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Revelation 2v1-7 Ephesus

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Index No.                    TBFC

Date                            06 December 2008

Text                            Revelation 2:1-7 Ephesus


Ephesus had a remarkable history in addition to Paul it had links with the Apostle John and such notable figures of Church history as

Justin Martyr , Polycarp, and Papias.


The word Angel in both Hebrew and Greek simply means – messenger.

Either we have to assume some unwarranted ‘guardian angel’ theology or adopt the simple interpretation that it refers here to the Pastor of the church.

Matthew Henry assumes this understanding. Most commentators would adopt this view.

Stars and Lampstands

Zechariah 4:2

2 He asked me, “What do you see?”

I answered, “I see a solid gold lampstand with a bowl at the top and seven lights on it, with seven channels to the lights. (NIV)

 Zechariah 4:6

6 So he said to me, “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty. (NIV)

These words should not be passed over they are vital to the message that follows.

The Church is a Holy Spirit filled lamp to the world in which we live.

It is sustained “holds the seven stars in his right hand” and scrutinised “walks among the seven golden Lampstands” by the Lord Jesus himself.

God holds us.

John 10:29

29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no-one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.  (NIV)

This is how we came to God

Psalm 18:16

16 He reached down from on high and took hold of me;

he drew me out of deep waters. (NIV)

It is how we are kept day by day

Psalm 139:9-10

9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,

if I settle on the far side of the sea,

10 even there your hand will guide me,

your right hand will hold me fast. (NIV)

He scrutinises us

1 Samuel 16:7

7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (NIV)

John 2:25

25 He did not need man’s testimony about man, for he knew what was in a man. (NIV)

Acts 15:5-8

5 Then some of the believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees stood up and said, “The Gentiles must be circumcised and required to obey the law of Moses.”

6 The apostles and elders met to consider this question. 7 After much discussion, Peter got up and addressed them: “Brothers, you know that some time ago God made a choice among you that the Gentiles might hear from my lips the message of the gospel and believe. 8 God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us. (NIV)

Well done Ephesians

Good works

Three words

ἔργον: deed, action. [BDAG]

The everyday things that they did pleased the Lord

Matthew 5:16

16 In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. (NIV)

κόπος: trouble, difficulty; work, labor, toil [BDAG]

They did the right thing even when the circumstances were adverse. This was no fair-weather church.

1 Thessalonians 2:9

9 Surely you remember, brothers, our toil and hardship; we worked night and day in order not to be a burden to anyone while we preached the gospel of God to you.  (NIV)

ὑπομονή: patience, endurance, fortitude, steadfastness, perseverance; [BDAG]

This word takes us to the next level. They endured hardship for the sake of Christ.

Holy hatred

We live in a world where tolerance is applauded above almost anything else. That is not God’s perspective.

Psalm 31:6

6 I hate those who cling to worthless idols;

I trust in the Lord. (NIV)

Psalm 101:3

3 I will set before my eyes

no vile thing. The deeds of faithless men I hate; they shall not cling to me. (NIV)

Psalm 119:104 also Psalm 119:128

104 I gain understanding from your precepts;

therefore I hate every wrong path. (NIV)

Psalm 119:113

113 I hate double-minded men,

but I love your law. (NIV)

Psalm 119:163

163 I hate and abhor falsehood

but I love your law. (NIV)

Proverbs 8:13

13 To fear the Lord is to hate evil;

I hate pride and arrogance,

evil behaviour and perverse speech. (NIV)

Isaiah 61:8

8 “For I, the Lord, love justice;

I hate robbery and iniquity.

In my faithfulness I will reward them

and make an everlasting covenant with them. (NIV)

Amos 5:21

21 “I hate, I despise your religious feasts;

I cannot stand your assemblies. (NIV)

Zechariah 8:17

17 do not plot evil against your neighbour, and do not love to swear falsely. I hate all this,” declares the Lord. (NIV)

Malachi 2:16

16 “I hate divorce,” says the Lord God of Israel, “and I hate a man’s covering himself with violence as well as with his garment,” says the Lord Almighty.

So guard yourself in your spirit, and do not break faith. (NIV)

The Nicolatians

NICOLAITANS Heretical sect in the early church that is mentioned by name twice in the book of Revelation. The church at Ephesus was commended for hating the works of the Nicolaitans (Rev 2:6), and the church at Pergamum was criticized for having some members who held their doctrine (v 15).

Since the specific sins condemned at Pergamumthe eating of food sacrificed to idols and the practice of immorality—were also present at Thyatira (Rv 2:20), it is commonly thought that the woman Jezebel was a leader of the Nicolaitans in that church. In the letter to Pergamum, their sins are equated with the teaching of Balaam (Rv 2:14; cf. Nm 25:1–2; 31:16; 2 Pt 2:15; Jude 1:11), who advised Balak, the king of the Moabites, to bring about Israel’s downfall by inviting them to worship the Moabite gods and engage in intermarriage and the sexual immoralities connected with Moabite religious practices. Thus, the Jews would have been separated from God and his protection. In Jewish thought, Balaam was the symbol of all that led men to obscene conduct and the forsaking of God. The ungodly practices at Thyatira are called the “deep things of Satan” (Rev 2:24). [1]

Despite all this

They have lost their first love.

The first commandment

Deuteronomy 6:5

5 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.(NIV)

The experience of his people

Psalm 18:1

1 I love you, O Lord, my strength. (NIV)

Not without good cause

Psalm 116:1

1 I love the Lord, for he heard my voice;

he heard my cry for mercy. (NIV)

Romans 8:28

28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (NIV)

1 John 4:10

10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. (NIV)

A significant link

Ephesians 6:24

24 Grace to all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with an undying love.


Warning and judgment

John 5:36-42

36 “I have testimony weightier than that of John. For the very work that the Father has given me to finish, and which I am doing, testifies that the Father has sent me. 37 And the Father who sent me has himself testified concerning me. You have never heard his voice nor seen his form, 38 nor does his word dwell in you, for you do not believe the one he sent. 39 You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, 40 yet you refuse to come to me to have life. 41 “I do not accept praise from men, 42 but I know you. I know that you do not have the love of God in your hearts. (NIV)

Teaching through tenses

The Greek verb tenses in this verse stand out from one another to emphasize the successive actions of the Ephesians.

  • First, there is the command to remember, which is given in the present tense as “keep on remembering.”

  • Second, the verb you have fallen in the perfect tense indicates that considerable time has elapsed since the decline began. …

  • Third, the command to repent is in the aorist tense, signifying a single action that is to last once for all.

  • Fourth, the same thing holds true for the command to perform the works the people did at first; their repentance must keep pace with their decision to work just as enthusiastically as their predecessors.

  • Fifth, the threat I will come, although translated as a future, is actually in the present tense to indicate immediate action.

  • Sixth, the verb I will remove in the future indicative connotes that the threat is not a possibility but a certainty if they fail to repent.

  • Seventh and last, the verb to repent, in the second sentence, is given as an escape clause.[2]

The thing they did at first was to ‘Love God’

The warning ends with a great and precious promise


[1]Elwell, W. A., & Comfort, P. W. 2001. Tyndale Bible dictionary. Tyndale reference library (950). Tyndale House Publishers: Wheaton, Ill.

[2]Kistemaker, S. J., & Hendriksen, W. 1953-2001. New Testament commentary : Exposition of the Book of Revelation. Accompanying biblical text is author's translation. New Testament Commentary. Vol. 20 (115). Baker Book House: Grand Rapids  ALTERED by  CDJ

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