Letter to Ephesus [EF uh suhs]
This is a Bible Study. Have your own Bible handy to look up the references I mention.
If you do not have a Bible, I invite you to go to BibleGateway.com or another online Bible.
When John wrote Revelation, Ephesus had been there for over a thousand years/
Go to Revelation 2
The seven churches listed in chapter 1 and described in chapter 2 and 3 are representative of churches today.
If you are a parent, you know the strengths and weaknesses of your children. You give them guidance as they are growing and maybe impart some wisdom when they are adults. Jesus stayed close to His churches and is giving them guidance.
Easley tells us that “Jesus created a letter-writing formula:”
1. Characteristic of the sender
2. Compliment to the recipients
3. Criticism against the recipients
4. Command to the recipients
5. Commitment to all who overcome. (33)
Stars and Lampstands
Let us review from Revelation 1:20
The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches.
The seven lampstands are the seven churches.
Ephesus is on the west coast of Asia Minor ( Map A ), so you can see it is an important trading center. Ephesus was the primary harbor in the province of Asia. (By law incoming Roman governors had to enter Asia through Ephesus.) The city was located on the Cayster River about three miles upriver from where it flowed into the sea. Those disembarking at the harbor traveled along a magnificent, wide, column-lined road (the Arcadian Way) that led to the center of the city. (MacArthur, New Testament Commentary: Revelation 1-11. [Chicago: Moody Publishers, 1999], 57)
Map used by permission from Free Bible Images
Silt from the Cayster River filled up the harbor. Ephesus is about 6 miles from the Aegean Sea. (Easley, Holman New Testament Commentary: Revelation. [Nashville: B&H, 1998], 45)
The city amphitheater seated 25, 000.
There were several temples for several different gods.
Artemis was a fertility goddess. Her temple was one of the most magnificent ones. (Acts 19)
Its ruins have been found by archaeologists. It was about 400 feet long by 200 feet wide.
“A large Jewish population thrived in Ephesus, and Christianity was fully established with the two-year ministry of Paul during his third missionary journey (Acts 19).” (Easley, 45)
Characteristic (Easley, 34)
1. The seven stars are being held in Jesus’ right hand.
They are his Pastors, deacons, or elders, as He uses His supreme authority with His human leaders.
Jesus is walking near His churches observing the churches, the congregation, and the leaders.
Compliment (Easley, 34)
2.This begins with “I know” as does each of the seven churches.
Jesus knows what is going on in each of His churches.
He knows our and thy labour, and thy patience.
You cannot hide from Jesus.
He also knows that the church in Ephesus cannot tolerate evil men.
They had tested and removed evil men (maybe some women but they are not mentioned)
The church even found some calling themselves apostles but found them to be false!
3. Imagine being told by Jesus that you are there for His name’s sake and did not grow weary.
Criticism (Easley, 34)
4. Jesus has something against you
I have always been told if you cannot take the heat get out of the kitchen!
I would hate to hear Jesus telling me what he had against me. How about You?
Judgement is coming!
What did He have against them?
They have lost the love it previously had for Jesus. For each other? For the lost?
Command (Easley, 34)
5. Do what you did when you first loved Jesus.
1. Remember those days when you were first in love with Jesus.
2. Repent that you lost this love toward Jesus and others.
3. Do the things you did when you first loved Him. (MacArthur, 63)
Repent or I will remove thy candlestick out of his place.
This is a judgement on the church. Is your church being judged?
6. But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitanes, which I also hate.
We do not know who the Nicolaitans [nik oh LAY ih tuhnz] were.(Easley, 46)
“The Nicolaitan teaching included two moral errors: open practice of sexual immorality (perhaps at a pagan temple) and open participation in eating food that had been sacrificed to idols (probably also at a pagan temple)”. (Easley, 46)
But Jesus complimented them on hating their sin.
(Hate the sin and not the sinner.)
Commitment (Easley, 34)
7. Listen to what the Spirt says.
There are three elements in the commitment, which comes at the end of each of the seven letters.
Use your ears to hear.
This person is addressed. He is probably a church member who hears and heeds the message. Matthew 11:15
Hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches
Not only do we need to hear but we need to take action.
To him who overcomes
This person is praised. (1 John 5:4-5)
He will eat of the tree of life in Paradise.
Tree of life (Genesis 2:9)
Paradise of God is heaven. Will you eat of the tree of life with Jesus?
( Chart A ) is a Summary of the Churches in Revelation 2
( Chart B ) is a Summary of the Churches in Revelation 3
( Chart C ) Messages to the Seven Churches Revelation 2 and 3
Scripture quotations from the Holy Bible, King James Version.
Easley, Kendell H., Holman New Testament Commentary: Revelation. Nashville: B&H, 1998
MacArthur, John. New Testament Commentary: Revelation 1-11. Chicago: Moody Publishers, 1999
McGee, J. Vernon, Thru the Bible: Volume V. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1983