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Bible verses about Church at Ephesus
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Matthew 16:18

Upon establishing His church, Christ affirms that it would not die out, but continue until His return. This means a body of true believers has continued from Pentecost AD 31 until today. Revelation 2-3 is written in such a way that any Christian in any century could examine it and conclude he had some characteristics of each era, just as we can today.

As described in Revelation 2:1-7, the record of the Ephesian church closely resembles what happened to the apostolic church. Research done in the early days of the Worldwide Church of God also showed a close parallel between Smyrna, Pergamos, and Thyatira and the sketchy history of true believers until the modern age. This information indicates a possible succession of eras.

Staff
The Seven Churches: Eras?


 

Acts 20:28

The Bible names the body of believers "the church of God" in twelve specific passages, yet literally tens of thousands of religions today claim to be connected with the true God but have names bearing little similarity to what God names His church in the Bible. Because "church of God" is generic, the Bible adds "at Ephesus," "at Corinth," or at other locations to define which part of the church is meant in a specific context. Paul adds "living" in I Timothy 3:15, showing that God allows some leeway in expressing the church's name, utilizing more of God's specific names and attributes as part of the identification.

Staff
Biblical Symbolism: Symbols of the Church


 

Hebrews 2:2-3

The author provides a penetrating insight into the attitude of the Ephesus era of God's people. This epistle was written somewhere around the mid-60s AD, some thirty years before the book of Revelation. We can assume from the book of Revelation that spiritual conditions did not improve—in fact, that things gradually became worse. Rather than the people recapturing what they had been devoted to before (in response to the exhortation of the apostle Paul, which appears now as the book of Hebrews), they continued to drift apart.

John W. Ritenbaugh
How to Know We Love Christ


 

Revelation 2:1-7

After identifying Himself to the Ephesians, Jesus begins His letter by informing the church that He knew their works, both collectively and individually (Revelation 2:2-3). He knew their attitudes, thoughts, desires, goals - everything about them! He knew their hearts better than they did, just as He knows ours today.

He tells them He was aware of everything they had gone through - how they had endured much persecution, suffering, and agony because of apostasy and intolerance. He knew of their fortitude in standing for the truth and what a labor it was to persevere, though they never gave in to weariness.

He then mentions how they had rejected false leaders and their subversions. They would not listen to those who tried to pervert the truth and change doctrine, and they stood fast in opposing them once they found such to be liars. He knew how hard they tried to keep the laws and principles of the truth the true apostles had taught them.

In this description, as well as from the history of the first-century church from the book of Acts and the epistles of the apostles, we see a church that had fallen apart despite the strenuous efforts of some members to hang on to the truth. It was a church that had let something vital slip out of its grasp amidst the mounting trials and persecutions of the times.

Christ brings to their attention that they had lost their first love, the ardent desire to please God (verse 4). Their focus had shifted from where it should have been to the problems and the events happening around them. The strife generated by angry words, bad attitudes, friends and family leaving their fellowship, and teachings being changed took its toll on everyone. The byproducts that such turmoil produced were mistrust and suspicion.

As Matthew 24:12 says prophetically, "And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold."

Humanly, we might think that God would consider the Ephesians' efforts to hang on to the truth against the apostasy as sufficient, but it is obvious that He does not. For our eternal good, He expects more of us. However, He does not leave us without guidance about how to recapture what we have lost.

Why is first love so important to God? First love is the purest kind of spiritual love we as humans can demonstrate. It is a love that truly shows one's heart is completely given to God. What does first love produce? Paul answers in II Thessalonians 1:3:

We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is fitting, because your faith grows exceedingly, and the love of every one of you all abounds toward each other.

He also writes in Hebrews 6:10,

For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister.

True love of God always promotes love of the brethren and love toward fellow man.

John O. Reid (1930-2016)
Recapture Your First Love!


 

 




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