|We will review only
the first letter in such detail -- time will not permit the others to be
examined this way. We see the
greeting; then the title of Christ.
|Christ is the one
holding the seven stars. The Greek
here implies an act of stongly grasping and completely holding. The implication is clear; the one who is doing the reminding is the
one who holds the church entirely, and who is also amidst the church.
|And what does he
praise? (Interesting, isn’t it, that
praise is first?) He mentions these:
|• toil - it means sweaty hard work. (Interesting test!)
|• endurance --
|• testing of men --
this is a church which will not tolerate heresy.
|But something has
gone wrong; we may speculate as to
what. The passage is capable of two
meanings: either they have lost their
first enthusaism (as we say a man really loves his hobby) or that they have
lost that loving sense of brotherhood -- perhaps both. Perhaps the fight against heresy became
bitter; who can say?
|So what does the
Lord tell them to do? I am indebted to
Chuck Smith for the “three R’s”:
|Then comes the
syncopation: the Nicolaitans. Who they are, and what they did, we will
cover on the next slide.
|The reward, for the
overcomer in Ephesus, is to eat from the tree of life. It is an interesting connection, for it
refers to the tree found in the Garden of Eden -- and nowhere else. It is certain that, whatever else it is,
the story of the Garden is an allegory, and an artistic work. Here the Spirit harkens us back to it --
the implication being that the curse of sin will be removed from us. So at the first, the staggering implication
comes: all of sin, and all of its
effects, are to be wiped out. And we
shall be there to see it.