Sunday Service | Mt. Zion Church | 7 October 2018 | Church of Ephesus | 7 End-Times Churches Series | Revelation 2:1-7
The book of Revelation is about prophecy of the end times, about things which must shortly take place. God said, “Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near.” Rev.1:1-3. The book of Revelation was opened with the greeting to the 7 churches which are in Asia. The most important concern for believers is not about the geographical location of those 7 churches but more about the message, the warning, and also the promises that given to them. God said that John must write in a book about everything that he saw in that heavenly vision and send it to the 7 churches which are in Asia: to Ephesus, to Smyrna, to Pergamos, to Thyatira, to Sardis, to Philadelphia, and to Laodicea Rev.1:11. Simply we can say that those 7 churches represents the various condition of the body of Christ in this world, specially in this last days.
In chapter 1, Christ introduce Himself as someone with full authority and ready to execute the judgment and punishment because the time is already at end. John saw Jesus clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band. His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes like a flame of fire; His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace, and His voice as the sound of many waters; He had in His right hand seven stars, out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, and His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength. And all that vision made John fell at his feet as dead Rev.1:12-20. John was very surprised since the appearance of Jesus Christ was totally different compared to His first coming born as baby in the manger at Bethlehem. Yet He is the same Jesus, He is who lives and was dead and now alive forevermore. In that vision John can learn that there will be no more delay as Jesus come with full authority to finish everything. And Jesus wanted that His appearance declared to all 7 churches, so they can be more serious and watchful since everything that John saw will shortly take place. The first message was given to church of Ephesus as below.
1 “To the angel of the church of Ephesus write, these things says He who holds the seven stars in His right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands: 2 “I know your works, your labour, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not and have found them liars; 3 and you have persevered and have patience, and have laboured for My name’s sake and have not become weary. 4 Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. 5 Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent. 6 But this you have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. 7 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.”’ Revelations 2:1-7 NKJV
1: APPEARANCE OF CHRIST
Jesus introduce Himself to church of Ephesus as someone who hold the 7 stars in His right hand and walks in the midst of seven golden lampstands. The 7 stars are the angels of the 7 churches, and the 7 lampstands are the 7 churches Rev.1:20. Jesus got the whole world in His hands. Not only about this world that we can see but also everything that we can’t see, including that 7 stars which represents the angels of the 7 churches. This is the truth that really amazing and powerful for all believers! Book of Hebrews told us that angels are ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation Heb.1:14. The angel of the Lord encamps all around those who fear Him and delivers them Psa.34:7. Jesus said: Take heed that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that in heaven their angels always see the face of My Father who is in heaven Mat.18:10. God sent out His angels to protect and guard His body which is the church! We don’t need to be afraid and worried as His protection always sure and guaranteed! How wonderful is that to know that God hold everything in His hand! This appearance of Christ emphasizes His omnipotent (having unlimited power) and also His omniscient (knowing everything). Also, God want to let us know how much His care for us, it is a total protection for believers, so truly we lack nothing because God is our Shepherd Ps.23:1-4.
Christ also introduces Himself as the one who keep walking in the midst of 7 golden lampstands, which represents churches of God. We can learn the omnipresence of God (the presence of God everywhere at the same time) and it will bring ourselves more to live in the fear of God and perfecting holiness 2Cor.7:1. God is always keep moving and behold, He who keeps Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord is your keeper; The Lord is your shade at your right-hand Psa.121:4-5. Keep walking is also means about progression! The church of God must keep walking from strength to strength, from glory to glory, and from faith to faith. We are not supposed to fall asleep as our Commander always keep walking through His divine plan. Our spiritual journey is not supposed to getting stuck in any point nor fall behind because the Spirit of God is the spirit of progression.
These 2 characters of Christ appearance in Revelation will bring us to understand more about His will and also His plan for His churches. Whenever we talk about church, it doesn’t stand for the building itself but more about the person, we are the church 1Cor.6:19-20. The message to church in Ephesus is also given to every believer now and then, so we can align ourselves more to His divine will.
