Ephesus is the first church to be called out in Jesus’ letters to the 7 churches in the Book of Revelation. Why Ephesus? It was the main church in the area — what is now Turkey — and the Apostle John was the bishop or overseer of the 7 churches and based in Ephesus. Besides Ephesus, the 7 churches included Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea. Sadly, because of the Islamic takeover of that area in the 7th and 8th centuries, all that’s left are ruins. Ephesus is the only one of the 7 churches that got a letter from the Apostle Paul.
The year was 95 AD, John was about 80 years old and the only living apostle.
Here’s a nice video from the YouVersion Bible App Study, “Jesus’ Letters to You — Prophetic Gallery Series” with a tour of Ephesus today…
Jesus had a Special Format for all the Letters…
- Praise: He tells them good things that they’ve done or are doing.
- Scolding: “I have this complaint against you…”
- Comfort: This is what you have to do to get right with him, then explains.
- Pay Attention: “Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches.”
- Reward: “To everyone who is victorious I will give fruit from the tree of life in the paradise of God.”
The Letter to the Church in Ephesus
“I know all the things you do. I have seen your hard work and your patient endurance. I know you don’t tolerate evil people. You have examined the claims of those who say they are apostles but are not. You have discovered they are liars. You have patiently suffered for me without quitting.
“But I have this complaint against you. You don’t love me or each other as you did at first! Look how far you have fallen! Turn back to me and do the works you did at first. If you don’t repent, I will come and remove your lampstand from its place among the churches. But this is in your favor: You hate the evil deeds of the Nicolaitans, just as I do.
“Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches. To everyone who is victorious I will give fruit from the tree of life in the paradise of God.”Revelation 2:2-7
Jesus gave us 2 commandments…
“The most important commandment is this: ‘Listen, O Israel! The Lord our God is the one and only Lord. And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’ The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.”Mark 12:29-31
You’d think they’d be easy to keep considering how simple they are. Apparently not. Loving “the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength” means not worshiping ANYTHING or ANYONE else but Jesus, God the Father and the Holy Spirit — the Trinity. Not Mary, not saints, not a church, not a piece of bread, not a human like the Pope, a priest, bishop or cardinal. Not a job, not a car, not a house or any created thing.
Worship the creator only — not any creation — including humans — dead or alive.
Then Jesus tells them to REPENT! We know what that means. STOP SINNING! Do a 180 in your life. If you don’t, you’ll continue to live in darkness. You will not have the light of Jesus.
“Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches. To everyone who is victorious I will give fruit from the tree of life in the paradise of God.”
The Tree of Life — that’s the tree with the forbidden fruit that got Adam and Eve into trouble in the Garden of Eden. In Heaven — paradise — it will be available for all believers who obey.
That’s all we have to do — obey.
If you want the assurance of salvation and a 1-way, non-stop ticket to paradise — to Heaven, this is what you have to do…
Believe. Repent. Be Baptized. Receive the Holy Spirit.
Pray this prayer humbly and wholeheartedly…
“Dear Lord Jesus, I know I am a sinner. I believe You died for my sins. Please forgive me. Right now, I turn from my sins and open the door of my heart and my life to you. I confess You as my personal Lord and Savior. I will follow you for the rest of my life. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”
Next Steps in Your New Walk with Jesus…
- Start reading the Bible daily. If you don’t have one, I recommend the YouVersion, Bible.app and Through the Word app — both are free and have a lot of great daily devotionals and Bible studies.
- Pray every day. Talk to God. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you daily.
- Find and join a Bible-believing church — preferably a non-denominational one.
Remember the 5 Solas…
- Sola Scriptura (“Scripture alone”): The Bible alone is our highest authority.
- Sola Fide (“Faith alone”): We are saved through faith alone in Jesus Christ.
- Sola Gratia (“Grace alone”): We are saved by the grace of God alone.
- Solus Christus (“Christ alone”): Jesus Christ alone is our Savior, Redeemer, Lord and King
- Soli Deo Gloria (“to God alone be the Glory.”): It’s all about God not us.