The Church at Ephesus: Revelation 2:1-7

Revelation 2:1-7

Letter to the Church in Ephesus


In Chapter 1, we see the exalted Jesus. In Chapter 2–3 we see the church. Jesus is perfect and glorified and good, and the church is a work in progress. It’s made up of people who some love God; some don’t. Some love him a little bit; some love him a lot. Some are very faithful; some are very unfaithful. Some claim to love him; some don’t at all. Some are struggling; need encouragement. Some are sinning; need rebuke. Some have a complete misunderstanding of Jesus and need instruction. And some are disobedient and they need correction.[1]


A major league theme of Revelation is worship!


The church at Ephesus will worship in it’s response to Jesus instruction.


How will you and I respond as Jesus speaks and leads us individually and corporately?


1. Jesus maintains the spiritual vitality of the church and is present with his church 2:1


The presence of the Lord Jesus is affirmed by the Lord Jesus in John 14 when speaking about the work of the Holy Spirit (John 14:15-20).

A. Encouragement

B. Conviction of sin

C. Clear direction

D. Wisdom / Discernment


2. Jesus knows the good work done by his church 2:2, 3, 6

A. Perseverance

B. Cannot bear evil

C. Tested teaching and uncovered false teachers

1. Nicolaitans:(Gk. Nikolaïtēs) A party or sect present in the churches of Ephesus and Pergamum (Rev. 2:6, 15).

Little is known about this group aside from the biblical references. Some scholars suggest that the Nicolaitans and the followers of Balaam (v. 14) were one and the same, a theory based largely on the similar etymology “to conquer the people” ascribed to both names (Gk. niká laón, Heb. bāla˓ ˓ām); the LXX, however, never uses Gk. nikáō to translate Heb. bāla˓ Others speculate that the Nicolaitans were followers of Nicolaus (Nikolaos) of Antioch, one of the seven original elders (Acts 6:5), but again there is no evidence other than a similarity of names (cf. Irenaeus Adv. haer. i.26.3; iii:11.1), 1).

The Nicolaitans may have practiced idolatry (especially eating meat offered to idols) and immorality (Tertullian Adv. Marc. i.29; De praesc. her. 33; De pubic. 19; ClementofAlexandria Strom. ii:20; iii:24), like other sects mentioned by name such as the followers of Balaam (Rev. 2:14) and Jezebel (vv. 20–24). Accordingly, some scholars have sought to establish a connection between this sect and the later Gnostics (cf. Hippolytus Ref. vii:36; Eusebius (HE iii:29).[2]






It refers to the development of a priestly caste (clergy) in the church that throws aside the common believers. While there must be pastoral leadership in the church, there must not be a distinct “clergy” and “laity” in which the former lords it over the latter.[3]


3. Jesus knows the faults of his church 2:4, 5

A. Left their first love

1. Some argue they have left their first love of Jesus

2. Some argue they have left their first love of people assuming Jesus’ love is in tact

3. Yes!

a. Commands 1-4 = love God

b. Commands 5-10 = love neighbor

Jesus said the most important law is “Love God (1-4) and the second is like it; love your neighbor as yourself (5-10)” (Parenthesis mine).


Their problem was that they were not loving God by not properly loving the image of God in man by seeking to build / repair the image of God in each other.


What did this look like?

1. Lack of church discipline

2. Allow “lesser” sin to remain because, well, it’s not that bad

3. Correcting some and not correcting others

4. Perhaps the leaders were in sin and were not corrected (immoral leadership)


4. Jesus offers sustained vitality to the church that repents 2:7

Mark Driscoll, Mark Driscoll Sermon Archive 2000-2004 (Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 2000).

Adv. Adversus omnes haereses

haer. Adversus omnes haereses

Adv. Adversus Marcionem

Marc. Adversus Marcionem

Ref. Refutatio omnium haeresium (Philosophoumena)

HE Historia ecclesiastica

Allen C. Myers, The Eerdmans Bible Dictionary (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1987), 762-63.

