Sermons

Summary: THIS IS A MESSAGE ON THE CHURCH OF EPHESUS AND THE SUCCESS WE CAN HAVE WHEN WE RETURN TO OUR FIRST LOVE

WHEN CHRIST CALLS BACK HIS CHURCH

REVELATION 2:1-7

MAY 05, 2019

WE ARE GOING TO BEGIN A SERIES OF MESSAGES ON THE SEVEN CHURCHES MENTIONED IN REVELATION. THE BOOK OF REVELATION PRIMARILY DEALS WITH THE TIME AFTER THE RAPTURE CULMINATING WITH THE SECOND COMING OF CHRIST AND THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE ETERNAL KINGDOM. THE FIRST THREE CHAPTERS ARE STILL PART OF THE VISION GOD GAVE TO JOHN, BUT THEY SPEAK TO CHURCHES AND ARE SET APART FROM THE POST-RAPTURE PART OF REVELATION, MAKING THEM A BIT EASIER TO UNDERSTAND AND TO APPLY.

TO UNDERSTAND THE CONTEXT FOR OUR PASSAGE WE MUST LOOK AT CHAPTER ONE. VERSE FOUR CONTAINS THE COMMISSION FOR JOHN TO WRITE THESE LETTERS TO THE SEVEN CHURCHES MENTIONED. SOME BELIEVE THEM TO BE CIRCULAR LETTERS, WHICH MEANS THAT ALTHOUGH THEY DEALT WITH MATTERS AT ONE CHURCH, THEY WERE TO BE PASSED ON TO THE OTHERS TO PREPARE THEM FOR DEALING WITH THE VARIOUS ISSUES PRESENTED.

TWO KEY FEATURES MENTIONED IN CHAPTER ONE ARE, GOLDEN LAMPSTANDS AND STARS.

REVELATION 1:12: I TURNED AROUND TO SEE THE VOICE THAT WAS SPEAKING TO ME. AND WHEN I TURNED I SAW SEVEN GOLDEN LAMPSTANDS,

REVELATION 1:16: IN HIS RIGHT HAND HE HELD SEVEN STARS, AND COMING OUT OF HIS MOUTH WAS A SHARP, DOUBLE-EDGED SWORD. HIS FACE WAS LIKE THE SUN SHINING IN ALL ITS BRILLIANCE.

OBVIOUSLY REVELATION IS A BOOK THAT DEALS WITH SYMBOLISM, BUT JOHN GOES ON TO GIVE US THE MEANING OF THE GOLDEN LAMPSTANDS AND STARS IN VERSE 20.

REVELATION 1:20:

THE MYSTERY OF THE SEVEN STARS THAT YOU SAW IN MY RIGHT HAND AND OF THE SEVEN GOLDEN LAMPSTANDS IS THIS: THE SEVEN STARS ARE THE ANGELS OF THE SEVEN CHURCHES, AND THE SEVEN LAMPSTANDS ARE THE SEVEN CHURCHES.

THE ANGELS OF THE CHURCHES ARE THE PASTORS AND LEADERS OF THE CHURCHES.

WHILE THERE HAVE BEEN SEVERAL IDEAS AS TO WHY THESE CHURCHES WERE CHOSEN, AND TO WHOM THE MESSAGES TO THE CHURCHES ARE FOR, I AM CONVINCED THAT THERE IS A MESSAGE FOR OUR CHURCH FROM EACH OF THESE LETTRERS, A MESSAGE THAT IF WE TAKE IT TO HEART CAN HELP OUR CHURCH TO CONTINUE TO BE RELEVENT TO OUR COMMUNITY TODAY.

THE LAST THING TO NOTE ABOUT THE LAMPSTANDS IS IN VERSE 13.

REVELATION 1:13: 13 AND AMONG THE LAMPSTANDS WAS SOMEONE LIKE A SON OF MAN,

THE ONE WHO WAS MOVING TO AND FRO AMONG THE CANDLESTICKS WAS JESUS. WE HAVE TO UNDERSTAND THAT JESUS IS MOVING IN HIS CHURCHES TODAY. HE IS THERE FOR US TO CALL UPON WHEN WE WANT DIRECTION. WE HAVE TO REMEMBER THAT THIS CHURCH IS HIS CHURCH. HE WILL NEVER LEAVE US OR FORSAKE US, BUT WE MUST BE CAREFUL. IF WE WALK AWAY FROM HIM, THEN HE WILL NOT ABIDE WITH US.

THE FIRST OF THE SEVEN CHURCHES TO RECEIVE A LETTER WAS THE CHURCH AT EPHESUS. EPHESUS WAS A CITY OF COMMERCE AND CULTURE. IT WAS ON THE MAIN TRADE ROUTE AND SO PEOPLE FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD WOULD STOP AT EPHESUS.

EPHESUS WAS ALSO THE HOME OF GREAT CORRUPTION. THE TEMPLE OF ARTEMIS, OR ANOTHER NAME FOR IT, DIANA, WAS THERE. IT WAS ONE OF THE SEVEN WONDERS OF THE WORLD, SO WE KNOW IT WAS VERY BEAUTIFUL. IT WAS ALSO HOWEVER THE HOME TO HUNDREDS OF TEMPLE PROSTITUES.

PAUL ESTABLISHED THE CHURCH IN EPHESUS, AND IT WOULD EVENTUALLY BE IN EPHESUS THAT GROUPS WOULD RISE UP AGAINST PAUL AND FOLLOW HIM WHEREVER HE WENT.

OUR PASSAGE FOLLOWS A PATTERN THAT JOHN USES FOR MOST OF THE LETTERS. HE BEGINS WITH COMMONDATION, THEN COMES CONSTRUCTIVE CRITICISM, AND FINALLY A STEP IN CONFIDENCE IF THEY ACT ON WHAT THEY HEAR.

POINT ONE: COMMENDATION

REVELATION 2:3-4:

I KNOW YOUR DEEDS, YOUR HARD WORK AND YOUR PERSEVERANCE. I KNOW THAT YOU CANNOT TOLERATE WICKED PEOPLE, 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.

THE THING TO NOTE IN THESE VERSES IS THAT THE CHURCH IS VERY ACTIVE. EPHESUS WAS A CHURCH THAT WAS TRYING TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE TO ITS COMMUNITY, AND TO BE A CHURCH OF GOOD STANDING. THIS CHURCH WAS DOCTRINALLY SOUND. THEY DIDN’T HESITATE TO EXPOSE ERROR, EVEN WHEN THAT EXPOSURE WAS PAINFUL PERSONALLY.

WE WANT FIRST BAPTIST TO HAVE AN ACTIVE PRESENCE IN OUR COMMUNITY AS WELL. THE THINGS MENTIONED ABOUT THE CHURCH IN EPHESUS ARE THINGS THAT WE WANT PEOPLE TO RECOGNIZE IN US. WE WANT TO BE KNOWN AS A CHURCH THAT TOILS AND LABORS FOR THE LORD, AND ONE THAT IS DOCTRINALLY SOUND. WE MUST ALWAYS BE PEOPLE OF THE BOOK AND STAND ON THE WORD OF GOD IN ALL AREAS OF OUR CHURCH LIFE.

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