Sermon text and audio
Subscribe to feed

About This Blog...



Sermon Audio also attached to sermons at:
http://kratz.sermon.net/rss/main

Sermon text also at:
http://www.sermoncentral.com



Archives

Recent Posts


04
The Battle Cry of Love. Revelation 2:1-7.
February 4, 2018

Today is Super Bowl Sunday, and it’s obvious that a lot of people really love this day. Some love the pure competition of football. Others, are Patriots or Eagles fans.  Some paid out as much as $10 000US for a ticket. Some love to tailgate party, others are looking forward to eating their body weight in pizza and chicken wings. Some just watch for the ads. Regardless of all of this, we know however that ultimate love is something very different.

 

Many things are to characterize Christians, but the supreme characteristic of a genuine Christian is love for God. When challenged to name the single greatest commandment of the law, Jesus replied, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the great and foremost commandment” (Matt. 22:37–38). He challenged His disciples to make love for Him the highest priority of their lives: “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me” (Matt. 10:37–38). In John 14:21, 23 He added, “He who has my commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him. … If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him.” True children of God, Jesus declared, will love Him (John 8:42; cf. 1 Pet. 1:8) and be known by Him (1 Cor. 8:3). To discern Peter’s spiritual condition, Jesus asked him three times, “Do you love Me?” (John 21:15–17). Paul defined Christians as those controlled by “the love of Christ” (2 Cor. 5:14). Those who love Jesus Christ are blessed (Eph. 6:24); those who do not are cursed (1 Cor. 16:22). While love for the Lord Jesus Christ will always be present in true Christians, it can fluctuate in its intensity. Christians will not always love Jesus Christ with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength, and to fail to do so is sin. There is no better illustration in Scripture of the seriousness of allowing love for Christ to wane than this letter to the church at Ephesus.

 

(7 CHURCH SLIDE)

 

The seven churches addressed in Revelation chapters 2 and 3 were actual existing churches when John wrote. But while not precisely duplicated, they also represent the types of churches that are generally present throughout the entire church age. Five of the seven churches (Smyrna and Philadelphia being the exceptions) were rebuked for tolerating sin in their midst, not an uncommon occurrence in churches since. The problems in those five churches ranged in severity from waning love at Ephesus to total apostasy at Laodicea. Further, any church in any age could have a mixture of the sins that plagued these five churches.

 

Believers are called to minister in the midst of a war. Not only do they face opposition from Satan and his demonic impact, but within themselves, our own human flesh is subject to fatigue, distraction and at times coldness of heart. To combat these forces both internally and externally that lure us to self-indulgence and coldness of heart, we must hear the “Battle Cry of Love”from Christ in Revelation 2.

 

In Revelation 2:1-7 Christ sees not only our works but our heart. As believers He calls us back to our first love in a Battle Cry of LoveChrist clarifies His expectation for the church as seen in His examination of:

1) The Church (Revelation 2:1), 2) The Commendation (Revelation 2:2–3, 6), 3) The Concern (Revelation 2:4), 4) The Command (Revelation 2:5), and 5) The Counsel (Revelation 2:7).

 

Christ clarifies His expectation for the church as seen in His examination of:

1) The Church (Revelation 2:1)

Revelation 2:1   [2:1]"To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: 'The words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand, who walks among the seven golden lampstands. (ESV)

 

The pastor or messenger of the church was addressed as the angel (angelos). Although, the word’s principal use in the Bible is in reference to heavenly angels (William F. Arndt and F. Wilbur Gingrich, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1957, pp. 7-8), it is also used to refer to human messengers (cf. Matt. 11:10; Mark 1:2; Luke 7:24, 27; 9:52) (Walvoord, J. F., Zuck, R. B., & Dallas Theological Seminary. (1983-). The Bible knowledge commentary : An exposition of the scriptures (Re 2:1). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.).

