Summary: An exploration of the church in Ephesus according to the words of the Lord in the book of the Revelation.
1 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;
2 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:
3 And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name’s sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted.
4 Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.
5 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.
6 But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.
7 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.
The book of Revelation is a book that people love to study because it contains truths about the end times and the coming days. Let me give you a few thoughts, by way of introduction, about this book of the Revelation. All throughout this book, you will find indications that what John was going to see were divided into three parts. That which was, that is the past. That which is, that is the present time. That which is to come, that is the things of the future. All through out this book, you find reference to these three things. I believe that this is a natural division of this book. In chapter one, you have that which was. It is all about who Jesus was in the past. Chapters two and three we have the present time. Then from chapter four through the end of the book you have that which is to come.
One thing stands firm throughout this book. It is the revelation of Jesus Christ. This is not just about what was, what is, and what is to come. This is about who Jesus was in the past, who He is now in the present, and who He will be in the future. Jesus Christ is portrayed as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords throughout all ages. He has always been God. He has always been the one who we are to look to.
As we come to chapter two, we want to begin our study in these seven churches. These churches are representative churches. These were churches in Asia. If you follow the order of these letters written to these churches, you would find that in the northwest you have the city Ephesus. Then in a clockwise motion you would have in order these cities throughout Asia. It is possible that when John wrote this book, that these seven letters were one big letter which would have been passed from the first church to the next.
In our study of these churches we will use the same alliterated outline for each church. First, you will find a description of Christ. Next, you will find a commendation to the church. Then, in five of the seven churches, you will find a complaint against these five churches. Each letter will end with a challenge to the church, which contains words of instruction and a promise. We will look at these four divisions over the next seven weeks and hopefully apply them to ourselves.
May I remind you that these letters were written to churches not to the unsaved. They are written to those who have believed on Christ and professed faith in Him. I believe that in these seven churches there are things written that apply to us today. Perhaps these things even represent things in our lives as individuals. During this study, I ask you to come prayerfully and prepared to let this study speak to you and change you for the better.
The Christ of the Church
In verse one, we have the description of Jesus Christ. To find an explanation of these things look at chapter one, verse twenty.
The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches.
The seven stars represent the angels of the churches. The word "angel" means "messenger. Now, this could have been an angelic, spiritual being as we normally think of an angel. Or, it could have been an actual messenger to the church or in the church. Each of the seven letters are addressed to the "angel of the church".