Seven Churches of Asia – Ephesus

ephesus

TITLE: Seven Churches of Asian – Ephesus

SUBJECT: Church

PROPOSITION: In this lesson we will discuss the church at Ephesus.

OBJECTIVE: Each hearer should be more familiar with the church in that city.

AIM: To exhort the church that is sound in doctrine, but weak in their first love to return to those efforts.

INTRODUCTION:

1. Read: Rev.2:1-7

2. About the Text:

1) These are the last words we find in the Bible addressed to the church at Ephesus.

2) What history is behind these words?

3) What can we learn from the life of a church?

4) Let’s examine what we know about the church at Ephesus for a few minutes tonight.

3. Ref. to S, T, P, O, and A.

DISCUSSION:

I.   History

1. The city of Ephesus was Rome’s capital city in the province of Asia.

1) Conquered by Rome in 190 B.C.

2) Much trade.

3) Place of government.

2. City of Ephesus was home to the temple of Diana/Artemis (Acts 19:34).

1) One of the seven wonders of the ancient world.

2) Built about 400 B.C. then rebuilt after a fire a few hundred years later.

3) The statue of the goddess inside of the temple was said to have fallen from the sky.

4) People came from all over the known world to worship at this temple.

5) More visitors than any other ancient edifice.

6) Place of harbor for criminals.

3. Jewish Influence

1) The Jews who lived in Ephesus had a synagogue there.

2) There were some who had settled there due to Roman persecution (Acts 18:2).

3) Among them were Aquila and Priscilla.

II.  The Church

1. Establishment (Acts 18:24-19:7) 56, 57 A.D.?

1) We have the history of the establishment of the church in Ephesus in Acts 18:24ff.

2) Apollos taught mightily in the synagogue there.

3) Aquila and Priscilla taught him the way of the Lord more perfectly.

4) Gained several disciples (12 men).

5) Paul came and they had not received the Holy Spirit.

6) They were all baptized again with Christ’s baptism.

2. Paul worked with the church for two years.

1) Paul taught in the synagogue for three months. (Acts 19:8).

2) He finally had to separate the disciples from the Jews because they would no longer give him an audience. (Acts 19:9).

3) Paul taught in the school of Tyranus there for two years working with the church.

4) God worked special miracles in this city (Acts 19:11).

5) Some of the Jews tried to cast out demons there, but were unsuccessful (Acts 19:13-17).

6) This resulted in the growth of the church (vs.17).

7) Those who practiced the magical arts burned their books as a sign of their repentance (Acts 19:19).

8) Paul’s time with the church ended there partly as the result of an uproar from the silversmith’s trade (Acts 19:23-20:1).

9) The church had elders (Acts 20:17).

10) Paul met with them one last time before his journey to Rome.

11) He prophesied of wolves that would come to take over the flock (Acts 20:29).

3. The epistle to the church.

1) Epistle written 58 A.D?

2) He wrote of their salvation through Christ. (Eph.1:7).

3) Church was made up of several gentiles (Eph.2:13-22).

4) Exhorted to unity (Eph.4:1-5).

5) Given instruction for Christian living (Eph.4, 5).

6) Instructed regarding the relationship of Christ to the church (Eph.5:21ff).

7) Exhorted to take up the whole armor of God (Eph.6:10-18).

8) They were well prepared to face the oncoming threat from within.

III. Jesus’ Message to the Church (Revelation 2:1-8).

1. The good things about Ephesus.

1) Jesus knew their works, labour, and patience (vs.2, 4).

2) Jesus knew their opposition to evil and false apostles (vs.3).

3) They hated the deeds of the Nicolaitanes, which Jesus also hated (vs.6).

2. The bad things about Ephesus.

1) Left their first love (vs.4).

2) They were to repent and do the first works (vs.5).

IV.  Lessons from the church at Ephesus

1. Wicked cities are good places to plant churches—they need the gospel the most.

2. The establishment of a church does not depend just upon one man.

1) Aquila and Priscilla.

2) Apollos

3) Paul

4) All had a hand in starting the church at Ephesus.

3. The church can grow even in the midst of opposition.

1) Jews opposed.

2) Gentiles opposed.

3) The church at Ephesus knew controversy.

4. The church needs godly elders to function.

5. The church needs spiritual instruction to maintain unity and growth.

6. It is good to oppose false teaching and we must do this.

7. We must not, however, lose sight of the fundamentals of the faith—the first works.

CONCLUSION:

1. Consider this church of Asia.

1) Born out of ungodliness, tribulation, and incomplete instruction.

2) Grew despite opposition of both Jews and Gentiles.

3) Exhorted by the Holy Spirit to unity based upon truth.

4) Challenged by Jesus to be completely and perfectly pure.

2. Invitation

1) If you are a Christian….

a. Have you left your first love?

b. Come back today.

2) If you are not a Christian this morning . . .

a. Perhaps you are living a life similar to the many who were in Ephesus.

b. You need the gospel to be saved.

a) Hear the word; Romans 10:17 “Faith comes by hearing . . .”

b) Believe with all your heart; Hebrews 11:6 “For without faith it is impossible . . . .”

c) Repent of your sins (Acts 17:30).

d) Confess Jesus as the Son of God (Matt.16:16).

e) Be Baptized for the remission of your sins (Mark 16:15,16).