Christ begins with a commendation to the Ephesians
for their spiritual efforts.And
although these statements are general in nature and apply to the Church on the
whole, keep in mind that there are always exceptions, and furthermore, once we
have completed the letters to all seven churches, we will see that on the
whole, the Church has failed in its obedience to Christ. Those who do succeed will be few in number.
This study of the seven churches is detailed and boring,
as certainly some will seem to think.
Too many want to jump right in to the Armageddon campaign, or the
144,000, or the Ezekiel war as they call it, or some
other aspect that is more action packed and interesting.
But remember one thing, there is only one reason
why all of these future events are going to occur, and that is because people
are not interested in what the Bible teaches, but only in what they want to
read.They are selective in their topics
of discussion and therefore are un-teachable.
And that leads to a form of apostasy, refusal to learn, which no
believer wants to think that he is a part of, but in fact is.
The Bible is not a cafeteria from which you can
create your own truth, but is a detailed study of life as well as history, from
which you are required to learn.Many
start out right, but somewhere along the way, they get derailed and head down the
path of self appointed expert, and that is where they fall flat on their
This is going to be painted for you by the study of
the seven churches, and it applies not only to the people who lived nearly 2000
years ago, but it applies to you now, and especially it will apply to the last
generation of believers in our dispensation, because it will be they who fail
Christ says, ‘I know,’ ‘eido.’ This is a word for full knowledge. ‘Ginoeskoe’ is
another word for knowing, but it refers to the progression of learning from one
day to the next, from one experience to the next, from one study to the next. But here, Christ possesses complete knowledge
Christ knows and has always known, and has
chronological knowledge as life and history unfolds, and they are all exactly
the same.Christ has known since
eternity past, and He has seen these Ephesians and all believers, fulfill on their own, that which He already knew. There is nothing that He does not know. There
is nothing that can take Christ by surprised.
Likewise, the Bible was given so that you could ‘know.’ However that requires an open mind and a
teachable attitude.And that is
described in the words – works, labor, and patience.
Works, ‘ergon,’ labor, ‘kopos,’ and
patience, ‘hupomone.’ All of these words refer to the inherent
attitude which the Ephesians had possessed at one time.
Works refers to their effort. Labor refers to their continued toil to the
point of exhaustion.Patience refers to
perseverance.And though these all
generally have connotations of physical effort, here, they refer to the
spiritual effort of the Ephesians.
They lived in a difficult time. Rome was anti-christian,
John was in prison, all of the apostles had died, and Christianity was viewed
as an illegal religion.And yet they
continued to evangelize and teach Christ and doctrine, despite all of the
hardships and risks that threatened them every day. Their labor was exhausting because they were
under constant threat of arrest.The anxiety
and fear that they lived under is described here as horrendous.
But they kept on in their faith. They maintained their discernment by examining
that which was taught, in order to decipher truth from lies. That is what ‘put to the test,’ ‘peirazo,’ means.
They kept their wits and did not fall for the false
doctrines that were being promoted.
False doctrines such as, Christ does not exist, Christ will not return,
Christ is a prophet and a man only, Christ has returned, Christ will return on
such and such a date, we are in the Tribulation already, the destruction of
Jerusalem is the prophecy fulfilled, this event or that event is proof of our
prophecy, and so on and so forth.
They did not fall for all of the misread and
misleading and misapplied teachings that were all around them.
They stuck to their studies. They stuck to common sense. They stuck to rational reason. They stuck with legitimately taught doctrine. And they did it with patience, not rushing to
join the popular fad belief because it was interesting or exciting or
Far too many people want to force history to be
what they want it to be, and they do it at the expense of their own objective
study. When you stop listening and learning, then you begin to fail. If you are not prepared in knowledge, then
you are not the instructor.You are the
student.And the student has but one job
only – to listen and learn, and as a result, to grow.