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.
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).
B. Conviction of sin
C. Clear direction
D. Wisdom / Discernment
2. Jesus knows the good work done by his church 2:2, 3, 6
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).
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. 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
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
Adv. Adversus omnes haereses
haer. Adversus omnes haereses
Adv. Adversus Marcionem
Marc. Adversus Marcionem
Ref. Refutatio omnium haeresium (Philosophoumena)
HE Historia ecclesiastica