This broadcaster has 239 podcast archives available on-demand.
Keep up-to-date with this broadcaster on social media and their website.
August 24, 2021 6:20 am
Dr. Cheryl Davis and thank you for listening to truth matters. Last week we did chapter 1 where we ended with the vision of the son of man that John saw chapter 1 verses nine through 19 Johnny vision of the son of man, very different servant Jesus.
The gospel as you probably learned by now in our study of chapter that Jesus is coming back is a rainy, not like the suffering servant. Today we would like to get into chapters 2 and three, which is the letters to the seven churches of Asia minor, but overall, chapters 2 and three really represent the church age. On the day of Pentecost the church age began, and currently we are living right now in the church age. The rapture will usher in the end of the church age and in the tribulation will begin but like I said in chapter 1 chapter 1 was what John Saul, but chapters 2 and three are about the things which are the things which are are the messages to the seven churches of Asia minor that they are applicable to the church in the present age as well. But before examining these letters. There are three different perspectives upon which these letters are, and we must keep in mind as we read in said first perspective, I would like to talk about is that we must understand them and their primary Association. If we look at the seven letters we must understand them and their primary Association.
These are real letters written to seven literal churches of Asia minor. At the end of the first century A.D. each messages tailored to the needs of the church to which it is addressed. So therefore I think each letter must be read in its own context.
Secondly, these letters must be understood in their personal application so just imagine the head of the church the Lord coming by your church. My church or any of the local churches that are in our communities sending messages via a profit and we all get to read each other's letters, as well as our own. What would the letter to your church read like in case she cannot answer whenever we went through this at my church. Actually, my preacher was preaching a sermon titled pray for the sins of the church problems faced by modern churches could be solved by reading the recommendations of the Lord to the seven churches of Asia minor. We actually have that advantage today but are we taking advantage of the word of God and the revelation within the word of God that we can apply to our situations today and the last concept I would like to talk about as far as the seven letters to churches within Asia minor is that they must be understood in their prophetic anticipation, many conservative Bible students believe the seven churches in the order that they are addressed by Christ, have become to be a prophetic picture of the chronological development of the universal church spiritually.
If you go for the first church of Ephesus, which existed in apostolic days to the last church Laodicea Laodicea. This will be the dominant church prior to Christ's return and at the end of chapters 2 and three. I would like to get into that, but let's start off with the first church. Let's begin reading Revelation chapter 2 verses one through eight 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 patients 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 namesake 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 new Galatians, 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 just to cover a little history about Ephesus. I would title Ephesus as the church without love for the loveless church. Ephesus was the most prominent city in Roman Asia minor was a religious and commercial center for that part of the world. It was cosmopolitan and cultured filled with the rich and the poor alike. It was home to one of the seven wonders of the world. The Temple of Diana, which conceded that time 24,000 people.
If you watch the wonder woman. The first wonder woman movie you will see this type of culture. Paul established the church in Ephesus on his second missionary journey the book of Ephesians is the letter to this church in that city. Paul had a status had established Timothy as a pastor.
The church to letters Paul wrote to Timothy was while he was pastor at Ephesus was likely that John the apostle became the head of the church following Timothy's ministry was while John was living in Ephesus. He was taken captive and exiled to Patmos but like I said earlier, one of the seven wonders of the world was the Temple of Diana, and there is commerce that was centered around the sale of statues of Diana when Powell converted people to Christianity. Obviously there statue sales went down.
This is what incited a riot against Paul in acts 1924 through 40 and you can read that as when people were converted to Christianity. It disrupted commerce and when you disrupt the flow of money, then you have an issue as we begin to digest these letters were going to take them on, piece by piece.
If you look at the first letter in verses one through seven. The destination of this letter is Ephesus, the church at Ephesus and Artie talked about what a commercial center was a very cosmopolitan culture. Each letter has a description of Christ, and in particular the description of Christ is this these things says he who holds the seven stars in his right who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands, and really what this means is I think no matter what the church's problem is in his authoritative right hand is the power to meet your needs will each time there's a destination of the letter.
This is description of Christ. There's also a diagnosis of the church and Christ gives the diagnosis and we know there are five positives for this church and one -7 verse two, he says I know your works, your labor, your patients that you cannot bear those things who are evil and you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars. So the first diagnosis is that Ephesus was a dynamic church. They were busy they were working.
They were a dynamic congregation doing the work of the Lord. We tend to err on the side of grace rather than works because we don't want to devalue grace, but I want to say prior to salvation works are not important, but after salvation works are very important. We are saved by grace, to then do the work of Christ after salvation. Our works are evident of our salvation as we know, a faith without works is dead. In acts 1910, Paul is at Ephesus, saying, and this continued for two years so that all who dwell in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks, so this is evidence of the work and the dynamic nature of the church at Ephesus. They were also the first diagnosis is that they were dynamic church, but also they were a dedicated church because notice in verse two. The diagnosis says I know your works and your labor works versus labor unit what what is the difference whatever you talk about works. Yes, those are deeds, but when you talk about labor.
