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Ephesus wk.2


PROLOGUE - All Head, No Heart

By all outward appearances things were good at Ephesus… Like many churches, this church was doing many good things. But, they had somehow neglected and lost the most important thing in their ministry endeavors: Christ and the gospel.
Ephesus was a city of major significance in the 1st century.
Politically it was the capital of Asia and known as the “Supreme Metropolis of Asia.”
Commercially, the great highways converged there and a major seaport was still in place.
Some have referred to Ephesus as the “Vanity Fair of the ancient World”
Religiously the city was the center for the worship of the fertility goddess Diana (Roman) or Artemis (Greek). The temple dedicated to Diana came to be known as one of the “Seven wonders of the Ancient world,” where thousands of priestesses served in the temple, many as religious prostitutes.
Historically Paul, Aquila, and Priscilla evangelized and founded the church at Ephesus. Timothy and John both did ministry at Ephesus. Paul believed the city to be so central as a gospel outpost that he labored there for at least 2 years. Paul’s ministry was not uneventful though and included a riot related to the temple of Diana. Later Paul would write one of his prison letters to them in the early 60’s.
Here is a second-generation Church that apparently was living off the prestige and momentum of the past. The past was great, but their present condition was spiritually dead.

Jesus commends the Ephesians for how they serve faithfully, endure hardship, have sound doctrine, and hate heretics, but Jesus’ big criticism for the Church at Ephesus was that they are not very loving.

Instead of simply criticizing the Ephesians for not loving well, we must read Jesus’ words humbly and realize how we can become like them if we’re not careful.

questions for reflection

How does the description of Jesus in 2:1 give you comfort for the trials in your life? 
What good deeds does God have for you to do? How can the Church (you included in that) emulate the Ephesians’ diligent efforts?
Why do you think Jesus was just as concerned with doctrine as He was with good works? What doctrinal tests would you give to those who want to lead and teach the local church?
How does Jesus’ holy jealousy for the Ephesians expose religious legalism as inadequate? Do you find that you obey out of love for Christ or simply because it is what you’re supposed to do?
How can you apply the 3-fold prescription of: remember, repent, and return?
Reflect on the place that you first fell in love with Jesus. What works marked that period of time in your spiritual journey?

memory verse

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.”

 Hebrews 12:1 NLT