local church:
• We have all heard or maybe even used phrases like:
• 'It's too dead'; 'It's too old-fashioned';
• 'It's too liberal'; 'It's too modern';
• 'It's too charismatic'; 'It's too Reformed'.
• I like the ‘tongue in cheek reply one man gave an interviewer.
• When asked what was his favourite type of Church;
• He replied, “Red brick”.
• TRANSITION: The one opinion that counts regarding the Church is not yours or mine;
• It is Jesus Christ!
• What does he think about a local Church.
• No opinion can be more important than his!
In the book of Revelation, chapters 2 and 3:
• Jesus looks at a tiny group of seven churches in the Roman province of Asia.
• Today this area is called Turkey.
• Jesus looks at a tiny group of seven churches and he lets us what he thinks;
• We contained in Revelation chapters 2 and 3;
• Exactly what Jesus thought about each congregation,
• And as on lookers it is possible for us to construct a composite picture;
• Of the sort of church he would like to see today.
Question: Why were these seven Churches singled out?
• Why was Smyma chosen and not Philippi?
• Why Sardis chosen and not Corinth or Rome?
• Well if you read a few commentaries you can find some ‘interesting’ ideas;
• e.g. some say the seven Churches symbolise seven consecutive periods in Church history
• That idea sounds plausible at first;
• But as you study it,
• Well in my opinion it soon becomes forced and artificial in the end.
Answer: Let me suggest three reasons why these seven churches.
• These cities were readily accessible to each other;
• And with Ephesus being an important city port,
• These cities were also accessible to the rest of the world.
• Sir William Ramsay (the classical scholar and archaeologist);
• Says that the Roman province of Asia was divided into seven main postal areas,
• And that the collection or distribution point in each area;
• Coincided with the seven cities in Revelation.
• So the messages to the individual churches;
• Are arranged in an order that would be naturally followed by a Postman or woman;
• Arriving by sea at Ephesus.
• The postman/woman could walk a circular route from the major sea port of Ephesus;
• Heading north up the coast,
• Then inland to the east and finally south to the rich valley of the river Meander.
• So one reason these seven Churches were chosen;
• May well be their geographical link.
• There are as you are aware seven Churches;
• Generally speaking, seven in Hebrew stands for completeness or perfection.
• Many scholars believe that these seven churches;
• Are representative of all the congregations that have ever been.
• Because Churches of every age;
• Share the same strengths and weaknesses as these historical Churches.
The seven churches are real historical churches in real geographical places,
• But John’s intention is not to speak to each church in isolation from the other six.
• This is because each letter ends with the phrase,
• “He who has an ear, let him listen to what the Spirit says to the churches.”
• Each letter addresses the specific situation of the churches addressed,
• But it contains a message which the other churches are meant to overhear and learn from.
Note: there is a commonality of structure in these seven letters.
• Each letter shares seven common features.
• They follow the same outline.
“To the angel of the Church in…”
“These are the words of him who…”
“I know your deeds…”
“Yet I hold this against you”
“…or else I will come and…”
“To him who overcomes I will…”
“…let him hear what the Spirit says…”
• The only variation from this order is that the last four letters;
• Reverse the last two items so that you have appeal and then assurance.
• Nobody knows why, the reason is not apparent.
(2). The City and the Church
(a). Ephesus was one the great cities of Asia Minor:
• Whenever you come across the word Asia in the New Testament,
• Remember it is not referring to the continent but to this region,