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Letter to the Church at Ephesus

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The City of Ephesus was the capital of Asia, which was in the western part of Asia Minor.  In the time of the Romans it bore the title of “The first and greatest metropolis of Asia.” It was distinguished for the Temple of Diana who there had her chief shrine. It had the largest theatre in the world, capable of containing 50,000 spectators. It was, like all ancient theatres, open to the sky. Here were exhibited the fights of wild beasts and of men with beasts.  It is located in modern day Turkey. The population is estimated at 3 million. It was a terminal for caravan routes from Europe and the Orient.

The history of Ephesus dates back to 1044 BC. Under the Grecian Empire.  It became part of the Roman Empire at 133 BC. It was popular for Athletic events.

Paul was supposed to have started the church there but some say that the apostle Paul visited Ephesus for the purpose of exhortation and making sure they had good leadership but he was not the one that founded the church there.   It was founded 40 years before John wrote this Revelation letter to that church. The church had its work cut out in Ephesus because of idolatry concerning Diana the goddess that was worshipped there.  The book of Ephesians was a letter to the church written by Paul. 

Sexual immorality was a trade mark at Ephesus. That was a legitimate part of Eastern religion. All idolatrous religions get into sexual immorality as does many false religions although some outwardly make a show of purity in this.  All cults and apostate churches get into this as well. Some make it part of their worship.  As more people begin to reject Jesus Christ and the teachings of the bible, we see these things slowly resurfacing and sexual immorality returning to our world today.  Little do we realize that it is leading us down the same path of destruction as it did many societies before us.  God doesn't have to send judgment, we will bring it upon ourselves because without God anything will go without His hand of protection. He will not stay where He is not wanted.

The day God brings His direct wrath upon mankind is when the evil gets so bad, the world persecutes and kills His believers and those that faithfully follow Him.  The day God is mocked and ridiculed, innocent children are harmed, and evil has become so bad there is no chance of anyone repenting and turning to God. 

We know for sure Paul was a great influence and leader of this church whether or not he founded it. 

The whole place is now utterly desolate, with the exception of the small Turkish village at Ayasaluk. The ruins are of vast extent.

The Greek name for Ephesus is desirable.  This church shares the meaning of its name with that of a Greek man’s hoped for bride.  The church’s time period began at AD 30 and ended AD 100.  This time frame is also known as the Apostolic Church Age. To those who hold the church age theory, this age ended with the death of the apostle John. This is the era comprising the writing of the entire New Testament and the first evangelical movement.

  • Revelation 2:1-7  Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks;

  • I know thy works, and thy labor, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars:

  • And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name's sake hast labored, and hast not fainted.

  • Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.

  • Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.

  • But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitanes, which I also hate.

  • He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.

Jesus Christ himself addresses the church at Ephesus as He that holds the seven stars in His right hand and who walks in the middle of the 7 golden candlesticks.  This is also a hint as to why they lost their first love.  They were busy doing and teaching all the right things and that should always continue but they forgot who was in their midst.  They forgot His presence and forgot to seek His fellowship. Worship as a congregation and also in our private lives can help us avoid the lack of love for the Lord without neglecting the teaching.

A good example would be when we work hard for a company and labor night and day to do our best for that company.  The owner walks in our midst and we are so busy working for him that we do not even stop to greet him.  We do not really desire His presence and kind of ignore it.  I've seen this at times. We want to go through the motions but we really do not want to experience the presence of the Lord in worship.

The messenger of this church was one of the stars held in the hand of Jesus Christ.  To hold means to hold by authority or in His hand of control. Those that lead and teach congregations such as pastors are in the hand of God.  At the very word of Jesus Christ He has the power to remove the pastor, replace the pastor or set up a pastor.

  • 1 Peter 5: 1-4 The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed:

  • Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind;

  • Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being examples to the flock.

  • And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that t fadeth not away.

Jesus walks among the churches as we see Him described here as walking among the 7 golden candlesticks. He sees our shortcomings as well as our virtues.  A believer who has a desire to please the Lord need never fear His presence but we should desire His presence. 

Christ knew everything that was going on in this church, both good and bad. Consider this, if we could actually see Christ walking among us, how different would our churches be? He does walk among us whether we notice or not.

