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Summary: God’s greatest commandments are loved-based and reveal His priority on relationships.

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AMERICAN IDOLS: LOOKING AT OURSELVES AND OUR LOYALTIES THROUGH THE EYES OF JESUS

THE IDOL OF SUPERIORITY: EPHESUS

REVELATION 2:1-7

Sermon Objective: God’s greatest commandments are loved-based and reveal His priority on relationships.

Supporting Scripture: Mark 12:29-31, John 13:34-35; 1 Corinthians 13; Romans 12:10; Romans 13:8; Ephesians 4:2; Hebrews 10:24; 1 Peter 1:22; 1 Peter 4:8; 1 John 3:11; 1 John 3:23; 1 John 4:7; 1 John 4:11-12; 2 John 1:5

Revelation 2:1"To the angel of the church in Ephesus write:

These are the words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks among the seven golden lampstands: 2I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked men, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. 3You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary. 4Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. 5Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place. 6But you have this in your favor: You hate the practices of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. 7He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.

SERIES INTRO:

American Idols: Looking at Ourselves and Our Loyalties Through the Eyes of Jesus

There are two categories of idols:

{1} an image or other material object representing a deity to which religious worship is addressed.

{2} any person or thing regarded with blind admiration, adoration, or devotion.

Our concern is with the latter. There are a myriad of “things” which could be classified as an idol … they are limited only by the passions of the individual in question. But there are certain dispositions or demeanors that our culture serves and pursues as an end in themselves … they have become idolatrous.

What we discover in “The Revelation” is that they are not just limited to our culture but that others have also pursued these with “blind devotion”. They include:

• Superiority (pride) – The Church in Ephesus (Revelation 2:1-7) • Consumerism – The Church in Smyrna (Revelation 2:8-11) • Laize Faire – The Church in Pergamum (Revelation 2:12-17) • Tolerance – The Church in Thyatira (Revelation 2:18-29) • Leisure – The Church in Sardis (Revelation 3:1-6) • Stoicism – The Church in Philadelphia (Revelation 3:7-13) • Independence – The Church in Laodicea (Revelation 3:14-22)

INTRO:

EPHESUS: THE CITY

It was the chief city of Asia Minor. During John’s day it was approximately 3 times the size of modern day Syracuse (maybe as many as 500,000) and its claims to fame would be

[i] The temple of Diana/Artemis (which was one of the seven wonders of the ancient world) and

[ii] Its harbor. The harbor was the envy of other cities … it was their biggest problem too since it gradually filled with silt; shrunk, and required the city to move closer to it on several occasions.


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