Summary: Recognizing the Danger of losing what matters most.
Love in the Rear View Mirror - Rev 2:1-7
Look this morning at another letter to the Ephesian church other than the one written by Paul.
1) Apostle John is only remaining disciple alive and is now banished to the island of Patmos. It is here that Jesus gives him a 3-fold message.
2) Divide the book of Revelation up by the outline given in 1:19 ’Therefore write the things which you have seen(1), and the things which are(2-3), and the things which will take place after these things.
3) Things which are is a group of seven letters to seven different churches which are all located in Asia Minor. The letter to the church at Ephesus is the first.
Come into a new community looking for a new church home. You initially enter each church and try to gain an idea about what kind of church this is. Can be confusing. Different buildings, congregations, history, Pastors. (Seminary: takes 9 mnths to a year for a pastor to know the kind of church he is pastoring) Only the Head, Jesus Christ, can accurately know and explain the true condition of each church.
Although these churches existed during the same historical time frame yet they were quite different from one another.(like today) You could expand the study of them to even get a glimpse of seven different ages that the last 2,000 yrs of church history has passed through and which will ultimately go through until Christ return.
Each letter can be looked at using a 5-term examination:
PATIENT - PHYSICIAN - POSITIVE - PROBLEM - PRESCRIPTION - POSSIBILITIES.
THE PATIENT - (1) To the angel of the church of Ephesus write..’
1. Term Ephesus literally means ’desired one’. Many things about this city that might account for such a name.
a. POLITICAL CLIMATE: Ephesus was a center for land and sea trade. Located on the Caster River and had desirable harbor for ships. It was called the Light of Asia and the Marketplace of Asia. It was also called the Highway of Martyrs because it was a stop for Roman prisoners who were brought out of Asia.
1) To enter the city from the Harbor you would travel on a marble road which was 1/2 mile long and 35’ wide.
b. RELIGIOUS CLIMATE:
1) NEGATIVE: Temple of Diana(Artimis). One of the seven wonders of the ancient world. Over 600’ long and 20 wide. Along the front were 120 columns, each 60’ high, 36 of which were inlaid with elaborate riches.
a) Place of Industry: manufactured statutes of Diana. Paul came and when people began to get saved it cut into the profit of this industry and caused a riot. ’Great is Diana of the Ephesians’(Acts 19:28) ’image which fell down out of heaven(35)(supposedly occurred when Alexander the Great came through town and Jupiter dropped)
b) Place of Culture: Museum for all from all over the world.
c) Place of Refuge: Sanctuary for Criminals. Free from the law if inside. So many inside that the boundaries of the temple were expanded to the very city limits of Ephesus.
d) Place of Immorality: Criminals inside, 1,000’s of priestesses and prostitutes. Worship included acts of immorality and self-mutilation:
Greek Philosopher stated, ’morals of the temple were worse than the morals of animals’.
Not a very promising place to start a church!
a) Ministry of great church leaders: Paul spent 3 years here building the church. Timothy was in charge of the churches in this area. Mary the mother of Jesus is said to have died here. Apollos, Priscilla & Aquilla all ministered here. John himself was here before he was banished and returned here afterwards.
b) Strong Church in numbers: Billy Graham estimates that the church in Ephesus may have been as large as 50,000 members.
THE PHYSICIAN - ’These things says He Who holds the seven stars in His right Hand, Who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands’.
1. Confusing statement: Look to Chapter 1 where Jesus appears to John in a very amazing way(1:12-16). 1:20 explains that the seven stars are the seven angels (messengers) of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.
a. Stars are the messenger: particular person who brought to each church, possibly the pastors of each church, or even an angel which ministered to each church.
b. Lampstand: We are a lampstand in Hannibal. An outpost for light.
2. Personal description:
a. Who holds the seven stars in His right hand. Strong word which reinforces that the message if from Jesus. Often reject what Pastor, Sunday School teacher, or some Christians states because disagree with or is too confronting a message. THIS IS FROM ME. These messengers are in My hand. Heavy word but Mine!