Christ’s first Epistle in Revelation explains how to Learn to Live a Holy & Sanctified Life in the midst of an Evil World.
In the midst of all this debauchery, Jesus Christ had planted a church at Ephesus, one that was well-pleasing to God; and the Ephesian believers were honored by receiving the first of Christ’s personal letters to His seven churches (Revelation 2:1–7).
Here we see reflected the best part of that city: Jesus was shining through the saints at Ephesus! When we first hear of this church at Ephesus, noted in the book of Acts, it was a vibrant church. Jesus Christ was preeminent: … Fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified (Acts 19:17). It wasn’t the denomination, the buildings, or the leaders that drew the attention of these saints—it was the presence of the Lord!
The Ephesian church was started by believers whose lives had been deeply changed by the Gospel: … Many who had believed came confessing and telling their deeds. Also, many of those who had practiced magic brought their books together and burned them … (Acts 19:18–19). The Ephesian Christians made public renunciation of their old lives because God’s Word was prominent in their church: So the word of the Lord grew mightily and prevailed (Acts 19:20).
We could describe this church by what Christ’s Word within had produced in their lives. First, they were commended because:
Christ’s Word in them—Resisted Immorality
The Culture of Ephesus was overtly wicked. They were saved and living every day in what could be described as Sin City, so vividly portrayed by the magnificent palace to gross immorality called the temple of Diana. There was in Ephesian culture a very strong tug of 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. Now turn to the record of what had been taught to these early believers in Ephesians 2.
Do you see why Paul’s ministry had been so foundational to them 40 years earlier? By choosing to believe and obey God’s Word:
• They had repented of their past lives of sin. 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. (KJV)
• They believed and saw their calling in Christ. 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. (KJV)
• They learned the spiritual secret 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. (KJV)
• They allowed Christ to deeply penetrate their lives. 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. (KJV)
• They renounced all touch with their old ways. Ephesians 5:12 For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret. (KJV)
Secondly—Christ’s Word in them: Resisted Evil
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