The reason many believe the Ephesians church represents the church age during the time of the apostles or the apostolic age is that they would have been doctrinally pure at that point and easy to point out false prophets. They would have known the false from the real. This church didn't last very long. A few short years later after the time of severe persecution the doctrinally pure church age ended after Constantine liberated the church.

One of the good things about this church was that they hated sin and could not bear to see evil prevail among them. They didn't tolerate apostles who preached one thing and lived another. They didn't allow liars and pretenders to preach false doctrine and error among the congregation. They were quick to correct false doctrine or false teaching. They stood against things that were contrary to the faith once delivered to the saints. This is a good trait of any church.

They labored heavily for the Lord. They had patience and were not anxious or without faith. They desired to walk in truth.

I know this is a dirty word in today's world but this sounds like a fundamental church. Fundamental meaning a church who believed in every word that precedes from the mouth of God. They didn't fall for false or new doctrines contrary to the word that was first preached to them.

There are churches like this in existence today but they are getting fewer and far between.

He knows our works: Some believe the works should be social work such as feeding the poor.  While these things should come naturally when we serve the Lord, this is not the work that Jesus is talking about.  He is referring to Mark 16:15 where He said “Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.”  This is the great commission. We must make disciples of mankind by teaching people God’s word. 

“I know thy labor” speaks of the early evangelical effort to spread the gospel to the world. The Lord was aware of the hardships they suffered for preaching the gospel.  He knew their patience in that they were willing to be faithful unto death.  They labored by being watchful of the spiritual welfare of the saints and the community.  The pastor and the church shared these burdens.  We see though that it is possible to labor long and hard in good things but lack love.  They must labor with pure, true motives.   If we learn to labor in love, we will not get burnt out as quick as if we are laboring for other reasons such as doing it just out of duty, out of the desire to secure the good opinion of others or for money. 

They had patience.  Patience is needed to put up with hardships, put up with people who try to hinder the gospel.  Remember they had to put up with people who were used to worshipping Diana instead of the real living God.  They had to put up with false apostles who tried to corrupt the true gospel with a false one or substitute.

If the devil can’t get us to go back into the world and return to our old sins, he will try to sneak in false teachers to change the real gospel into a counterfeit.  The church at Ephesus tested the messengers and made sure they spoke the truth.  They had to discern and determine spirituality and correctness of doctrine.  We must not ever fall prey to the modern teaching that causes us to abandon sound doctrine in order to have unity.  True unity of the spirit will not be a unity based on lies and half truths.  This church was quick to recognize false apostles and teachers.

Quote from the Know your bible series, “ We see all around us among professing Christians a weak-kneed tolerance for “giving in “ to wickedness; a cowardliness in the face of Satan’s defiant brazenness.  We see also a boasted “broad-mindedness-camouflages as love, or patience, or wisdom, or understanding, or empathy.  All attributes that are good when used legitimately, not pretentiously.  The real problem is

1.      A lack of holy boldness for God and His righteousness

2.      A dimming vision of the Christ of Calvary – His pierced side and His nail-    scarred hands and feet – FOR US!

This leads to compromise and deception. 

Our goal should be

·        The glory of God

·        The purity of the church

·        The spiritual good of the members

They had a class of false teachers called Judaizers who taught that the law had to be kept in order to be saved including the law of circumcision, not eating certain meats along with faith in Christ.

We know however, that when Jesus died he became the final sacrifice for sin.  When the Gentiles were saved they were exempted from certain aspects of the law but they were still bound to the moral parts of the law such as “do not eat the food sacrificed to idols, do not be involved with idolatry or fornication.  A believer was to be morally and spiritually clean. Jewish rituals and feasts were fulfilled in the life and death of Jesus. There are some that want us to be under the law today. I ran into one group who claimed that we must keep the feasts of the Jews also to be saved.  It is okay to keep those feasts or worship on a Saturday but to make them requirements for salvation is adding to the gospel.

The Ephesians did not faint or give up when things became rough. They had patience and stood the test of trials and temptations. They were solid and did not bend to the will of the worldly crowd to be accepted.

More and more they sound like a strong bible believing fundamental church. They most probably didn't have the written New Testament yet but they had the word originally preached by the apostle Paul and perhaps others during this period.

A good verse to remember is not to be moved away from the foundation.

