Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Revelations- The Start of the Church at Ephesus

Jesus, His Outline for the Church, Your Outline for the Church


REVELATION 2 “To the angel of the church of Ephesus write,
‘These things says He who holds the seven stars in His right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands: “I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars; and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary. Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent. But this you have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.
“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.”

As I was continuing the read through the letters of the seven churches Jesus addressed in Revelation I felt to return and give a little insight to the churches in these places so here are a few notes on the history of the Church at Ephesus:


Acts 18: 19 Then they arrived in Ephesus, and [Paul] left the others there; but he himself entered the synagogue and discoursed and argued with the Jews. 20 When they asked him to remain for a longer time, he would not consent; 21 But when he was leaving them he said, I will return to you if God is willing, and he set sail from Ephesus.

When Paul first came to Ephesus to establish a church he first argued and discoursed with the Jews. At the time, Paul was still trying to reach the Jews.  At this point, these Jews historically had the choice to either become some of those who would follow Christ as their Messiah or run Paul out of town as some people of other places did.  It was not so at Ephesus. In the above passage, after arguing and discoursing, it says they asked him to remain even longer.  He would not but promised to come back, God willing.  This is the role of an apostle.  He establishes Christ work and others build upon it.  He moves around starting and lighting fires and others carry the responsibility of carrying on which is why Jesus must have spoken directly to them through John’s prophetic letter warning them to return to their first love.

When they moved on to Syria in their apostolic journey, they met a man named Apollos who had come to Ephesus.  He was spreading the news of Christ but was lacking full knowledge of the gospel.  Recognizing this person with great zeal and fire was useful to continue spreading the good news they taught him the gospel with greater detail and understanding.  Apollos continued to travel and spread the good news.  The fire in you is effective in setting others on fire. It’s an important part of the spread of salvation to the world. When your fire dies, it no longer spreads.  That’s why Jesus told Ephesus not to lose their first love… among other reasons.

Paul returned to Ephesus and found more believers.  It was one of the places where the evidence of tongues accompanying Holy Spirit baptism was recorded in the bible.  It was in Ephesus that Paul asked believers if they had received the Holy Spirit. They had been baptized in John’s name. Paul corrected them on baptism telling them to be baptized in Jesus name and then the Holy Spirit fell.  As the Spirit fell, with no instruction from man, the same tongues that fell at Pentecost fell on these believers.  Here two experiences are clearly demonstrated: 1) Receiving Christ 2) Receiving the falling of the Holy Spirit with tongues. That is the Holy Spirit baptism in your life and isn’t the same as water baptism or the Seal of the Holy Spirit on your life at salvation. It’s a 2nd Christian experience. (Acts 19:9)

Paul ended up staying in Ephesus two years because the gospel was spreading like wild fire. It was a very effective missionary journey.  It was there that the power of God was moving so strongly through Paul people would bring handkerchiefs and cloths just to touch him and others would be healed by the touch on the cloths, handkerchiefs and aprons.  Sickness and demons fled by the power flowing through Paul.

Ephesus was also the place where the Jewish exorcists, the seven sons of Sceva were traveling and attempting to cast evil spirits out of people.  They commanded spirits to leave in the name of Jesus who Paul preaches. The spirits didn’t fear and jumped violently on the seven sons of Sceva, tearing their clothes off and wounding them! (Acts 19:16)

One of the spirits even mocked them saying they knew Jesus and they knew Paul but they had no idea who they were!

Acts 19: “
15 But [one] evil spirit retorted, Jesus I know, and Paul I know [b]about, but who are you?

Are you so full of the power of God the demons know your name?  Paul was and these spirits weren’t phased by the 7 sons of Sceva but when the people heard this, (that the demons knew Paul & Jesus, not just Jesus,)  the knowledge and magnification of Christ spread about the city!  It was at Ephesus that the practice of burning things of the occult became a common Christian practice:
Acts 19:17 This became known to all who lived in Ephesus, both Jews and Greeks, and alarm and terror fell upon them all; and the name of the Lord Jesus was extolled and magnified.18 Many also of those who were now believers came making [d]full confession and thoroughly exposing their [former deceptive and evil] practices.19 And many of those who had practiced curious, magical arts collected their books and [throwing them, [e]book after book, on the pile] burned them in the sight of everybody. When they counted the value of them, they found it amounted to 50,000 pieces of silver ([f]about $9,300).20 Thus the Word of the Lord [concerning the [g]attainment through Christ of eternal salvation in the kingdom of God] grew and spread and intensified, prevailing mightily.

It was here, at Ephesus, the gods of man made with hands were confronted with the living God! Many were converted and many became angry. If you aren’t causing a commotion, you probably aren’t spreading the fire of God!

Acts 19:26 Now you notice and hear that not only at Ephesus but almost all over [the province of] Asia this Paul has persuaded and induced people to believe his teaching and has alienated a considerable company of them, saying that gods that are made with human hands are not really gods at all.

Often times, we see those moments in time where we are lit up with the fire of God but as time passes, our fire turns into good works and our passion turns into programs.  The bible says Paul was teaching in one place and hearts started growing hard to he moved to another place. Let’s not bring religion and boredom to the world but the fire, passion, love and power of Christ through the Holy Spirit! Buildings will crumble but the fire of God in the heart of man can continue to burn brightly if we seek him with all of our heart.

It’s time for the body of Christ to turn their programs, duty and good works back into passion for Christ.  If Christ is not our passion, we are simply left with religion which is a list of works we adhere to in order to conform and make ourselves comfortable in our own goodness.  May we be rooted in the fire of God as seen in the Revelation of Jesus Christ that John saw!


Scriptures taken from