 

(EPHESUS LOCATION SLIDE)

 

Ephesus lies nearest to Patmos (where John is imprisoned) and is thus made the first in the series. The church in Ephesus may include more than one congregation of this large city. So the "angel/messenger" (angelos) may include the entire eldership although many think of only one pastor, the head pastor or bishop. The true message to the Ephesians church, is true with regard to each of the seven churches in Revelation: Jesus dictates the letters; John takes the dictation and writes as the dictation proceeds(Lenski, R. C. H. (1935). The interpretation of St. John's Revelation (82). Columbus, O.: Lutheran Book Concern.).

 

Please turn to Acts 19 (EPHESUS CITY SLIDE)

 

Ephesuswas the most important city in Asia Minor. It was the primary harbor in the province of Asia.  Ephesus was also strategically located at the junction of four of the most important Roman roads in Asia Minor. The city hosted athletic events, rivaling the Olympic games. But Ephesus was most famous as the center of the worship of the goddess Artemis (Diana)—a point of great civic pride (Acts 19:27, 35). Dramatic and remarkable events accompanied the birth of the Ephesian church. Paul’s ministry profoundly affected not only the city of Ephesus, but also the entire province of Asia (Acts 19:10). Ephesus had a temple built to further the imperial religion of Rome. The city dedicated the temple of the Sebastoi (the family of Vespasian, Titus, and Domitian) in a.d. 89–90, and, as was customary, it appointed temple wardens for the worship of the emperor (S. Friesen, “The Cult of the Roman Emperors in Ephesos: Temple Wardens, City Titles, and the Interpretation of the Revelation of John,” in Ephesos, Metropolis of Asia: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Its Archaeology, Religion, and Culture, ed. H. Koester,).

 

Paul ministered and founded the Church in Ephesus, as Acts 19 records:

Acts 19:11-19   [11]And God was doing extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul, [12]so that even handkerchiefs or aprons that had touched his skin were carried away to the sick, and their diseases left them and the evil spirits came out of them. [13]Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists undertook to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, "I adjure you by the Jesus whom Paul proclaims." [14]Seven sons of a Jewish high priest named Sceva were doing this. [15]But the evil spirit answered them, "Jesus I know, and Paul I recognize, but who are you?" [16]And the man in whom was the evil spirit leaped on them, mastered all of them and overpowered them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded. [17]And this became known to all the residents of Ephesus, both Jews and Greeks. And fear fell upon them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was extolled. [18]Also many of those who were now believers came, confessing and divulging their practices. [19]And a number of those who had practiced magic arts brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. And they counted the value of them and found it came to fifty thousand pieces of silver. (ESV)

  • In some ways, there is not much difference today between Ontario and Ephesus. In how a Christian runs a business, uses land, educates children or publicly expresses opinion, to express an allegiance to Christ will be met with often official sanction and penalty. From the United Nations, to our own province, so called "Human Rights Commissions" continue to threaten and persecute.

 

Though the writer of Revelationis not named, the description makes it obvious who He is. He is identified as him/the One depicted as the glorious Lord of the church in Rev. 1:9–20, the exalted Jesus Christ. Through, the phrase the words of him/One, Christ identifies Himself to each of the first five churches by using phrases from that vision (cf. 2:8 with 1:18; 2:12 with 1:16; 2:18 with 1:14–15; 3:1 with 1:16). That reinforces the truth that He is the author of the letters; they are His direct word, through the apostle John, to those local congregations and to churches like them in years beyond.

 

His interaction with the Churches is defined as one who holds the seven stars. These seven stars referred to the churches (cf. 1:20). The term “holds” speaks of a firm, sure grasp (cf. John 10:28). Nothing and no one could separate these churches from Jesus (cf. Rom. 8:31–39) except their own refusal to repent and follow Him! He is in control since He holds these churches in His right hand. This is an anthropomorphic (speaking of God in physical terms) metaphor for power and authority (cf. 1:16, 17, 20; 2:1; 5:1, 7) (Utley, R. J. D. (2001). Vol. Volume 12: Hope in Hard Times - The Final Curtain: Revelation. Study Guide Commentary Series (33). Marshall, Texas: Bible Lessons International.).

 

Christ further describes Himself as Him/the One who walks among the seven golden lampstands (the seven churches; 1:20)—scrutinizing, examining, assessing, and evaluating them. As its sovereign ruler, He has the authority to address the church.

