Summary: Ephesus had many commendable qualities. Yet almost without notice the church began to slip and lose ground. It was not what they were doing that was the core of their problem. If they were to go forward the church needed to return to where they once were.
Go Back to Go Forward
The church at Ephesus had many commendable qualities. Yet almost without notice the church began to slip and lose ground. It was not what they were doing that was the core of their problem. If they were to go forward the church needed to return to where they once were. They needed to go back to go forward. As we consider the Ephesian church we need to look at where we are individually and as a church as we too may need to go back to go forward for Christ.
I. This church was doing the right things
A. They engaged in good works
1. Revelation 2:2 “I know thy works, and thy labor, and thy patience…”
2. Excessive toil, exhausting labor, and patient persevering endurance in the face of difficulties.
3. They were diligent in carrying out their duty to the Lord.
4. Romans 12:11 (HCSB) “Do not lack diligence; be fervent in spirit; serve the Lord.”
5. Diligence is accepting each task as a special assignment from the Lord and using all my energies to do it quickly and skillfully.
6. Ephesians 2:10 “For we are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus unto good works…”
7. You either serve God wholly, or serve the evil one wholly. Elijah cried out, "If God be God, serve him; If Baal be God, serve him."
8. Colossians 3:23 “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men,”
9. “I heard the story of a young man who told his pastor that the Lord had called him into the ministry. And for several months he was busy in the work of the Lord, serving in the pulpit, leading Bible studies, going to prayer meeting, and so on. But then all of a sudden, he stopped coming to church. The pastor called him and said, "What happened? You were so diligent in serving the Lord. Now all of a sudden you stopped coming. What happened?" The man replied, "The Lord told me to never mind." But God will never go back on his call to us. He will never change his mind.” – J B Taylor
B. They were doctrinally sound
1. Paul concerned about an influx of false teacher that would seek to come into the Ephesian church wrote to Timothy in 1 Timothy 1:3-4 “…I besought you to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia, that you might charge some that they teach no other doctrine, Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do.”
2. 2 Timothy 4:3 “For the time will come when they will not ENDURE SOUND DOCTRINE; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears”
3. The word doctrine means simply religious beliefs held and taught. It is the solemn obligation of all Christians that what we believe, hear and teach correspond exactly to truth of the Word of God.
4. Revelation 2:2 “you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars.”
5. They earnestly contended for the faith as they rejected false teachers in the church
6. Understand that Doctrine Is the Foundation of the Christian Life.
7. Acts 2:42 “And they continued steadfastly in the apostles doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.”
8. A.W. Tozer said, “It would be impossible to overemphasize the importance of sound doctrine in the life of a Christian. Right thinking about all spiritual matters is imperative if we would have right living. As men do not gather grapes of thorns nor figs of thistles, so sound character does not grow out of unsound teaching.” – Tozer, Man, The Dwelling Place Of God
C. They believed Christians should live separated lives.
1. Revelation 2:2, 6 “you cannot bear those who are evil…But this you have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.”
2. Adam Clarke tells us that the Nicolaitans were as is commonly supposed, a sect of the Gnostics, who taught the most impure doctrines, and followed the most impure practices.
3. The Christians in the church of Ephesus hated the filthy and impure practices of some professed Christians.
4. They could not bear = tolerate, put up with.
5. The erroneous notion that tolerance is always a virtue and intolerance always a vice has corrupted virtually every corridor of our society and has infiltrated the church. Toleration of what evil is exalted and proudly defended, while all those who resist and condemn evil are slandered and demonized as hate mongers and bigots by the world and as being unloving and unkind by many within the ranks of professed Christianity. -