Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: This is the third sermon in the series on the Book of Revelation.

The Message to the Church of Ephesus

Revelation 2:1-7

1 "To the angel of the church of Ephesus write, 'These things says He who holds the seven stars in His right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands:

2I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars;

3and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name's sake and have not become weary.

4Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love.

5Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place--unless you repent.

6But this you have, that you hate the deeds 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 to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God." '

We continue our look at the book of Revelation.

The apostle John has been exiled to Patmos Island Prison

by the Roman emperor Domitian.

It was the Alcatraz of the ancient world.

While a prisoner there,

John received the message of the book of Revelation.

It included letters to 7 churches of Asia Minor.

Those churches were Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum,

Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea.

They were not the only churches in the region,

but they were the oldest, the largest, and the most influential.

The characteristics and lifestyles of the members of these 7 churches

can be very useful to us.

Their successes as well as their failures

can be valuable lessons for us.

In addition to serving as a teaching tool for us today,

these 7 churches serve as a history account.

I believe that the 7 churches

are symbolic of the whole Christian church throughout history.

The experience of each church taken in order

reflects the condition of Christian churches

during 7 consecutive eras of the Church Age.

The Church Age begins with the establishment of the first churches

and will end at the Rapture

when Jesus returns to claim His bride, the church.

That means that each message has 3 applications.

The first applies to the actual church

at the time of the writing of the letter.

The second application is to an era of actual church history.

The third is how the message

applies to our lives today!

So with your Bibles open to Revelation Chapter 2

let's begin seeing what Jesus said to John

about the church in Ephesus.

1 "To the angel of the church of Ephesus write, 'These things says He who holds the seven stars in His right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands:

The "angels" of the 7 churches

are most likely the pastors of each church.

They had the responsibility of delivering the message from Jesus

to the congregations where they served.

So this is the message Jesus gave to John

who passed it on to the pastor of Ephesus

who then preached it to the congregation there.

Ephesus was a city located on a harbor in the Aegean Sea.

It was known for its many commercial and cultural interests.

The church of Ephesus was the largest church in Asia Minor,

but was located in the middle of a very pagan culture.

A temple dedicated to Diana, the pagan goddess of fertility was there.

Acts 18:18-26 tells us that

Aquilla and Priscilla helped to start this church.

They were assisted by Apollos and the apostle Paul.

Jesus says He holds the 7 stars in His right hand.

Often in scripture,

the right hand is used as the symbol of power and authority.

So Jesus is the head of His church

and He guides His pastors in their work.

Jesus not only guides His pastors,

He also provides them with the power they need.

Verse 1 goes on to say, who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands:

The golden lampstands are symbols of the 7 churches.

So Jesus walks in the midst of the churches.

Lampstands don't provide the light.

They simply give off the light burning from within them.

Without Jesus being the center of the church

it gives off no light.

It doesn't matter how many people might attend there.

It doesn't matter how big or fancy the building might be.

It doesn't matter how entertaining the services might be.

It doesn't matter how many activities it might offer for the children.

Any church that does not center its functions in Jesus

is nothing more than a social club.

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