Posted by Peter Thompson

Revelation 2:1-7

What Does Jesus Think? #1

INTRODUCTION:  You remember the judge of all the churches that we saw last week.  He was in the middle of the candlesticks that represented the churches.  He was holding the messengers to the churches in His right hand.  Here Jesus is reminding the church at Ephesus that the messenger is bringing His message to His churches.  We all have our ideas about what our church should be and what should be the major priorities in our church.  But what does Jesus think a church should be?  That is what really matters.  His church should be a:

  1. WORKING CHURCH (VS. 2-3)
  2. The word works has the idea of the thing that you are employed in
  3. Jesus knew what the church at Ephesus was spending their time on
  4. When we look at this word with the other words like labor and patience we see it as a good employment
  5. Jesus was happy with the good things that they were busy doing
  6. The idea here is that this church is not sitting around doing nothing
  7. They are busy about God’s work on earth
  8. They were sharing the gospel, they were helping the poor, no doubt they were training the saints
  9. Then there is the word labour that adds to the intensity of what they are doing
  10. This church is doing the work of God
  11. But they are doing it with everything they have
  12. The word labour has the idea of working one’s self to exhaustion
  13. In describing the Greek word, Strong’s Lexicon says intense labor, united with trouble and toil.
  14. These guys were not just employed about God’s work, they were doing God’s work all out with all their might
  15. They were making themselves tired doing God’s work
  16. They were doing the hard things
  17. A person works when they mow the lawn, they labor when they dig out a stump
  18. This word labour is repeated again in v. 3-this was a characteristic of this church
  19. They were working themselves to the bone for God and accomplishing a lot
  20. We see this idea even further in the word borne in v. 3
  21. This one has the idea of picking something up to carry it
  22. Again the idea is carrying something with great strain
  23. They had taken the hard work of God on their shoulders and were carrying it
  24. Did you know that God wants this church to do the same thing?
  25. Jesus commended this church for this thing
  26. He liked the fact that they were carrying the load, employed about the right things, working themselves to the bone with much trouble
  27. He wants that kind of commitment from you too
  28. He wants you to be employed about His work
  29. He wants you to carry the load of His work everyday
  30. He wants you to weary yourself to the bone
  31. The idea that you can do too much in the church for God, is a worldly idea
  32. We find these early Christians and missionaries working sun up to sun down in the service of the Lord
  33. You should always be looking for opportunities to do more for God
  34. To make yourself tired doing the work of God
  35. Labor to spread the gospel, labor to help the poor, labor to train new Christians
  36. Be a working individual so that God can have a working church at Pleasant Hill
  37. ENDURING CHURCH (VS. 2-3)
  38. Along with the back breaking work that they were doing, they had patience
  39. Again Jesus is commending them for this
  40. The same word is in v. 2 and v. 3
  41. It means to endure through hardship
  42. The work was hard, in Ephesus at this time there was great persecution of Christians
  43. But they were working through it, never stopping, never giving up
  44. In v. 3 Jesus commends them for not having fainted
  45. Fainted means to grow weary to the point of quitting
  46. The idea is falling by the wayside from exhaustion
  47. These Ephesians didn’t do that
  48. They would just keep on keeping on
  49. Eyes straight ahead, doing the work, no matter how hard it became
  50. They would never quit
  51. God would have your church to be the same way
  52. Sure there are discouragements in God’s work
  53. Sure people will refuse to be saved
  54. Sure people will cause you all kinds of troubles
  55. Sometimes you might be the only one doing anything
  56. The work is supposed to be hard, look what we just talked about a point ago
  57. But you never quit, you keep on going no matter what
  58. You are doing the work of God, and there will be time for rest when Jesus comes back
  59. But right now you keep doing the work, never stop
  60. Keep winning people for Jesus, keep helping others, keep training new Christians to be just like you
  61. Never, ever stop or give up
  62. DISCERNING CHURCH (V. 2)
  1. Not only was this church working hard, they were standing for the truth
  2. There were a group of people at the time that were calling themselves apostles
  3. Apostles are those that were sent out by Jesus with His message
  4. In the early church they held a lot of authority and rightfully so
  5. They were the ones who had learned directly from Jesus and they were sharing the truth with the churches
  6. But these imposters were claiming to have the same authority, but they were not real apostles
  7. They were false teachers, claiming to speak for God
  8. These people were evil, the scriptures says here
  9. And the church at Ephesus wasn’t putting up with it
  10. They knew the truth and drove out the false teachers
  11. They could tell who the bad one’s were and who the good one’s were
  12. We call that being able to discern between teachers from God and teachers from the devil
  13. This same writer had encouraged the churches to try the spirits in I John
  14. They were not to believe every teacher and teaching that came along
  15. They were to test, to see if the things people told them were true
  16. They would do that with the Old Testament scriptures
  17. They would do that by writing down what the true apostles that walked with Jesus said
  18. That is why the true apostles were so important
  19. But this church at Ephesus could spot a fake, far off
  20. That meant that they knew the truth through and through
  21. And would not put up with any falsehood
  22. Your church too, should be doctrinally sound
  23. That just means that your church should know the truth of the Bible and stand on it
