John "was banished to Patmos": by Domitian emperor of Rome, Irenaeus says, “at the latter end of his reign, about the year 95 or 96; and, as Tertullian after he had been cast into a vessel of flaming oil, where he got no hurt: and this banishment was not for any immorality, and capital sin he had committed, but for the word of God; for believing in Christ, the essential Word of God, and for professing and bearing record of him, both in preaching and writing:”
John had seen the martyrdom of Jesus He had seen all the other disciples put to death He lived through the persecutions of Nero and the burning of Rome He had seen the prophesy of Jesus fulfilled when Titus destroyed the temple in 70 A.D. Luke 21:20 And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. Now he was watching as his brothers and sisters were tortured and murdered
Ruled in Rome from A.D 81 to A.D. 96. Historians have described Domitian as "crazy and unbalanced". He proclaimed inventing a new method of torture: burning the sexual organs of his victims. Domitian would invite officials to supper, dismiss them in such a way that they retired happy and carefree. The next day they would be executed. Domitian persecuted Stoic philosophers and Jews. He had all Jews, who claimed descent from King David, tracked down and killed. Domitian was especially violent in exacting taxes from the Jews, taxes which were imposed by emperor for allowing them to practice their own faith. Many Christians were tracked down and forced to pay the tax or put to death.
Each letter follows a similar pattern Command to write Description of the glorified Lord Compliment Rebuke Encouragement & exhortation Promise to the overcomer
One of the largest and most impressive cities in the ancient world, a political, religious, and commercial center in Asia Minor.The earliest inhabitants of Ephesus were a group of peoples called Leleges and Carians who were driven out around 1000 B.C. by Ionian Greek settlers led by Androclus of Athens. The new inhabitants of Ephesus assimilated the native religion of the area, the worship of a goddess of fertility whom they identified with the Greek goddess Artemis, the virgin huntress. (Later the Romans identified Artemis with their goddess Diana.) Alexander the Great took over the area in 334 B.C. The temple was rebuilt and completed about 250 B.C., and became known as one of the Seven Wonders of the World. John is supposed to have resided in this city, and to have preached the gospel there for many years; and on this account, as well as on account of the relative importance of the city, the first epistle of the seven was addressed to that church.
The Temple of Artemis (Diana) at Ephesus was one of the seven wonders of the ancient world and was built around 550 BC, it was about four times the size of the Parthenon. Ephesus was part of the kingdom of Pergamum which Attalus III bequeathed to Rome in 133 BC. Ephesus was the most important Roman city of proconsular Asia. Situated at the mouth of the Cayster River on a gulf of the Aegean sea, it flourished as an important commercial and export centre for Asia.
“To the angel of the church at Ephesus.” Who was he? According to Foxes Book of Martyrs, Timothy was the pastor at the time that John wrote this letter. The assurance was that Christ was upholding his servants in His right hand and He was walking among the churches. Matthew 28:20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
“I Know” – Jesus knows the facts about every congregation. The vision depicts the church not as they see themselves or how others view them but how they really are in the eyes of the Lord. He was intimately acquainted with all that they did, good and bad, and that therefore he was abundantly qualified to dispense rewards or administer punishments according to truth and justice. Col 1:18 And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.
Thy Labor The word here “kopos” means properly a beating, wearisome toil, grief, with excessive labor or toil adapted to produce grief or sadness, and is commonly employed in the New Testament in the latter sense. Thy Patience Under these trials and persecutions which had been made and the evil men who tried to corrupt them, and to turn them away from the truth. They had patiently borne the opposition made to the truth; they had manifested a spirit of firm endurance amidst wickedness of those opposing them to draw them off from simple faith in Christ. (Eph 1:15-19)
Ephesians stood against evil doctrines that existed among many of the pagans. They rejected the immoral practices that were common to the day. Tried and found guilty men who were false apostles. 2 John 1:7 For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.
“You have Left your First Love” Most of the Ephesian Christians were now second- generation believers, and though they had retained purity of doctrine and life and had maintained a high level of service, they were lacking in deep devotion to Christ. How the church today needs to heed this same warning, that doctrinal purity and service are not enough. Christ wants believers’ hearts as well as their hands and heads.
1. Lack of spiritual devotions (Prayer & Study) 2. Un-engaged Worship 3. Sin in our lives 4. Overwhelming circumstances in life 5. Jealousy & Strife 6. Lack of spiritual and / or sound leadership 1. 1 Th 5:17 2. Psa 95:6 3. Rom 6:14 4. Phil 4:6 5. 1 Cor 3:3 6. 1Peter 5:1-2 When the focus is remove from Christ
1. Remember your former condition Stop and recall your love in the past, realize your current condition and compare to how you used to be. 2. Repent Turn form your sin, stop doing the negative 3. Do the things you did at first Restore the things that honor God, repentance is not just turning from wrong but also doing what is right.
“or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place” Warning that the church will die if they do not repent. There is no church at Ephesus today. He will come unto thee quickly' which emphasizes the suddenness of his judgment. Candlestick symbolic of “His” presence which is manifest in “His” church through the Holy Spirit.
Nicola'itans (followers of Nicolas). A sect whose deeds were strongly condemned. They may have been identical, with those who held the doctrine of Balaam. They seem to have held that, it was lawful to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit fornication. The teachers of the Church branded them with a name, which expressed their true character, followers of Balaam. Mingling themselves in the orgies of idolatrous feasts, they brought the impurities of those feasts into the meetings of the Christian Church.
The Nicolaitanes sought hidden spiritual knowledge through mystical experiences. They believed that this knowledge alone was perfectly sufficient for salvation. They also taught that man's spiritual and physical natures are two completely separate things. This philosophy implied that they were free to commit sexual immorality and to overindulge themselves in any and every way.
Overcome Persecution Evil deeds and doctrines of Men The World and it’s temptations Our own besetting sins The meaning is, that he would admit him to heaven, represented as paradise, and permit him to enjoy its pleasures-represented by being permitted to partake of its endless joy.