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An Introduction To Ephesus

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Introduction

Greetings...

The City Of Ephesus

The history of Ephesus

Ephesus is located in what was “then called” Asia Minor as seen in the book of Revelation.
Revelation 1:4 ESV
4 John to the seven churches that are in Asia: Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne,
Rev 1:
Revelation 2:1 ESV
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.
It is located in what is now the western side of modern day Turkey, due east of modern Athens.
No one is certain how long Ephesus had existed before New Testament times though there are some hints.
Legends have an Ionian prince named Androclus, son of Codrus as the one that established or reestablished the city in either the 11th century or the 7th century BC.
This would put it a minimum of about 350 years before Alexander the Great was born.
We know it was founded “a second time” by I
Ephesus was a major market for the Persian, Greek, and Roman empires.
It was one of the largest and most impressive ancient world cities politically, religiously, and commercially in Asia Minor.
During the Roman Empire and specifically the reign of Augustus the city experienced substantial growth based on “Pax Romana” or “Peace of Rome” to the point that during the early Christian days it was estimated to have a population of around 250,000 people.
During the Roman Empire and specifically the reign of Augustus the city experienced substantial growth based on “Pax Romana” or “Peace of Rome” to the point that during the early Christian days it was estimated to have a population of around 250,000 people.
It is mentioned more than 20 times in the N.T. between the ministries of Paul, Timothy, and John.

The culture of Ephesus

The culture in Ephesus during the first century very eclectic religiously speaking.
They were very pagan-centric with a major focus on Artemis (Greek) Diana (Roman) the goddess of fertility, magic, and astrology.
The first Temple of Diana took 100 years to build and was completed in circa 400 BC.
The first Temple of Diana took 100 years to build and was completed in circa 400 BC.
It burnt to the ground the night Alexander the Great was born but was rebuilt so large it could hold 24,500 people and is considered one of the seven wonders of the world.
Archaeology has unearthed roughly fifty different gods and goddess that were worshiped in Ephesus.
The were very loyal to the Roman empire as well, often worshiping the emperor.
There was an inscription found calling emperor Hadrian as “founder and savior.”
Gnosticism was also known to have been prevalent in Ephesus during the early and later part of the church as was Judaism because of the large number of Jews.
Magic and sorcery was believed in greatly at Ephesus.
They believed the spirit world influenced almost all aspects of life and Ephesus was known outsiders as a place where demonic activity took place.
Magic and demonology was so associated with Ephesus that documents containing magic formulas and spells were called “Ephesian writings.”

Summery

Ephesus was a large and important city during the first century and beyond and it played a vital role in Paul’s ministry as well as Timothy’s.

The Church In Ephesus

The church’s start

It’s not clear who started the church in Ephesus but Paul isn’t mentioned as the one that started the church there.
It’s not clear who started the church in Ephesus but it does not appear to be the apostle Paul.
Most likely Priscilla and Aquila had a hand in it however this can’t be proven.
It was started around 50 AD.
What we know is, Paul, Priscilla, and Aquila sailed to Ephesus during the end of Paul’s second missionary journey and it appears Paul only spent a very short amount of time, possibly only one day, in Ephesus at this time.
Acts 18:18–20 ESV
18 After this, Paul stayed many days longer and then took leave of the brothers and set sail for Syria, and with him Priscilla and Aquila. At Cenchreae he had cut his hair, for he was under a vow. 19 And they came to Ephesus, and he left them there, but he himself went into the synagogue and reasoned with the Jews. 20 When they asked him to stay for a longer period, he declined.
Acts 18:
Now it’s in Ephesus that we find Apollos speaking boldly and Aquila and Priscilla teaching him the “way of God more accurately” and there is little to no doubt Apollos had a major effect on the church there.
Acts 18:24 ESV
24 Now a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He was an eloquent man, competent in the Scriptures.
Acts 18:26 ESV
26 He began to speak boldly in the synagogue, but when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately.
,
Whoever started the church is irrelevant as it did begin at some point in Ephesus and it became of great prominence.
test () (18:18-20) (19:1-12) (20:31) ()

