"Uniting Christian & Jewish Clergy from Around the World"
In the next two chapters we find John poised and ready, pen in hand, to take down all of the words Jesus will now speak to him regarding the seven churches of Asia Minor. The Church of Ephesus, the Church of Smyrna, the Church of Pergamum, the Church of Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea. These seven churches represent much more than a postal route for the purpose of disseminating information throughout Asia, but are particularly meaningful to John as he ministered in each of them. However, we will discover that each of these letters to the seven church's are filled with such rich prophetic information that we may scarcely believe our eyes as we read, or ears as we hear what the Spirit says to the churches! Let us begin our journey through, not only the prophecy of the entire church age, but the stories found deep in our own hearts as each of us grow and mature as we journey through our relationship with Jesus Christ!
The Loveless Church
To the angel of the church of Ephesus write,
'These things says He who holds the seven stars in His right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands:
The Church of Ephesus represents a period of church history from A.D. 33 to A.D. 100.
"To the angel..." Referring to one of the stars held in the right hand of Jesus, as we learned earlier in chapter one. As Jesus walks in the midst of the seven lampstands, He transcends time and space as He walks in the midst of 2000 plus years of church history! Not only that, but He walks in the midst of every human heart that ever called Him Lord!
2 "I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars;
3 and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name's sake and have not become weary."
Our hearts are an open book before Jesus! There is nothing that is hidden from Him!
14 I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own.
I love that Jesus knows everything there is to know about us, and that through the work of His Spirit, we are taught, and we are caught! Jesus lets us know that He knows the good as well as the bad...as we shall see.
4 Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love.
We shall see that in 5 of 7 letters, Jesus has a condemnation to share with the churches. Sometime we "share" stuff with each other. Sometimes we share stuff about each other, but without a word of solution! The good news is that whenever Jesus points out our faults, He always does it in unconditional love! Not only does He chasten us in love, but He always offers the best solution possible, which usually involves repentance!
6 For whom the LORD loves He chastens,
And scourges every son whom He receives.
Oh, did I mention that repentance and correction will sometimes hurt? When we are willing to surrender all to our Lord, He will refresh us with His absolute unconditional love!
5 Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place — unless you repent.
Come quickly, as in judgement!
According to Adam Clarke's commentary; Take away my ordinances, remove your ministers, and send you a famine of the word. As there is here an allusion to the candlestick in the tabernacle and temple, which could not be removed without suspending the whole Levitical service, so the threatening here intimates that, if they did not repent, etc., he would unchurch them; they should no longer have a pastor, no longer have the word and sacraments, and no longer have the presence of the Lord Jesus.
(from Adam Clarke's Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1996, 2003 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)
In other words, the end of the Ephesian church! In this case, the whole church must repent, but there will be times in our own lives that there may be a need to repent of some darkening of our heart! I have always loved the lyrics in the song "Total Eclipse of the Heart" recorded by Bonnie Tyler. In the song, one is calling to the other to turn around, while the other is claiming; total eclipse of the heart! A great metaphor for a heart condition that will drive us farther and farther away from the comfort and safety of our Lord. But isn't it wonderful that our Shepherd will leave the ninety nine to rescue the one?
6 But this you have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.
Another compliment! They hated the immoral heresies of the Nicolaitans! Nicolas means "one who conquers people". According to the writings of Irenaeus, Nicolas, who was made a deacon in Acts 6, was a false believer who later led the people into immorality. The Nicolaitans, followers of Nicolas, were involved in wickedness, and tempted the church with sexual immorality. But in this edifying statement from Jesus, the Ephesian church is encouraged! And so, Jesus is sure to recognize the positive discernment in our own lives!
7 "He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God."'
"To he who overcomes...." According to John, to be an overcomer is to be a Christian. The tree of life, which is in the midst of Paradise is the promise of heaven to every overcomer!
© All Rights Reserved. Property of David E. Honey, ChristianPsychobabel.com | Pastor Dave Honey.