Sunday, November 3, 2019

The Church of Ephesus - Part 2 - Dearly Beloved

Temple Baptist Church - 11-3-2019
Revelation 2:1


A.  This morning, we looked at the Parabolic Interpretation of the Church of Ephesus.

B.  Tonight, I want to look at the Prophetic Interpretation of the Church of Ephesus.

C.  The Apostolic Church age was from 30 to 100 A.D or the first century A.D.

I.  The Prophetic Interpretation.  The Post-Apostolic Age.

a.  The History of Ephesus.  Ephesos – “desirable” or “Beloved”

1.  The capital of the Roman province of Asia, and an illustrious city in the district of Ionia, nearly opposite the island of Samos. 

2.  Conspicuous at the head of the harbor of Ephesus was the great temple of Diana or Artemis.  The temple seated app. 50,ooo people.

3.  The earlier temple, which had been begun before the Persian war, was burnt down in the night when Alexander the Great was born in 356 B.C.; and another structure, raise by the enthusiastic co-operation of all the inhabitants of "Asia," had taken its place.

4.  Ephesus was a very sinful, idolatrous city in Paul’s day.  No one could be charged or punished for any crime within the city, therefore, it was rampant with sin.

Acts 19:21-35  After these things were ended, Paul purposed in the spirit, when he had passed through Macedonia and Achaia, to go to Jerusalem, saying, After I have been there, I must also see Rome.  (22)  So he sent into Macedonia two of them that ministered unto him, Timotheus and Erastus; but he himself stayed in Asia for a season.  (23)  And the same time there arose no small stir about that way.  (24)  For a certain man named Demetrius, a silversmith, which made silver shrines for Diana, brought no small gain unto the craftsmen;  (25)  Whom he called together with the workmen of like occupation, and said, Sirs, ye know that by this craft we have our wealth.  (26)  Moreover ye see and hear, that not alone at Ephesus, but almost throughout all Asia, this Paul hath persuaded and turned away much people, saying that they be no gods, which are made with hands:  (27)  So that not only this our craft is in danger to be set at nought; but also that the temple of the great goddess Diana should be despised, and her magnificence should be destroyed, whom all Asia and the world worshippeth.  (28)  And when they heard these sayings, they were full of wrath, and cried out, saying, Great is Diana of the Ephesians.  (29)  And the whole city was filled with confusion: and having caught Gaius and Aristarchus, men of Macedonia, Paul's companions in travel, they rushed with one accord into the theatre.  (30)  And when Paul would have entered in unto the people, the disciples suffered him not.  (31)  And certain of the chief of Asia, which were his friends, sent unto him, desiring him that he would not adventure himself into the theatre.  (32)  Some therefore cried one thing, and some another: for the assembly was confused; and the more part knew not wherefore they were come together.  (33)  And they drew Alexander out of the multitude, the Jews putting him forward. And Alexander beckoned with the hand, and would have made his defence unto the people.  (34)  But when they knew that he was a Jew, all with one voice about the space of two hours cried out, Great is Diana of the Ephesians.  (35)  And when the townclerk had appeased the people, he said, Ye men of Ephesus, what man is there that knoweth not how that the city of the Ephesians is a worshipper of the great goddess Diana, and of the image which fell down from Jupiter?

5.  Paul referenced the wickedness at Ephesus:

1 Corinthians 15:32  If after the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantageth it me, if the dead rise not? let us eat and drink; for to morrow we die.

Ephesians 6:10-13  Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.  (11)  Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.  (12)  For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.  (13)  Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

b.  The Church of Ephesus.

1.  Paul’s first missionary journey To Ephesus.  This is the first mention of Ephesus found in the Bible.  54 A.D.

Acts 18:18-19  And Paul after this tarried there yet a good while, and then took his leave of the brethren, and sailed thence into Syria, and with him Priscilla and Aquila; having shorn his head in Cenchrea: for he had a vow.  (19)  And he came to Ephesus, and left them there: but he himself entered into the synagogue, and reasoned with the Jews.

2.  Paul’s second missionary journey to Ephesus where he meets the disciples of John the Baptist.  55 A.D.

Acts 19:1-8  And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples,  (2)  He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost.  (3)  And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John's baptism.  (4)  Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.  (5)  When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.  (6)  And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.  (7)  And all the men were about twelve.  (8)  And he went into the synagogue, and spake boldly for the space of three months, disputing and persuading the things concerning the kingdom of God.