  •  Ephesians 2:20  And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;

The enemy of our souls desires to get us off the foundation of Jesus and on to other things that substitute our time and desires.  In this way, people will not hear the gospel that saves the soul.

  • Rev 2:4 Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.

The word "somewhat is in italics" in the KJV so it means that the translators inserted it.  Without that word, it reads Nevertheless I have against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. It makes it more serious in the mind of the Lord.  He didn’t have somewhat against them but had a strong serious complaint against them.  They left the first love.  

This is the key verse and one that is very important. The key is to correct this problem without losing the sound doctrine. Many try to walk in love but they think to do that they have to forsake sound doctrine. How can we say we love Christ and ignore all His words?

These were second generation Christians and had lost their first love.  This first love is of course their personal love for Jesus.  I’ve always believed that we can’t really love our neighbor as ourselves without having the love for God first and foremost.  If we do not love God first and above all, any love for others would be idolatrous because they would be loved above God so we must love God first and then and only then can we love others but we must love others also. 

They had lost their first love. I sometimes struggle with what this first love is. I think it covers many things.

This church had no problem keeping the word of God and hating evil. The love they lacked must have been their love for Christ which would cause them to love one another. I will add also a love for the lost.

If we truly love Christ, we will worship Him in spirit and in truth. Perhaps they had sound doctrine but were getting away from genuine heart felt worship to God. We have a hint to what Jesus is referring to in the very first words Jesus spoke to them.  "These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks.  Look at those words.  He was Jesus who walks in their midst.  They were busy talking about Jesus, teaching sound doctrine and doing all that Jesus wanted them to do and with fervency but they seemed to have forgotten that He was right there walking in their midst.  Perhaps they forgot to be aware of His presence. 

Some times I worry that we emphasis praise and worship so much that we get away from sound doctrine and leave the flock of God open to deception.  This church was not guilty of that.  It seems that they taught the right things but got away from acknowledging Him in their midst by the fervent praise and worship.  We must not over correct error though by neglecting the teaching and have just praise and worship.

I've seen people in church busy working the sound system, doing the offering, attending to the duty in the kitchen and I wonder sometimes whether these same people ever go into the sanctuary and actually join in worship.  Perhaps this may be what causes us to lose that first love when we are busy doing all the necessary things for God but fail to worship ourselves. 

Perhaps also they began to be intolerant toward each other's weaknesses and didn't show compassion when a brother or sister failed. Perhaps they had no tolerance for sin which is good but didn't show the spirit of meekness when they tried to correct this sin in others. When someone is in their first love for the Lord, He is all they talk about and talk to.  They also possess a love for others and love to fellowship with those of like faith.  When we get away from this, we may be losing that first love.

  • Galatians 6:1 Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such a one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.

Here is what I believe leaving the first love may concern also:

A loss of compassion for the lost. To really love Christ is to love the message of the gospel which is to seek and save that which is lost. That is why Jesus came and why He died on the cross. He had such love for the lost that he suffered and died for us while we were still sinners.  Should not we seek to have the love Christ had by possessing that love ourselves?

These people at Ephesus were saved from sin but others needed this salvation. We should love the lost enough to give them the gospel. This does not mean that we forsake sound doctrine in order to attract the crowds. If we do that, we begin to resemble some of the other churches described in the next few verses of Revelation but we must retain a fervent love for those living around us that have not yet heard or believed the gospel. This may be the first love that this church lost.  This is part of loving Christ.  We can't love Christ and not love to see souls saved from sin and granted eternal life. 

We must strive to keep sound doctrine while maintaining the joy of our salvation and compassion for the lost. This can only be done with constant walking in the spirit.

A church should be reaching out to the lost without losing the fundamental sound teaching of the scriptures. A church should keep the teaching of the scriptures without losing their compassion for the weak Christians or the lost. Strive for balance and the type of faith which works by love. Nothing else will work and stand the test of the trials that come against the church.

Here are some possible causes for losing one's first love.  I found these in an old Church of God of Prophecy "Know Your Bible Series" course. 

The boredom of routine. They went on to say that churches in every age should guard against this.  I might add here that some people like tradition and doing things exactly the same but most people get very bored with it.  We should never get away from trusting the Holy Spirit to lead our services.  After all, if He doesn't do that, we are wasting our time.  No life will be changed, no soul will be saved and the work of God is hindered without the presence of the Holy Spirit.  The book stated that we should guard against warmed-over sermons which have no relevance to the current need.  This is so true.  I remember David Wilkerson once saying that he never preaches unless he first spends days preparing himself in prayer. 

