Summary: The seven churches are historical, but they have tremendous importance for the church of Christ today because they reveal the qualities that make up the church. They represent all types of churches and Christians.
MESSAGES TO THE SEVEN CHURCHES
Ephesus – “Forsaken First Love”
Good News Christian Fellowship
July 16, 2006
BUCAS, Daraga albay
I believe there is no book in the New Testament which has been as neglected and as controversial as this book. Some even give it a very little attention. And they assert that this book is difficult to understand. It is to be observed that this book is not a sealed book; not a hidden things. God does not intend for the truth of this book to be sealed to man. He intended the church to study and understand the message of this book.
Now let’s take this briefly.
1. Title and author of the Book
“Revelation” is the title of the book. The word is from the Greek word apokalupsis meaning “a disclosure, an unveiling.” The name “revelation” (note that it is singular) is derived from its use in 1:1, “The Revelation of Jesus Christ.”
According to the book itself, the author’s name was John (1:4,9; 22:8). Traditionally, this John has been identified as John the Apostle, one of the disciples of our Lord.
One of the early disciples of John was a man name Polycarp. When Polycarp began his own ministry, he had a disciple named Irenaeus (died A.D. 190). Iraneaus said that Polycarp taught that John the apostle was the author.
Concerning the date of writing, it is uncertain. Some hold to an early date during Nero’s reign (around A.D. 68); others to a later date during Domitian’s reign (around A.D. 95-96)
a. the book certainly concerns the conflict with evil in the form of human personalities energized by Satan and his world-wide system.
b. the triumph of Christ over the anti- Christian forces of the world – beginning with the Tribulation, climaxing with the Second Coming, and reaching completion with the full realization of God’s kingdom.
a. words of encouragement; of comfort, and of warning to the seven churches.
b. words of encouragement; of comfort, and of warning to the next generations.
c. to focus attention upon the Lamb, the Lord Jesus Christ himself.
d. to show God’s redemption for all those who believe
4. Overview of the churches
“To the seven churches in Asia” (1:4b). The whole book is addressed to seven historical churches in the province of Asia Minor. Chapters 2-3 contain specific letter to these seven churches with special warning, exhortations, commendations, and instructions.
Those churches existed at the time John wrote, about 96 A.D.
a. church in Ephesus
b. church in Smyrna
c. church in Pergamum
d. church in Thyatira
e. church in Sardis
f. church of Philadelphia
g. church in Laodicea
The seven churches are historical, but they have tremendous importance for the church of Christ today because they reveal the qualities that make up the church. They represent all types of churches and Christians.
Now let’s take a look the Messages to these seven churches. First, let’s start with the church at Ephesus.
I. The Commendations – 2: 2-3
A. They worked hard for the Lord. The Ephesians were commended for their sweat in their service for Christ. They labor to the point of weariness, sweet and exhaustion.
“Toil” is referred to a labor to the point of weariness. It stresses the depth and degree of their labor for the Lord. Christ commended the church at Ephesus because they were serving Him totally and faithfully.
They were working, planning, sharing Christ, and helping people who had physical needs as well as spiritual needs. It was not a church that offered weekly solace for the boredom of life. They were under a yoke and were plowing--and loved every minute of it! Service to Christ is the greatest thrill in the world!
B. They persevered (v.2c). They steadfastly served the Lord and in standing against the temptation and trials of life. It refers to the capacity or ability to endure, to remain under pressure or pain over the long haul. It is easy to give up, to quit serving Christ and say, “I’m overworked.” I doubt very seriously that your service to Christ means very much if it doesn’t involve toil.
C. They suppressed Evil (v.2d). This refers to sin and evil, men who were corrupt and polluted and who lived for the world instead of living for God. The church could not tolerate the sin and shame, dirt and pollution, filth and destruction of evil. The Ephesians were doing that, so Jesus says, "I know ... how thou canst not bear them who are evil ..." (Rev. 2:2).
The Ephesian were following Paul’s instruction. In Ephesians 4:27, Paul said, "Neither give place to the devil." When Paul left Ephesus and met for the last time with the elders, he said, "God is with you, but don’t forget that wolves will try to enter your fellowship seeking to ruin you. Satan will try to destroy your testimony" (Ac. 20:28-29). Everything God does, Satan wants to destroy.