While on the island of Patmos for his refusal to worship the emperor Domitian, John saw visions he recorded for the churches in his day in Asia minor. Today we study the words Jesus gave him to write to the church in Ephesus.
Revelation 1:19-20; 2:1-7
19 Write therefore the things that you have seen, those that are and those that are to take place after this. 20 As for the mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand, and the seven golden lampstands, the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.
1 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. 2 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. 3 I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary.
4 But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. 5 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. 6 Yet this you have: you hate the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. 7 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.’
Notes: Ephesus was an important city with a big trade industry (big sea port), cultural center with the first formal university, a big theater, buzzing with religious tourism. The “angel of the church” could be translated “messenger to the church” or pastor/ elder / leader. The Nicolaitans refers to a sect or group of people within the church who derived their name from their behavior: conquerors (“Nico”) of the common people (“laity”) and is thought of as people within the church who lead by fear and oppression instead of love.
- Note how Jesus reveals Himself to this persecuted congregation (2:1; compare with 1:20).
- How would the fact that he holds the “angels of the seven churches in his right hand” comfort the church? (See revelations 1: 20)
- How would the fact that Jesus “walks among the golden lampstands” comfort this persecuted church?
- Complete the Revelations series table below by answering these questions (2:1-7):
- How does Christ reveal himself to this congregation?
- What does Christ commend in this congregation?
- What does Christ condemn in this congregation?
- What does Christ exhort in this congregation?
- What does Christ promise to this congregation?
- What does Christ warn this congregation?
- Jesus knows this church – their affliction, activities and affections. How would this comfort the persecuted congregation? How does it make you feel that Jesus knows everything about you?
- Would you say they are mature or immature? Why?
- How does (a) your congregation’s and (b) your personal life compare to the activities commended by God in this congregation?
- What does God hate that you also hate? What does God hate which you tolerate?
- How does (a) your congregation’s and (b) your personal affection or passion compare with this congregation?
- What are the “works” you first did when you were born again and your heart was set alight by God? What do you still do, and what do you not do anymore?
Application and Prayer
Talk to your accountability friend about your heart – it’s affections, anxieties and aspirations. Pray together that God aligns your heart with his and restore your joyful passion, as David did.