Summary: How does the church in Ephesus compare with our church? 1st in series of the Seven Churches of Revelation.
To the Church in Ephesus
In this series on the Seven Churches of Revelation, we will be examining the commendation and condemnation of each of the seven churches and learning the lessons that is meant for our Church.
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:
2 I 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.
3 You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary.
4 Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love.
5 Remember 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.
6 But you have this in your favor: You hate the practices of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.
7 He 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.
The book of Revelation was written around A.D. 95-100. There probably existed well over 100 churches at that time. Paul himself planted dozens and the other apostles would have done the same thing. Why did Christ pick these seven churches to write to. Traditionally there are 3 different thoughts on this matter.
First: The contemporary thought: That Christ had a direct message to seven literal churches existing at that time.
Christ did have a message to these seven churches that existed at that time, but if we accept this purpose, then we would just read over it without thinking that it may apply to us today. Everything else in the Bible applies to us today, so why wouldn’t this?
Second: The composite thought: That these messages are meant to be applied by all churches existing in all ages.
This to me sounds like the correct purpose. We can see attributes of each of these seven churches in our churches today.
Third: The chronological thought: That the characteristics of these churches serve as a prophetical preview of the seven great periods in Christendom from Pentecost to the rapture.
If this purpose were true, then all churches today would be represented by the Laodicea church, for which Christ had the most contempt. I do see many churches today that are represented by the Laodicea church, but not all.
At the time this letter was written, Ephesus was a flourishing city with a population of about 225,000 and possessed a huge harbor. The harbor could accommodate the largest ships in the world. Ephesus grew to become one of the largest and wealthiest cities in the world. The temple of Diana was there, which was one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, being the largest Greek temple ever constructed. Diana was believed to be the mother goddess of the world by the Greeks. Diana was the goddess of fertility, life and reproduction, so the worship of Diana was immoral beyond description. The worship consisted of sexual orgies and sexual mutilation. The Church at Ephesus had much to contend with, just has our churches today as to contend with pornography and homosexual agendas.