The church’s prominence

One of the reasons for it’s growth and prominence is Paul spent more time in Ephesus than any other place along his missionary journey locations.
Because of Ephesus’ location, Paul could influence all of Asia Minor from this one main hub.
Acts 20:31 ESV
31 Therefore be alert, remembering that for three years I did not cease night or day to admonish every one with tears.
Acts 19:8–10 ESV
8 And he entered the synagogue and for three months spoke boldly, reasoning and persuading them about the kingdom of God. 9 But when some became stubborn and continued in unbelief, speaking evil of the Way before the congregation, he withdrew from them and took the disciples with him, reasoning daily in the hall of Tyrannus. 10 This continued for two years, so that all the residents of Asia heard the word of the Lord, both Jews and Greeks.
Acts 19:
Think of the thousands who heard the word from the hall of Tyrannus.
Unfortunately, Paul needed that extra year, it appears, to help the leadership of the church understand the difficulties it was going to face in the future.
Acts 20:31 ESV
31 Therefore be alert, remembering that for three years I did not cease night or day to admonish every one with tears.
Acts 20:27–30 ESV
27 for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God. 28 Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood. 29 I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; 30 and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them.

The church’s loss

Paul knew, through inspiration, that Ephesus would go from one of the most prominent congregations to one that would be struggle.
This great congregation, over 50 years old by the time the book of Revelation was written, still “looked faithful.”
Revelation 2:2–3 ESV
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.
Rev 2:2
Rev 2:
Though what they were doing was scriptural the congregation only had the facade of faithfulness. The truth was they had lost their first love and were endanger of having their lampstand removed.
Rev 2:4-5
Revelation 2:1 ESV
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.
Revelation 2:4–5 ESV
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 the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent.

Summery

The church in Ephesus is a great reminder of how easily one can fall into Satan’s traps.

The Book Of Ephesians

The author & recipients

The author of the book is without question to those that love truth; Paul clearly identifies himself as the writer.
Ephesians 1:1 ESV
1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To the saints who are in Ephesus, and are faithful in Christ Jesus:
Ephesians 3:1 ESV
1 For this reason I, Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus on behalf of you Gentiles—
The recipients of the letter is a bit more tricky as it would appear Paul wrote this letter as a general letter to the churches in Asia Minor with Ephesus being the first place it was read possibly.
Reasons for this consideration.
Some of the earliest MSS don’t have “in/at Ephesus” specifically the Vaticanus and Sinaiticus nor do some of the early “church father” writers mention Ephesus as the destination.
However, almost universally it is in the later MSS.
Paul was very familiar with the church in Ephesus and yet he doesn’t bring up a single person “from Ephesus” in the entire book.
Many think the “letter from Laodicea” was this letter as well considering it is “from Laodicea” not “to it.”
Colossians 4:16 ESV
16 And when this letter has been read among you, have it also read in the church of the Laodiceans; and see that you also read the letter from Laodicea.
It should be pointed out that most later MSS have “in Ephesus.”
Test (1:1; 3:1) ()

The context

This great letter is best described as “The Glorious Church Of Christ.”
It’s purpose is to promote the church that Christ died for in all its glory and splendor.
Ephesians 1:22–23 ESV
22 And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.
This is clearly seen in the words found in Ephesus.
test (1:22-23)
Nine times we find the word “church” in these short six chapters.
Nine times we find the word “body” referring to the church found as well.
In just six chapters we see the church mentioned with just these two phrases eighteen times.
It’s purpose is to also prepare the child of God to glory in the church of Christ.
The first three chapters focus on the church while the last three focus on the

The outline

The Nature Of The Church (1-3)
test (1-3) (4-6)
The Life In The Church (4-6)

Summery

The book of Ephesians grants us “entrance into the library of wisdom and knowledge that surpasses that of the sages of this world.”

Conclusion

Tom Wacaster in his commentary on Ephesians wrote, “This wonderful epistle has as its subject the church of our Lord Jesus Christ. The picture of the church that emerges from a careful study of this epistle is one of holiness and harmony (1:4; 4:4). If men would put aside their prejudice and preconceived notions concerning the church, and drink deeply from the pen of this inspired apostle, they would walk away with a concept of the church unlike the modern day concept of a divided, denominated, and materialistic church. In the six chapters of this epistle God unfolds for us the eternal majesty of the church, the beautiful bride of Christ. We are permitted to look backward into the recesses of eternity and get a small glimpse – just a glimpse – of the majesty of our God as He foreordained us unto adoption as sons through Jesus Christ (1:5). The door is opened into the vault of heaven‘s wealth, and we are invited to partake of the “riches” of God‘s grace for men.”
Invitation
Isaiah 59:1–2 ESV
1 Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save, or his ear dull, that it cannot hear; 2 but your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear.
Philippians 2:6–7 ESV
6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.
The
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