Let’s start this morning daily thought by stating: Christ selected seven Churches in Revelation that are worthy of close scrutiny. These churches are represented somewhere in every period of history.
It is of most importance to evaluate all seven churches for they represent all church’s in general everywhere; you might say with their defects and their merits.
There is something that we can take from each of the seven churches. As we proceed through these church’s let’s evaluate and see what God’s Word speaks about the churches.
I believe there are messages that come from these seven church’s that are in every church around the world in that the churches mentioned in Revelation were focused on themselves in so many ways instead of Christ Jesus.
It is important to note that these letters were intended to be heard by the one church to which it was addressed but of just as great of importance they are meant to be heard BY ALL CHURCHES in the world.
The question that I would present to myself would be; How am I, personally, recieving Christ and His Word and His teachings into my life, for this day and this hour?
We will study them individually over the next few days – for Christ has given a word of meaning in these messages…for every church around the world.
Each letter to the churches concludes with the warning “Anyone who is willing to hear should listen to the Spirit and understand what the Spirit is saying to the churches.”These Messages are for the church in the world and can have four applications:
- The seven churches of John’s day.
- The seven basic divisions of church history.
- The seven types of churches that exist today.
- The seven characteristics that can exist in any church or individual Christian.
The Church of Ephesus was the period of time from the Day of Pentecost around A.D. 30 to A.D. 100 and was considered as “the Apostolic church” or “the early church”. This was the only one of the seven messages given that gave reference to the apostles.The main message to this Church “You don’t love me or each other as you did at first!” During this period their were gross materialism, animalism, paganism and heathenism.
This message seems to be the most important of all the messages for today’s church. Revelation 2: 1 “Write this letter to the angel of (or the messenger for) the church in Ephesus. This is the message from the one who holds the seven stars in his right hand, the one who walks among (up and down) the seven gold lampstands (the churches) (bringing forth judgment to the church-believers).
Let’s take a look at Revelation 2:2-7 …the message given to the Ephesus church for then and for this day and hour:
- Christ praise and approval as stated in verse 2-3 “I know all the things you do. I have seen your hard work and your patient endurance. I know you don’t tolerate evil people. You have examined the claims of those who say they are apostles but are not. You have discovered they are liars. You have patiently suffered for me without quitting.”
- Titus 3:5 He saved us, not because of the good things we did, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins and gave us a new life through the Holy Spirit.
- Romans 4:5 But people are declared righteous because of their faith, not because of their work.
- Titus 1:16 Such people claim they know God, but they deny him by the way they live. They are despicable and disobedient, worthless for doing anything good.
- Ephesians 5:18 Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, let the Holy Spirit fill and control you. (see also Matt 28:20, Matt 10:42, Eph. 2:8-10, Rom 16:17, John 16:13)
Christ disapproval as stated in verse 4 “But I have this complaint against you. You don’t love me or each other as you did at first!” The Church of Ephesus had lost their intimate and personal relationship (enthusiastic devotion) to Jesus Christ. (see also Matt 7:16, John 14:15)
Christ advice, warning and encouragement in verse 5 “Look how far you have fallen from your first love! Turn back to me again and work as you did at first. If you don’t, I will come and remove your lampstand from its place among the churches.”
Christ challenge to those who face up to the test in verse 6-7 “But there is this about you that is good: You hate the deeds of the immoral Nicolaitans, just as I do. “Anyone who is willing to hear should listen to the Spirit and understand what the Spirit is saying to the churches. Everyone who is victorious will eat from the tree of life in the paradise of God.”
The church in Ephesus hated that which was immoral…they did not condone the sin of that day…various cults, etc. (Rev. 22:2) We the church of today must continue to hate sin and immoral acts just as the church of Ephesus.
The Church in Ephesus was:
- a working Church – Christ and His power was and is available to the Church. Matthew 28:20 “Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
Dr. M.R. DeHaan, once stated, “To come to Christ cost nothing, to follow Christ cost something, but to serve Christ cost everything.” How TRUE, serving Christ will call for turning from all sin and immoral thoughts, actions and deeds.
Jesus said, If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give it up for me, you will find it. (Matthew 10:39)
- a separated Church – (church in greek means “called-out-ones”) A true church is a church in the world but not of the world. The early church refused to hang out with or socialize with loose Christians…for they heeded to the words of the Holy Spirit…as stated in Romans 16:17: “ Watch out for people who cause divisions and upset people’s faith by teaching things that are contrary to what you have been taught. Stay away from them.” The truly separated church that is filled with the Spirit TODAY will still practice it.
- a pure Church – This church tried the spirits…their teachings were consistent with and faithful to the Word…those in this church were not deceived. “You have examined the claims of those who say they are apostles but are not. You have discovered they are liars.
- an enduring Church – Yes, the Ephesus church was a consistent church. They were faithful, enduring through its history… presenting the gospel of Christ.
- an independent (self-ruling) Church – They were dependent on the Holy Spirit’s guidance. John 16:13 “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not be presenting his own ideas; he will be telling you what he has heard. He will tell you about the future.”
Let me mention a thought of mine, We as human beings must not fall in the trap of being controlled by other peoples spirits for their own spirits are in a position to control the church. Man’s theological position (training) will without a doubt control the church. Spiritual training must always come from the Holy Spirit and not from man. The church of today must follow Christ and the Holy Spirit.
It is essential that we take heed in these words for the church… the message “You don’t love me or each other as you did at first!”
Simply put, the individual and church must return to a day-by-day intimate fellowship with and love for the Lord Jesus Christ. Sharing the Gospel is all about sharing life… experiencing the abundant Christian Life.
The key to retaining “your first love” is found in Colossians 3:16 “Let the words of Christ, in all their richness, live in your hearts and make you wise. Use his words to teach and counsel each other. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts.”
Yes, reading, studying, memorizing and applying the Word on a daily basis and prayer is the key to keeping our first love…Christ in US!–> Christ has given a challenge to the church…to the believer – “Hear what the Spirit says”
- “He who has an ear” Matthew 13:9 Anyone who is willing to hear should listen and understand!”
- … Those who are dull of hearing “slow to learn” Hebrews 5:11 There is so much more we would like to say about this. But you don’t seem to listen, so it’s hard to make you understand.
- … “doers of the word and not hears only” James 1:22 And remember, it is a message to obey, not just to listen to. If you don’t obey, you are only fooling yourself.
- –>Christ has given a promise to the church…to the believer -“to him who conquers” or “to him who overcomes”
- …an over comer is given a prominent place in the paradise of God that awaits those who put their trust in Him. Revelation 22:2: coursing down the center of the main street. On each side of the river grew a tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, with a fresh crop each month. The leaves were used for medicine to heal the nations.
- 1 John 5:4-4 For every child of God defeats this evil world overcomes) by trusting Christ to give the victory. And the ones who win this battle against the world (the over comer) are the ones who believe that Jesus is the Son of God.
Jesus Christ is COMING BACK…for the over comer…are you expecting HIS RETURN?
As always, Love in Christ Jesus,