 

Illustration:

When we truly comprehend Christ in our midst, our lives will be changed. Andrew Murray, in his book, Entire Surrender expressed that sentiment in prayer like this: “May not a single moment of my life be spent outside the light, love, and joy of God’s presence and not a moment without the entire surrender of myself as a vessel for Him to fill full of His Spirit and His love. (Andrew Murray as quoted in Galaxie Software. (2002). 10,000 Sermon Illustrations. Biblical Studies Press.)

 

Christ clarifies His expectation for the church as seen in His declaration of:

2) The Commendation (Revelation 2:2–3, 6)

Revelation 2:2-3   [2]"'I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false. [3]I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name's sake, and you have not grown weary. (ESV)

Revelation 2:6   [6]Yet this you have: you hate the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. (ESV)

 

Oida (know) indicates the Lord’s complete and full knowledge. The Lord of the church knows everything there is to know about the church—both good and bad. Such perfect knowledge is evident in each letter as the Lord condemns and commends the churches. Before rebuking them for their failings, the Lord Jesus Christ commended the Ephesians for what they were doing right. The whole congregation is meant by “your,” because our Lord briefly uses the plural “you” in 2:10, 23–25. The effect is that each listener receives Jesus’ words as directed specifically to him or her (Mueller, W. D. (1996). Revelation. The People's Bible (25). Milwaukee, Wis.: Northwestern Pub. House.).

 

He began by acknowledging their works—a general term summarizing all that follows. Specifically, Christ first commended the Ephesian believers for their toil. Kopos (toil) denotes labor to the point of sweat and exhaustion. It describes an all-out effort, demanding all that a person has to give—physically, mentally, and emotionally. The Ephesians were diligent workers for the cause of Christ. Theirs was no spectator mentality; they did not want merely to be entertained. Nor were they content to eat the fruit of others’ labor, but were willing to plow, plant, and harvest their own crop. In the midst of the pagan darkness that surrounded them, they were aggressively evangelizing the lost, edifying the saints, and caring for those in need.

 

Their patient endurance/perseverance translates hupomonē, which denotes patience in trying circumstances. Hupomonē does not denote a grim, fatalistic resignation, but a courageous acceptance of hardship, suffering, and loss. This commendation indicates that, despite their difficult circumstances, the Ephesian believers remained faithful to their Lord.

 

Another praiseworthy aspect of the Ephesian believers was that they refused to bear with/tolerate those who are evil. They held to a high, holy standard of behavior and were sensitive to sin, undoubtedly following the Lord’s mandate to practice church discipline (Matt. 18:15ff.). Four decades earlier Paul had commanded them not to “give the devil an opportunity” (Eph. 4:27), and they were still reluctant to do so.

  • The mantra of our age is a mistaken understanding of "tolerance". Evil is tolerated, and anything that denounces it is silenced. It is considered "hate speech" to state what God expects of humanity.

 

Please turn to Acts 20

Nor was the Ephesian church lacking in spiritual discernment, since it tested those who call themselves apostles, and are not, and found them to be false. The false "health and wealth gospel" of our day will tell you that God, like some cosmic Santa Clause, is just waiting to fulfill your every desire to give you an easy life. But we must never be lured asleep but test the message that we hear: The Ephesians never forgot the admonition Paul had addressed to their leaders so many years earlier:

Acts 20:28-31   [28]Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood. [29]I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; [30]and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them. [31]Therefore be alert, remembering that for three years I did not cease night or day to admonish everyone with tears. (ESV)

  • There is a real battle going on, and many still fight this battle with their lives. The enemy will lure unsuspecting combatants asleep with false assurances of peace. The cost of failing to be diligent will be chaos, strife and brokenness.

 

Through all the difficulties the Ephesians faced over forty years, through all their hard labor and patient enduring of trials, their refusal to tolerate evil, and their spiritual discernment, verse three says that they were enduring patiently/persevering. They endured, Jesus declared, for the highest of motives: for His name’s sake. And they had done so without having grown weary (cf. Gal. 6:9); they had not yielded to disappointment, ingratitude, or criticism. They remained faithful to the Lord, loyal to His Word and to the work to which He had called them.

 

Jesus adds a final commendation in verse 6 for the Ephesians: Yet this you have: you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. The Nicolaitans, mentioned also in the letter to Pergamum (Rev. 2:12–15), cannot be positively identified. Whatever its origin, Nicolaitanism led people into immorality and wickedness. The letter to Pergamum links it with Balaam’s false teaching (Num. 22) that led Israel astray. The deeds of the Nicolaitans thus involved sensual temptations leading to sexual immorality and eating things sacrificed to idols (2:14) without regard for the offense of such behavior (cf. Rom. 14:1–15:3)—all in the name of Christian liberty.

  • This is the primary way in which people loose their first love, as Christ describes here. They begin to love their own preferences over Christ. They flaunt their liberty until that liberty turns into bondage.

 

Unlike the church at Pergamum, the Ephesian church did not tolerate the Nicolaitans but hated their heretical teachings. For that the Lord Jesus Christ commended them. Hatred was an appropriate attitude and exactly the opposite reaction to the tolerance of the Pergamum church toward the Nicolaitans (2:14–15). The Bible reveals that God hates impurity (Isa. 61:8; Jer. 44:4; Amos 5:21; Zech. 8:17).

 

Quote:Do Not Tolerate False Doctrine (QUOTE SLIDE)

What then should we expect? J.C. Ryle said it like this: “We have no right to expect anything but the pure Gospel of Christ, unmixed and unadulteratedthe same Gospel that was taught by the Apostles—to do good to the souls of men. I believe that to maintain this pure truth in the Church men should be ready to make any sacrifice, to hazard peace, to risk dissension, and run the chance of division. They should no more tolerate false doctrine than they would tolerate sin”. (J. C. Ryle as cited in: Ritzema, E., & Vince, E. (Eds.). (2013). 300 quotations for preachers from the Modern church. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.)

 

Christ clarifies His expectation for the church as seen in His declaration of:

3) The Concern (Revelation 2:4)

Revelation 2:4   [4]But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. (ESV)

 

Despite all the praiseworthy elements in the Ephesian church, the penetrating, omniscient gaze of the Lord Jesus Christ had spotted a fatal flaw. Though they maintained their doctrinal orthodoxy and continued to serve Christ, that service had degenerated into mechanical duty. Though at one time they had love (Eph. 1:15; 3:17–19; 6:23), forty years later the affection of the first generation of believers had cooled. The current generation was maintaining the doctrine handed down to them, but they had abandoned/left the love that they had at first. The love you had at first,” that is, shortly after their conversion. That love could include love for God and Christ, love for each other, and love for the lost. It is love defined as obedience (2 John 6).

  • Look at your own life: do you devour the scripture like you first did at conversion? Do you get together weekly with other believers to discuss the word? Is their an urgency in your prayer or evangelism? If not, you may have grown cold in your love and this word here is for you.

 

Please turn to 2 John

 

The Ephesians had lost the first flush of enthusiasm and excitement in their Christian life and had settled into a cold orthodoxy with more surface strength than depth. The second generation of the church had probably failed to maintain the fervor of the first. They had fulfilled Christ’s prophecy in Matt. 24:12, “The love of many will grow cold.” (Osborne, G. R. (2002). Revelation. Baker exegetical commentary on the New Testament (115). Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Academic.)

 

John warned of this:

2 John 1:1-8   [1:1]The elder to the elect lady and her children, whom I love in truth, and not only I, but also all who know the truth, [2]because of the truth that abides in us and will be with us forever:   [3]Grace, mercy, and peace will be with us, from God the Father and from Jesus Christ the Father's Son, in truth and love.   [4]I rejoiced greatly to find some of your children walking in the truth, just as we were commanded by the Father. [5]And now I ask you, dear lady--not as though I were writing you a new commandment, but the one we have had from the beginning--that we love one another. [6]And this is love, that we walk according to his commandments; this is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, so that you should walk in it. [7]For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not confess the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh. Such a one is the deceiver and the antichrist. [8]Watch yourselves, so that you may not lose what we have worked for, but may win a full reward. (ESV)

  • Defending the truth is not foreign from the practice of love. The Ephesians had sunk to the place where they were carrying out their Christian responsibilities with diminishing love for their Lord and others.

 

The loss of a vital love relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ opened the doors to spiritual apathy, indifference to others, love for the world, compromise with evil, judgment, and, ultimately, the death of the local church altogether. Despite its outwardly robust appearance, a deadly spiritual cancer was growing at the heart of the Ephesian church. Their good deeds were now motivated by duty rather than love(Easley, K. H. (1998). Vol. 12: Revelation. Holman New Testament Commentary; Holman Reference (35). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.).

 

Quote:

How must love be at the center of everything we know and do? Richard McBrien said it like this: “If love is the soul of Christian existence, it must be at the heart of every other Christian virtue. Thus, for example, justice without love is legalism; faith without love is ideology; hope without love is self-centeredness; forgiveness without love is self-abasement; fortitude without love is recklessness; generosity without love is extravagance; care without love is mere duty; fidelity without love is servitude. Every virtue is an expression of love. No virtue is really a virtue unless it is permeated, or informed, by love”. (Richard P. McBrien as cited in Water, M. (2000). The new encyclopedia of Christian quotations (p. 637). Alresford, Hampshire: John Hunt Publishers Ltd.)

 

Christ clarifies His expectation for the church as seen in His declaration of:

4) The Command (Revelation 2:5)

Revelation 2:5   [5]Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent. (ESV)

 

The Great Physician issued a prescription to the Ephesians, and one for the sleepy western Church, which, if followed, will cure spiritual malaise. First, there is the  need to remember (expressed in the present imperative it literally means  “to keep on remembering”) from where they had fallen. It suggests a continuing attitude over against a decisive break. For them to do the works/deeds they did at first means that they must bear in mind the loving relationships you once enjoyed and make a clean break with your present manner of life! The “things [they] did at first” were those that resulted from their initial response of love. The love that Christ requires is not an “undiscriminating amiability,” but an attitude toward the brethren that expresses itself in loving acts.Repentance is an active step. It is a radical redirection of one’s entire life (Mounce, R. H. (1997). The Book of Revelation. The New International Commentary on the New Testament (70). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.).

 

In essence, Christ told them to do three things (2:5): remember the faith they had loved (give their heads to Christ), repent (give their hearts to Christ) and do/repeat their first works (give their hands to Christ) (Willmington, H. L. (1997). Willmington's Bible handbook (794–795). Wheaton, Ill.: Tyndale House Publishers.)

 

Please turn to Mark 4

 

Underscoring the seriousness of the situation, Christ warns the Ephesians to take the necessary steps to recover their first love for Him. He demanded that they change or be chastened: I will come to you remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent. The lampstands generally represent the power of the Spirit, since this is how the lampstand is implicitly identified in Zech. 4:6...John views the “lamps” as the Spirit that burns on the “lampstands” (the churches), thus empowering them for witness (see on 1:4, 12–13). The Ephesians, and the Church is general is to be light-bearers if the call to be a lamp of witness is not exercised, then the lamp will be removed, as with Israel in the OT (see further on 1:6, 12). Israel had also been symbolized by the lampstand emblem (e.g., Zechariah 4), but when successive generations renounced their calling to be a light to the nations (Isa. 42:6–7; 49:6), God removed them as his light-bearing people and transferred the emblem of that call to the church. Therefore, this primary meaning of lampstand is shown in that of witness (Beale, G. K. (1999). The book of Revelation : A commentary on the Greek text (231). Grand Rapids, Mich.; Carlisle, Cumbria: W.B. Eerdmans; Paternoster Press.)

 

Jesus explained it like this:

Mark 4:21-25   [21]And he said to them, "Is a lamp brought in to be put under a basket, or under a bed, and not on a stand? [22]For nothing is hidden except to be made manifest; nor is anything secret except to come to light. [23]If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear." [24]And he said to them, "Pay attention to what you hear: with the measure you use, it will be measured to you, and still more will be added to you. [25]For to the one who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away." (ESV)

  • A “lamp” is to be put on a “lampstand” to shine in order to emphasize the witnessing role of those who truly possess God’s revelation (cf. also Matt. 5:14–16!). Those among God’s people who do not shine their light will have their lamps removed (Mark 4:25; Luke 8:18).

