The Ephesus church effectively battled various heresies, for which Christ commends it. However, the members lost sight of the reason, having left their first love.
Ups and downs, blessings and trials, have characterized every era of the church. God's people are always battling something negative between the brief highs.
Each of the letters in Revelation 2 and 3 speak of overcoming. By examining those churches, we can understand what we are up against and what we must do.
As High Priest, Christ is putting His people through the paces, tailoring the trials and experiences needed for sanctification and ultimate glorification.
Christ prepared the members of Smyrna for martyrdom, promising them eternal glory for enduring a relatively short time, looking at things from a hopeful perspective.
Cultural compromise, such as found in Pergamos, brings judgment from Jesus. To those who refuse to compromise their convictions, Christ promises eternal life.
Christ's first letter to the churches focuses on the Ephesians, a people who succeeded in trying the spirits, but in the interim left [their] first love.
We cannot become weary of well-doing, allowing our first love to deteriorate, looking to the world for satisfaction. Here are 8 tests of our love for Christ.
The seven churches of Revelation have intrigued students for centuries. Where they simply seven churches in Asia, or do they have more relevance today?
A Christian's foremost responsibility is to love God wholeheartedly. A decline similar to the Ephesians' loss of their first love affected the first-century church.
Jesus Christ's reprimand of the Ephesian church in Revelation 2:4, "You have left your first love," seems odd being said to a church that appeared so busy doing God's will. Martin Collins explains, not only where the Ephesians' problem lay, but also the remedy Christ provided within the letter itself to improve both their …
John Reid contends that intense struggle is, by design of Almighty God, an integral and necessary part of the overcoming process. Just as fighting to escape its cocoon strengthens the butterfly, our calling requires effort above what the world has to endure to become free of Satan's cocoon. These struggles lead us through this …
Bob Dylan's lyrics in 'The Times They Are A-changin' seem prescient; within a few years of Herbert Armstrong's death, heresies were imported into the church.
When we ask to be blessed, it should be exclusively on God's terms. What God has done in our lives is the best preparation for our future responsibilities.
Kim Myers, lamenting the aftermath of the Presidential election, in which two candidates with extremely high negatives (evidently the best America had to offer) conducted (with the help of a dishonest media) one of the dirtiest campaigns in the history of America. Nevertheless, God Almighty is sovereign over the political …
When the end-time signs begin to be fulfilled, the time for long-term spiritual growth will be over. So Jesus commands us, 'Therefore you also be ready.'
Over the last several decades, this world has shown itself to be one in which most people lack commitment, whether it is to their mechanics, their spouses, or their beliefs. Using Christ's exhortations to the seven churches in Revelation 2-3, David Maas points out that Scripture foresees that a dearth of steadfastness marks the …
Contrary to Protestant understanding, our works emphatically do count - showing or demonstrating (not just telling) that we will be obedient.
The letters in Revelation 2 and 3 are for the end times, shortly before Christ's return. Each emphasizes repentance, overcoming, and judgment according to works.
Zeal is characterized as ardent, passionate, energetic, or being on fire. Jesus Christ exemplified this kind of zeal as He drove the moneychangers from the Temple.
The letters to the seven churches of Revelation warn of losing our first love, heeding false teachers, compromising God's Truth, and forgetting right doctrine.
God promises certain Christians that He will keep them from the Tribulation—the "hour of trial." Here are the characteristics of those whom God will protect.
The scattering of the church was an act of love by God to wake us from our lethargic, faithless condition. The feeding of the flock is the priority now.
Jesus Christ warns us to hold fast to true doctrine. Secular historians help us discover the identity of the small flock repeatedly rescued from apostasy.
Just as important as follow-through is in an athletic motion, its spiritual counterpart is vital to our life in Christ. We must have the will and commitment to carry our devotion to God through to the very end.
Works demonstrate our faith, our response to God's calling and His freely given grace. Reciprocity is always a part of our relationship with God.
John Ritenbaugh reiterates that biblical history substantiates that God does not always have the church perform the same functions continually, but sometimes drastically alters the course according to needs and conditions. The perceived detours are necessary adjustments God makes to accomplish His purpose. "The work" …
We tend to think of the early Church as a 'golden age' of unity and momentum. But early church members experienced problems similar to what we face today.
John Ritenbaugh focuses upon Paul's work in Ephesus, during his third evangelist campaign, where he entered the stronghold of worship of the mythological multi-breasted goddess of fertility or providence — Diana or Artemis- whose statue supposedly had fallen from heaven by the hand of Zeus. Initially Paul had to augment …
Like the Ephesians, the weary veterans in Hebrews were becoming apathetic through outside pressures, losing their former zeal and devotion to Christ.
God uses calamities as part of His creative process. Like Jacob, who initially succumbed to weak faith and fear, we must repent of our loss of devotion to God.
First love is the purest kind of spiritual love we as humans can demonstrate. It is a love that truly shows one's heart is completely given to God.