Revelation 2:1-7 Correct But Unloving

by | Apr 17, 2023 | New Testament, Revelation

I. History & Setting V. 1a

A. Religious Climate

1. Ephesus had the temple of Diana, one of the seven wonders of the world. It was a temple which served as a place of worship and doubled as a bank. The worship of Diana involved sexual immorality of all sorts.

2. Gaebelein-“Ephesus was a stronghold of Satan. Here many evil things both superstitious and satanic were practiced. Books containing formula for sorcery and other ungodly and forbidden arts were plentiful in that city.”

B. The Church’s Rich History Re. Church Leaders

1. Paul founded the church at Ephesus and pastored there for three years. (Acts 20:31)

2. The church had also been blessed with the ministry of Apollos, and Priscilla and Aquila. Timothy was commissioned by Paul to correct some existing problems and to pastor for a time, and eventually, the Apostle John served there after his time of exile came to an end.

C. Size & Influence

1. Ephesus was a metropolitan city of 250,000+ people and a center for business and culture.

II. Jesus & What He Saw Vs. 1b-3, 6

A. Description Of Jesus

1. V. 1b- Jesus holds the churches & walks among them. He protects, maintains, & visits.

B. Commendations To Them

1. V. 2- Works, labor, patience-(labor unto weariness, persevering endurance)

a. The Ephesians were not just people with good intentions. They were workers.

b. Spurgeon-“There are also working Christians who do not approach to laboring; yet a lifetime of such work as theirs would not exhaust a butterfly. Now, when a man works for Christ, he should work with all his might.”

2. V. 2- False teachers- Paul had warned the church about false teachers that would come.

a. Acts 20:28-30 Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. 29 For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. 30 Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves.

b. These false apostles were not naïve Christians with incorrect doctrine. They were wolves who deliberately taught false doctrine and sought to lead people astray. They were liars and deceivers.

c. I believe the theological I.Q. of Calvary Chapel is high regarding correct theology.

i. Our church has never come under the influence of heretical teachers.

ii. As a church and as a movement, we hold correct theology in high regard.

iii. We are a Bible teaching church, and many of you are students of the Bible.

iv. When it comes to many current controversial topics, many churches find themselves in upheaval, and they are not sure what to think.

v. By God’s grace, we have never corporately fallen into such dilemmas.

3. V. 3- They weren’t doing it to make a name for themselves.

a. They did it for Jesus and for the purposes of the Kingdom of God.

b. They persevered, they were patient, they labored, they didn’t get weary and quit.

4. V. 6- They resisted the Nicolaitans. No authoritative proof of who these people were.

a. The name Nicolaitans means “victory over the people”. They were probably an internal dominating movement that sought to establish itself within the church.

b. Barclay-This is not the enemy from outside openly seeking to destroy the faith. The false teachers claimed, ‘not that they were destroying Christianity, but that they were presenting an improved and modernized version of it’.

C. Criticisms Against Them

1. V. 4- Wuest- But I have [this] against you. Your love [for me], that earliest love, you abandoned.

a. They didn’t lose their first love; they left it. They departed and needed to return.

b. They became staunch defenders of the faith but fell behind in loving God and man.

c. “First” love-protos first in time, place, or rank. The chief, the principal love.

d. Love- affection, desire, willingness. They went backwards in these areas.

e. Nevertheless- (despite all that)- All the good they did didn’t cancel out the bad.

f. John 13:34-35 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another. (See also 1 John 4:20, 21)

g. Spurgeon- “When love dies, orthodox doctrine becomes a corpse, a powerless formalism. Adhesion to the truth sours into bigotry when the sweetness and light of love to Jesus depart.”

2. Steve Gregg- The loss of love is no minor defect, but constitutes a fallen state of the church…

a. 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. 2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.

3. Thoughts on being right versus being loving and right.

a. Being right requires judging everything through a grid of truth. (Bible)

b. That can be done methodically, and from a sense of duty, and have no love attached.

c. Being right w/o love is actually to be wrong, & one’s relationship with Jesus is at risk

d. Being correct but unloving turns us into sin sniffers and fruit inspectors.

D.Warnings & A Promise Vs. 5, 7

1. V. 5-Warning To Ephesus

a. Remember from where you have fallen- Literally, “keep on remembering”.

b. Repent- change your mind about what is most important.

c. Do the first works- acts or deeds done because Jesus was the most important thing.

d. Or else I will remove your lampstand-They would cease from being a God ordained church. Some loveless churches continue meeting and doing things, but Jesus has removed Himself, and they no longer give off light to the world around them.

2. V. 7a- Warning To All Of Us- Jesus used this same phrase in His incarnation.

a. It was for all the churches, and for us today, and for everyone that “has an ear”.

3. V. 7b- What is it that we are supposed to overcome? Cold hearts. (See 1 John 2:15-17)

a. Steve Gregg- continued successful resistance of the world’s corrupt moral and spiritual influence.