Summary: Sermon Two of a series
The Church that Needed a Second Honeymoon!
As we consider this first church to whom Jesus dictated a letter, it would do our study well to see the background of the city of Ephesus. It was a prosperous city with a strong commerce. It was a very political city, considered free by even the Romans and had a democratic government. It was also a pagan city. A temple to the goddess Diana, one of the seven wonders of the world, was located in this city. It was a massive 425 feet long and 220 feet broad. It contained 127 pillars that were 60 feet high. The idolatrous worshipers would worship the moon in Her name. This city was one of wealth and wickedness, yet it had a church that was faithful. .
For three years Paul labored there. In Acts 18-20, we find that Paul led Aquilla and Priscilla to the Lord. Apollos came and preached the baptism of John the Baptist and was corrected and began to preach Jesus. A nucleus was formed and the Gospel began to spread. Then opposition came. Demetrius the silversmith was angry that the preaching of Paul had hurt his business that drew support from the worship of idols. Opposition always comes when you are doing right! But Paul kept preaching.
In Acts 19:18-20, we read, “And many that believed came, and confessed, and shewed their deeds. Many of them also which used curious arts brought their books together, and burned them before all men: and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver. So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed.” He subsequently ordained Timothy superintending overseer or bishop there: probably his charge was but of a temporary nature. John, towards the close of his life, took it as the center from which he superintended the province.
Revival broke out in the city of Ephesus. Do you remember a revival in your own soul where you threw away the old because the new was so much better? They had a fire about them. They had a fervor to live for the Lord that abounded in their lives. But lost the fervor! They needed to go back and be reminded of where it all began!
The letter to the church at Ephesus begins with a commendation in verses 2-3 and in verse 6. Oh the grace of our Lord that as He begins to correct His church, He begins with a gracious encouragement. You can serve the Lord without loving, but you can never love Him without serving! They were commended for things needed in the church today.
First, they were commended of their deeds that were evident. Jesus said in verse 2, “I know thy works.” Each of the seven epistles in this and the third chapter, commences with, "I know thy works." Each contains a promise from Christ, "To him that overcometh." Each ends with, "He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches." God knows our deeds and wants our future to be right.
God approved of the deeds of this church. The works of which He speaks relates to how we occupy our time. The things that occupy our time either honors God, disregards Him, or dishonors Him. God should be involved in every area of our lives. Our family, jobs, ministries, and even recreation should honor the Lord.