Warren W. Wiersbe, Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines on the New Testament (Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books, 1997), 802.

Revelation 5b-20: Worship the King

Revelation 1:5b-20

Worship the King


1. The Worship of Jesus for his Great Salvation 5b-6

Note the movement of worship in these verses. There is revelation of the grace of God in salvation in three movements (A-C) then there is the response of those who Jesus is revealed to.


This informs worship services: Revelation leading to Response!


Definition of worship: Worship is communion with God, in which believers by grace, center their mind’s attention and their heart’s affection on the Lord, humbly glorifying God, in response to the revelation of his glory and majesty.


A. Jesus has redeemed us from slavery to sin


B. Jesus has redeemed us through his blood (sacrifice on the cross)


C. Jesus has made us a Kingdom and Priests

1. The church is a Kingdom among kingdoms

2. The church has direct access to it’s great God


D. Jesus has glory and dominion ascribed to him from his thankful subjects

1. Glory – significance, weight, status

2. Dominion – present and significant force (kratos)


2. God Brings Himself Great Global Glory 7

Jesus is not just revealed to the church. Jesus will reveal himself to the whole world and every eye will see that He is King.


Matthew 24:30 says that when the nations see him they will mourn. The reason will be that they have not believed and they will know then that they have failed to honor this awesome king.


A. Jesus is revealed to Jews v. 7a


B. Jesus is revealed to Gentiles v. 7b


3. Jesus is the Awesome, Resurrected King: The Church’s Senior Pastor 8-20

A. Jesus is eternal and reveals himself to his people v. 8-11

1. Jesus is the beginning of history and also the goal of history v. 8


2. Jesus speaks and reveals himself to his servants as they worship in Spirit v. 9-11


B. Jesus the Resurrected Priest / King v. 12-16

1. Son of Man who receives universal dominion from the Ancient of Days

(Dan 7:1-14)

2. He is dressed like a Priest / King


3. His white hair speaks of his eternal reign (Daniel 7:9)


4. His eyes see all and they judge what they see (Daniel 10:6; Hebrews 4:12; Rev 19:12)


5. His voice is mighty and heard as an overpowering roar


6. He holds the hosts of heaven in his hand and they serve his will (Hebrews 1:14)




C. Jesus Comforts v. 17-18

1. Jesus has been raised

2. Jesus owns death and hell and we do not have to fear either one


D. Jesus Shepherds v. 13, 19-20

1. Jesus stands among his churches and rules them and the mission well


Trinitarian Blessing for the Church: Revelation 4b-8

Revelation 4b-8


1. Blessing From Our Triune God 4b-5a

The blessing is Trinitarian, though, like much in Revelation, it has a complex background.


The Father

The first element of it reflects the name of God revealed to Moses (Ex. 3:14), but as interpreted by contemporary Jews. The Jerusalem Targum on Dt. 32:29 expanded ‘I am who I am’ as ‘I am he who is, and who was, and I am he who will be,’ thereby setting forth God as the Lord of all time. Our text modifies that significantly: God is not only Lord of the ages, it is of his nature that he is to come and achieve his purpose. This he does, and will do, through Jesus (the hint of the coming of the Lord at the end of the age is unmistakable). [1]


The Holy Spirit

In this context the seven spirits before his throne must denote the Holy Spirit; there is a reminiscence here of Zc. 4:6, 10 (cf. Rev. 5:6) and of the Holy Spirit as the Spirit of the seven churches and therefore of the whole church (cf. Rev. 2:7 etc.).[2]

The Holy Spirit is one person (3:6, 13 etc. for all the churches; Eph 4:4) but he also appears as “seven spirits” (3:1; 4:5), representing perfection, and as “seven torches of fire” (4:5) and “seven eyes” (5:6) to express his omnipresence and omniscience.


The Son

The description of Jesus in v 5 is peculiarly apt for the believers to whom the book was first directed.

