The Lord Jesus Christ speaks to this church in the midst of crass materialism, degraded animalism, base paganism, and dark heathenism. Note this carefully, because I consider this message to be one of the most important of all.

Unto the angel of the church of Ephesues write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks. (Revelation 2:1)

Notice that He holds in His hand the church. It is under His control. He doesn’t have that control now, but He did then. “He walketh” literally means that He is walking up and down. I believe that He is still walking up and down in our day and that He is still judging the church. He has seven words of commendation for this church:

I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars: And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name’s sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted. (Revelation 2:2, 3)

1. “I know thy works.” We need to understand that He is speaking to believers. The Lord Jesus does not ask the lost world for good works. For example, “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost” (Titus 3:5). In Romans 4:5 Paul says, “But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.” Christ is talking to His own. After you are saved, He wants to talk to you about good works. He has a lot to say about this subject. In Ephesians 2:8-10 we read, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” Paul could write to Titus, “They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate” (Titus 1:16). Someone has said, “The Christian ought to be like a good watch—all gold, open-faced, well-regulated, dependable, and filled with good works.” The Lord Jesus is saying to the church in Ephesus, as Paul had said, “…be filled with the [Holy] Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18). And Paul went on to tell them what they could do as Spirit-filled believers. And now the Lord Jesus commends them for their good works.

2. “I know…thy labour.” What is the difference between work and labor? The word labor carries a meaning of weariness. In the gospel record it says that Jesus became wearied with His journey. That was the weariness which Ephesian believers experienced. They suffered weariness in their labor for Him.

3. “I know…thy patience.” Patience is a fruit of the Holy Spirit.

4. “How thou canst not bear them which are evil.” They would not endure evil men.

5. “Thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars.” They tested everyone who came to Ephesus claiming to be an apostle. They would ask them if they had seen the resurrected Christ, and they soon found out whether or not they were really apostles. If they were not, they asked them to leave town. The Lord Jesus commended them for testing men, and I feel this is more needed today than it was even then.

6. “Hast borne…for my name’s sake hast laboured.” For His name’s sake they were bearing the Cross. They preached Christ. They believed in the virgin birth of Christ; they believed in His deity; they believed in His sacrificial death and resurrection. And they paid a price for their belief.