Revelation (4 of 24) The Letter To The Church Of Ephesus

2:1-7 The Letter To The Church Of Ephesus

Memory Verse: Revelation 2:4–5

2:1 Jesus Has A Message For The Church Of Ephesus

  • 1:9-20 John receives the revelation of the Son of Man and described the awesome vision of Jesus that he saw. The vision of Jesus was so powerful that John fell at His feet as dead. Jesus comforts John and tells Him to write the things that he saw (the vision). He also instructed him to write down “the thing which are, and the things which shall be hereafter.” Now John will write in chapters 2-4 the thing which are, which deal with the seven churches.
  • 1:20 Jesus explained what the meaning of the seven stars and the seven candlesticks saying, “The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches.” The angels most likely represent the leadership of the churches, like that pastor. The seven churches are real churches that existed at that time but also are representative of churches in every generation.
  • 2:1a Jesus tells John to write unto the first church, Ephesus, by addressing the letter to the angel (pastor) who will deliver it to the churches. This church had a great history and is mentioned through the New Testament. Priscilla, Aquila, Apollos and Paul were all part of evangelizing this city and eventually many believed. The word of god continued to increase and prevail mightily there. Paul worked there for three years building the church. Jesus is addressing this church about four decades later. Also, the books of Ephesians was written to the saints in Ephesus.
    Acts 18-20; 1 Timothy 1:3; 2 Timothy 1:16, 18; 4:12; Ephesians 1:1-2
  • 2:1b Ephesus was a city in Asia minor known for being a great metropolis, for its great theatre to host games which could seat around twenty-thousand plus people and for being the home of the temple and shrine of the false god Diana.
    Acts 19:27, 35
  • 2:1c Jesus starts His letter, first by clarifying it is He who is speaking: “These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks.” We know this is Jesus because of the previous verses (1:12–13) and Jesus is stating His authority and power upfront. Jesus, our commander-in-chief, the one who saved us from our sins, commissioned us preach the gospel in His name, head of every church and the one who promised to be with us unto the end of the world, has a message for His church. We need to listen!

2:2-3, 6 Jesus Praises The Church Of Ephesus

  • 2:2a Paul told us in his letter to the Ephesians that believers were created to do good works and Jesus praises the church of Ephesus for their works. Despite the hard circumstances of living in that city they were hard workers building the church (labour) and they remained faithful (patience).
    Ephesians 2:8–10
  • 2:2b Jesus praises the church because they don’t tolerate evil men. Believers are called to live holy lives, to be separated for any kind of evil or sin.
    Ephesians 5:1–11
  • 2:2c Jesus praises the church for rejecting false teachers. Paul warned the church of Ephesus that after he would leave them false teacher would arise and try to get disciples to follow their false ways. The pastors were to watch over and care for the church, to protect them from the false teachers. That is exactly what the Ephesus church did. They tested anyone who claimed to teach things that came from God and only believe those who teach the truths they received from the apostles (now contained in the Bible).
    Acts 20:28–31; Matthew 24:23–25; 2 Corinthians 11:13–15
  • 2:3 Jesus praises the church for the right motivation: “for my name’s sake.” Their motivation for working hard, being faithful in hard circumstances, hating evil and rejecting false teachers all was done because they wanted to be obedient to Jesus.
  • 2:6 Jesus praises the church because they hated the deeds of the Nicolaitans or for hating idolatry and immorality. Jesus hated the false teachings of this group and the church did right by hating it as well.
    Revelation 2:12–15

2:4-5, 7 Jesus Criticizes And Challenges The Church Of Ephesus

  • 2:4a Even though Jesus praised the church for their works, nevertheless, He had something against them: they left their first love. They lost their love for Christ and each-other. Jesus criticized the church because even though they were doing good works with the right motivation, they forgot to love. They forgot about their personal relationship with Jesus which led to forgetting to love one-another.
    Ephesians 1:15; 3:17–19; 6:23; 1 Corinthians 13:1–3; Mark 12:30
  • 2:5a Jesus advises the church to do three things: (1) Remember. They need to remember they love they had for Jesus when they first started believing in Him. (2) Repent. They need to stop going in the same direction they are going, realize their sin of not loving Jesus fully, forsake it, and start doing right. They need to start loving again. (3) Do the first works. They were doing right at first, loving Jesus with all their heart, soul, mind and strength, but now they have drifted off and stopped. They are to sincerely love Jesus and let it rekindle a fire in their heart to truly worship him through loving obedience.
    John 14:15
  • 2:5b If they refuse to do these three things, Jesus says that He will come quickly unto them and remove their candlestick out of its place. This means that Jesus would judge the church in such a way that they will cease to be a church.
  • 2:7 It is the responsibility of individual believers to hear this message and if their own heart is convicted through the Holy Spirit, they need to listen to its message and repent. All true believers (him that overcometh) will be given eternal life (tree of life) in heaven (paradise of God).
    1 John 5:4-5; Revelation 22:2, 14, 19; Luke 23:43; 2 Corinthians 12:4

Review Questions

  • Who is writing the letter to the churches?
  • Why does the church receive praise?
  • Why does the church receive criticism?
  • What was the challenge to the church?
  • Who are overcomers and what will they be given?

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