  24. It is very important that we look out for false teachers
  25. The Bible mentions two kinds
  26. Those that stand up publically and teach things that are not true
  27. And those that sneak in quietly and lead one or two astray at a time
  28. You as a member of this church, need to be on the lookout for those people
  29. Study your Bible, know the truth, so that when the fakes show up, you can make sure that they don’t influence your church
  30. You can call their teaching out as fake, before they lead anybody astray
  31. Do not put up with false teaching, don’t stand for it, don’t allow it in any way, stamp out all compromise
  32. HUMBLE CHURCH (V. 6)
  33. One of the false groups that they stood against here in v. 6 was the Nicolaitans
  34. They hate the works of this group
  35. And Jesus says, I also hate the works of that group
  36. This was the right thing to do, hate the works of these people
  37. The word Nicolaitans, means followers of Nicolas
  38. And the name Nicolas means ruler of people
  39. The general consensus is that these people were putting themselves in charge of churches
  40. Many believe that this thinking and work started the Catholic idea of clergy v. laity
  41. The idea that there are some that are to be in charge
  42. Some that hold the keys to the Bible and put rules on the others who they say cannot understand
  43. Jesus taught against this kind of thinking in Matt. 20:25-26
  44. But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. 26 But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister;
  45. The Lord’s churches are not a place for even the pastor to be the boss
  46. The ones who want to be great in churches, should be the ones that are serving everyone
  47. And nobody has a greater understanding of scripture than anyone else who applies themselves
  48. John taught in the book of I John that anyone with the Spirit of God in their life (every saved person) can understand the scriptures
  49. You and me are no different, I may have studied a bit longer than you this week
  50. In this church, there is not supposed to be anybody that runs the church
  51. We are all equal, in fact you should strive to be under everybody else
  52. 2:3 in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.
  53. In Proverbs 6:16 There are seven things that God hates, the very first one on the list is a proud look
  54. Humility is what Jesus approves of here in church at Ephesus, they would not put up with anybody becoming the boss
  55. In your church, nobody rules over anybody else, everyone should have an equal say in all matters, and there is nobody that has some God token to interpret the Bible, with study we should all come to the same conclusions about the Bible-I encourage you to study and learn the scriptures
  56. LOVING CHURCH (VS. 4-5)
  57. But Jesus had one thing against this church at Ephesus
  58. They were hard workers, working themselves to the bone for God and never quitting
  59. They stood for the truth and did not tolerate anything else
  60. Jesus problem with them, is that they had left their first love
  61. This church was not motivated by the right thing
  62. They were working hard, accomplishing a lot, but they were not loving people
  63. They were all about the truth, but they were not loving people
  64. They probably were not even what they were doing out of love for God
  65. Whether it was obligation, or pride, or whatever their motivation was for doing all of this it was not love
  66. This word for love is agape
  67. We have talked about it many times
  68. It is the love that Jesus showed when He died on the cross
  69. It is a love that is shown by action
  70. It is a commitment, not a feeling
  71. It is a willingness to sacrifice your good for the good of someone else
  72. And you know what Jesus said without that kind of love to back it all up it, it is all worthless
  73. Look what He said in v. 5 (read it)
  74. If you don’t get back to love for God and for other people
  75. I will remove your candlestick
  76. Jesus said, You cannot be my church anymore if you don’t get right and start loving
  77. You see Jesus established this church on that principle as well-love should be the prime motivator for everything that you do
  78. Love for each other, love for neighbors, love for enemies, and most of all love for God
  79. Stand for the truth, but stand for the truth with love
  80. Share the gospel of Jesus but share it in love
  81. Work yourself to the bone, not because you feel like you have to but because you love God and you love people
  82. Jesus was asked what the greatest commandment was, he said in Matt. 22:37-40 Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
  83. Paul wrote in I Cor. 13:1-2 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not love, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not love, I am nothing.
  84. Without love, everything else you do is worthless
  85. All your works are for nothing without love behind them
  86. Love, or you are not fit to be a church of the Lord Jesus Christ
  87. Love, or you will no longer be a church of the Lord Jesus Christ

CONCLUSION:  Jesus concludes with a phrase that you will hear time and again in Revelation.  He that hath and ear let him hear what the Spirit says unto the churches.  The idea here is that God’s Spirit is speaking to the spiritual ears or the hearts of His people.  A spiritual person will understand the message and apply it to their lives.  Are you that kind of spiritual person  that will take this message from Jesus into your heart and change your life?  If we all will do that, then we will change our church to be what Jesus would have it to be.  Then Jesus offers us a glimmer of hope as we do His work on earth.  He that overcometh refers to Christian people, I John 5:4-5 For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?  He says, Christian people will eat of the tree of life and live eternally.  That is what awaits us!  Meanwhile let’s be what Jesus thinks the church should be!  We need to be a working church, we need to be an enduring church, we need to be a discerning church, we need to be a humble church, and above all we need to be a church that is motivated by godly love!