The Son as witness

Jesus was the supreme Witness for God, and he died on account of his witness (cf. Mk. 14:62–63; 1 Tim. 6:13, and note that the Greek term for witness has come into English as ‘martyr’);


The Son as Firstborn

The firstborn from the dead indicates that by his resurrection Jesus assumed the first place in the kingdom of God (firstborn = heir) and opened it for all humanity;


The Son as Ruler

Ruler of the kings of the earth points to his supremacy over the hostile rulers of this world, whose opposition cannot prevent the victory of his kingdom.[3]


Why does this matter?


1 John 1:3 says, “That which we have seen and heard we proclaim to , so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed out fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.”


Our fellowship is predicated on fellowship with the entire Trinity.


We enjoy fellowship with each person of the Trinity: with the Father (1 John 1:3), with the Son (1 Corinthians 1:9), and with the Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 13:14).


This is possible because each person of the Trinity communicates with us in a way that corresponds to his unique role in creation, providence and salvation.


John Owen wrote in “Communion with God”, “…the Father communicates himself to us by the way of original authority, the Son from a purchased treasury, and the Spirit by an immediate efficacy.”


In other words, each person of the Trinity communicates with us distinctly in the sense that we may discern from which person particular realizations of the grace of God come to us. Yet, particular fellowship with each person of the Trinity is always one facet of ongoing communion with all three.


What are the implications of this Trinitarian blessing?


1. Humility

2. Love

3. Worship

4. Community

5. Unified Diversity

6. Submission

7. Joy


2. Our Salvation from Our Triune God 5b-6a


3. Our Worship of Our Triune God 6b, c


4. Our Great Win through Our Great God 7


5. Our Comfort from Our Great God8

D. A. Carson, New Bible Commentary : 21st Century Edition, 4th ed. (Leicester, England; Downers Grove, Ill., USA: Inter-Varsity Press, 1994), Re 1:1–8.

cf. compare

cf. compare

D. A. Carson, New Bible Commentary : 21st Century Edition, 4th ed. (Leicester, England; Downers Grove, Ill., USA: Inter-Varsity Press, 1994), Re 1:1–8.

cf. compare

D. A. Carson, New Bible Commentary : 21st Century Edition, 4th ed. (Leicester, England; Downers Grove, Ill., USA: Inter-Varsity Press, 1994), Re 1:1–8.


Revelation 1:1-4a

Revelation 1:1-4a







Creation of the heavens and earth (chaps. 1–2)




Creation of the new heavens and earth (chaps. 21–22)


The first Adam reigning on earth (1:26)




The Last Adam reigning in glory (21:5)


Night and seas created (1:5, 10)




No more night; no more sea (21:1, 25)


A bride brought to Adam (2:18–25)




The Bride prepared for Christ (19:7ff)


A tree of life in Eden (2:9; 3:22)




A tree of life in the new creation (22:2)


Death and a curse (3:14, 17–19)




No more curse; no more death or tears (22:3)


Conflict between Christ and Satan (3:15)




Satan’s final doom (20:10)


Man driven from God’s face (3:23; 4:16)




Men see His face in glory (22:4)


Believers looking for a city (Heb. 11:13–16)




The holy city presented in glory (21:10)


“Where is the Lamb?” (22:7)




The Lamb reigns (22:3)


Satan utters the first lie (3:1)




Nothing that makes a lie enters the city (21:27)


Revelation, then, outlines God’s program for human history. What began ages ago in the first creation will ultimately be completed in the new creation. This is the “book with a blessing” (1:3, and see the six other “blessings” in 14:13; 16:15; 19:9; 20:6; 22:7, 14). It shows us that “history is His story”—that human affairs are in the hands of our victorious Christ. As we study this book, we should be encouraged, inspired to serve, and enabled to live clean lives, that we might be ready when He returns.[1]



