On the Lord’s Day I was in the Spirit, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet, which said: “Write on a scroll what you see and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea.” I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands, and among the lampstands was someone like a son of man, dressed in a robe reaching down to His feet and with a golden sash around His chest. The hair on His head was white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes were like blazing fire. His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and His voice was like the sound of rushing waters. In His right hand He held seven stars, and coming out of His mouth was a sharp, double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance. When I saw Him, I fell at His feet as though dead. Then He placed His right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades. “Write, therefore, what you have seen, what is now and what will take place later. The mystery of the seven stars that you saw in My right hand and of the seven golden lampstands is this: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches. - Revelation 1:10-20
Let's look at the lessons we need to learn from the church in Ephesus and what blessings will be given to those who obey God and listen to the Holy Spirit's guidance.
1. Ephesus (Revelation 2:1-7)
Positive Characteristics: good deeds, hard-working, perseverance. They did not tolerate evil people and rightly tested those who claimed to be apostles but were wolves in sheep clothing. They endured hardships because of their steadfast faith in Jesus Christ and they remained strong, not growing weary. Also, they hated the practices of the Nicolaitans, which Jesus also hates.
Negative Characteristics: abandoned (forsook) their first love.
Jesus' Command to Ephesus: "Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place." (v.5)
Jesus' Command to Us: "Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God." (v.7)
“To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: These are the words of Him who holds the seven stars in His right hand and walks among the seven golden lampstands. I know your deeds,your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked people, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. You have persevered and have endured hardships for My name, and have not grown weary. Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place. But you have this in your favor: You hate the practices of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God. - Revelation 2:1-7
What can we take away from the church in Ephesus? That we need to be victorious. We need to work hard, persevere, do good deeds, not tolerate evil, not let false teachings into the church, correctly and biblically test those who want to be a follower of Jesus or a leader, endure hardships and persecutions, and remain steadfast and strong in God's Word.
When we sin we need to immediately and wholeheartedly repent. We need to walk with God and focus on Jesus Christ. While patiently waiting for His return, be filled with anticipation and witness to all we can. Finally, we need to put up guard railings on our hearts and minds to protect ourselves against the world and temptation. Let's be passionate about God and have a burning desire to obey His Word and fulfill His plan for our lives. Put on the armor of God and be victorious!