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Lark Murry

Revelation 2:1-7 “Love Conquers Dead”


Revelation 2:1-7 (ESV)
Church in Ephesus
Duration: 30 minutes
1To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: ‘The words of him who holds the seven stars in

his right hand, who walks among the seven golden lampstands. 2 I know your works, your
toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have
tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false. 3 I know
you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name's sake, and you have not grown
weary. 4 But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. 5
Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do i the works you did at first.
If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent. 6 Yet
this you have: you hate the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. 7 He who has an ear,
let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will grant to eat
of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.’

 It is a revelation of Jesus Christ. Christ appeared to Apostle John when was at Patmos
(present day – Turkey). He was asked to write what he saw (1:11).

Background

In those days the city of Ephesus was the chief city of the Roman province of Asia. The
people of Ephesus had their own belief, they were well known for their superstition and
magic, and some dramatic events. The city was considered to be the home of the goddess
Artemis (or Diana) and contained a magnificent temple built in her honour (Act
19:27-28,35) ‘ESV’. The church in Ephesus was probably began through the work
of Priscilla and Aquila, whom Paul left in Ephesus after visiting the city briefly at
the end of his second missionary journey (Act 18:18-21). After couple of years a
man called Apollos a Jewish teacher arrived in Ephesus from Alexandria in Egypt.

He was so eager to proclaim but then he was lacking in the knowledge of certain
Christian teachings. Therefore Priscilla and Aquila taught him more accurately (Acts 18:24-
28). And by the return of Paul’s third journey to Ephesus the church has grown so titanic
(Acts 20:31). As the church was increasing in number, a crisis arose in the city. A group of
false teachers the Nicolaitans came out. They encouraged Christians to demonstrate their
freedom by eating food that had been offered to idols and by engaging in sexual immorality
(Rev 2:2, 6). And the Christians had become so much concerned with opposing false teaching
year after years and in that process their love for Christ had lost its original warmth. This was
exactly happened what Paul warned them before leaving Ephesus at the end of his third
missionary journey, Paul warned that false teachers would trouble the church (Act 20:17,28-
31). So here again Christ is confronting the church.

V. 1- To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: The words of him who holds the seven
stars in his right hand, who walks among the seven golden lampstands.

Ephesus Church began to exist during the second journey of Apostle Paul (Acts 18:18-21).
After couple of years some doctrine arose in the Church and was in need to be corrected in
certain areas. Christ appeared to John telling to write to the church saying “the words of
Him who holds the seven starts in his right hand, who walks among the seven golden
lampstand”. Here some of the phrase we need to know and understand “the words of Him”
refers to Christ Jesus, who is in control and holds all the churches generation to generations.
“Seven starts” refers the angels of the church and “the seven golden lampstands” means the
seven churches (Rev 1:20). Christ was with the churches dwelling among them, even today
He dwells in the churches (not necessarily the building).

V. 2 – I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear
with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and
found them to be false.

In this verse we see Christ was telling the church of what they were doing and their
position, because Christ knew all about the church. Everything is in control of Him. Christ
was watching the church of what they do ‘I know your works’. So Christ knew what they
were going through. The church faced sufferings and struggles in fighting back the false
teachers. The church was afflicted but patiently they tried to overcome the problems.
However, as Christ acknowledged them, they could bear it and endures every struggle they
faced and also against people who does evil for they understood Christ at the first place. The
church knew the truth and therefore they couldn’t bear it with the evildoers.

However, in the church community there were some who did evil and brought false
teachings to contras or dominate the believers. Those false teachers claimed themselves as
apostles but were not. Even though they claimed to be apostles but since God has tasted
them, so God knew who they were. God called them false teachers in his eyes. And indeed
God knew each person beyond what we know ourselves.

V. 3- I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name's sake, and you have
not grown weary.

Christ appreciated the church for their confidence and faith they had been holding. They had
gone through many struggles and trials, but hold tide in their patient. Many temptations
strict them but hold on what they have believed, putting all their pain into the feet of Jesus
Christ, trusting in Him alone that He will not leave them alone even in times of hardest
moment. Therefore, they were not worry of what they were facing or getting destruct from
the people.

They were pretty good enough in that side, but there were things they still needed to correct
or maintain.

V. 4- But I have this against you that you have abandoned the love you had at first

The church in Ephesus were bearing patiently for Christ’s sake in spite of trials and crises,
tried to defense false teaching in the church, but one thing they were lacking in the eyes of
God i.e. their “FIRST LOVE” and with this Christ against them. They had forgotten their
first love for Christ. In the beginning Christ was everything for them, their first priority in
their lives, but then they seem to negligence their beginning. The church was so strong in
following Christ and it was like wild fire in spreading their faith and as a result in the return
of Paul to Ephesus during his third journey the church had grown so titanic in number (Acts
20:31). But by AD 90, the church was getting weak not like before, so Christ was
confronting them and reminding them to examine to draw back the first love.

V. 5 - Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at
first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent.

