Summary: The first in a series of seven sermons on the seven churches of the book of Revelation
Sermon By: Dr. Todd Morris
Title: When The Flame Becomes An Ember (Seven Churches #1)
Text: Revelation 2:1-7
Date: May 21, 2006
Intro. IN Revelation 1:11 John lists seven churches by name. Beginning in chapter 2 Jesus has a word for each of these congregations. This morning I am beginning a series of messages that will deal with each of these seven churches and their members. As we begin this series I want you to bear in mind that these churches can be seen in many ways, and there are many things that must be taken into consideration as we study them.
First they may be viewed prophetically. Those of us who are dispensationalists, and I count myself as one, believe that each of these churches represent a different stage in the life of Christ’s church over the past 2,000 plus years. Ephesus is representative of the early church between the Day of Pentecost and about 100AD. This was a time of great expansion for the church, but it was also a time when the church began to lose some of its fervency.
The churches may also be viewed practically. These letters were sent to literal churches in the first century. While they speak of specific churches in that day, they will also speak to every church in existence today. God has a word for Abney Baptist Church in these letters.
The churches may also be viewed personally. These letters speak to congregations of people, but we must be mindful that there are individuals that these letters speak to as well. God has something to say to you and me about our relationship with Him.
As I preach through these letters I will allude to all of the aspects of interpretation, but I want to major on the practical application. God has a word for Abney in each of these letters.
This first letter is to the church at Ephesus. Ephesus is an important city. It is a major commercial, political, and religious power. It was home to the temple of Dianna, the goddess of sex and fertility, and people came from all over the world to worship there. Their form of worship was elicit sex with Temple Prostitutes.
Paul had founded the church here, served it as pastor for two years, wrote I and II Corinthians while he was there, and left Timothy there as the Bishop. John spent the last years of his life there as well, writing his Gospel and three epistles there. And tradition tells us that Mary, the mother of Jesus is buried there.
It was a busy church, serving at a wicked time in history. Thirty years have passed, and the Lord inspires John to write to the church sharing where they have been and where they are. Let’s take a look at the church at Ephesus, and see if we can draw parallels to the church at Abney.
I JESUS EXAMINES THEIR REPUTATION (2-3, 6)
A. He Commends Their Service (2a)
1. There Works Are Many
2. There Labor Is Fervent
3. There Patience Was Noteworthy
B. He Commends Their Separation (2b) – They lived a separated lifestyle. They were completely different from the world.
C. He Commends Their Standards (2c, 6) – They stood for right and against wrong.
D. He Commended Their Steadfastness (3) – They did what they did for the Lord.
I JESUS EXPOSES THE REALITY (4)
A. His Disappointment – While they look good on the surface their is a problem in the heart that must be dealt with. Jesus lets them know that He is grieved by the problems He sees in this church.
B. His Diagnosis – Jesus looks at these people whom He loves and whom He died for and tells them that they simply do not love Him like they used. He tells them that “have left their first love.” They haven’t stopped loving Him, but that deep, fervent passion that once burned in them has left their hearts. They are still busy for Him, but they are no longer passionate about Him!
III JESUS EXPLAINS THE REMEDY (5)
A. He Speaks About Remembering – He calls on them to look back and remember that moment when they first came to know Him. He wants them to reflect upon what He did for them. He wants them to recall the emotion of those early days of salvation. He wants them to remember what it was like when they loved Him more than anything, and when their love for Him motivated everything that they did.
B. He Speaks About Repenting – That term means a “change of mind that results in a change of action.” We need to get back to our altars, reclaim that emotional extravagant first love and fall head of heals in-love with Jesus all over again! We need to repent of our coldness and fall in-love with Jesus afresh and anew.