Biblical Standards of Christ’s Church: Ephesus

  • Standards and values are expressed in the culture of a community of people

Dominant Church Culture USA AD 2018

  • Personal relationship with Jesus emphasized over relationship with Church
  • You don’t have to join the Church to accept Jesus as your personal Savior
  • Focus on fast growth in numbers instead of slow growth in Grace

Dominant Church Culture AD 100

  • Described themselves as ‘Called Out Ones’
  • Commitment that was even more strident than family
  • Unity of purpose, activity, values, standards and lifestyle

Messages to the 7 churches reveal aspects of what ‘The Church’ should be

  • What is ‘The Church’?
  • Kingdom VS Club & Citizenship VS Membership
  • How Jesus created the Church
  • By who’s authority does the Church Exist?
  • Why the Church is Set Apart or ‘The Called Out Ones’?
  • How does the Church Operate?
  • Who makes up the Church (Membership)
  • What are Standards for ‘Body-Life’?
  • Who sets direction in the Church?
  • How Accountability in The Church works

Revelation 2:1-7

Write this letter to the angel of the church in Ephesus.

  • 2nd to Rome at the time
  • Temple of Artemis (fertility) one of 7 wonders of the Ancient World
  • Paul had spent a lot of time in Ephesus (wrote letters / Scripture from there)
  • John had been there with Mary and wrote this from there
  • Who is the ‘Angel’ of the church?

This is the message from the one who holds the seven stars in his right hand, the one who walks among the seven gold lampstands:

  • Christ affirms this is direct from Him to His Body
  • ‘In their Midst’

I know all the things you do. I have seen your hard work and your patient endurance. I know you don’t tolerate evil people.

  • Your life as a Follower of Christ is done as part of a ‘Body / Community / Family
  • Unity is not an option, it is the only way we glorify Jesus. WE not me ethos

You have examined the claims of those who say they are apostles but are not. You have discovered they are liars.

  • Christ directly says HIS church is to examine those who claim to be His voice
  • And when they are wrong we are to be aware of the falsehood they propagate

You have patiently suffered for me without quitting.

  • Trusting He is working
  • To ‘SHOW UP’ when His church is acting and meeting and worshiping
  • Doing what is right without needing to rewarded
  • Suffering for HIM…important distinction (you could be suffering because of SIN)

But I have this complaint against you. You don’t love me or each other as you did at first! Look how far you have fallen!

  • It’s not OK to settle into a comfortable, complacent ‘Christian Life’…
  • ‘LOOK’ means do a little comparison, some self examination, be honest
  • This is not an original problem for followers of Jesus (slippery slope / danger)
  • But it is not without a CURE…

Turn back to me and do the works you did at first. If you don’t repent, I will come and remove your lampstand from its place among the churches.

  • Repentance has two critical parts: Sorrow AND doing different things
  • Their are consequences for ‘Consistently Unrepentant Sin’
  • Refusal to do what Christ says means you are not His church (lampstand gone)
  • Could be like Sampson…

But this is in your favor: You hate the evil deeds of the Nicolaitans, just as I do.

  • These are the people who hedonistically abused Grace
  • Started by one of the original Deacons of the Jerusalem church
  • Ritual Orgies that they claimed to be the true meaning of the ‘Love Feast’
  • They claimed to be following Jesus saying obedience to Scripture didn’t matter

Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches.

  • What gives us ‘Ears to Hear’? God’s indwelling Holy Spirit (facilitates it)
  • But we all can choose to listen to what we hear
  • We also have to strive to understand what we are listening to (intentionality)

To everyone who is victorious I will give fruit from the tree of life in the paradise of God.

  • What constitutes being ‘Victorious’?
  • It means being with God as His child for all eternity (heaven)
  • But if someone can be victorious then also some will not be (Hell)
  • Biblical Salvation defines ‘Victorious’

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith, and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)

Application Questions:

In what ways do YOU participate in ‘What The Church Does’?

How should The Church act in unity against evil & counterfeit Christianity?

What can suffering and not quitting for Jesus Christ look like for US?

What are symptoms of lesser love for Christ & ‘The Body’ in YOUR life?

How can YOU hear and understand what The Spirit is saying to US?

What role does YOUR life in the body play in eternity?