The "curse" of prosperity. They quoted the scripture about the love of money being the root of all evil.  We learn to love things more than the one who gave us our "things".  Also quoted was the verse, Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you.  Today we have to put up with so much prosperity teaching that it has ruined the church and we have people giving for the wrong reasons and even becoming a Christian for the wrong reasons.  The gospel has gotten lost among all that nonsense. 

An education obsession.  While being careful not to downplay a good basic education we must emphasize the dependency upon the Holy Spirit.  One might notice that most of my bible studies are not done with big educated words and technical details.  There are much better and more educated bible teachers all across the Internet and I for one love to listen to them or read what they have to say but I try to keep mine simple for everyday people who might sit down at my kitchen table, have a cup of coffee and just chat about the bible.  Its more of a discussion rather than deep bible theology.  I'm not putting that type of study down, however because I love them, it is just not my way at least for now.  I might add too that if people think they have to have a degree in theology to witness to their neighbors or friends it might keep them from sharing what they do know.  Always depend upon the Holy Spirit even after taking courses and earning degrees. 

Love Turned inward - They mentioned honoring God with lips when the heart if far from Him.  We can praise and worship but not be worshipping from the heart.  This love turned inward is caused by people concentrating their prayers and concerns on themselves and their little group instead of reaching out to the community with the gospel.  The book also asks the question, "Does the Church love the Bridegroom more than herself?" 

Doctrinal dogmatism at the expense of joyful obedience. Their words: The motivation of legalism rather than of love.  A harsh spirit of "law" can smother out the blessed free spirit of grace.  My words: This is so true.  Unfortunately some churches over correct this by throwing out any sound doctrine.  If they do that though they will resemble the other churches mentioned in Revelation chapter 2 and 3.  This church needed to repent and restore themselves to their first love but keep their sound doctrine.  Remember Jesus Christ commended them for their labor, works and not putting up with false teachers. 

Too little communion with the Lord. Be jealous over this and not allow anything to rob us of our private time with the Lord.  We don't have to be rude and cut people off though for that would be religion not walking in the spirit.  I called someone at the wrong time once and was accused of being "of the devil" because I interrupted someone's private time with the Lord.  How was I to know?  Yet as much as possible we must take time to just talk to God alone without any family, friends or even church friends with us.  Prayer with others is also needed but we still need time alone with God.  We can get so busy even doing work for the Lord that we fail in this one thing. 

Quote, “Fellowship with the saints is scriptural, but communion with God is absolutely necessary for the maintenance of spiritual life and growth.”

I love good sound bible teaching more than any other part of going to church but we must never neglect the public worship where we all sing together, pray together and worship the Lord.  Some special singing is good but we must be careful not to let someone else do our worshipping for us.  We must pray, we must sing and we must praise, not just hear someone else pray, someone else sing and someone else worshipping and praising God.  There is no reason to neglect bible study or worship.  We should have both in public and in our private life not letting ourselves be robbed of our time with the Lord alone.

  • Rev 2:5 Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.

This is a warning from our Lord. The thing Jesus found that they lacked was not to be taken lightly. It was serious enough to cause their candlestick to be removed from its place. The only solution was repentance.

Repentance means to be sorry for sin to the point of being willing to change and turn form that sin. If we are sorry but make no effort to change, it is not genuine repentance.

Repentance is still necessary every time we fail as an individual or as a congregation. True repentance would bring about the change Christ asked of them. For we can't change without Christ and the strength of the Holy Spirit. We need the word and the Spirit confirming the word.

To get back to the right relationship with the Lord is so easy that we sometimes miss it.  We don’t have to go out and do a bunch of good deeds like some of the angel TV programs would have us believe.  All the Lord asks us to do to bring ourselves back into His fellowship is to REPENT. Turn around and come Back to Me (Jesus).  Stop going your way and come back my way.

