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FOR EKKLESIA

Part 1 – The Church at Ephesus

- Revelation 1:9-20 NIV

- Rev. 1:11

- the book of Revelation was written to seven different churches; same book, but to seven different churches.

- And it is the same then as it is today; Jesus has given the church, the Ekklesia, a book of encouragement, an uncovering and unveiling book about who Jesus is and who He is coming back for, and a book for the church to take an inventory as to where they stand as the church of Jesus Christ.

- As we dive into this series, we need to take self-examination as to how we are replicating these seven churches. What areas are we lacking, and what are our strengths?

- If the church then was experiencing great persecution from government leaders, and their instruction was to not let their “lampstand” burn out under great torment and adversity, the same is true today; as this world is growing darker and darker, the church must be shining brighter and brighter for the world to see Jesus.

- G. Campbell Morgan: “A purified church need never fear the attacks of Satan or men. It is a very remarkable thing, that the church of Christ persecuted has been the church of Christ pure. The church of Christ patronized has always been the church of Christ impure.”

- When you stop experiencing persecution in your life, stop and take an inventory; calm seas are not always a good sign that all is well.

 

- Rev. 1:20

- the seven stars represented the leaders of the church; you could say, they are the pastors of these churches.

- As your pastors, we have a responsibility to shine bright for Jesus; the decisions we make regarding this church fall on us, not you. We are held accountable for this church, overall.

- When John was instructed to write to the churches, the pastors were not the exemption to the rule; in fact, they were being put on notice as well. If the church is failing to shine bright like a lampstand should, where are the pastors?

- Pastors are not stars to be worshipped.

 

- Revelation 2:1-7

- The first thing to note is that every church got the same book.

- Ephesus read how Smyrna was doing, and Smyrna read how Ephesus was doing; talk about a humbling experience.

- If the word “Revelation” means “uncovering and unveiling” then everyone was privy to the uncovering and unveiling of each other. Every church saw each other’s commendations as well as their corrections.

- It was important that each church take notice as to what to look to avoid as a church, as well as what to focus in on.

 

- Rev. 2:1

- Let’s remember, this book is about Jesus. And what is Jesus doing here? He is holding the seven stars in his right hand.

- What does that mean? He’s holding the Pastor’s, the ministers, the leadership in His hand. He is holding the leadership of this church accountable.

- And He walks among the seven golden lampstands.

- We know that Jesus is currently sitting at the right hand of the Father, according to Hebrews 10:12, but it is His Spirit, His Holy Spirit, that is moving in this church.

- What is He doing church?

- According to Psalm 139:23 NIV it says, “Search me Oh God…

- He is searching us out church.

- when it says that He walks among the seven golden lampstands, this is confirmation that only Jesus, who is describe here as the Head of the church, can accurately inspect each church and know its true condition, because He sees the internals, not only the externals.

- What was He giving the church at Ephesus, as well as the other six churches? He was giving them an X ray of its condition, intended for all the churches to read these messages and benefit from them.

- He is an internal God church; It matters to Him more deeply what we are like in here.

 

- Rev. 2:2-3

- He starts out by giving the church at Ephesus all of the good things first.

- And don’t look at the other side of good news as bad news; look at it as “Words to grow on.”

- Why do we look at discipline as a bad thing? According to Hebrews 12:7 we are supposed to look at hardship as discipline, because God is treating us as His sons and daughters, not as peasants or outcasts.

- Do you want to stay a son or daughter? Then endure the other side of good news as positive reinforcement.

- When we want bad news first it keeps us from hearing and receiving the good news next; we have set ourselves up for disappointment.

- Jesus did not send this book to the Ekklesia to discourage; He sent it to encourage, so let Him encourage you, with the good, and with the bad.

 

- verse 2-3: He said you are a serving church; He said you are a sacrificing church; He said you are a steadfast assembly; He said you are a separated people; He even called them a suffering church;

 

- Rev. 2:4

- In Paul’s letter to the church at Ephesus, which we know as the book of Ephesians, Ephesians 1:15 says, “For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints,”

- In Paul’s letter to the church at Ephesus, he mentions “love” 14 times. Here was a church characterized by love and known for its love, and yet Jesus, in His book to the church at Ephesus, says that after a few years, they have left their first love.

- What is first love? First love is original love; it’s beginning love. First love is when you fell in love with Jesus for the first time. Some of you remember that first love.

- Jeremiah 2:2 NIV

- Church, we cannot forget our first love. I think we take that word “love” very casually and we use it very loosely.

- And if we aren’t careful, the devil comes in and convolutes our definition of love and then we can’t decipher the difference between our likings of worldly things and our love for godly things.

- We can’t forget our first love; we have to protect that; we have to honor that; we have to hold our love for Jesus sacred.

