Summary: A closer look at the 7 Churches found in the Book of Revelation and what it means for the church today.
The Busy Church
The 7 Churches of Revelation
January 15th & 16th
This morning we begin our series on the 7 Churches of Revelation by taking a look at Christ’s message to the Ephesian Church and how we can apply its message to our lives
Ephesus was one of the most important cities in the province of Asia. Ephesus was an important trade center on the Aegean Sea. Paul established a Church here during his second missionary journey.
Timothy was later sent to Ephesus by Paul to minister to that congregation. The books of 1st & 2nd Timothy were addressed to the Ephesian Church. By the time of John’s writing the Ephesian Church is nearly 40 years old. Another generation was growing up in the church which apparently didn’t share the same love as their parents and they were getting called out by Jesus.
As we look at Christ’s message to the Ephesian Church we notice a message of…
I. A MESSAGE OF COMMENDATION
A. This message of commendation focuses on three areas:
- Their Works
- Jesus says he is aware of the great things they have achieved on His behalf
- Jesus says he sees the works they are doing on behalf of the church and the positive results of that work even if it means hardship and pain for them.
- Their Labor
- Jesus says I see that you are bringing others to me and I also see the hard work and trials that you are going through to make this happen.
- The work of the church is not easy; sharing the Good News with others is not always easy. Doing the right this is not always easy.
- But this is what we are called to do and we must persevere.
- Their Patience
- They stood their ground. They did not let the influence or pressures of false teachings and religions creep into the church. They took a stand. They said God’s Word and work is too important.
- They knew it wouldn’t be easy to take a stand, they knew there would be trials and pain, but they stood their ground with a patient heart because they knew God was with them and they knew what that future reward was.
- Sound familiar- We’re going through this. Stand strong.
- We as a church need to continue to possess this patient endurance
- They couldn’t endure nor would they tolerate evil men
- There are people who will bring false teaching into the Church
- Paul warned about these people (Acts 20:29-30)
I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them.
B. This Ephesian Church loved the things Christ loved and hated that which Christ hated
- They didn’t grow weary, they were tested but they stood firm
Illustration: D.L. Moody once said this of serving God; I get weary in doing the Lords work, but I never get weary of the Lord’s work
- It’s so easy when we face difficulties day after day, sufferings, and struggles, to grow weary standing for what is right, and just give in a little.
- This Church refused to give in and they were praised by Christ for it
- We must do the same and have the same conviction and virtues they did!
Transition: As the passage continues we go from a message of commendation to a message of...
II. A MESSAGE OF CONDEMNATION
A. The church was hard working, busy, endured through hard times, and practiced sound doctrine, but we see this isn’t all God expects from His people.
- All their commendations couldn’t cover the faults they had
- What were these faults? One stood out above all the rest.
- They had lost their first love
- This is a major criticism from Christ, it’s as if he is saying you are doing all the right things, but you are doing them for the wrong reasons
- They had the right doctrine but not the right devotion - Their focus was all wrong
B. So what is this “first love?”
- First love is that which loves without reservation
- First love in the eyes of God is the love that first brought you to God, it’s the love that you saw when you first saw the Cross for what it really was
- It was when you realized the blood of Christ was shed for your sins, by His overwhelming love for you
- It’s the love that you first had for Jesus in response to His great love for you
- First love looks at mountains of troubles and sees them as hills to conquer