Posted by: dailywordofdestiny | March 16, 2015

THE SEVEN CHURCHES: EPHESUS (Part One)

Day11 Ephesus 070113 132

Day11 Ephesus 070113 253

“Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; ‘These things saith He that holds the seven stars in his right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks; I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars, and hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name’s sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted.’ ” (Revelation 2: 1-3)

There are many things that we must note about these verses. First, it is the Lord Jesus Christ, Who is speaking. Many believe that this particular church was symbolic of the apostolic age from about 30 to 100 AD – It is called the Apostolic Church.  I believe, after viewing it carefully, we can see some of the churches in our own day falling into this category. The words of this passage of scripture was the message then and it is the same message for today.  Second, we are reminded  that Jesus holds these stars in His right hand. Jesus walks in the midst of this church; so we know then, it falls into the category of Christianity.

Notice Jesus always starts off by telling something good. Here He commends them for their hard work, and patience. To be patient is certainly a virtue, and one that most of us do not possess. The leader of this church and the people, seem to be working for the Lord. This spiritual leader hates evil. Note that this leader seems to do as the Scripture suggests, and tests the spirits to see whether they are of God or not. This church does not just accept everyone who says he is an apostle; they judge the message before they accept the apostle. It seems that this church is well grounded in the Word.

The church of Ephesus was one of the older churches founded by Paul and nurtured by Timothy. The physical church of Ephesus was located in a busy city and was just sixty miles north east of the isle of Patmos.  From the spiritual standpoint of churches today, we would see this church located in the midst of very worldly surroundings but it was a church that was holding up a standard against the evil within its surroundings; it was a spiritual church guided and taught through the Holy Spirit of God; full of the power and presence of God. This church will be found working when the Lord comes back.

Jesus then tells the church in Ephesus about the weaknesses He sees; for even though this church has worked hard and not given up, they have a few short-comings.

“But I have this one charge to make against you:  That you have left, abandoned the love you had at first; you deserted Me, your first love” (2:4).

Our first love, if we are believers, is putting Jesus ahead of everything else. The Ephesus church had spiritual problems that can be seen in most of our churches today. God will not allow compromise or complacency in our lives as members of the church body; yet it is where we are!  2 Timothy 3:5 tells us where I see today’s church, “Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.”   Maybe this church has gotten too sophisticated for seeing the gifts of the Spirit of God in operation, like healing and deliverance; perhaps some of the world’s music has crept in unawares, or the church has begun to entertain more than teach. T his is a church that is more appealing to the world than to God.  As we prayerfully consider the church of Ephesus and the church of today, we must examine ourselves and our church and what category we fall into.  If we find that we are individually and corporately falling away from our ‘first love relationship’ with Jesus Christ, what are we to do in order to ‘right ourselves?’   Well, the Lord tells us in this next verse.

“Remember then from what heights you have fallen.  REPENT (change the inner man to meet God’s will) and do the works you did previously, when you first knew the Lord, or else I will visit you and remove your lampstand from its place. UNLESS YOU CHANGE YOUR MIND AND REPENT” (2:5).

There is no substitute for undivided, fervent, undying love for Jesus Christ. Jesus warned the church at Ephesus to “Repent, and do the first works,’ or else judgment would fall.  They would no longer be a true light and witness to the world.

How many of our churches today are lifeless, dull, and mechanical?  How many lack the light and witness of Christ and His power? The condition in this church, and in our churches and individual lives, did not happen overnight.  It was a gradual process whereby believers left their “first” love; their passionate “bridal” love for Christ for the passions and lusts of worldly things.

The “first love” to which Christ called the church in Ephesus to return to can be likened to the “bridal” love in a marriage relationship.  A new bride is so in love with her husband that he is the central focus of her life. When she takes her wedding vows, she promises to forsake all others and give herself solely to him. She eagerly anticipates his desires and lovingly tries to meet all his needs. She spends every possible moment with him. In this “bridal love relationship,” there is a special intimacy that develops between the bride and her bridegroom. She longs to know everything possible about him. She opens her heart to him, revealing her innermost secrets and desires. When they are apart from one another, she longs for him and eagerly anticipates when she will be with him once again. Because of her love, the bride puts her bridegroom first, before all else, including her own needs, desires, and ambitions.

It is this type of pure, fervent, self sacrificing “bridal love” for Christ that made the disciples willing to give themselves 100% for the cause of Christ. It was this type of love that burned up their own selfish desires, motivated them to serve Christ with single-hearted devotion and made them willing to lay down their lives for the cause of Christ.

It is this type of love that we must have burning within us to enable us to fulfill the purposes of God in these final moments of time before Christ’s return. Just as Christ called the church in Ephesus to return to their first love, He is walking among us today, calling us to repent and return to our first love.  Where are you in this relationship this hour?

(to be continued….)


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