3.  Paul left Timothy in Ephesus to maintain sound doctrine.  65 A.D.

1 Timothy 1:3-4  As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia, that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine,  (4)  Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do.  (False teachers soon arose to destroy sound doctrine in Ephesus.)

4.  Apostasy referenced by Paul in 2 Timothy one year later.  66 A.D.

2 Timothy 1:15  This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me; of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes.

5.  Paul sent Tychicus to Ephesus.  66 A.D.

2 Timothy 4:12  And Tychicus have I sent to Ephesus.

6.  The Church of Ephesus became a thriving local church in a wicked place but spiritual decline was already progressing in the days of the apostles.  Therefore, Ephesus represents the Post-Apostolic Age.

c.  The Apostolic Church History.

1.  The Times of Christ.  4 B.C. – 30 A.D.

a.  4 B.C. - Born during the reign of Caesar Augustus in Bethlehem/Judah.

b.  4 B.C.-27 A.D. - Raised in Nazareth in a carpenter’s home.

c.  27 A.D. – John the Baptist began his public ministry.

d.  27 A.D. – Jesus begins His public ministry.

c.  30 A.D. - Christ crucified, buried, and resurrected.

2.  The Apostolic Church Age.  30 A.D. – 100 A.D.

a.  30 A.D. – Christ died, buried, and resurrected.

b.  30 A.D. – Pentecost in Acts, chapter 2.  Great revival and the birth of the Church at Jerusalem.

c.  35 A.D. – Stephen martyred (Acts 7:54-60), and Paul converted (Acts 9:1-6).

d.  44 A.D. – James killed with a sword (Acts 12:1-2).  The first of the Apostles to be martyred.  James the greater (Jacobus major), the brother of John, one of the first 3 disciples as distinguished from John the less (Jacobus minor), the brother of Joses.     

Matthew 20:21-23  And he said unto her, What wilt thou? She saith unto him, Grant that these my two sons may sit, the one on thy right hand, and the other on the left, in thy kingdom.  (22)  But Jesus answered and said, Ye know not what ye ask. Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? They say unto him, We are able.  (23)  And he saith unto them, Ye shall drink indeed of my cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with: but to sit on my right hand, and on my left, is not mine to give, but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of my Father.

e.  46 A.D. – Paul begins his missionary journeys.

f.  46 A.D. – the first council at Jerusalem (Acts 15).

g.  64 A.D. – Rome burns, and Nero launches great persecutions.

h.  65 A.D. – Paul writes his last book, 2 Timothy, just prior to his death.

i.  63-67 A.D. – Paul and Peter are martyred.  All the apostles, except for John the Beloved, died between 63 A.D. and 67 A.D. according to tradition.

j.  70 A.D. – Titus of Rome destroys Jerusalem and the Zerubbabel’s Temple.  App. 1.5-3 million Jews are killed.

k.  96 A.D. – John is given the Revelation while exiled on the Isle of Patmos.

3.  The Persecution of the Apostolic Age.

a.  Persecution of Christians was both ecclesiastical and political during this period.

1)  Ecclesiastical – Jews persecuted Christians during the infancy of the church in Jerusalem.

2)  Political – organized persecution began in the reign of Nero (54-68 A.D.) from the Roman state.  Nero blamed Christians for the fire in Rome in 64 A.D..  These persecutions were local and sporadic until 250 A.D. when they became general and violent under Decius.

b.  Persecution broke out again in 95 A.D. during the reign of the despotic Domitian.

1)  The Jews had refused to pay a poll tax that had been levied for the support of Capitolinus Jupiter. Because the Christians continued to be associated with the Jews, they also suffered the effects of the emperor’s wrath.

2)  It was during this persecution that the apostle John was exiled to the Isle of Patmos, where he wrote the Book of Revelation.

II.  The Perennial Interpretation of The Church Age.

1.  Ephesus – The Drifting Church.  Our church must be careful not to drift from out mooring.   

2.  The Warning to the Churches.  Revelation 2:7a  “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches …"

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