Wednesday, September 24, 2014

S.S.S. Study Letters to the Churches Lesson 1

S.S.S. Study The 7 Churches of Revelation
Family School at Faith Baptist Church
Week 2: The church at Ephesus

Visitors Guide: The town of Ephesus at the time of the apostles was a center of trade, politics, art, worship, and more. This town was strategically very important, and was home to the temple of Diana a false goddess. The temple was one of the wonders of the world and was arrayed. In much gold silver and jewels. Ephesus was the home of John, Apollos, and Timothy, and was a place that the apostle Paul had great success for three years during his third missionary journey. Paul left Timothy in charge of this church.

What they did right: Revelation 2:1-3
Works, labour, patience, cannot bear evil, tried false apostles and found them liars, have not fainted
This church is commended for hard work, patience, hating evil, and for rooting out false teachers. Today we will examine three of these.
Hard work- there are some churches who today still put forth hard work in the ministry, Unfortunately much of the work done in a church today is completed by a small minority of very diligent workers within the church while the rest watch.
Hating evil- very few churches today make a solid stance against sin, a very small number stand against sins they deem worse than others, and fewer still have a Godly hatred for sin. Remember this letter is not simply  to a pastor or church leader, but to the whole church! As individual members, do our churches still hate sin? Or just as much work is done by a small minority, is the hatred of sin also only held by a small group within? 
Malachi 2:17, Proverbs 17:15.
Calling out false teachers- Today this practice is politically incorrect even in church, what does the bible say? 1st Timothy 1:19-20, 1st Timothy 5:20, 1st Corinthians 5:11-13. If the bible is written for the use of every child of God, than every child of God, every born again believer is commanded to watch, be sober, try the spirits, walk uprightly, etc. Why? So that we do not fall into a snare, or allow our brethren to fall as well.

What they did wrong: vs 4
Left thy first love, 
Left, not lost, this wasn't an accident. It is easier to be busy working for God, than it is to be fellowshiping with God. Why? Because to work for God and do good does not necessarily require you to BE good. Whereas to fellowship with God we must be repentant, humble, lowly, clean, loving, etc
Unchecked this behavior of working for God without fellowshiping with God will lead to the problems of the Pharisees and Sadducees who knew the motions of the law, but not the heart of God. Matthew 23:27-28, James 2:18 our faith should produce works, our works should not produce our sense of faith. Remember Ephesians 2:8-9, doing works is good, but having faith is first.

How to fix the problem: vs 5
Repent! Biblically, to repent is not just to ask forgiveness, it is to be grieved in heart due to sin and to alter your behavior as to never sin again. 
Thy first works, what did you do when you first fell in love with Jesus Christ, when you got saved?

Final note: vs 6-7
God hates sin. Jesus Christ commends this church for their hatred of the sins of a specific group, as unpopular in mainstream "christianity" as it is, sin is something to be hated, not condoned or ignored. 
In conclusion: we ought to be busy about the work of God, we ought to hate sin, be patient, call out false teachers, and more, but we must be careful to keep fellowshiping with God not just working for Him.
Homework: Compare the church at Ephesus to your life, read the description of Christ in Revelation 1 and read Revelation chapters 2 and 3.

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