1 To the angel of the Ephesian church, write: These things says the One holding the seven stars in His right hand , He walking in the midst of the seven golden lampstands: 2 I know your works, and your labor, and your patience, and that you cannot bear evil ones; and you tried those pretending to be apostles and are not, and found them to be liars. 3 And I know you bore up and have patience and on account of My name you have labored and have not wearied, 4 But I have against you that you left your first love. 5 Then remember from where you have fallen, and repent, and do the first works. And if not, I am coming to you quickly, and will remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent. 6 But you have this, that you hate the works of the Nicolatians, which I also hate. 7 The one who has an ear, hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one overcoming, I will give to him to eat of the Tree of Life which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.
The Message to Ephesus
(To the Angel and the Church)
- Spirit – One holding the seven angels in his right hand walking in the midst of the seven churches.
- Accomplishments – Works, Labor, Patience, Hatred of Evil, Spiritual Discernment, Gave Birth, Hates the work of the Nicola’itans.
- Failure – You have left your first love.
- Commandment – Remember from where you have fallen, repent, and do the first works.
- Reward for Overcoming – To eat of the Tree of Life in the midst of the Paradise of God.
- Judgment for Failure – You will lose your church.
- We need to take a close look at what Jesus is saying to the church at Ephesus and examine how this could pertain to us today. If we are to strive to be like the church of Philadelphia, one of the churches Christ found no fault with, we must honestly examine each church to make sure we do not make the same mistakes and suffer the same rebuke that the Lord has for Ephesus, Thyatira, Sardis, Per’gamos, and Laodicea.
- Christ clearly understands the hard work that the angel at the church at Ephesus does, the intense labor, the ability of the angel to recognize liars and evil ones. But he speaks of with a broken heart to the angel at the church at Ephesus saying “Thou has left thy first Love”.
- Ephesus was a church that was made of Jews and Gentiles and the directive by Paul was that we should be “holy and without blame” before God in Love. Paul said to the church in Ephesians Chapter 5, “Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us and offering and sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savour.”
- When Jesus told John to write these things, he said that this is what will be hereafter. From this we can see that the church at Ephesus will have lost the purity that it once had in the beginning. Remember, that the church at Ephesus was built on the foundation of Christ and John was one of the first leaders of the Christian church at Ephesus. In this chapter, Jesus tells the angel of the church to remember how they had fallen and to REPENT. Or he would come and remove the church out of its place. He also said if the angel of the church would overcome, he would give the one overcoming to eat of the tree of life in the midst of the Paradise of God.
- This takes us all the way back to Genesis. Remember Adam and Eve’s fall from grace, and what God said? “Behold, the man has become one of Us to know good and evil, and now, lest he put forth his hand and take from the Tree of Life and Eat and live forever. How could this be with Ephesus?
Disobedience was what caused this fall from grace! The Ephesians began practicing idolatry. In Acts Chapter 19 Paul had found that the entire city had been worshiping the goddess Diana. The ritual of the temple services consisted of sacrifices and of ceremonial prostitution, a practice which was common to many of the religions of the ancient Orient, and which still exists among some of the obscure tribes of Asia Minor. Paul was the first to make progress against the worship of Diana, and John was one of the first leaders of the Christian church at Ephesus. The people would buy wooden statues of Diana and take it to their homes. The angel and the church had lost site of the “Holy Word of God”.
Those idol practices had begun to start again, and people were not only worshipping Diana, but they, according to Ephesians had again begun participating in all of the fornication. Jesus said that the first and greatest commandment was to love the Lord thy God with all thy heart mind and soul.
3 But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; 4 neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks. For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. Be not ye therefore partakers with them. For ye were sometime darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light; (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) proving what is acceptable unto the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. For, it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret. But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light. Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. 15 See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, 16 redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
17 Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. 18 And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; 19 speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; 20 giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; 21 submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.
The message that Paul gave to Corinth also relates to this in that he tells us what happened in the garden:
II Corinthians 11:2, 3, 14
2 For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy; I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. 3. But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. 14. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.
Summary: The practice of idolatry and worshiping anyone or anything but God is enough to keep us out of heaven. We are to love to God and follow His Commandments if we want to be acceptable children in His eyes. Even small seemingly harmless idolatry is wrong and we must refrain from all forms of idolatry and disobedience and to love the Lord as he loves us.
We must make this our goal because at the end of the day, when Jesus was about to be delivered to be crucified; he got down on his knees and said, “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.” And again he prayed and said “O my father, if this cup may not pass away from except I drink it, thy will be done.” He didn’t want to die! But he was a dutiful Son, and Jesus will always do what God wants. That will never change. Also, we can never forget that Christ’s first love has always been to God. His life and ministry was about doing God’s will. This was even before he was born.
The church must make sure that its first love is to God, no matter what. Jesus told us, he said there is none good except God. We have to remember that, and we have to make sure that as we are striving to be like the church of Philadelphia, if we can keep that rule straight and foremost in our minds, then we will not worship other things and we will not have any part of any practice of idolatry, and that we will keep our true love to God, The Father, and Jesus His Son, Our Messiah.
Actions Needed to Overcome At Ephesus:
- Remember the sin that caused your fall from grace and repent.
- Close your eyes to the world and open your eyes to God.
- Do the first works, go back to the beginning and read Genesis again and read what God actually said. The sin was not to eat an apple from the apple tree. And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.
- Read God’s word with understanding! Do not teach lies to God’s children! That’s what Satan does! Repent and teach the truth!
10Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 11Put on the whole armor of God that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. 13Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; 15and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
- What was the church at Ephesus instructed to do?
- What is the reward for overcoming at Ephesus?
- Which Spirit is speaking to the church at Ephesus?
- List the good things about the church at Ephesus.
- List the bad things about the church at Ephesus?
- What did the church at Ephesus do wrong?
- What will God do to those at Ephesus who do not overcome?
- How did Paul tell the Ephesians to walk?
- In II Corinthians, how are we to be presented to Christ?
- What caused Adam & Eve’s fall from grace?