Issue 811 – Epehsian Works – Seven Churches Part 2 – July 31, 2022

Ruins of Celsus Library - Ephesus, Türkiye
Ruins of Celsus Library – Ephesus, Türkiye

This morning we continue our look at the seven churches in Revelation.

“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. “‘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. I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary. But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. 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. Yet this you have: you hate the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. 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.’ Revelation 2:1-7

The Ephesian church had been a church on fire. Planted by the Apostle Paul, it had an explosive start.

Large numbers converted, people healed, and demons were cast out. The crowd of new believers acted with fervour.

Also many of those who were now believers came, confessing and divulging their practices. And a number of those who had practiced magic arts brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. And they counted the value of them and found it came to fifty thousand pieces of silver. So the word of the Lord continued to increase and prevail mightily. Acts 19:18-20

These believers pulled away from their past lifestyle and beliefs at a high financial cost. Fifty-thousand pieces of silver represent about 135-140 years’ worth of wages. That is a lot of money to get burned up.

Not only was Paul involved in starting this church, but he also wrote the epistle to the Ephesians church to instruct it further about faith and the righteousness of God.

Forty or fifty years later, the Ephesian church maintained its solid teaching and intolerance for evil but had acquired a severe problem. They had forsaken their first love. They were hot on doctrine and cold on their walk with Jesus and love for others.

It often happens in churches. They start with a bang and keep their enthusiasm for the Word of God but drift away from demonstrating it to others. Orthodox in belief but asleep in their practice of it.

You look for evangelism, and while it is spoken of, it seldom happens. The evidence of it is scarce.

Fresh new believers are a rarity rather than an everyday event. The church is full of professing believers, but nothing seems to get past the door on Sunday. The church is seldom seen in the community; if it is, it is more likely known for what it is against than for loving people.

There might be a thousand manifestations and as many reasons for it happening, but their love has grown cold. What might appear from the outside to be a thriving church is rotting from the core and dying.

The Lord pulls no punches and treats this coldness as sin. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first.

Jesus isn’t calling them to a form of works-based salvation but does remind them that true salvation produces fruitful results. Our love for Jesus should spill over into every part of our lives.

The words of James, the brother of Jesus, echo in my ears when I read these words of Christ.

What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. 

James 2:14-17

The Ephesians were alive in the sense that they continued meeting but dead in every other sense. They were saved from their sins but useless or nearly so in producing fruit for the kingdom.

Jesus was not happy with them and warned them to turn. His love for them had not grown cold, but He knew discipline was required.

It is easy for us to look at a congregation and point those things out, but the state of a congregation typically reflects the hearts of its members. Look inside. What do you see? Has your love grown cold?

Hallelu Yah (Praise God)

Be blessed

Kevin.

Gleanings From The Word.

Experience an extraordinary God in ordinary life. 

Soli Deo Gloria (for the glory of God alone.)

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