Posted by: watchmancurtis | November 10, 2009

Revelation Study Week 3

Today we took a look at the first of the 7 churches in Revelation.  Chapter 2 opens up with a letter to the church in Ephesus, which means “First or Desirable”.   As with all of the churches, there are practical applications and warnings for every generation.  I believe there are also near and far applications to these letters and prophecies, but we will take a closer look at that when we finish all of the 7 churches.   Today’s discussion was very heartfelt and open.  I know there is a desire among our group to examine ourselves and our church in light of these letters.  What would Jesus say to us?  What would be his encouragements?  What would be his warnings?  The letters to the churches pull us in on a personal level and hopefully awaken us to the fact that if we are not careful we too can drift away into compromise, tolerance, and apathy.  One thing to consider as we look at the 7 churches is that a church will either be persecuted (Smyrna), protected for faithfulness (Philadelphia), or have judgement brought against them for compromise (Sardis, Laodicea, Thyatira, Ephesus or Pergamum).

Verse 1:  Jesus is the One who holds the seven stars (angels) in His right hand and He is the One who walks among the seven golden lampstands.  The right hand represents power, authority, and safety. 

Verse 2:  As with all of the churches, Jesus is aware of their deeds.  Jesus knows that the people in the church here in Ephesus have been working hard in His name.  They have not tolerated evil men.  Another good quality about them is the fact that they test those who claim to be apostles but were not.  We certainly need to do these things as well.  Are we tolerating evil?  Are we testing those who are going to lead us?  Are we trusting in credentials more than the Holy Spirit to determine leadership positions.   Are we looking at the life that a person leads and the power and fruit that follow?

Verse 3:  The people of this church had persevered and yet not grown weary.    Are we persevering?  Are we persevering yet grumbling and complaining because we are weary in all that we are doing?

Verse 4:  While the church in Ephesus has been doing well in some areas, they receive a painful rebuke from the Lord.  They work hard, but they have left their first love.  While their deeds are evident to all, their priorities have shifted and Jesus is calling on them to repent and return.  Their Christianity seems to be motivated by works instead of the heart.  One of our members said that this church had the “Martha Syndrome”.  They were so busy about doing the “works” of the Lord that they were missing the presence of the Lord.  That is something we should all do a self-examination about and make sure that doesn’t describe us.  It is interesting that they were called back to their first love/desire and the name Ephesus means “First/Desirable”.

Verse 5:  Jesus urges them to remember (where they had once been), repent (turn around from the direction they are headed), and return (to Him).   Perhaps we all need to do that.  Remember…Repent…Return.  There is also a warning here that if they choose not to repent He will come and remove their lampstand. 

Verse 6:  Here is a glimmer of hope though, because they hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans.  We will talk more about the Nicolaitans in the letter to Pergamum, but for now the meaning of the word Nicolaitans is “conqueror of people”.

Verse 7:  The phrase, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches”, gives the idea that there is a broader audience than just the 7 literal churches during John’s time.

Verse 7b: We will see the word overcomer throughout the letters.  Chapter 2 verse 26 gives an indication of what an overcomer is, by saying, “He who keeps/guards My deeds until the end.”   The overcomer here is told that the reward is eating of the tree of life which is in the Paradise of God.  It was brought up that this is another example of Jesus being the Alpha and Omega.  Man fell in Paradise and will be restored in Paradise. 

Each letter gives us a glimpse into the mirror.  What are we doing right?  Where have we fallen down on the job?  What would Jesus say about us and our church?  One last comment was how beautiful the symmetry of Revelation is.  It is almost as if you are reading poetry at times.  I pray that you are blessed today wherever you are.  May we all fall in love with Jesus all over again.  Let our deeds be done as a demonstration of love for the Lord and for nothing else.

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Responses

  1. It was a great study meeting. Funny how when we get off script a little, the discussion takes on a life of its own, yet still educational and meaningful.

    • I agree, Peter. It was a great session. I think one of the good things about the letters are the fact that they hit us on more of a personal level and it is easier to talk about as well as get to know each other in that setting. That is a really good thing since we are going to be hitting some rather technical and less “practical” stuff after the 7 churches. We’ve got a great group and that sure makes things unpredictable and interesting.


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