At one point the church was well established and strong in their faith or rooted in Christ
Jesus, therefore it was expanding every day. But then since they had fallen so Christ asked
to remember from where they have fallen. Asked them to get up from their slumbers and to
strengthen to do as like at first. They were neglecting their first love and seem they were
influenced by other things. Therefore, Christ was asking them to repent which means to turn
back to Him again as it was like at first love. Christ asked their first love for Him.
God knew that they neglected Him, but with a tender voice Christ was waking them to get
up, giving them a chance to rebuild for their first love. Since they were so worried for the
false teachers and they gave more concerned to fight back, therefore they forgot that Christ
is more important than false teachers. They tried to defense by themselves, because they
didn’t realize that if they embraced on Christ Jesus and love Him as it was at first no one
can snatch them away. As a result their concerns carried them away from Christ. At the
same time Christ also warned them that if they don’t repent then He will come and remove
them. He has a power and authority to remove and since every little thing the church did
Christ was watching so He knew. And therefore he asked them to repent.

V. 6- Yet this you have: you hate the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.

In every good work there is a satisfaction so do here we see Christ was glad with the church
for what they were doing. Christ appreciated the church for not tolerating with evildoers
“you hate the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate”. Nicolaitans useed the name of
Jesus Christ for their benefit, and to some amount they taught some false teaching and was
confusing some of the believers. God really doesn’t like evil works and therefore He hate
Nicolaitans which the church too hate.

V. 7- He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who
conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.’

Verse seven is a calling with a wide open door for the church “He who has an ear, let him
hear what the Spirit says to the churches”. Christ has confronted where they had been fallen
and also encouraged and appreciated for their patient, facing the struggles for Christ’s sake.
He asked them to examine where they had gone and to repent. Since they had been
forsaking Christ to love Him as it was at first, Christ was inviting them to listen what the
Spirit says to them. He doesn’t force them to listen but He wanted the entire believers to
listen what the Spirit says.

At the same time Christ also gave a promised and reward to be given who ever listen what
the Spirit says “to the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the
paradise of God’. Only the one who conquers will be able to eat the tree of life or in other
words __ will be allow to enter in the kingdom of God i.e. to give eternal life.
Solicitation

Now we have seen the Church in Ephesus of what Christ had spoken to them. The church
was so passionate to defense the false teachers in the community but they failed what
matters the most in their lives “their first love”. As like Ephesus church, at present scenario
many churches are failing spiritually. Today’s Church gives more importance to what we
see rather than Christ. Here are some of the things we need to watch out.

i. Events: churches (we) are giving more emphasis in events or activities than spiritual
growth. The word of God says let no one pass judgment with the regards of food or
drinks or festival or Sabbath because these are just a shadow of the things to come, but
the substance belongs to Christ (Colossians 2:16-17). We concern of how the program
would be held. Will it be attractive program, how the feedback would be at the end. We
don’t think of how many will repent and turn from their wrongdoers. How many people
will be blessed by the word of God and help them to grow spiritually.
ii. Accommodation: Lately, we see all kinds of teachings and practices within the church.
Many Christian still holding their old faith or traditional faith and some even insert and
install it in teaching. We are making everything acceptable, even what is not right. We
are becoming like Colossian church in those days “Let no one disqualify you, insisting
on asceticism and worship of angels, going on in detail about visions, puffed up without
reason by his sensuous mind” (2:18). We accommodate both good and evil saying that
we are in a modern world. We judge the word of God saying it was in those days, but
the word of God remains the same because it still speaks, and Jesus is the same
yesterday today and forever. Some of the Christian are giving more concern of dreams
or visions than the word of God. Doesn’t mean that we should not believe in dreams,
there are some in the Bible whom God spoke them in dreams. My point is this that
instead of holding the dream at the first place we should refer to the word of God of
what it says about. If we are not careful in dreams than we may mislead people and
Christ against false teaching (Rev 2:6) and the word of God is warning us of every evil
acts (Col 2:8).
iii. Partner: Since the problem in Ephesus church was their first love so allow me to bring
more practical. Christ asked their first love because first love is so special and it smears
even to couples. If you are married allow me to ask you do you still love your spouse as
like at first when we get married? I believe your love was so strong toward your spouse
as if like nothing can break it. Just imagine how much you felt about your spouse when
you started to fall in relation or married. Can you compare it now! If you are failing,
then remember your spouse needs your first love. Love your spouse like at first.

You are so worry of how the world is going on and chasing according to what you feel. You
give more effort to reach world standard, but you don’t think of how you are growing
inside. In the first place you might love Christ so much, more than anything like Ephesus
church. What about now? Are you one among those who are chasing the wine to be in a
world standard? The word of God says remember where you have fallen. The church in
Ephesus was fully against of evil but where they had failed “their first love”. They forsake
their first love. You might be regular worshiper, but that might not be enough. What matter
the most is your first love for Christ Jesus. If you have forgotten your first love the word of
God says remember and repent.

Let your love conquers all kind of evildoers or dead. There is a reward for the conquerors
i.e. to live with Him in Nirvana. Listen what the word of God is saying to you before He
comes.

May the spirit of God helps us to understand His word, Amen…