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Grace Union Church

Ephesus

I. Intro: The Revelation

• Some of John’s Revelation was to prepare the church for things coming in those early years.

• Some of what was written was preparing the church for the world the changing event of the crumbling of the Roman Empire.

• Some of what is written in Revelation is to prepare the church for what still lies ahead today, in the Return of Jesus, Judgment, and New Heavens and New Earth.

In the Bible, the main things are always the plain things. In the Next Seven weeks we are going to look at the MAIN and PLAIN things that Jesus said to his church through Johns Revelation.


II. The set up

Revelation 1:9-20
9 I, John, your brother and companion in the suffering and kingdom and patient endurance that are ours in Jesus, was on the island of Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus.
10 On the Lord’s Day I was in the Spirit, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet,
11 which said: “Write on a scroll what you see and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea.”
12 I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands,
13 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.
14 The hair on his head was white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire.
15 His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters.
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.
17 When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last.
18 I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever!And I hold the keys of death and Hades.
19 “Write, therefore, what you have seen, what is now and what will take place later.
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.

As much as any of us may know Jesus from his word and from walking with him all the days of our lives, nothing can prepare us for that moment when we see him for the FULLNESS OF WHAT HE IS.

A. The Lampstands are the churches.

• The importance of the Church is one clear theme here.

B. The good and surprising news is that Jesus is standing and walking among the lamp stands.

• He is moving back and forth with all of his focus and attention on them.

C. The angels of the churches are God’s messengers to those churches:

• Probably symbolic of the pastors and leaders of the churches.

D. These messengers are IN HIS RIGHT hand... the hand of action. If a church has a faithful and courageous Messenger, and faithful and Courageous people, it can accomplish the will of God.


III. The church at Ephesus

Revelation 2:1-7
1 “To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: These are the words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks among the seven golden lampstands.
2 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.
4 Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first.
5 Consider how far you have fallen!Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.
6 But you have this in your favor: You hate the practices of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.
7 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.

A. Jesus starts off by commending their faithfulness to the Gospel.

• This church has a solid and clear understanding of the heart of the Gospel and they do not tolerate distortion in either direction.

• False Apostles were Judaizers: People trying to add religious rule following to the list of requirements for salvation.

• The Ephesians were also Commended for rejecting the ways of the Nicolaitans:

  - This group of people were known for HEDONISM...living in submission to sensual desires.

  1) Imagine the Gospel of Jesus like Road, and on either side of this road there is a ditch.

• If you don't trust Jesus you will try to earn your own way through rigid religious legalism and rules based living.

• If you don't submit to Jesus you will veer off into this other ditch: doing what ever feels good, is easiest, or tickles your fancy.

• Both forms of error are equally wrong and equally destructive, just in different ways.

2) Question: Would Jesus look at me today and commend me for staying true to the Gospel?

Revelation 2:4-5
4 Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first.
5 Consider how far you have fallen!Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.

B. Problem for the Church at Ephesus: They had lost the Love they had at First.

• God did not create us to simply be his Doers, his slave labor.

• The Old Testament sacrificial system was a means to an end, not the end in itself.

- The real end was the relationship, the partnership God desired with people.

• The Partnership has always been the plan.

• It is possible to do all the right things for the wrong reasons, and in so doing to still be WRONG.

- What are some of the wrong motives that might drive Good Deeds?
...Sense of duty ...Selfish ambition/pride ...Fear


IV. Am I gripped and moved by a life altering Love?

2 Corinthians 5:14-15
14 For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died.
15 And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.

• A life altering Love of God starts with Remembering how much he loves you.

Ephesians 4:17-19
 17 And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love,
 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,
 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

- Paul’s prayer for the Christians in Ephesus was that they would be utterly Arrested by a revelation of God’s insane love for them.

- A Christian life where you are focused on what you do or don't do is a life of Duty, Fear, or Pride.

- But a Christian life where the focus is firmly placed on how God loves you and what God does for you will result in an overflow of Love, Gratitude, Humility, and service to him.

- Practicing Spiritual Disciplines is good, good deeds are good, and having the right beliefs is good, but the Love and the Partnership was always the Point.

 

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