The First Letter
Series: The Divine Perspective
Sermon Title: The First Letter
Introduction: In Revelation 2:1-7, a letter to the church in Ephesus, the writer John delivers Jesus’ assessment of the health of that congregation. As the Founder and Perfecter of our faith, Jesus uses this letter to establish the criteria for a healthy church, both encouraging and correcting all churches throughout history.
Point 1: Who is the Letter To? Who is the Letter From?
The letter is written to the angel of the church in Ephesus (v. 1)—possible interpretations include a real guardian angel and a human agent (pastor). Additionally, the letter is for all who has an ear (v. 7). The letter comes from the real, glorified Jesus—the words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand,who walks among the seven golden lampstands (v. 1).
Point 2: What is Jesus Saying to the Church?
In verses 2-3, Jesus affirms and acknowledges
- the good works of the Ephesian church, rightly giving them honor,
- their toil and patient endurance through trials, and
- their refusal to bear with those who are evil (holding fast to the truth of the gospel).
Jesus also firmly and lovingly corrects the church in Ephesus, pointing out that they have abandoned their first love (v. 4). In the same way, we may find our love for Jesus, others, and the unsaved diminished, especially as we experience disillusionment and disappointment when faced with troubles and sin. Jesus calls us all to repent and to pursue good works (v. 5).
Prayerful repentance to the Lord is a multifold process that includes an admission of guilt, an expression of true sorrow, a commitment to change, and a plea for help.
Point 3: Why is Jesus Telling This to the Church?
This letter serves as a warning from Jesus. He shall remove the local church from its place if they do not repent (v. 5). Although amazingly forbearing, Jesus wants us to understand the importance of maintaining our first love. Without it, we misrepresent Jesus and His gospel.
But with humble repentance, the church shall protect and cultivate the love of God in the gospel of Jesus. We shall experience the blessings of eternity in God’s divine presence: “To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God” (v. 7).