Summary: Ephesus – Everything but the One Thing - PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request – email:


(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!

(1). Introduction.

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.

FIRST: Geographically.

• 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.

SECOND: Spiritually.

• 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.

(1). Address.

“To the angel of the Church in…”

(2). Attribute.

“These are the words of him who…”

(3). Approval.

“I know your deeds…”

(4). Accusation.

“Yet I hold this against you”

(5). Advice.

“…or else I will come and…”

(6). Assurance.

“To him who overcomes I will…”

(7). Appeal.

“…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,

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