Ephesus: The Jealousy of Jesus
WELCOME TO THE CHURCH AT EPHESUS:
If you were arriving in Ephesus today, there is only one sight that would catch your eyes. Not the bustling harbor teeing with boats, not the roads lined with the exotic spices and goods from the east. No it would be the lustrous golden gleam of the Temple of Diana. The largest building ever built in the ancient world, the size of a city block, 10 stories high and covered with gold . . .
POINT #1: CHRIST WAS SHINING IN HIS CHURCH AT EPHESUS:
Jesus addresses each Assembly
2:1a To the angel of the church of Ephesus write,
Powerful Founding: They were heirs to the greatest days of Paul's earthly ministry, and the longest. Acts 19:11 describes extraordinary miraculous events. Verse 19 reports amazing conversions and life transformations.
Godly Nurturing: Paul sent Timothy who stayed until church history records a mob killed him for his strong preaching against sin. John the Apostle lived there until his exile in Patmos and then returned to continue in ministry in Ephesus.
Tremendous History: Mary the mother of our Lord lived and died there and John the apostle gives this city an honor no other knew—the church at Ephesus was the only church that had 2 apostles write them inspired letters. A generation from its founding, the Ephesians were mature. Two generations from Pentecost, the church at Ephesus had some of the richest history.
POINT #2: EPHESUS WAS AN ASSEMBLY THAT PLEASED GOD
Jesus addresses each with Authority
2:1b "These things says He who holds the seven stars in His right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands:
The City was famous for its beauty:
The Seventh Wonder of the World was at Ephesus: The Temple. The temple of Artemis itself had been rebuilt after a great fire in 356 BC, and ranked as one of the seven wonders of the world until its destruction by the Goths in ad 263. After years of patient search J. T. Wood in 1870 uncovered its remains in the marsh at the foot of Mt. Ayasoluk. It had been the largest building in the Greek world. The Temple of Diana was four times the size of the Parthenon in Athens. It was 425 feet long, 225 feet wide, with a forest of about 130, 30,000 pound, 60 foot high columns, all being gifts from kings of the ancient world. Each column around the altar to Artemis (Diana/Romans), had life-size figures all covered with pure gold.
The City was famous for its religion:
It contained an image of the goddess which, it was claimed, had fallen from heaven (cf. Acts 19:35). Indeed, it may well have been a meteorite originally. Silver coins from many places show the validity of the claim that the goddess of Ephesus was revered all over the world (Acts 19:27). They bear the inscription Diana Ephesia (cf. Acts 19:34).
The City was famous for its position:
Ephesus was second among the cities of the Empire. Only Rome exceeded her in wealth and power. The church in Ephesus is addressed first of the seven (Rev. 2:1-7), as being the most important church in the de facto capital, and as being the landing-place for a messenger from Patmos and standing at the head of a circular road joining the seven cities in order.
POINT #3: JESUS APPROVED THEIR PURITY IN THE MIDST OF A WICKED CULTURE: WELCOME TO SIN CITY
Jesus addresses each with an Approval
2:2-3, 6 “I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars; 3 “and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary. 6 “But this you have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.
The magnificent palace to gross immorality - temple of Diana.
There was in Ephesus: STRONG IMMORALITY
All day long in the confines of this glittering structure, thousands of prostitutes, male and female, gave themselves in the sordid worship of the pagan fertility deities. At dusk, they would go into the city to earn a living in the bustling atmosphere of travelers from both land and sea. Do you see why Paul had said to them 40 years earlier --
THEY HAD REPENTED OF THEIR PAST Ephesians 2:3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.
THEY SAW THEIR CALLING 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
THEY LEARNED THE SPIRITUAL SECRET OF PUTTING OFF AND PUTTING ON 4:22 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts
CHRIST DEEPLY PENETRATED THEIR LIVES 5:3-5 But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; 4 Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks. 5 For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.
THEY RENOUNCED ALL TOUCH WITH THEIR OLD WAYS 5:12 For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret. (KJV)
They had resisted STRONG EVIL INFLUENCE:
Because this Temple was the most revered site in the ancient world to literally millions of worshipers, a custom had arisen that anyone was free within a 200-yard security zone. Thus, criminals came from far and wide to find a haven. And, their presence only permeated the city with evil.
THEY WERE COMMITTED TO TRUTH Ephesians 4:25-32 Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbor: for we are members one of another.
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