Summary: The Letter to Ephesus Church.
The Revelation to Ephesus - Everything but the One Thing.
How often do you wait for the mail-man to come - expecting a message, a parcel, a letter. It maybe the day that your final results are in the mail - your OP score which will determine your future. It may be that you are expecting a letter from your girlfriend, boyfriend, hustband, wife, etc. They maybe travelling and you are hanging out for their next postcard and so you wait patiently ... you wait and wait and wait.... patiently of course. As time ticks by, no postman comes - or maybe you missed him. That was it he came when you took a pit stop or grabbed something to eat - so you dart out to the postbox just to check - Nothing. The disappointment - what can you do? well nothing except wait and wait you do. The hours go by so it seems until finally you hear something that sounds like the little motorbike the postie rides.
It is strange that they no longer blow the whistle - you know how they used to do that - to let you know when they had come. I’ve a theory about that one - it involves dogs - you can imagine the site of a postie blowing the whistle and then dropping the clutch on his little bike as he sees racing around the cornor of the house runs this dog - teeth bared, jaws open, ears pulled back in the air - that whistle is a dog magnet - one of the best ever invented.
Well back to that long awaited letter. Once it has been delivered, you race to the letter box again - and you grab the mail and start sorting through it - a Big W catalogue, a bill, a flyer advertising kitty litter and there it is - the letter. It may not look fancy, but it is the words inside that are important - we open it and read it right there at the letterbox. What do the neighbours think when they see you go all gooey and glassey eyed? Have you ever thought about that one? No I didn’t thing so - you’ve got no shame at all! You take it inside and you read it again and then again before bed time and then its waiting for you when you get up the next morning - what a way to start the day.
What was important about that letter? Was it the paper it was written on? Probably not unless it was a note written on a $100 bill. Was it the nice postman/woman who delivered it on time? Undoubtably - not. What was it? It was the person writing it and this is all you care about - their words which were meant just for you.
In the last book of the Bible - Revelation, there are recorded some letters written to some people. I am not sure that they sat by their letter boxes waiting for them or whether they even knew they were coming, but when they did, they should have been treasured just like your letter because of who it was written by ...
If you’ve got your bible, lets turn to Revelation Chapter 1 and read from Verse 1. We are not going to cover all the letters tonight - I’ll cover them in the next months as I have opportunity. We’ll only cover the first one tonight - It was addressed to Ephesus.
Before launching into the letter, let’s quickly get some background - This is what you might call the briefing before the mission.
Let’s read from Verse 1.
To help us, lets answer some questions...
Whose revelation was it ? Vs 1 : Revelation given to Jesus Christ from God
For What Purpose?
1) To show his servants what is to come.
2) Blessed is the one who reads the words of this prophecy and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it.
Who Wrote it, Where and When?
1) John the servant of God (cs 1, 4, 9). There is not much debate that this was the Apostle John.
2) Where : on the Island of Patmos. John had been banished to the Island of Patmos and was likely in a labour camp working the mines because of his faith. Victorinus, the first commentator on the Book of Revelation, stated that John worked as a prisoner in the mines on this small island. When the Emperor Domitian died in A.D. 96, his successor Nerva let John return to Ephesus.
3) written therefore during a period of intense persecution of Christians - likely during the reign of Domitian (90-95AD).
The First vision & The Command to write