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Summary: In Ephesians 2:1-7 we see how to have Victory in Christ, regardless of the circumstances through: 1) The Church (Revelation 2:1), 2) The Commendation (Revelation 2:2–3, 6), 3) The Concern (Revelation 2:4), 4) The Command (Revelation 2:5), and 5) The Couns

Today, more than 200 million Christians around the world face brutal opposition and persecution for simply naming Jesus as their Lord and Saviour and for choosing to serve Him. Their daily reality includes discrimination, intimidation, attacks, fines, imprisonment, unimaginable torture, and even death for their faith. While we here in the West may not identify with their hardships, we identify with their calling – and we are called to pray on their behalf.

This year’s International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church theme is Victorious in Christ, inspired by Revelation 2:3 & 7. To some this theme may seem unusual when we consider those who suffer daily hardship and persecution for their faith in Christ. Though according to scripture, through their enduring they know and understand what true victory is! There is so much we in the West can learn from their examples of perseverance, of running the race without a thought of resignation. For us, it is an honour to remember and pray for our brothers and sisters, who because of their faith in Jesus, have their physical safety and freedom violated (www.OneWIthThem.com).

In Ephesus the relationship between the worship of Artemis and the state religion of Rome was close. Further, Roman prefects forced the people to worship the emperor Domitian and to utter the statement “Caesar is Lord.” Christians were unwilling to place Caesar above Christ, for they uttered the motto “Jesus is Lord” (1 Cor. 12:3). As a result they suffered persecution (Kistemaker, S. J., & Hendriksen, W. (1953-2001). Vol. 20: New Testament commentary : Exposition of the Book of Revelation. New Testament Commentary (110). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.).

In Ephesians 2:1-7 we see how to have Victory in Christ, regardless of the circumstances through:

1) The Church (Revelation 2:1), 2) The Commendation (Revelation 2:2–3, 6), 3) The Concern (Revelation 2:4), 4) The Command (Revelation 2:5), and 5) The Counsel (Revelation 2:7).

1) The Church (Revelation 2:1)

Revelation 2:1 [2:1]"To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: ’The words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand, who walks among the seven golden lampstands. (ESV)

The pastor or messenger of the church was addressed as the angel (angelos). The word’s principal use in the Bible is in reference to heavenly angels (William F. Arndt and F. Wilbur Gingrich, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1957, pp. 7-8). But it is also used to refer to human messengers (cf. Matt. 11:10; Mark 1:2; Luke 7:24, 27; 9:52) (Walvoord, J. F., Zuck, R. B., & Dallas Theological Seminary. (1983-). The Bible knowledge commentary : An exposition of the scriptures (Re 2:1). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.).

Ephesus lies nearest to Patmos (where John is imprisoned) and is thus made the first in the series. The church in Ephesus may include more than one congregation of this large city. So the "angel/messenger" (angelos) may include the entire eldership although many think of only one pastor, the head pastor or bishop.

The true message to the Ephesians church, is true with regard to each of the seven churches in Revelation: Jesus dictates the letters; John takes the dictation and writes as the dictation proceeds (Lenski, R. C. H. (1935). The interpretation of St. John’s Revelation (82). Columbus, O.: Lutheran Book Concern.).

• "More on the authorship in the discussion of "The words of him..."

Please turn to Acts 19

Ephesus was the most important city in Asia Minor. Ephesus was the primary harbor in the province of Asia. Ephesus was also strategically located at the junction of four of the most important Roman roads in Asia Minor. The city hosted athletic events, rivaling the Olympic games. But Ephesus was most famous as the center of the worship of the goddess Artemis (Diana)—a point of great civic pride (Acts 19:27, 35). Dramatic and remarkable events accompanied the birth of the Ephesian church. Paul’s ministry profoundly affected not only the city of Ephesus, but also the entire province of Asia (Acts 19:10). Ephesus had a temple built to further the imperial religion of Rome. The city dedicated the temple of the Sebastoi (the family of Vespasian, Titus, and Domitian) in A.D. 89–90, and, as was customary, it appointed temple wardens for the worship of the emperor (S. Friesen, “The Cult of the Roman Emperors in Ephesos: Temple Wardens, City Titles, and the Interpretation of the Revelation of John,” in Ephesos, Metropolis of Asia: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Its Archaeology, Religion, and Culture, ed. H. Koester,).

Acts 19:11-19 [11]And God was doing extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul, [12]so that even handkerchiefs or aprons that had touched his skin were carried away to the sick, and their diseases left them and the evil spirits came out of them. [13]Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists undertook to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, "I adjure you by the Jesus whom Paul proclaims." [14]Seven sons of a Jewish high priest named Sceva were doing this. [15]But the evil spirit answered them, "Jesus I know, and Paul I recognize, but who are you?" [16]And the man in whom was the evil spirit leaped on them, mastered all of them and overpowered them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded. [17]And this became known to all the residents of Ephesus, both Jews and Greeks. And fear fell upon them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was extolled. [18]Also many of those who were now believers came, confessing and divulging their practices. [19]And a number of those who had practiced magic arts brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. And they counted the value of them and found it came to fifty thousand pieces of silver. (ESV)

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