Summary: The 1st in a series on the 7 churches in Rev., we’re challenged to keep Christ our first love.
“You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling”
Do you remember the famous scene in the movie “Top Gun” where Tom Cruise sings to Kelly McGillis?
Do you remember the song he butchered? “You’ve lost that loving feeling”.
We chuckle at that scene, but the sad truth is that this is a serious problem in many churches today. They, too, seem to have lost that loving feeling.
They’re doing all the right things, but for all the wrong reasons.
This was the problem in the Church at Ephesus near the end of the 1st Century.
Jesus sent a message to them, recorded in Rev. 2:1-7 (TURN THERE).
We’re beginning a 7 part series on the letters to the 7 Churches in Rev.
It’s an evil world out there and it’s not getting any better.
Believers/churches are under attack and it’s imperative we find a way to overcome evil.
We’re going to discover how to do that in this series.
In fact, in each letter, Jesus encourages them and us to be “victorious overcomers”.
As we take a closer look at this 1st letter, the question we need to ask is, “Have we lost, or have I lost that loving feeling, too?”
There are 3 main parts to this first letter.
I. The Commendation
A. The Recipient: The Ephesian Church
1“TO THE ANGEL (messenger/pastor) OF THE CHURCH IN EPHESUS WRITE:
Ephesus was the capital of Asia Minor (modern day Turkey), one of the most influential cities in the Roman Empire, politically, militarily, and spiritually.
The temple of Artemis/Diana was there, complete with its temple prostitutes.
The apostle John (who wrote Rev.) spent much of his ministry there.
In spite of the idolatry, the Church there had become very influential to the world.
•It was the “mother church” of the region (esp. after destruction of Jerusalem AD 70).
B. The Sender: Jesus Christ, the Great High Priest
THESE ARE THE WORDS OF HIM WHO HOLDS THE SEVEN STARS IN HIS RIGHT HAND AND WALKS AMONG THE SEVEN GOLDEN LAMPSTANDS:
Rev. 1:12-16 I TURNED AROUND TO SEE THE VOICE THAT WAS SPEAKING TO ME. AND WHEN I TURNED I SAW SEVEN GOLDEN LAMPSTANDS, AND AMONG THE LAMPSTANDS WAS SOMEONE “LIKE A SON OF MAN,” DRESSED IN A ROBE REACHING DOWN TO HIS FEET AND WITH A GOLDEN SASH AROUND HIS CHEST (Dressed like a High Priest!). HIS HEAD AND HAIR WERE WHITE LIKE WOOL, AS WHITE AS SNOW, AND HIS EYES WERE LIKE BLAZING FIRE. HIS FEET WERE LIKE BRONZE GLOWING IN A FURNACE, AND HIS VOICE WAS LIKE THE SOUND OF RUSHING WATERS. IN HIS RIGHT HAND HE HELD SEVEN STARS, AND OUT OF HIS MOUTH CAME A SHARP DOUBLE-EDGED SWORD. HIS FACE WAS LIKE THE SUN SHINING IN ALL ITS BRILLIANCE.
Jesus is our Great High Priest.
He tells us (Rev. 1:20) that the stars are the angels and the lampstands are the churches.
The Church at Ephesus may be great, but Christ still has ultimate power.
C. Accolades and Achievements (5 Commendations)
1. They’re commended for their hard work ethic.
2I KNOW YOUR DEEDS, YOUR HARD WORK (your toil, labor, weariness)
Their work has not gone unnoticed. God sees all they and we do for Him.
2. They’re commended for their cheerful endurance.
AND YOUR PERSEVERANCE (cheerful endurance, patience, fortitude).