2: THE GOOD AND THE BAD
The good news is God very pleased with WORKS, LABOUR, also PATIENCE of the church in Ephesus. This good achievement was written there so we can learn what please God’s heart. God knows whatever we do in every single day. God knows exactly how much our work for the Lord 1Cor.15:58. God knows exactly how much sacrifice we made to follow Jesus and keep walking in His righteousness. How wonderful is that when we already did a lot of thing and someone told us that he knows exactly our works and also our labour!
The church of Ephesus also has a good-standing in discerning the truth from the evil. They cannot bear those who are evil, and they have tested those who say they are apostles and are not and have found them liars! Do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world 1Jn.4:1. All believers must have this skill of discernment. Believers are never supposed to eat something that bad and evil. We are supposed to be very bold against sin and never get compromise with that! We must always say NO to the sin and say YES to the truth. We are not supposed to be tossed back and forth by the waves and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming Eph.4:14. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God Rom.12:2. The church in Ephesus also hate the practices of the Nicolaitans, which God also hate Rev.2:6. Whatever the teaching of Nicolaitans we may not know completely, as we lack the information about it, but one thing that we know is God hate it so much! We must hate whatever God also hate.
At the end of that list of good things from Ephesus, God also had something against them, that they have left their first love. God said: Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent. Falling behind the first love is a big problem in God’s sight and it could be happen to anyone! The first love could easily disappear from someone and the main reason is because the first love was replaced with loving the world! Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him 1Jn.2:15. The devil will use everything in this world as a bait, so that the believers will be drawn far away from the love of the Father! In 2 Timothy Paul mentioned Demas, who has forsaken Paul, having loved this present world, and has departed for Thessalonica 2Tim.4:10. Yes, we live in this world, but we must keep our heart with all diligence, so this world is not going to kick out the love of the Father. We are not supposed to let this world define our life. Our life must always be redefined with the truth from the Word of God, so the love of Father remains in our heart even getting bigger and stronger!
We can simply define the first love to God as a heavenly love that filled our heart and our life at the first moment when we had an encounter with God. That first love will burn our heart and bring us to a strong decision to receive Jesus as the only Saviour in our life, to accept Him within our heart and to declare that nothing will never ever replace His position in our life! Falling behind the first love means degradation! Someone may seem to have more works in ministry but deep down in his heart he already lost his first love to God. All believers need to keep that flame of Holy fire burning within their heart and consume all lust and nature of sin within our life. In the journey of faith, we absolutely need endurance Heb.10:36, so that we can keep having the same passion even stronger! Paul teach us to keep running, keep fight the good fight, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus Phil.3:12-14. We can easily learn from the life of Paul how he progressed from the first love into perfection. Paul always reckon all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus our Lord, Paul count all things as rubbish, so that he may gain Christ Phil.3:8.
Everyone needs to take a time and examine if they already fall behind from their first love or not. Remember therefore from where you have fallen! Repent and do the first works, or else God will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent!
3: THE PROMISE
The message to every church always closed with a very strong promise for those who want to be an overcomer! The first step to receive this promise is to hear what the Spirit says to churches, whether it is an encouragement or a rebuke, whether it is a compliment or a complain. We need to open our ear wide and humble our heart to receive His teaching. We need to be a teachable believer. God promised to him who overcomes, He will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God. This tree was first mentioned in the book of Genesis. The Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden, and there He put the man whom He had formed. And out of the ground the Lord God made every tree grow that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil Gen.2:8-9. Since Adam and Eve fell into sin, so God drove out the man; and He placed cherubim at the east of the garden of Eden, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life Gen.3:24. The fruit of the tree of life will bring us to live forever Gen.3:22. Eating from the tree of life has a spiritual meaning of spending the eternity together with God in heaven. So, let’s grow in our love to God, don’t be stuck, because God is looking for those who want to press forward to the heavenly goal! Keep in our mind about the omnipotent, omnipresence, and omniscient of God, so we will never doubt again with His calling. AMEN.Tags: rev2