By Jane Grivjack
Key to the Book of Revelation is found in Revelation 1:19.
19 Write the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place after this.
**The things you have seen-Jesus as revealed in His glorified state in chapter 1
**The things which are-the state of the seven churches as seen through the eyes of the one who walks in the midst of the seven lampstands and holds the seven stars in His right hand
**The things which will take place after this-the prophetic picture of what will take happen in human history just prior to Christ’s return
Beginning this week and for the next six weeks, we will be exploring the things which are portion of the Book of Revelation-Christ’s instruction to the seven churches.
The format for these studies will be interactive…that means that you will have a part to play in exploring and gleaning the wisdom and instruction of these letters. We will be using the time- tested method of observation, interpretation and application. As we have seen in our Psalms study, your input and personal experiences enrich the text and bring the truths alive as we see them lived out in everyday life.
Before we get into the letter to the church of Ephesus, let’s read the first chapter, which will give us a clear picture of the risen Christ and His authority over all things, and most especially the Church, both then and now.
Read through Chapter 1
Let’s take a moment to observe two important truths noted in this chapter:
Q: What does Jesus expound on in verse 20?
20 The mystery of the seven stars which 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 which you saw are the seven churches.
Q: What encouragement do we see in verse 3?
3 Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy; and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near.
One other key to observation as you read these letters:
Some things you should look for as you study these letters (also noted in your workbook).
The letters (with some exceptions) follow a general pattern:
**A description of Christ derived from the vision in chapter one.
**A commendation of the church
**A rebuke for spiritual deficiencies
**A correction or remedy for what is wrong
**A promise to overcomers
Christ’s letter to the church of Ephesus
Read Revelation 2:1-7
Observation 1-Verse 1
Q: How does Jesus describe Himself here?
Jesus dwells in the midst of His church (individual and corporate).
I, the Lord, search the heart,
I test the mind,
Even to give every man according to his ways,
According to the fruit of his doings.
20 For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them."
”And surely, I am with you always, to the very end of the age."
Q: Knowing that Jesus is ever present, how should we live our lives so as to please Him?
O Lord, You have searched me and known me.
2 You know my sitting down and my rising up;
You understand my thought afar off.
3 You comprehend my path and my lying down,
And are acquainted with all my ways.
23 Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts:
24 And see if there be any wicked way in me; and lead me in the way everlasting.
Observation 2-Verse 2a
Q: What does Jesus know about us?
1 Cor 3:9
9 For we are God's fellow workers; you are God's field, God's building.
1 Cor 3:12-14
12 If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13 his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man's work.
Jesus knows all about us…He has the authority to scrutinize our works and determine the authenticity.
Observation 3-Verse 2b-3 & 6
Q: What did Jesus commend them for?
Hating evil and clinging to what is good.
Rooting out false apostles.
Persevering with patient endurance.
1 Thess 5:21-22
21 Test everything. Hold on to the good. 22 Avoid every kind of evil.
1 John 4:1-2
4 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
Acts 20:25-31 (Paul’s exhortation to the leaders at Ephesus)
25 "And indeed, now I know that you all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, will see my face no more. 26 Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men. 27 For I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God. 28 Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. 29 For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. 30 Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves. 31 Therefore watch; and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears.
Jesus wants us to test all things, hate evil, cling to what is good and remain strong to the end!!
Q: How can we remain watchful for wolves?
2 Peter 3:17-18
You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked; 18 but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Q: Is knowing correct doctrine important? (Doctrine noted 31 times in the
2 Tim 3:16-17
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
1 Tim 4:13-16
Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. 14 Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you by prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the eldership. 15 Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all. 16 Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you.
2 Tim 4:2-5
Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; 4 and they will turn their ears away from the truth and be turned aside to fables. 5 But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.
Observation 4-Verse 4
Q: What does Jesus rebuke them for?
Jesus wants our love for Him to be first in fervor and priority!!
Fervor-passion, intensity, earnestness
Some of you may be wondering how it is that Jesus would require by command that we love Him first. “Isn’t love controlled by my emotions? Then how can I control or change what I feel?”, you might say.
A.W. Tozer explains-There are two kinds of love: the love of feeling and the love of willing. The one lies in (your) emotions, the other in (your) will. Over the (emotions) we may have little control. (The feeling) comes and goes, rises and falls, flares up and disappears as it chooses. (The love that Christ) is speaking of is not the love of feeling; it is the love of the willing, the willed tendency of the heart. It is the will, not the feelings that will determine moral direction.
37 Jesus said to him, "'You shall (will) love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.' 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: 'You shall (will) love your neighbor as yourself.' 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets."
Q: How can we determine if we have left our first love?
What are some of the outward signs that indicate a willful choice to distance yourself from Christ?
**Out of fellowship with likeminded followers of Christ
24 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, 25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.
**Irregular or absent devotional time with Jesus
10 If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love.
**Focus and desire for worldly things present and increasing
13 "No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon."
4 Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. 5 Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain, "The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously"?
1 John 2:15-17
15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world — the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life — is not of the Father but is of the world.
**Disobedience, unconfessed sin, unforgiveness
1 John 1:8-10
8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
1 John 2:4-5
4 He who says, "I know Him," and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5 But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him.
1 John 2:9-11
9 He who says he is in the light, and hates his brother, is in darkness until now. 10 He who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him.
Observation 5-Verse 5:
Q: What does Jesus give as the remedy to get back on track?
metanoeo (met-an-o-eh'-o); from NT:3326 and NT:3539; to think differently or afterwards, i.e. reconsider (morally, feel compunction):
17 "But when he came to himself, he said, 'How many of my father's hired servants have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! 18 I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, "Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you, 19 and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants."'
Observation 6-Verse 5b:
Q: What is the warning Jesus gives for ignoring His discipline?
His light, which is reflected by the church to the world will be removed. The church or the individual will become darkened.
2 Cor 4:6
6 For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe. 8 He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. 9 That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world.
Observation 7-Verse 7
Q: What does Jesus say is in store for those who hear and head His discipline?
5 And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons:
"My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord,
Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him;
6 For whom the Lord loves He chastens,
And scourges every son whom He receives."
12 "And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work. 13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last."
14 Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city. 15 But outside are dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie.