STONES-10 EPHESUS-4 THE STONES OF GOD’S WITNESS: EPHESUS– GODLY LIVING IN A GODLESS CULTURE
Why study Ephesus? God’s Word Reveals God’s Truth Anticipating our needs Like Tomorrow’s News Reports.
They lived in the shadow of the Largest Building in the Ancient World.
Tonight Satan wants to poison your thoughts and emotions. Just like in those last hours of World War II in Europe when all thought Hitler was going to let out the poison gas, just like the Saddam factor in the Gulf War… Only, instead of maybe… it’s true. The poison is spreading. Here are the symptoms of exposure to Satan’s poisonous gas attacks in two areas: the mind and the emotions. 1. Satan wants to snatch the Word of God from you and fill your mind with lies, immorality, and false doctrine. 2. He want you to think that sin is not so bad. 3. He wants to drown you in a sea of sin so that you become very tolerant of it. 4. He wants to entertain you with sin so that you won’t think it’s as evil as sin really is. 5. He wants you to laugh at sin on television or at the movies. 6. He wants to twist your thinking by putting sinful ideas to appealing music. 7. He wants to confuse your emotions by corrupting your desires and drawing your affections to the wrong things. 8. He wants to destroy your conscience so it will no longer warn you. 9. He wants to debilitate your will and get you to do things you shouldn’t do.
WELCOME TO THE CHURCH AT EPHESUS:
If you were arriving in Ephesus this evening, 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…
EPHESUS was FAMOUS for its BEAUTY:
EPHESUS was FAMOUS for its RELIGION:
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EPHESUS was FAMOUS for its POSITION:
But in the midst of all that — Point #1: CHRIST was SHINING IN HIS Church at EPHESUS: 2:1a “To the angel of the church of Ephesus write,
THEY HAD POWERFUL FOUNDING: They were heirs to the greatest days of Paul’s earthly ministry and the longest. Acts 19:11 describes extra ordinary miraculous events. Verse 19 reports amazing conversions and life transformations.
THEY HAD 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 from Patmos to continue in ministry there.
THEY HAD TREMENDOUS HISTORY: Mary the mother of our Lord lived and died there and John the apostle gives this city an honor no other knew–Ephesians was the only church that had 2 apostles write them inspired letters. A generation from it’s founding Ephesians was mature. Two generations from Pentecost, the church at Ephesus had some of the richest history.
POINT #2: EPHESUS WAS AN ASSEMBLY THAT PLEASED GOD 2.1-3, 6: ‘These things says He who holds the seven stars in His right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands: “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
One structure dominated Ephesus. One location flavored the entire life of the city. The magnificent palace to gross immorality was the temple of Diana.
THERE WAS IN EPHESUS: STRONG IMMORALITY. YOU CAN STAY PURE FOR CHRIST IN ANY CULTURE, ANY TIME, ANY SETTING. 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. We can learn the secret of how to resist an impure world and stay pure and holy for Jesus. Here is what Paul taught them 40 years earlier. You can stay pure by — • REPENTING OF YOUR 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. • SEEING YOUR CALLING: Ephesians 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. • LEARNING THE SPIRITUALSECRET OF PUTTING OFF AND PUTTING ON: Ephesians 4:22 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts
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• SEEKING CHRIST TO DEEPLY PENETRATE YOUR LIFE: Ephesians 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. • RENOUNCING ALL TOUCH WITH YOUR OLD WAYS: Ephesians 5:12 For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret. (KJV)
THERE WAS IN EPHESUS: STRONG EVIL INFLUENCES. YOU CAN STAY TRUE TO CHRIST IN ANY CULTURE, ANY TIME, ANY SETTING.
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. So how did Paul train them to stay good in that evil setting? • COMMIT TO TRUTHFULNESS: Ephesians 4:25-32 wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbor: for we are members one of another. • FLEE ANYTHING THAT GRIEVES GOD: Ephesians 4:26 be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: 27 neither give place to the devil. 28 Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labor, working with [his] hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth. 29 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. 30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: 32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you. (KJV)
THERE WAS IN EPHESUS: STRONG MATERIALISM. YOU CAN LIVE FOR CHRIST IN ANY CULTURE, ANY TIME, ANY SETTING.
Because of the nearly universal worship of Diana, no one would dare to rob her, thus behind the altar was a world bank, for the safe keeping of currency and treasures. • BELIEVE YOU GOT IT. Ephesians 1:11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: • BELIEVE YOU ARE SECURE. Ephesians 1:14 which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory. • USE WHAT YOU HAVE. Ephesians 1:18 The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, • FIND YOU GOT MORE THAN CAN BE COUNTED. Ephesians 2:7 That in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in [his] kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. “When we have exhausted the store…He giveth, and giveth…”
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• SHARE WHAT YOU HAVE. Ephesians 3:8 Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; (KJV)
THERE WAS IN EPHESUS: STRONG SATANISM. YOU CAN TRIUMPH THROUGH CHRIST IN ANY CULTURE, ANY TIME, ANY SETTING.
As Acts 19.11-20 records, there were many who used and followed occultic books and their witchcraft powers of Satan. • JESUS HAS ALREADY WON. Ephesians 1:20-22 Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set [him] at his own right hand in the heavenly [places], 21 Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: 22 And hath put all [things] under his feet, and gave him [to be] the head over all [things] to the church, • SATAN IS ALREADY DEFEATED. Ephesians 2:2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience • DON’T LET SATAN IN! Ephesians 4:27 Neither give place to the devil. • DON’T RELAX AROUND SATAN’S CRONIES THROUGH THE MEDIA. Ephesians 5:11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove [them]. Ephesians 6:10-16 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high [places]. 13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; 15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. (KJV)
What had Paul taught them? As he said to the Romans, wear Christ’s armor. Look at Rom. 13:11-14 where we find that the Armor of light = Jesus Christ
Now lets see the pieces God wants us to wear.
Eph. 6:10-20 – Paul sees a soldier prepared for warfare and draws spiritual insights.
1. Loins Girt – Will (v. 14) = preparedness, committed, ready to go 2. Breastplate Right – Heart (v. 14) = consecrated – guard heart 3. Feet Shod – Life (v. 15) = confident 4. Shield Faith – Mind (v. 16) = sheltered, spiritual shield (1 Pet. 1:3-9) 5. Helmet of Salvation – Mind (v. 17) = secure, spiritual security (Col. 3:1-4) 6. Sword of Spirit – Mind (v. 17) = scriptural triumph (2 Cor. 2:14; Col. 3:5-17) 7. Praying Always – Mind (v. 18) = supplied/sustainer (Col. 2:6-10)
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We are never out of reach of Satan’s devices, so we must never be without the whole armor of God.
1. BELT OF TRUTH. WARNING: Dishonesty brings defeat!. 2. BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS. The breastplate was a heavy piece of armor that completely surrounded the body. To the Christian soldier this means a pursuit of personal, daily righteousness. We learn this can only be maintained by confession and repentance of sin. WARNING: Impurity will bring defeat!. 3. SHOES OF PEACE. The sandal soles of the soldier were impregnated with heavy, spikelike hobnails which gave him a good footing. To the Christian soldier this piece of armor is a call to both “readiness” and “peace of mind.” WARNING: Anxiety brings defeat! 4. SHIELD OF FAITH. To a Roman soldier, his shield was a portable metal banded door which he hid behind in battle. This shield served as the deflector from the flaming darts of the enemy. To the Christian soldier faith extinguishes all the flaming missiles of the evil one. WARNING: Doubt brings defeat! 5. HELMET OF SALVATION. This helmet is laying hold on what Christ did for us in salvation. It means use what you received at the new birth. Believe God. Take Him at His Word! A Roman soldier wouldn’t go to battle without a helmet. That would be foolish. Helmets were made out of two things: leather, with some patches of metal on it, or solid cast metal. A soldier never was far from his helmet. Nearly any object on the battle field could immobilize a soldier ifhis head was unprotected. So to the Christain soldier the meaning of the helmet is assurance of salvation. WARNING: Lack of assurance brings defeat! 6. SWORD OF THE SPIRIT. This is God’s Word known, held, and used. WARNING: Lack of memorization and meditation brings defeat! 7. PRAYING ALWAYS. WARNING: Lack of communion with the Lord in prayer brings defeat!