Summary: the church at ephesus
Ephesus the church of Love
Revelation 2:1-7, “"Write this letter to the angel of the church in Ephesus. This is the message from the one who holds the seven stars in his right hand, the one who walks among the seven gold lampstands: "I know all the things you do. I have seen your hard work and your patient endurance. I know you don’t tolerate evil people. You have examined the claims of those who say they are apostles but are not. You have discovered they are liars. You have patiently suffered for me without quitting. But I have this complaint against you. You don’t love me or each other as you did at first! Look how far you have fallen from your first love! Turn back to me again and work as you did at first. If you don’t, I will come and remove your lampstand from its place among the churches. But there is this about you that is good: You hate the deeds of the immoral Nicolaitans, just as I do. "Anyone who is willing to hear should listen to the Spirit and understand what the Spirit is saying to the churches. Everyone who is victorious will eat from the tree of life in the paradise of God.”
The seven churches listed here in Revelation 2:1-3:22 were actual, historical churches in Asia Minor. They are representative of churches that have existed throughout the church age. What Christ says here to the churches is relevant in all times.
Church history tells us that Ephesus was a great commercial, political, religious, and sports town. The location of Ephesus made it a great town. In the beginning part of AD cities that sat at the mouth of rivers commanded the trade of the hinterland. Ephesus lay at the mouth of the Cayster Valley making it one of the greatest harbors in all of Asia Minor. Not only did Ephesus have a great seaport, but three great roads also connected it to the rest of Asia, and the world. The greatest of these roads was the great trade route from the Euphrates, which reached Ephesus by way of Colosse and Laodicaea, and brought the trade of the East by way of the markets. The road from Galatia came into Ephesus by way Sardis, and poured into its lap the trade of Asia Minor. A third road came up from the south, and added the trade of the Maeander valley to the trade of the Cayster Valley. In commerce and in wealth there were few cities that could match up with Ephesus in its day.
Ephesus was also a city of the greatest political importance in Asia. Once again church history tells us that Ephesus enjoyed the title of ‘Supreme Metropolis of Asia’. This was what was known as a free city. Ephesus also was granted political freedom by Rome, because of its status as the premier town in Asia. Therefore it had its own magistrates called strategoi; a democratically elected governing body called the boule; and an assembly of all its citizens called the ekklesisa. Further Ephesus was what was called an assize town meaning that in Roman provinces there were certain centers where justice was dispensed. The Roman governor made regular and periodical tours throughout the provinces, and at these assize towns the governor tried the most important cases. At certain times in year Ephesus saw all the pomp and pageantry that came with the arrival of the Roman governor and his staff. Ephesus knew well the majesty that was Rome.
Ephesus was also a town that was big on sports. Ephesus was the center of the Pan-Ionian Games. These games ranked only second to the Olympic Games itself. Ephesus was also a town of great religious importance. An example of this would be the temple of Diana was one of the seven great wonders of the Ancient World was located in Ephesus.
Vs.1, “Write this letter to the angel of the church in Ephesus. This is the message from the one who holds the seven stars in his right hand, the one who walks among the seven gold lampstands.”
The seven stars represent the seven pastors who watch over those regions in which those churches are. Timothy was the chief pastor of Ephesus during this time period.
The seven lampstands is a reference to each church listed here in 2:1-3:22. Each lampstand represents a church vs.20 from which the light of Jesus Christ shone.
Vs.2, “"I know all the things you do. I have seen your hard work and your patient endurance. I know you don’t tolerate evil people. You have examined the claims of those who say they are apostles but are not. You have discovered they are liars.”
The first sentence in this verse is a reference to the fact that the Ephesians Christians have stood firm in the solid teaching that they received from the Apostle Paul who labored among them for three years, and whose ministry was based there. This verse is also a commendation to what Paul wrote in 1st Thessalonians 1:3. While Christ here is pictured as the One who is speaking it is in fact the Apostle John that is doing the writing. John is commending the Ephesians, and those who are Christians for their spiritual discernment. We are to test everything against what the Word of God says. 1st Thessalonians 5:21 says, “Test all things; hold fast what is good.” This is not a reference to testing a person’s spirit, but their teaching against what the Word of God says. As Christians the Word ought to represent who we are. That is the greatest sermon ever preached. It is not with words that we preach, but with our lives to a world that is spiritually bankrupt.