We begin our study of the 7 Churches of Revelation by looking at the letter John wrote to the church in Ephesus. Ephesus, like the other six churches in our study, was dealing with persecution and exclusion. Because the Christians in Ephesus wouldn’t worship the pagan gods and follow the pagan practices of the Roman empire they were excluded from many of the day-to-day happenings within their society. In addition to this, they were persecuted and in consistent arguments with the Jewish people in this area. This is why Jesus began His encouragement to the Ephesians through John’s letter emphasizing overcoming the evil practices and false witnesses surrounding them. He corrects them on the issue they’re currently facing–hard hearts toward God and others. They have turned away from their first love. Their daily struggle and stress have led them to lose their heart for God and His people (especially those they disagreed with). In a way, Jesus is calling this church at Ephesus to renew their marriage vows…return to the love you first had when you committed your life fully to me. This is the struggle, encouragement, and challenge for the church in Ephesus and one we can all relate to and take to heart as the 21st-century church today.
As you begin this 7 week study make sure to do a few things to get the most out of this study:
- Set aside a specific time each day to do this study. You can do each days reading in about 5-10 minutes, but make sure to give yourself time to reflect on the passage, study its meaning, and even seek other translations and commentaries to get the full magnitude of it each day.
- Make sure this doesn’t become a chore. Remember this is meant to be an opportunity to not only learn in greater understanding a book of the Bible, but to rest in its meaning for your spiritual walk with Jesus today. The most important thing you can do with this study each day is to delight in it, rest in it, and grow closer to Jesus through it.
- Finally, discuss it with others. Take time out of your week to do this study with a friend, family member, or small group. We have several ways to join a community online or in person in order to take part in this study.
Enjoy week 1 of Grace in the Word- Seven Churches!