Summary: Ephesus was a good church but it had lost its first love.
EPHESUS—THE CHURCH OF A LOST LOVE
TEXT: Revelation 2:1-7
Revelation 2:1-7 KJV 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;  I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars:  And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name's sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted.  Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.  Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.  But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.  He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.
I. INTRODUCTION—CHURCHES UNDER PRESSURE
-If there is something that would draw all of these churches into a common area it would have to be that they are churches that are living in a pagan world and are under the pressure of persecution.
-Even John is under pressure and he told them why that he had been placed on the island called Patmos in Revelation 1:9—because of the Word of God and the preaching of Jesus Christ.
-Yet despite that pressure that John was under the Lord still had a message that He wanted to be delivered to those saints. When you began to analyze what they were facing, there is no comparison at all to what we are facing here in America.
-Recently, I have picked the book Safely Home by Randy Alcorn and started reading it again. It has been another reminder to me as to the importance of treasuring the freedom that we have to worship and the lack of secrecy that we have to worry with in serving the Lord. For the Chinese Christians there is a great price that has to be paid for their involvement.
II. EPHESUS—THE CHURCH OF A LOST LOVE
-The first church that is addressed of the seven in Revelation 2-3, is the one at Ephesus. This was a church that was in Asia Minor. There are scholars and historians who believe that the church at Ephesus was actually the one responsible for all of the other churches that were planted in that region.
-If you look on a Bible map, perhaps the one that shows Paul’s 3rd and 4th missionary journeys, you can see the church at Ephesus on the eastern coastline of the Aegean Sea. Patmos was an island out in the Aegean that the travelers would have come to in order to visit John.
-You can also note that the other six churches follow sort of an inverted U and these travelers would have dropped off the letters to all seven of the churches—Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea.
-There were other churches in Asia that are not addressed by the Lord in the book of Revelation: Troas (Acts 20:5; 2 Cor. 2:12); Miletus (Acts 20:17); Colossae (Col. 1:12); and Hierapolis (Col. 4:13).
-All of the letters are historical but all of them very specifically characterize the same behaviors and trends that are evident in the modern day church. Every church no matter how strong they are will have a mixture of good and evil in it. This is a fact that the Lord was clear about in Matthew 13 when he told the parable of the tares among the wheat.
-In an observation of these churches, there is a discovery that beginning with Ephesus and progressing through all of them until you reach Laodicea, they become increasingly worse. The final church, Laodicea, is very much an apostate church. In fact, so much so that the Lord is locked out of his own church.
-While we are looking at these churches at large, we do ourselves well in a spiritual sense if we see if we are guilty of the same charges the Lord had against these churches both corporately and personally.
-This is actually the second time that Ephesus would be addressed as a church by an epistle. Forty years earlier Paul had written his epistle to them and now the Lord Jesus Christ is writing one through John to them again.
-Ephesus had been a powerful church. From Acts 19 we can get a glimpse of this church. In my own thoughts, I would have thought that Ephesus was probably the most powerful church that had been established by Paul. There are some who list its numbers as between 25,000 and 30,000 members.