If we find ourselves heading down the road toward our destination but discover that we are on a road that leads away from that destination, we immediately find an exit and turn around and find the correct way.  That is an example of repentance.  We stop going the wrong way and turn around and go the right way.  Its that simple. If we tried to keep going hoping to find a road that will lead back the right way, we might go on for miles in the wrong direction wasting gas and time but if we immediately stop and turn around, we fair much better going back to the place where we made the wrong turn and then make the right one.  Repentance is only a word unless there is a change in behavior. 

  • Rev 2:6 But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitanes, which I also hate.

I found two meanings of the Nicolaitanes.

First was followers of Nicolas who allowed fornication or community of wives, eating things sacrificed to idols and other immoral practices. Sexual impurity, lust and other things forbidden by scripture were considered not sinful thy this group of Gnostics.

The book I referred to earlier, "Know your bible series" stated based on Schaff's History of the church, that the Nicolaitanes were of the school of thought of the antinomianism believers which is the believe God and do as you please crowd.  We sure have those today.  Some are among the eternal security believers, lift up your hand, repeat a prayer and other easy accept Jesus into your heart teachings.  I'm not saying people can't genuinely do those things and be saved.  I'm sure the Holy Spirit is present to save people in any case but some go away thinking they are saved and they are not. There is no repentance, no change of life and no fruit.  It is similar to receiving the word by the wayside and forgetting what was heard.  True conversion will bring about a change eventually.  Some right away and others take a little longer but it will bring forth fruit in their lives. 

Some scholars are now saying that there is little proof that a man named Nicolas really existed and caused the said problems.  Instead more modern researchers have just simply broken apart the word Nicolaitanes and found the meaning of the word from the Greek. 

Nicolaitanes means "victory over people" or to conquer the "laity."

In other words by implying laws and doctrines of men, the clergy rules the laity. People become dependent upon the clergy for their salvation instead of Christ. It places a mediator between God and man other than Jesus. The clergy does the praying, the rituals, the ordinances, the words that supposedly are to bring salvation to the laity. It is wrong because it places a man or woman between us and God instead of allowing us to seek God ourselves.

We should strive to bring people to Christ and then step back and teach them to seek Christ themselves so that if they happen to live in a desert place where there is no church they can still have a close relationship with God.

There is only one mediator between God and man and that is Jesus. If we allow any person to block that vision of Christ we have by faith, we are looking to that person instead of Christ. We open ourselves up to deception if we allow anyone to stand in the gap between us and Christ.

Whether that person is Joseph Smith, Nicolas, the pope, Mary, a dead saint, Billy Graham, William Branham, Kenneth Copeland, our pastor, Benny Hinn or any other, they are just messengers, not the final authority to be placed upon a pedestal and looked up to above all other believers. A true pastor of the Lord will not accept our worship. A true pastor will encourage each one of us to depend on Christ alone for our salvation and not man, a ministry or anything other than Christ. The gifts of the spirit are to be for everyone to minister to the saints and witness to the lost, not just the leadership.

What happens if we are blindly following a good leader but then the leader begins to get off course and away from sound doctrine? This is why we should strive for every single individual believer to get to know the Lord, follow the Lord and walk in the spirit so if others stray, he or she is able to keep following the Lord.

Nikos means to conquer, laos is the word laity comes from.

Every church needs a pastor to lead under the guidance of the Holy Spirit but he is to serve as a servant, not as a Lord. There should be no high exalted position of a clergy as opposed to a low position of the laity. Jesus taught against that.

  • Matthew 20:25 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.

  • Mat 20:26 But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister;

  • Mat 20:27 And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant:

The Ephesians church was commended for hating the deeds of the Nicolaitanes. Whether it is the first meaning of fornication and idolatry or the second meaning of clergy ruling over laity, both are wrong practices according to new testament scriptures. No man is to have absolute rule in the church to today like Moses in the Old Testament. Jesus took that place and is the only mediator between God and man.

Any person who uses their leadership to manipulate others into certain behavior instead of trusting in the Holy Spirit to save and change the behavior of the convert, is putting himself in the place of Christ.

Here is Raymond Shockley’s description of the Nicolaitanes.  

