This letter closes with an exhortation, and then a
promise.In the first three letters to
the churches, the exhortation to hear, precedes the
promise.In the last four letters, the
exhortation follows the promise.
In every case the promise is the reward, however
the exhortation of the person to hear is the key to obtaining the promise. If you do not hear, then you do not make the
necessary changes in your life, and therefore you do not receive the promise.
These seven letters are addressed to Christians,
not to non-Christians.Therefore
salvation is not in view in any of these promises. That has already been accomplished when each
person believed in Christ.
The exhortation stated here, ‘he who has an ear,’
is an expression which emphasizes the responsibility of the individual
Christian to heed Gods Word in scripture.
God has issued you a mandate in this verse, to
heed, to listen, to hear, to learn, to understand, and to grow up as a
result.If you are not interested in
doctrine, then you are in violation of this mandate. If you do not pursue your daily study, then
you are in violation of this mandate.
What was the complaint against the Ephesians? That they lost their first what? Love, ‘agapao.’ And what is that? It is the content of the scriptures. ‘Agapao,’ is the detailed content of the
scriptures. It is the system of principles, mandates, precepts, rules and so
forth, of Bible doctrine.
So, you as a Christian, have an obligation to learn
truth.You should want to learn
truth.It should not be forced on
you.And if your interest is not in
truth, then you interest is in other than truth, namely lies. For that is all that is
left, when truth is rejected.
Let the Christian, hear what the ‘Spirit says to
the Churches.’This did not say what
Christ said to the Churches.This did
not say what Christ said to the Spirit.
It said, what the Spirit says.
Your spiritual life functions only when you are in
fellowship.In order to get into fellowship
you must confess your sins to God the Father.
You are to do this on a regular basis in order to remain in fellowship
as much as possible.The study of
confession and fellowship is more detailed in the 1 John study.
When in fellowship, the Holy Spirit has control
over your soul.When out of fellowship,
your sin nature has control over your soul.
When in fellowship, all communication from God,
through doctrine, is transmitted into your human spirit, and into your soul, by
means of the Holy Spirit.Therefore, all
doctrine is taught by the Holy Spirit.
He is the primary communicator of truth.
Therefore, you are to listen to the Spirit, which means
to be in fellowship so that the ministry of the Holy Spirit will function
properly for your spiritual life. You do not have any unusual feelings or
sensations, for you cannot sense or detect anything of a spiritual nature from
this temporal world. Those who say they
have Spirit ecstatic moments are frauds.
The word for Churches is plural and therefore, is a
message to all Christians.
To overcome, ‘nikao,’
means to conquer, prevail, to accomplish a long hard fought victory. This is a sequential or chronological accomplishment
and not a momentary single event, but a series.
Therefore, the Ephesians were to return to their
former ways (Bible study), to want to learn, to listen, to hear, to understand,
and therefore to advance to spiritual maturity. That advancement to maturity,
is the victory, the accomplishment, the overcoming of the world in favor of ones spiritual life.
It is the overcoming of all hardships, over all obstacles, all
oppositions, overcoming of even your own mental lapses from time to time, in
favor of your advancement to spiritual maturity.
And if the Christian (you), will actually generate
from within yourself some motivation, some interest, some passionate desire to
learn doctrine, and then actually learn it, and stick with your spiritual life,
for all of your life, then there is a reward.
And that reward, is the granting of access to and
eating from, the Tree of Life, which resides in heaven.
There are two Paradise’s mentioned in the scriptures,
the one which was in the underworld (Hades) and the one here mentioned, which
is in heaven.
As for the Tree of Life, it is mentioned here and
in Genesis.The Tree in Genesis was in
the Garden of Eden, and was placed opposite to the Tree of the knowledge of
good and evil, which set the stage for Adam and Eve’s initial sin.
We are not returning to the Garden, and all
believers will be in heaven.And since
this access is a privilege granted to those who ‘overcome’, and not to those
who do not overcome, then it therefore represents a blessing that is above and beyond
the basic blessings that are available to all believers. All believers go to heaven and all believers
have a basic blessing package of some sort, but this is over and above.
On a Biblical scale, anything that is greater, is
always grater on an infinite scale, therefore this blessing is phenomenal, even
though it is only given to us without express details as to what it actually
Paradise of God is a place in heaven. Paradise is usually a
reference to a garden or a special place set apart from all other places. And this is a place indicated as a place set
apart and available to mature believers (those who overcome), only.
Therefore, for those who are interested, these
things will become a part of their eternal life. For those who are not interested, then they
will lose out on this special extra blessing.
This concludes the first letter, the first warning,
and the first promise of something phenomenal for those who have a genuine
desire for succeeding in their spiritual life.
Who will heed the call? You, perhaps? Or will you ignore it?