Labor means to the point of exhaustion. The Ephesians were paying a price to serve the Lord. They were exhausted from their labor. Some of us, and church get exhausted at avoiding work rather than working. I don't if you've ever heard the statement but really it's true, some of us get exhausted at avoiding work rather than working.
Sometimes it's more work to avoid work rather than just doing it, but I want to talk about really the America and retirement.
You know, we have a phenomenon of retirement at age 65 or recess. Entertain ourselves, but really, at the age of 65 he saved enough money to support yourself. So now that you can do the things that you want to do and really for the Christian. That should be for the expansion and the betterment of the kingdom of God. But often times we look at it as a form of self entertainment in our latter years. There are too few people in the church today willing to work to the point of exhaustion for God. We were our mouths to exhaustion, but not her hands. I'd like to read second Samuel 2424 then the king said to not know I will surely buy it from you for price nor will I offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God with that which cost me nothing, said David bought the threshing floor and the oxen for 50 shekels of silver really working for God should cost us.
We are paying a price but really we would rather rely on paid staff these days to do the work of God rather than volunteering our time to the church so Ephesus was a dynamic church. It was a dedicated church but it was also a determined church patients is mentioned twice in verse two and verse three concerning their service and regarding their suffering patients that endures the keeps moving forward. Acts 19 mentions their fierce opposition, they encountered they were hated, despised, but they were patient in their afflictions. Ephesus was also a discipline church. In verse two it says it could not bear those who are evil. Ephesus would not tolerate evil in the midst and practice church discipline whenever necessary. They were patient when it came to service and suffering, but not to tolerance when it came to sinning.
Church discipline is a loss practice in most Christian churches today. The third of lawsuits. If churches do anything to remember which even hints of discipline that many pastors are afraid to raise issues of sin.
If we cannot use the word of God to better and sanctify and highlight issues with sin and how are we going to move and progress along into sanctification and how are we gonna have power that the Holy Spirit intends for us to have. I like to read acts five verse 29 but Peter and the other apostles answered and said we out to obey God rather than man.
God will not bless churches which tolerate sin in their midst. It is for us to obey God rather than man. Lastly, the church at Ephesus was a discerning church. It fought hard to remain pure and doctrine. In verses six of chapter 2, they would not allow the new collations in their church and they would discern what was genuine and what was not externally they were to be commended. They really had five positives. They were a dynamic church, a dedicated church. They were determined disciplined and discerning externally. It really looked like they had it going on, but often times the outward appearance is not inwardly what we are. This is where the negative comes in a Jesus has eyes like flames of fire and the fiery eyes of King Jesus went beneath the surface and found an area in which they were lacking in verse four he says nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love.
If you can recall back to the day that you are saved and how you felt and that excitement and really if I would describe it I would describe it as just a load off you know whenever we get entangled and bound in sin. Our sin is a burden when that burden is lifted and we are free. There's a feeling that you will never forget. There's an excitement. There's a joy and because of all that there is an devotion that a new believer, experiences when their first born again and in this case I think the honeymoon was over and they were allowing Christianity to become a religion and not a relationship and we can do that these days we can focus on what we need to do or not do, and really not focus on our relationship with Christ.
This was their problem because they were not loving Jesus or they had walked away from their first love is likely they were not loving each other either, but will see in each letter that Jesus doesn't give a diagnosis without a remedy. He is the God of the remedy. He will call out our problems in love and he has done this in these letters but he will also offer a remedy and that comes in and demands that are made on the church he can offer us reconciliation.
He can offer us a remedy on but that will be the offering for our sin in verse five he says remember therefore from where you have fallen. Remember meditating on what your relationship with Christ was like when you first got saved from where you have fallen was the point that you fell off track. Most likely the point where you become miserable anything and if anyone ever sees or are around Christians that is him that are miserable. You'll see that there bound in many ways, which is leading to the misery, said he selling them.
Remember from where you have fallen.
He goes on to say, repent and do the first works repent and do the first works that means changing your mind and turning to go in the opposite direction.
You must get back from which you left.
I think everyone who has had a genuine experience with God and a right relationship with God will remember the condition of the point of the situation surrounding when they departed. He also says, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place unless you he says to repent and do the first works doing again the faithful steps of discipleship feelings follow actions you can't wait until you feel yourself into do something because the feelings will follow the action you have to be committed to follow Christ in the feeling will follow where the body goes, the heart will follow. But he says if you don't remember if you don't if you don't really and I will completely remove your lampstand from its place. Thank you for joining us for today's edition of Cheryl Davis