It is said a man named Nicolas founded the Nicolaitans. He was a proselyte.  This means that he was not Jewish by race but went through the process of becoming a Jew. Nicolas decided that he also wanted to be a Christian. He worked so diligently in the Christian church he became a deacon of the church body.  He decided that he liked being a deacon but he thought that he should be completely in charge of things. He formed the Nicolaitans Their name was quite appropriate. Its meaning is to overthrow the laity or take over the church. He developed a religious party where the preachers dressed differently than the members.  He began including Babylonian teachings in the doctrine of his church. These included idol worship, sexual rituals, and many others. He added a few opinions of his own as well. They taught separation of spirit and body. This meant the spirit and body are apart from each other. The spirit is pure, but the flesh is evil. What the body does has no effect on the spirit and vice versa.

This doctrine was much more popular than a bible believing church that taught, “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.” 

 Every doctrine that says it is of God must align with the word of God. Heresy has no place in the Christian life, soul or church. 

The words of men should always be compared with the word of God.

Even Satan used the word to tempt Jesus.  We need to study the word for the correct understanding. Some false ministries will silence their opposition by calling people judgmental or too critical.  There has been some that have been quoted as saying, “If anyone speaks a word against this ministry, God will kill them instantly.” They use the words, “Touch not my anointed” to scare us into accepting all they say as the truth.  What does the bible tell us though.

  • Act 17:10  And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews.

  • Act 17:11  These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the Scriptures daily, whether those things were so.

It is okay to ask questions and check out the truth by comparing it to the scriptures.  We are not “touching God’s anointed” by trying to discern whether or not they are preaching the truth. We wouldn’t buy an expensive automobile without making sure it would be able to run. Would we take the word of the car salesman and buy it without trying it out first?  “We might hurt his feelings if we ask to drive the car first?”  No, we would try the car out first and take our time before buying the car. 

If I hear someone trying to get me to give to a ministry and put a time limit on it, say, “Call within the next 10 minutes if you desire to receive a blessing from God.  If we do not have time to check out any ministry, pray about it and make sure that we are giving in the will of God, then it’s a good sign that it is not what we need to give to.

I believe both meanings of that word Nicolaitans can be true.  Any cult or religion that uses fear and intimidation to control the flock usually has sexual immorality following close behind it.

Some of the popes in the past had prostitutes who were threatened with hell if they didn’t go along with the desires of the bishops and popes.  Many cults even today use forced marriage and intimidation against women and men.  The FDLS is one of them.  We’ve heard many cases of child molestation among the clergy.  Nicolaitism would ultimately lead to this because they would not get away with it if they didn’t have complete control over the laity. 

We are to be examples of love and keeping of the scriptures. We can't manipulate and control someone to Christ. Jesus is a gentle example who taught in love. We are not to Lord over and manipulate the congregation. Mind control out, trust is the Holy Spirit in.

Jesus hates this doctrine. Why would He? Why would Jesus hate for anyone to control the congregation for the purpose of getting the congregation to live holy lives? Because, I believe Jesus wants us to live holy lives because we love Him, not because we are threatened excommunication for not living holy.

A pastor is to gently lead by example and purity, teaching the truth of God's word by the power of the Holy Spirit. He is not to Lord over the flock and exalt himself or herself is a position higher than his congregation. We are not to be followers of men but of Jesus Christ.

  • Rev 2:7 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.

Whoever is granted to eat of this tree will live forever. It is granted to those that overcome the temptation to follow another way other than Christ. The promise of overcoming is the promise of eternal life. We must believe and continue in what we believe. The word is written so that we can walk in it and not be deceived. He saves each individual, one by one so that we can now pray to God without the aid of a priest, prophet or mediator other than Jesus Christ. This is why Jesus came. He came that we can be saved and get to know Him personally no matter where we are. You can pray, you can talk to God. You don't need me, you don't need anyone to be the mediator. Jesus is the way the truth and the life, no man can come to the Father except through Jesus Christ.

Don't let anyone stand in that gap and block your vision of Jesus Christ.

Even if we live in an area where all professing Christians are apostate and not living the truth, we as individuals do not have to follow their ways.  Jesus promises overcomers to be able to eat of the tree of life.  This promise is not given to just anyone who claims to name the name of Christ but is given to all who overcome, stay the course and keep the word.  Let us be determined to be among the overcomers and stand before Christ hearing His words, “Well done thy good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of the Lord.”

 Dorna J Chambers

Letter to the Church at Smyrna

Ephesians Bible Study

Ephesians 1

Ephesians 2

Ephesians 3

Ephesians 4

Ephesians 5

Ephesians 6

 

 
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