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Lesson #06

RETURN TO SYLLABUS

REVELATION 2:1-7
LESSON #06
THE APOSTOLIC CHURCH OF THE CHURCH AGE–EPHESUS

  • MEMORY VERSE: REV 2:7
  • THE MESSAGES TO THE CHURCHES:
    • THERE IS A FOUR-PART ASPECT TO EACH OF THE SEVEN MESSAGES TO THE CHURCHES.
      • #1 THE MESSAGE ADDRESSED TO THE ACTUAL CHURCH OF JOHN’S DAY.
        • IN THIS ASPECT, WE WILL EXAMINE EACH CHURCH AND ITS LOCATION AS IT EXISTED WHEN JOHN WROTE THE BOOK OF REVELATION.
      • #2 THE MESSAGE OF ADMONITION TO ALL CHURCHES DURING THE CHURCH AGE.
        • BECAUSE CHURCHES ARE LIVING, CHANGING ORGANISMS, WE SHOULD CONTINUALLY EXAMINE WHERE WE ARE IN RESPECT TO GOD’S PURPOSE FOR THE CHURCH.
      • #3 THE PERSONAL MESSAGE TO EVERY BELIEVER AS SEEN IN THE CONTINUALLY USED PHRASE, “HE WHO HATH AN EAR, LET HIM HEAR WHAT THE SPIRIT SAITH UNTO THE CHURCHES.”
        • THE CHURCH IS MADE UP OF INDIVIDUAL CHRISTIANS WHO BEAR RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE CHURCH TO WHICH EACH BELONGS.
      • #4 THE PROPHETIC MESSAGE DESCRIBING THE HISTORY OF THE CHURCH THROUGH THE CHURCH AGE PERIOD
        • THE PURPOSE OF THIS ASPECT IS SO WE CAN DISCERN WHERE WE ARE IN RESPECT TO HISTORY AND THE SECOND COMING OF CHRIST.
        • THIS ASPECT IS BASED ON THE ASSUMPTION THAT THESE SEVEN REPRESENTATIVE CHURCHES NOT ONLY REPRESENT THE CHARACTERISTICS FOUND IN CHRISTIAN CHURCHES EVERYWHERE, BUT THAT THEY PROPHETICALLY REPRESENT ERAS OF CHURCH HISTORY.
    • WE WILL ALSO CONSIDER EACH CHURCH IN RELATIONSHIP TO THE SUCCESSIVE PARABLES OF MATTHEW 13 THAT JESUS SAID EXPLAINED THE KINGDOM.
    • THERE ARE SEVEN PARTS TO EACH CHURCH MESSAGE:
      • #1 A COMMAND TO WRITE TO A SPECIFIC CHURCH.
      • #2 A STATEMENT ABOUT JESUS CHRIST.
      • #3 A COMMENDATION (EXCEPT FOR THE CHURCH OF LAODICEA)
      • #4 A CORRECTION (EXCEPT FOR THE CHURCHES OF SMYRNA AND PHILADELPHIA)
      • #5 A COMMAND TO REPENT.
      • #6 A CALL TO THE INDIVIDUAL CHRISTIAN.
      • #7 A PROMISE TO THE OBEDIENT OVERCOMER.
  • IN OUR STUDY OF THE CHURCHES OF REVELATION, LOOK FOR YOUR OWN CHURCH, NOT JUST IN THE NEGATIVES BUT ALSO IN THE POSITIVES
  • READ REV 2:1-7 THE CHURCH OF EPHESUS
    • BACKGROUND:
      • NAME, EPHESUS, MEANS “DESIRABLE”.
      • THE STRATEGIC SIGNIFICANCE OF THE GEOGRAPHIC LOCATION OF THIS CHURCH:
        • EPHESUS WAS AN EXPORT CENTER BY SHIP AND BY LAND ROUTES.
          • THEREFORE IT WAS A BUSINESS AND CULTURAL CROSSROADS.
        • IT WAS A METROPOLIS OF EASTERN ASIA WITH A POPULATION OF 500,000.
      • THE RELIGIOUS SIGNIFICANCE OF THE CITY OF EPHESUS:
        • THIS CITY WAS A CENTER OF IDOLATRY HAVING ONE OF THE 7 WONDERS OF THE ANCIENT WORLD, THE TEMPLE OF DIANA (ARTEMIS).
          • DIANA (ARTEMIS) WAS THE GODDESS OF THE MOON, NATURE, LIFE, AND FERTILITY. SHE IS DEPICTED AS HAVING MANY BREASTS.
            • READ ACT 19
              • “HAVE YE RECEIVED THE HOLY SPIRIT?” (7)
                • PAUL TAUGHT IN THIS CITY FOR OVER 2 YEARS. (9-10)
                • THERE WERE MANY MIRACLES THAT SO MANY PEOPLE BELIEVED IN CHRIST. (18)
                  • TO INDICATE THEIR NEW LIFE THE CHRISTIANS BURNED THEIR PAGAN BOOKS. (19-20)
              • THE SILVERSMITHS OF THE TEMPLE OF DIANA BECAME UPSET BECAUSE THE CITY-WIDE REPENTANCE WAS DISTURBING THEIR BUSINESS. (24-27)
              • THE RESULT WAS A PERSECUTION OF CHRISTIANS. (28-29)
              • THERE WAS A CALL TO ORDER. (35)
        • EPHESUS WAS ALSO AN IMPORTANT CENTER FOR EMPEROR WORSHIP.
      • THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH IN EPHESUS:
        • THE EPHESUS CHURCH HAD THE BEST OF TEACHING:
          • PAUL, FOUNDED THE CHURCH AND TAUGHT THERE FOR 2 YEARS.
          • TIMOTHY
          • AQUILLA AND PRISCILLA
          • APOLLOS
          • POSSIBLY JOHN HIMSELF
        • TODAY
          • THIS CHURCH NO LONGER EXISTS. IT IS A REMOVED LAMPSTAND WITH NO LIGHT OF CHRIST AND NO KINGDOM INFLUENCE. THE LOCATION IS DESERTED WITH NO CITY THERE.
    • CHRIST REVEALED:
      • CHRIST HOLDS THE SEVEN STARS IN HIS RIGHT HAND = RIGHT HAND IS THE FAVORED POSITION, INDICATING HE NOT ONLY CONTROLS BUT BLESSES THE 7 PASTORS/MESSENGERS (2:1)
      • CHRIST WALKS IN THE MIDST = HE IS IN FELLOWSHIP AND IN CONTROL.
        • CHRIST IS THE HEAD OF THE CHURCH (2:1)
    • THE COMMENDATION:
      • “LABOR” = TOIL AND SWEAT TO THE POINT OF EXHAUSTION.
        • THIS WAS A HARD-WORKING CHURCH FOR THE LORD.
      • “TRIED THEM THAT ARE APOSTLES AND ARE NOT” =
        • THIS CHURCH DISCERNED THE SPIRIT OF MEN AS TO WHETHER THE LEADERS WERE WHO THEY SAID THEY WERE.
      • “HATED NICOLAITANS” = “NIKO” = TO CONQUER. “LAITY” = THE PEOPLE
        • THERE AROSE IN THE EARLY CHURCH A GROUP WHO TRIED TO SEPARATE LAYMEN AND A CLERGY OF HOLY MEN FOR THE PURPOSE OF POWER AND CONTROL.
          • THESE CLERGY CLAIMED TO BE CHRISTIANS BUT LIVED IMMORAL, UNCLEAN LIVES BELIEVING THAT THE BODY AND SPIRIT WERE SEPARATE AND WHAT YOU DID TO THE BODY HAD NO EFFECT ON THE SPIRIT.
            • THIS BELIEF WAS PART OF THE GNOSTIC FALSE DOCTRINE AS PRACTICED BY THE EPICUREANS.
            • READ REV 2:15
              • WHAT STARTED AS “DEEDS” IN EPHESUS BECAME “DOCTRINE” IN PERGAMUM.
              • THE CHURCH IN EPHESUS HATED THIS SEPARATION OF CLERGY AND LAYMEN, BUT THE CHURCH AT PERGAMUM ACCEPTED IT.
              • WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS DOCTRINE?
                • IT DESTROYS THE BIBLICAL CONCEPT OF THE “BODY” OF CHRIST AS A UNIT WITH EACH PERSON USING HIS SPIRITUAL GIFTS TO MINISTER TO OTHERS.
    • THE CORRECTION:
      • “THOU HAST LEFT THY FIRST LOVE” = “LEFT” = TO DROP SOMETHING AND NOT KNOW IT
        • DISCUSSION: WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO LEAVE YOUR FIRST LOVE?
          • READ JOH 14:15
            • LETTING GOD SLIP AS TOP PRIORITY.
              • DISOBEDIENCE SEARS THE HEART AND CREATES A DISTANCE BETWEEN YOU AND GOD.
              • THIS PERSON LOSES THE JOY OF FELLOWSHIP WITH CHRIST.
            • LEGALISM KILLS THE JOY OF THE SPIRIT SO THAT THERE IS NO FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT.
              • THEY HAD TO FIGHT THIS FALSE DOCTRINE SO THEY BECAME HARD HEARTED AND DID NOT KNOW IT.
    • THE COUNSEL:
      • THIS CHURCH IS TOLD TO REPEAT THEIR FIRST WORKS.
        • DISCUSSION: WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO DO YOUR FIRST WORKS OVER AGAIN?
          • REPENT, WITNESS, LOVE OTHERS.
    • THE CHALLENGE AND THE PROMISE:
      • THE TREE OF LIFE
        • IF THESE CHRISTIANS ARE OBEDIENT THERE IS A PROMISE THAT THEY WILL EAT OF THE RESTORED TREE OF ETERNAL LIFE THAT WAS DENIED MAN AT THE FALL OF ADAM AND EVE IN GEN 3. IT IS RESTORED TO MAN IN THE NEW JERUSALEM OF ETERNITY.
          • READ REV 22:2
            • FIG TREE WAS A SYMBOL USED BY THE CULT OF DIANA TO DEPICT ETERNAL LIFE. THE TREE OF LIFE WAS IN DIRECT OPPOSITION TO THE FIG TREE OF DIANA.
    • THE GENERAL CHARACTER OF THIS CHURCH:
      • LEFT THEIR FIRST LOVE
    • THE PROPHETIC SIGNIFICANCE OF THIS CHURCH IN CHURCH HISTORY:
      • THE APOSTOLIC AGE 30 – 100 AD
        • THIS IS THE PERIOD OF TIME WHEN THE APOSTLES PLANTED CHURCHES. THESE CHURCHES CONSISTED OF NEW BABY BELIEVERS JUST GETTING ESTABLISHED ON RIGHT DOCTRINE AND STRUGGLING AGAINST PERSECUTION FROM THE JEWS.
          • THE BOOK OF ACTS TELLS US A LOT ABOUT THIS PERIOD OF CHURCH HISTORY.
    • THE CHURCH IN RELATIONSHIP TO A KINGDOM PARABLE: (MAT 13:3-23 )
      • THE PARABLE OF THE SOWER AND THE SEED
        • THE PARABLE SPEAKS OF PLANTING THE WORD OF GOD AND SEEING IT GROW TO A FULL HARVEST. THE APOSTOLIC CHURCH WAS THE TIME OF PLANTING AND GROWING NEW CHURCHES.
    • THE MESSAGE TO THE INDIVIDUAL CHRISTIAN:
      • HOW TO BE AN OVERCOMER–#1 BE FAITHFUL AND OBEDIENT TO THE WORD OF GOD. CHANGE AND YOU WILL REGAIN YOUR HEART.
  • APPLICATION
    • DISCUSSION: WHAT DOES THE MESSAGE TO THIS CHURCH SAY TO YOU AND YOUR CHURCH?