 

The coming to which Christ refers is not His second coming, but His coming to them in local judgment on that church. Failure to heed the warning would cause Him to remove their lampstand (symbolic of the church; Rev. 1:20) out of its place. Although Christ has promised to build his church worldwide (Matt. 16:18), he guarantees permanence to no individual congregation. A loveless church is no longer truly a church, and Christ has the right to extinguish such a congregation (Easley, K. H. (1998). Vol. 12: Revelation. Holman New Testament Commentary; Holman Reference (35). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.).

 

A decade after John wrote the Apocalypse, Ignatius penned a letter to the church at Ephesus in which he praised the local Christians for their patient endurance and their resistance to deceit. He notes that some people from Syria had passed through Ephesus with evil teachings but that the Ephesians had refused to listen. He commends them for being of one mind with the apostles in the power of Jesus Christ. Apparently, the people had taken seriously the words of Jesus (Ignatius Ephesians 3.1; 6.2; 8.1; 9.1; 11.2. Consult Ramsay, Letters to the Seven Churches, p. 241.).

 

Finally, Christ clarifies His expectation for the church as seen in His declaration of:

5) The Counsel (Revelation 2:7)

Revelation 2:7   [7]He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.' (ESV)

 

The letter closes with an exhortation and a promise. Christ’s exhortation He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches closes each of the seven letters (cf. 2:11, 17, 29; 3:6, 13, 22). It emphasizes the sober responsibility believers have to heed God’s voice in Scripture. The use of the plural noun churches signifies the universal nature of this invitation each time that it appears. This call cannot be limited just to a group of overcomers in a single church; it must apply to all churches. Every church needs to hear every message.

 

Please turn to 1 John 5

 

The promise, as are those associated with the other six letters (cf. 2:11, 17, 26; 3:5, 12, 21), is addressed to the one who conquers/who overcomes. This is not a past or perfect tense as a completed action but current and continuous performance. That is, “the conflict and the trials of the present life in the world and in the churches are not final. The church’s anticipated victory has its foundations laid in the victory already won by Jesus.”Christ won the battle, but the war is not over yet. Every believer is personally engaged in this war against Satan and his cohorts. Therefore, every follower of Christ receives the promise of eternal life and all the other promises that he grants the believer (2:10, 17, 26; 3:5, 12, 21). All these promises are given to the overcomer, namely, every true believer (Beasley-Murray, Book of Revelation, p. 78; Stephen L. Homcy, “ ‘To Him Who Overcomes’: A Fresh Look at What ‘Victory’ Means for the Believer according to the Book of Revelation,” JETS 38 (1995): 193–201.).

 

The apostle John defines it that way in his first epistle:

1 John 5:4-5   [4]For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world--our faith. [5]Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? (ESV)

  • All true believers are overcomers, who have by God’s grace and power have conquered/overcome the damning power of the evil world system.

 

Christ promises the overcomers at Ephesus and every true believer that they will eat of the tree of life which is in the Paradise of God. The tree of life is first referred to in Genesis 2:9, where it stands in the Garden of Eden. That earthly tree was lost due to humanity’s sin (Gen. 3:22), but the heavenly tree of life (Rev. 22:2, 14, 19) will last throughout eternity. The tree of life thus symbolizes eternal life. The Paradise of God is heaven (cf. Luke 23:43; 2 Cor. 12:4).

 

The example of the Ephesian church warns that doctrinal orthodoxy and outward service cannot make up for a cold heart. The call from Christ for every believer is to rekindle the love you first had for Christ. Without an active, purposeful love, we will grow cold.

 

(Format Note: Outline & some base commentary from MacArthur, J. (1999). Revelation 1-11 (53–67). Chicago: Moody Press.)

0 COMMENTS | POST A COMMENT


Post A Comment
Name
Email
Comment

Please enter the text you
see in the image above.
(This is just so we know that you're human.)

Can't read this image? Click SUBMIT for a new image.
 



1wFOiKE6Q3GkGwCTnRogbNUJhJwssVCLsb5YDbqKH24=