1. The revealing of Jesus is for his servants to see him and what he is doing v. 1, 2

In this book, the Holy Spirit pulls back the curtain and gives us the privilege of seeing the glorified Christ in heaven and the fulfillment of His sovereign purposes in the world.[2]


A. The revelation of Jesus and his purposes builds faith in the church

When Daniel finished writing his prophecy, he was instructed to “shut up the words, and seal the book” (Dan. 12:4); but John was given opposite instructions: “Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book” (Rev. 22:10). Why? Since Calvary, the Resurrection, and the coming of the Holy Spirit, God has ushered in the “last days” (Heb. 1:1–2) and is fulfilling His hidden purposes in this world. “The time is at hand” (Rev. 1:3; 22:10).[3]

1. Our trust of the Lord’s way of doing time and events increases

a. Anxiety over Jesus’ handling of your personal life should melt away


This is an open book for all of Jesus’ people to see him as he is.


2. Our view of Jesus and our communication of Jesus must be the totality of

who he is

a. When we talk about Jesus, particularly in a culture saturated with

his name and not much truth about him, we must seek to show him

as he is not how he is

1. Jesus is man/God

2. Jesus is not feminine

3. Jesus is not weak

4. Jesus is not pacifist not does he default to war

5. Jesus is not a Republican

6. Jesus is not a Democrat

7. Jesus is the reigning King of all there is and has never

dropped the reigns as God and King


B. The revelation of Jesus and his purposes gives conviction to the churches actions

By conviction I mean that extra measure of tenacity that one displays when they know confidently the outcome of a struggle.


C. The revelation of Jesus and his purposes is so that we can know him better


Ultimately, Revelation is all about Jesus and the church’s need of and devotion to him.


“John’s prophecy is primarily the revelation of Jesus Christ, not the revelation of future events. You must not divorce the Person from the prophecy, for without the Person there could be no fulfillment of the prophecy. “He is not incidental to its action,” wrote Dr. Merrill Tenney. “He is its chief Subject.”


In Revelation 1–3, Christ is seen as the exalted Priest-King ministering to the churches.


In Revelation 4–5, He is seen in heaven as the glorified Lamb of God, reigning on the throne.


In Revelation 6–18, Christ is the Judge of all the earth; and in Revelation 19, He returns to earth as the conquering King of kings.


The book closes with the heavenly Bridegroom ushering His bride, the church, into the glorious heavenly city. Whatever you do as you study this book, get to know your Savior better.”[4]



2. Readers, hearers and doers are blessed v. 3

“The blessing of v. 3 is the first of seven contained in the book (see 14:13; 16:15; 19:9 (this passage gives some insight into the intended nature of prophetic revelation, and it is the person of Jesus Christ); 20:6; 22:7, 14). It declares the ‘happiness’ of one who reads the Revelation to a congregation and of those who both hear it and take its message to heart. (The Hebrew behind blessed has the sense of ‘Oh the happiness of!’)”[5]

A. Read Revelation over and over as we study it together

B. Study the words, sentences, paragraphs and entire context of the book

C. Be present to walk in the “cloud” of corporate worship as we unfold the book’s

contents through the spiritual dynamic of preaching

D. Be in community to discuss this. Our wrestling and learning is not meant to be done

in isolation, but in the dynamic of community


3. This is a letter to the church v. 4a

This letter has profound purpose for the church and that purpose is found in the person and work of Jesus as our Prophet, Priest, King, Friend and Brother.

A. Jesus addresses his church personally via a letter

B. There is fellowship found in the living words of a personal letter from our King

C. There is instruction that will not fail in a letter from our King


Warren W. Wiersbe, Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines on the New Testament (Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books, 1997), 793-94.

Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary (Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books, 1996), Re 1:1.

Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary (Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books, 1996), Re 1:1.

Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary (Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books, 1996), Re 1:1.

D. A. Carson, New Bible Commentary : 21st Century Edition, 4th ed. (Leicester, England; Downers Grove, Ill., USA: Inter-Varsity Press, 1994), Re 1:1–8.