Summary: Church started with Penticost, ends in heaven.
EPHESUS: THE CHURCH THAT LEFT ITS FIRST LOVE.
There are many different ways to look at these letters to the seven churches. We could consider them first of all prophetically. To do so means these letters represent the stages the church will go through. It started from the day of Pentecost and ends when church is in heaven.
We could also consider them personally. You will notice down in verse 7 he that hath an ear hear. This means there is a personal message to the church of today.
I want to consider the letter to the church of Ephesus as practical. I believe all the above would be correct as study theses letters. But God has something to say to us as a congregation through His letter to the Ephesians. Some of these same problems found in the churches back then are found in church of today. If we aren’t careful we might find these problems in Mount Lebanon Baptist Church.
Here was a church born by going into house after house and witnessing the Savior. Yet now thirty years later Jesus writes a letter to this church. Think about the pastors this church had, Paul, Apollos, Timothy and also John. This was a church with a tremendous reputation.
The Lord Jesus in His letter does basically three things. He tells them what’s right about them, number two, He tells the what’s wrong about them and number three, He tells them what to do about what’s wrong. With this in mind lets look at the three points of this letter to Ephesus. JESUS HAS SOME POSITIVE WORDS FOR THE CHURCH. Look at what He says about the church. This is a busy church. This is a very active church. If you and I would have visited this church we would have seen an active church. There services were active and enthusiastic. The people were working, things were happening. There would have been no boredom at that church.
He commends them for their dedication. He says I know thy works, labor and thy patience. What a commendation for this church. The church of Ephesus was a working congregation. I think you have discovered in this church for a while you have found it takes work to keep these ministries going. A church just doesn’t build itself. It takes work and much of it. Somebody has to visit. Somebody has to teach. Somebody has to pray. Churches just don’t happen. It is a real tragedy in average church today only a handful of people do the work. This would not have been true at this church.
Then Jesus say something else about this church. I know thy labor. This is a picture of work to the point of pain. You have to pay a price to build a church.
Then He says I know thy patience. This word means endurance. It means they kept on keeping on. These were not just 90 day wonders in the service of Jesus. You do find that today. People take a job in the church and last about 3 months and find the work is demanding and give it to someone else. They stayed with the stuff.
He not only commends them for their dedication but also for their discipline. Here was a church that had discipline. Here was a church that would not tolerate moral evil. They would not put up with sin in the fellowship. They knew that the devil would do anything to get rid off the doctrine in that church. The devil is a whittler. He just starts whittling away if he is allowed to. Compromise here and neglect that until gone liberal.
If you had let a magazine write great articles about churches in Asia-Minor, this church would have been included.
JESUS HAD SOME NEGATIVE WORDS FOR THE CHURCH. Nevertheless, having said all of that, I have somewhat against thee. What in the world can the Lord say against this church? A church that has been built on soul-winning. Jesus says with sorrow in His voice and teas on the pages you have left your first love.
Lets talk about that a little. I want to talk to you just as if you and I are the only one in the building. Forget about the person to your right and left and all around you. I want to talk to you individually. I want to talk to you about this matter of first love for the Lord Jesus. What is first love? It is exactly what it is, first love. First love is engagement love. Jesus says to them you don’t love me the way you use to love me. Do you remember when you first fell in love with Jesus? I think one of the most heart rending things we could hear with our heart is Jesus saying you don’t love me as you use to love. Can you imagine how it would make you feel if your wife sir, your husband mam, says to you, you don’t love me as you use to love me. Love is suppose to grow. I love my wife more than I did when we got married. The reason is I know more about her now than when we got married. The case with many today they are saved and never know much about Jesus. I wonder if the Lord could say to some deacon this morning, you don’t love me as you use to love. I wonder if the Lord could say to some choir member you don’t love me as you use to love? You just don’t love me the way you did when you first came to me>