- Jeremiah said, “Like one who follows through the desert.”

- Didn’t you say you would follow Him wherever He took you?

 

- What is interesting is that in verses 2-3 the Ephesians were commended because they resisted false teaching and preserved in the face of opposition, but then in verse 4, Jesus shows them that their firm stand against heresy eroded their sense of compassion.

- they became better at fighting error than loving one another and, by doing so, they stopped loving God.

- Ephesians 5:25-27 MSG shows us how we are to love His church: Husbands, go all out in your love for your wives, exactly as Christ did for the church – a love marked by giving, not getting. Christ’s love makes the church whole. His words evoke her beauty. Everything he does and says is designed to bring the best out of her, dressing her in dazzling white silk, radiant with holiness.”

- So what is Jesus saying to the Ekklesia of today? He is calling us back to a sincere love for Him, a love demonstrated by our acts of love for one another.

- Actions speak louder than words.

- Here is a quote from Doug Wood’s book, Church Boy to Millionaire: “Don’t feel your way into ACTION but ACT your way into feeling.”

- Loving may not feel good to you, but keep doing it, it’s good for you, and eventually your feelings will follow your actions.

- And keep this in mind; what we do for the Lord is important, but so is why we do it.

- We have to work to get our feelings and our heart in right alignment.

 

- Rev. 2:5

- The church at Ephesus started out so high; they started out so right, but they had fallen.

- Jesus was writing to remind them, “You had all the right intentions, so what happened?”

- Galatians 5:7-8 says it like this, “You were running a good race…

- Have you lost your pace church? It’s time to get your pace back. Who’s gotten in your head? Get them out.

- If you did it before, you can do it again. All it takes is focus on your first love. And if your first love is calling you back, it’s because He knows you can do it again.

- It’s not time to settle; it’s not time to grow comfortable; Jesus wants us to go higher; Jesus wants better for us; He wants better for this church; He wants His church to live higher.

- Matthew 5:14-16 KJV says it like this, “Ye are the light of the world…

- What did Jesus call the church? A lampstand. And what is a lampstand supposed to do? Shine bright. And where are we to shine bright? Up high for the world to see? To see who? Jesus in us.

- If the church is living high, that means you should live high.

- What areas in your life are you living low

- Living low doesn’t require much, but living higher will always require your faith and your action.

- When we live low, the world cannot see Jesus, but when we set our lives and this church, like a city on a hill, the world can see Jesus and they’ll want Jesus in their life, too.

- We must remember the height from which we have fallen, and work to get back up.

 

- Rev. 2:5,

- There is a difference church when Jesus says, “I’m coming for you” and “I’m coming to you.” If He is coming for us, it’s because He is coming to take us away; it’s because He is coming to avenge us; it’s because He is coming to defend His people from their enemies.

- But if He is coming to us church, it’s to give us a spiritual spanking.

 

- In the latter part of verse 5 says, “If you do not repent…” this is what He is saying to the church at Ephesus that exists today, “Since the lampstand is the symbol of your existence as My church, its removal would symbolize that I am removing you as my church.”

- Can you imagine if His presence was no longer in here church? What kind of church would that be? What kind of people would we be?

- we must always contend for our lampstand to remain in His Hand.

 

- Rev. 2:6

- The church at Ephesus separated themselves not only from false doctrine, but also false deeds, but the people that practiced both were the Nicolaitans. The Nicolaitans were a group of people professing to be a church, but they took advantage of people; their deeds were not aligned with God’s Word and perhaps, they just liked the title of pastor without a pastor’s heart.

- Matthew 6:33, “Seek first…

- Build His church and He will show you how to build your brand.

 

- Rev. 2:7,

- That tells me that Jesus isn’t just talking to the church body and He isn’t just talking to the pastor’s and leadership; He is talking to individuals.

- This doesn’t just apply to the church as a whole, but this commendation and correction applies to individual believers.

- If we don’t repent and get back to maintaining the vision of this house at its fullest potential, number 1, He is coming to take away our lampstand; that means this church will not exist any longer. Number 2, He is coming directly to you as well. If you were the cause of the discord and the division of this church because of the life you live out of alignment according to His Word, He is coming to judge you according to your sin.

- A church that loses its love will lose its light.

- Facts church: today, the original church at Ephesus is nothing more than a heap of stones and no light is shining there.

 

- Rev. 2:7, “To Him who overcomes, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.”

- Here is the tree of life, the same tree of life mentioned in Genesis, in the Garden of Eden.

- Facts church: Sinful man was banned from the tree of life, but in Christ we have eternal, abundant life.

- Jesus is telling His Ephesus Ekklesia today, “If you overcome the adversity you face as a church and as an individual, I will give you the reward of being with me, forever.”

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