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)
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.