Study Lesson 1
A So-Called Loveless Church
A Spiritually Discerning Church
Scripture To Consider:
“To the angel [messenger] of the church of Ephesus write, ‘These things says He [Jesus] who holds the seven stars [messengers] in His right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands [churches].’” Revelation 2.1
Something To Consider:
In every letter to the seven 1st century churches here in the book of Revelation, we are given by Jesus to John, a different descriptive revelation of Jesus as the opening to each of these seven letters. In this first letter to the Ephesian church who has down through the centuries been remembered as the loveless church, it is revealed that Jesus holds in His right hand of authority the seven stars or messengers or elders of each church.
In the final verse of chapter 1 of this book of Revelation, we are instructed by Jesus that the seven stars are angels or actually the ministers or responsible elder messengers to each of the seven churches addressed in Revelation chapter 2 and 3. Jesus holds as if present tense, or He is holding, or He continues to hold, or forever holds those who are faithfully fulfilling their God given elder-style leadership roles in every true Christian church truly ordained by God!
Now, does that mean there are ministers, pastors, elders, preachers and or teachers, or even popes; who are not spiritually ordained by God in leadership capacities who are not held in the right hand of Jesus who is the head of the true Christian church? According to Jesus in John 10.1; “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door [Jesus later declares Himself to be the door], but climbs up some other way [possibly by way of earthly established man ordained educational institutions], the same is a thief and a robber.”
Not only does Jesus hold and is holding the God ordained minister messengers in His right hand, but He walks, and is walking, and continues to walk in the midst of the seven golden lampstands or seven God ordained true Christian churches here in Revelation. This we know also as described in chapter 1 and verse 20 of Revelation. In other words, Jesus is presently involved in the day to day functions of every true God ordained Christian church in every generation, including this 21st century and possible last days end time church.
More Scripture To Consider:
“I [Jesus] know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested [discerned] those who say [falsely] they are apostles and are not, and have found them to be liars; and you have persevered [endured] and have patience, and have labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary [not fainted in well doing].” Revelation 2.2-3
Something Else To Consider:
In other words, Jesus knows! Jesus knows our works, or our lack of works. Jesus knows our labor, or our lack of labor. Jesus knows our patience, or our lack of patience. Jesus knows all things! Jesus knows whether we can or cannot bear those who are evil or those who practice evil. Jesus knows whether we would be found guilty or innocent of persevering or enduring patiently or not. Jesus also knows if we have labored in His name and in doing so whether we have become weary or not!
The bottom line is that Jesus knows all things! Does that biblical fact make us nervous or comforted? Does that thought draw us to Jesus or repel us? Jesus declared in Matthew 11.28-30; “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden [or heavy burdened], and I will give you rest. Take My yoke [symbol of a combined effort] upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke [also a symbol of submission] is easy and My burden is light.”
It is a shame that bible translators and publishing companies have sub-titled the first of seven letters to the church at Ephesus as the loveless church. In these introductory words of praise and approval spoken by Jesus and written by John, we clearly see the church of Ephesus, according to Jesus, was a true spiritually discerning church. In verse 2 Jesus revealed that these 1st century Christian believers had tested or discerned the so-called apostles of their day and had found them to be liars. Their discerning spirit determined these self-proclaimed apostles to be false and their messages to be false, deceptive, and untrue.
Jesus, while alive upon planet earth displayed a spiritually discerning spirit in John’s gospel chapter 8 and verse 44. Jesus speaking to some religious but not spiritual leaders, declared; “You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.” Can we wonder what Jesus might declare of many of the religious organized church leaders of this 21st century?
Did Ephesus appear to be a loveless church? Yes! The following Scripture to consider certainly proves that to be true; but, the church at Ephesus was also a spiritually discerning church according to Jesus. Would Jesus, who knows all things, who walks among the true Christian church, who is able to test us; would He find us spiritually discerning or open to every evil wind of false doctrine that blows vehemently upon the true ordained by God Christian church?
More Scripture To Consider:
“Nevertheless I [Jesus] 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 [ordained church status] from its place – unless you repent. But this you have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.” Revelation 2.4-6
Something More To Consider:
Jesus sandwiched His rebuke filled words of correction with words of praise and approval. We would do very well to learn to do the same, therefore proving that we have come to Christ and are learning from Him by also being gentle and lowly in heart. So, what do we, separated by nearly two thousand years, what do we learn or refuse to learn from Jesus’ rebuke and command to repent of losing our first love for Jesus and for others?
We are to learn that sin separates us from God, before our coming to Christ and after being born again, as well as after our entering into a new creature in Christ relationship with God. Otherwise, why does Jesus rebuke the church of Ephesus which is made up of believers in Jesus? Why also the instruction to repent? Why does Jesus add a condition of removing their church status if they refuse to repent of their sin? It is because all sin has consequences according to Jesus and according to the Word of God.
A Few Final Words:
“He [or she] who has an ear, let him [or her] hear what the Spirit says [is saying] to the churches. To him [or her] who overcomes [endures to the end] I [Jesus] will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.” Revelation 2.7
Are we, as true Christian believers, living in what may prove to be the end of this age? And if so, are we hearing what the Holy Spirit of God is saying to the true Christian church? Or are we listening to the false apostles, false prophets, and false end time teachers espousing their many itching ears false end time messages of appeasement?
Jesus explained in Matthew’s gospel chapter 24, in verses 4-5; “Take heed [be warned] that no one deceives you. For many [not some but many] will come in My name [in the name of Jesus as if they are Christian], saying, ‘I [Jesus] am the Christ [coming Messiah],’ and will deceive many.”
In other words, according to Jesus, many false end time messengers will declare Jesus to be the Christ and yet they are labeled by Jesus as deceivers! Living in these end times will require spiritual discernment. In order to enter into the kingdom of God will require repentance, of which Jesus announced seven  times in these seven letters to seven  Christian churches. Being allowed to eat from the transplanted tree of life will require our overcoming sin and overcoming the false messages of these end times.
How are we doing according to Jesus? Would we in a moment of time, in the twinkling of an eye, be found loveless or spiritually discerning according to Jesus? Now is the time to settle the issue once and for all!