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Summary: Jesus needs to be the first and foremost in our lives.

Keeping First Things First

Revelation 2:1-7

May 22, 2005

Morning Service

Introduction

When I went to Asbury, for seminary, Maxie Dunam became the new president and I remember the advice he gave to the incoming students. “The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.” I believe that Pastor Dunam was trying to tell us that in order to succeed at seminary or anything in life for that matter we had to remain focused on the things that really mattered.

How do we keep the main thing the main thing?

Our world seems to be a constant reality that everything and I mean everything is relative. In other word, nothing is absolute and anything can change at a moments notice. You might be surprised but this not really a new problem.

When first things are put first, second things are not suppressed but increased - C.S. Lewis

In a world of changing priorities, how can we stay focused on things that really matter?

Let’s take a few moments to look at the book of Revelation 2:1-7

1 "To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: These are the words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks among the seven golden lampstands: 2 I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked men, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. 3 You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary. 4 Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. 5 Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place. 6 But you have this in your favor: You hate the practices of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. 7 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God. Revelation 2:1-7

Understanding Ephesus

The Importance of Ephesus

Ephesus was one of the most important cities in the eastern section of the Roman empire for several key reasons. Ephesus was one of the largest ports in the eastern empire and became both a center of trade and transportation. Trade was vital to the life of Ephesus. The city was the point where three major land trade routes converged for distribution by sea. These same land routes also became a mode of easy transportation for people and Roman soldiers. People would conduct both trade and travel through the city of Ephesus.

The Influence of Ephesus

Ephesus held major social and cultural influence within the eastern empire. One of the wonders of the ancient world was in Ephesus - The Temple of Artemis. Ephesus was also a center for the imperial cult, the worship of the current Roman emperor. So there were many temples dedicated to the worship of the emperors. Ephesus was well known for its idolatry.

Ephesus also held great political influence because it was given a certain amount of self rule it was considered a free city. The trade required Ephesus to have one of the largest marketplaces in the empire. Ephesus also boasted of great entertainment, a large stadium and a large theater that could seat 25 thousand people.


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