HOMEWORK
REVELATION 2:8-11
THIS IS A SELF-STUDY. PLEASE DO NOT SEND HOMEWORK ANSWERS TO THE TEACHER FORCORRECTION.

  • APPLICATION OF REV 2:1-7
    • IN WHAT WAY DOES REV 2:1-7 APPLY TO YOUR PERSONAL LIFE AS A PART OF THE CHURCH?
  • PREPARATION FOR REV 2:8-11
    • READ REV 2:8-11
      • READ JOH 8:39-44
        • RELATE REV 2:9b TO JOH 8:39-44 AND DESCRIBE FROM WHERE COMES THE PERSECUTION SUFFERED BY THIS CHURCH.
      • WHAT DOES CHRIST WANT CORRECTED IN THIS CHURCH?
      • WHAT ARE THE PRAISE WORTHY ASPECTS OF THIS CHURCH?
      • WHAT IS THE SECOND DEATH? (11)
  • MEMORY VERSE: REV 2:11
  • THE SEVEN CHURCHES
    REV 2-3

CHURCH
meaning

EPHESUS
“desirable”

SMYRNA
“myrrh=bitter”

PERGAMOS
“bigamy” “polygamy”

THYATIRA
“continual sacrifice”

REFERENCE

REV 2:1-7

REV 2:8-11

REV 2:12-17

REV 2:18-29

HISTORIC PERIOD

APOSTOLIC CHURCH
30 – 100 AD

PERSECUTED CHURCH
100 – 312 AD

INDULGED CHURCH OF
CONSTANTINE
312 – 606 AD

PAGAN CHURCH
THE DARK AGES
606 – 1500 AD

CHRIST REVEALED

WALKS IN THE MIDST IN FELLOWSHIP AND CONTROL
AS HEAD OF THE CHURCH

FIRST AND LAST WAS DEAD AND IS ALIVE,
VICTORIOUS AS THE ETERNAL CHRIST

HAS SHARP 2 EDGED SWORD. JUDGE TO THOSE WHO MARRY THE WORLD WITH THE CHURCH. WORD OF AUTHORITY

SON OF GOD WITH DISCERNING EYES AND BRONZE FEET.
THE JUDGE

COMMENDATION

GOOD WORKS, LABOR, PATIENCE, HATED NICOLAITANS, HAS SOUND DOCTRINE

ENDURE TRIBULATION, POVERTY, AFFLICTION

GOOD WORKS, HELD FAST CHRIST’S NAME AND NOT DENIED THE FAITH

GOOD WORKS, LOVE MINISTRY, FAITH, PATIENCE

CORRECTION

LEFT THEIR FIRST LOVE

NONE

HAS FALSE TEACHERS OF BALAAM AND NICOLAITANS

SUFFERS JEZEBEL TO TEACH IDOLATRY, COMPROMISE UNSOUND DOCTRINE

COUNSEL

REPENT, RECALL FROM WHERE YOU HAVE FALLEN. REPEAT FIRST WORKS OR LOSE THE LAMPSTAND

FEAR NOT AND BE FAITHFUL

REPENT OR CHRIST COMES TO FIGHT AGAINST YOU

HOLD FAST WHAT YOU HAVE UNTIL CHRIST COMES OR BE CAST INTO GREAT TRIBULATION

CHALLENGE

I WILL GIVE TO EAT OF THE TREE OF LIFE

SHALL NOT BE HURT OF THE SECOND DEATH

WILL BE GIVEN HIDDEN MANNA AND A WHITE STONE

GIVE MILLENNIAL LEADERSHIP AND CHRIST, THE MORNING STAR
CHARACTER

LEFT FIRST LOVE

THE POOR RICH CHURCH

WORLDLY
COMPROMISE

TOLERATED EVIL

KINGDOM PARABLE

PARABLE OF THE SOWER MAT 13:3-23

PARABLE OF THE WHEAT AND TARES MAT 13:24-30

PARABLE OF THE MUSTARD SEED MAT 13:31-32

PARABLE OF THE LEAVEN MAT 13:33

SATAN HERE

SYNAGOGUE REV 2:9

THRONE REV 2:13

DOCTRINE REV 2:24

 

CHURCH
meaning

SARDIS
“escaping ones”

PHILADELPHIA
“brotherly love”

LAODICEA
“judgment of people”

REFERENCE

REV 3:1-6

REV 3:7-13

REV 3:14-22

HISTORICAL PERIOD

THE DEAD CHURCH
1500 – 1750 AD

THE CHURCH CHRIST LOVED
1750 – 1950 AD

LUKEWARM CHURCH
1925 – RAPTURE

CHRIST REVEALED

HE HAS THE 7 SPIRITS OF GOD AND 7 STARS

HE IS HOLY & TRUE. HE HAS THE KEY OF DAVID TO OPEN & SHUT. HOLY AND ACTIVE

AMEN, FAITHFUL AND TRUE WITNESS, BEGINNING OF CREATION. TRUTH AND CREATOR

COMMENDATION

WORKS AND A NAME THAT CHRIST IS ALIVE

WORKS, MISSIONS, LITTLE STRENGTH, KEPT THE WORD AND NOT DENIED CHRIST

NONE

CORRECTION

CHURCH IS DEAD AND WORKS NOT COMPLETE

NONE

LUKEWARM, WRETCHED, MISERABLE, POOR, BLIND, NAKED

COUNSEL

WATCH. STRENGTHEN WHAT REMAINS. HOLD FAST, REPENT OR CHRIST COMES AS A THIEF

HOLD FAST WHAT YOU HAVE

BUY GOLD TRIED BY FIRE, WHITE RAIMENT, ANOINT EYES, BE ZEALOUS AND REPENT

CHALLENGE

BE CLOTHED IN WHITE RAIMENT. NAME NOT BLOTTED OUT OF THE BOOK OF LIFE

PILLAR, WRITE NAME OF GOD, WRITE A NEW NAME, KEPT FROM TRIBULATION

GRANT TO SIT WITH CHRIST IN HIS THRONE

CHARACTER

DEAD

LOVED

RICH POOR CHURCH

KINGDOM PARABLE

PARABLE OF TREASURE IN FIELD MAT 13:44 WEDDING GARMENT
MAT 22:11-14

PARABLE OF THE PEARL OF GREAT PRICE
MAT 13:45-46
TEN VIRGINS
MAT 25:1-13

PARABLE OF THE NET
MAT 13:47-51

SATAN HERE

SYNAGOGUE
REV 3:9

 

 

 

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About Joyce

Joyce
I came to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ in 1963 giving my heart to Jesus in a Billy Graham crusade in Los Angeles, CA. I have been teaching the Word of God since 1964, Usually two to three adult classes a week.

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