This series is based on the video produced by Appian Media. Trial & Triumph explores the seven churches of Asia from the book of Revelation. Travel with Jeremy Dehut and watch the video as we explore the seven churches.
Revelation is a "pulling back" or "uncovering" of the curtain to the realities of life for God's people. There is a battle going on, and John is writing so that the Lord's church will be aware of what is happening now and in the future.
The imagery and visions can seem intimidating and frightening to modern
readers. However, John is writing in a style that would have been familiar to readers at the time of this writing. The Old Testament book of Daniel and other extra-biblical texts are in this style of apocalyptic literature. While the imagery and visions may seem strange to modern readers, the ultimate message of Revelation is one of hope. Although evil appears to triumph, the Lord remains victorious and seated on the throne.
This series will explore the seven churches in Asia to which Revelation is addressed (Rev. 1:4). John, while on the island of Patmos, records visions given him by the Lord to the churches of Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea (Rev. 1:11).
The Church of Ephesus
Revelation 2:1-7 (NKJV) “To the angel of the church of Ephesus write, ‘These things says He who holds the seven stars in His right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands: “I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars; and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary. Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent. But this you have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.”
The church at Ephesus is known for its labor in the Lord, its patience, and for testing those who claim to be apostles. In many ways, these are positive examples each church should seek to follow. As members of the body of Christ, we are to abound in the work of the Lord, as the apostle Paul commends the church at Corinth (ref. 1 Cor. 15:58). Patience is among the fruit of the Spirit (see Gal. 5). As Christians, we are challenged to examine the Scriptures in light of what is being taught (ref. Acts 17:11).
Left First Love
However, the church at Ephesus had become distracted. They had left their first love. Ephesus was a church that lived among a culture much like ours. A culture that competed for their attention. Distracted, they had not kept first things first: a love for the Savior. Jesus warns about the distractions of care for this world and the deceitfulness of riches (Matt. 13:22).
The church at Ephesus is not unlike many churches today. Although we may express a zeal for the Lord, we can become distracted and unproductive as we abandon our love for the Lord.
What are some distractions that appeal to you (even if they are not sinful)? What can you do to cultivate your love for the Lord and guard against becoming unproductive in the Lord?
Good works are essential to the life of a Christian. However, good works cannot replace our love for the Lord.
notes: Unless otherwise noted, Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.