Just as a reminder, and for those who have recently joined our study, we saw a Picture in chapter 1 of Revelation, where Jesus Christ, in His glorified body, was standing in the midst of seven candlesticks (churches), with seven stars (representing angels) in His right hand, and a sharp twoedged sword (which is the Word of God) proceeded out of His mouth.
Pamphlet 1834 Rev. kc 3-1
There are only two churches Christ finds no fault with.
Christ then turned to each church and began addressing them, noting their doctrines and giving to them His instructions. He uses His servant John, the disciple whom Jesus loved, who was taken to the day of the Lord, i.e. the first day of the Millennium, to record His words to the churches which are present THEN, i.e. now in the 2000's, not in 96 A.D.
Keep in mind that these are church "types", and although some will resemble certain denominations, it is not our intent to identify specific religions and/or organizations. Christianity is a personal relationship between Jesus Christ and each one of us. In effect, we are really testing ourselves to see if what we believe aligns with the Word of God.
Our Lord speaks:
Make no mistake about it. The message to the church of Ephesus is directly from Jesus Christ. The "picture" is refreshed in our minds and we now understand the symbology.Rev. 2:1
Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith He that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks;
Jesus Christ knows all of our works and our labours and our patience (of the lack thereof) . I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars:
These good folks obviously have some degree of common sense. They can spot a "phony" preacher on the street corner or on TV, and after listening awhile (trying them) they find them to be liars, con artists! We need more people to be able to do that, i.e. to try these phonies and realize they are liars, and that they are not sent from God.
They are steadfast in their labors. They are faithful churchgoers and tithers and never grow weary. And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name's sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted.
This is not good! Whenever one has Jesus Christ, the King of kings and Lord of lords, against them they have a big problem. This is not to be taken lightly. Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.
What is a Christian's first love? It is Jesus Christ, the Savior, the living Word of God. How is it then that they leave Him? By becoming involved in "church" and following the teachings of the church, the traditions of men, that make void the Word of God, which is Christ. They are wasting their time. Christ said so Himself!
Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.
Editor's note: I could name a few denominations that fit this discription!
However, Jesus provides the solution to the problem:
They better leave "Churchianity", i.e. quit playing church, and start studying and following the will of God, else HE will come quickly and remove their candlestick, by declaring it a non-Christian church, a Beth-Aven, which is Hebrew for "House of Vanity".Rev. 2:5 Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.
Some people have a real hard time understanding how there will be Christians that do all these wonderful works and yet don't make it into the kingdom of heaven!
Jesus addressed this issue.
Well meaning people can be running around calling themselves Christians, saying "Praise the Lord this" and, "Praise the Lord that" and still not enter into the kingdom of heaven.Again, one must do the will of our Father.Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
What exactly is His will? His "will" is His "testament", both the Old and the New. If one doesn't do His will they are simply "kidding" themselves by calling themselves Christian! James 1:22 reads: "But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves."
So Jesus says, when talking about the same time period where John is now, i.e. the day of the Lord:
Look at all the wonderful things this church has done. They have prophesied in the name of Christ, cast out demons, sent missionaries to various parts of the world, raised money at benefits or by playing Bingo to buy food for the homeless, etc, etc.Matthew 7:22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
Though they profess Christ, too often well meaning Christians turn their will and their lives over to the care of their "church", and their church actually becomes their "means to salvation". This is especially true when their church thinks that only they are God's "elect", a term they interpret wrongly to mean "elite". Then just "belonging" to this church gets them into the kingdom. Here's what Jesus will say to them:
Christ never knew them because they never knew Him. If one doesn't know the Written Word of God then one doesn't know the Living Word of God, for they are one. And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
Christ now continues to give His message to the church of Ephesus.
At least they also hate licentiousness and lustful, perverted practices (which would not make them politically correct). Although there is not much history on the Nicolaitanes, Smith's Bible dictionary gives us a brief outline of this sect of heretics whose doctrines originated with Balaam. They worshipped idols, did not believe in creation, and held their women in common.Rev 2:6 But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitanes, which I also hate.
It is amazing how many church goers today do not believe in creation, but believe evolution took place in one form or another.
Jesus Christ has one more thing to say to all of us, not just to the church of Ephesus:
"He that hath an ear, let him hear" are words used exclusively by Jesus Christ on seven separate occasions, to emphasize and call attention to the utterance He has just made. For only through Him can one obtain true understanding, and in this case, to understand what the Spirit is saying unto the churches, it requires "ears to hear". If you don't have them, ask Him. He has a pair waiting for you. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.
We will learn more about the tree of life in the final chapter (22) of Revelation.
What can we conclude about the church of Ephesus. Well, they appear to pretty "main stream" Christians, good hearted, well meaning church goers, who are definitely against sinful, lustful practices. The problem is that they are Biblically illiterate, they have left their first love, and so they don't have the seal of God, His Word, in their foreheads. Consequently, they will worship Satan who appears first claiming to be Christ, i.e. they will believe that he is Jesus Christ Himself. That is not an opinion, for we will document this in the remaining chapters of the Book of Revelation beyond a shadow of doubt.
The truly sad part is, that when one worships Satan, even through ignorance, guess what? They can kiss their candlestick good-bye! Did you "hear" that?
In our next study we will see one of only two churches that Christ has nothing against. Hey, that's one to pay close attention to and become a part of what they teach.
To study the Bible is the noblest of all pursuits;
to understand it, the highest of all goals.
We pray that with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, you accomplish both.
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