Revelation 2:1-7  
I want to show you where Ephesus is in relation to the other churches in Asia Minor. The next picture is library and then a theater. So Ephesus was a cultured city.  
A Church Confirmed for their Labor vv.2-3  
In Acts 19 we see that Paul had a fruitful ministry in Ephesus, making disciples, seeing the church reject idol worship. Ephesus as you can see on the map was a coastal city, an area with traffic for the gospel. Normally a church praised for its labor would be one who was sharing the gospel. A church showing others the way of Christ. Often the word labor is used for pain. Even as they were being persecuted for their service for Christ, they endured. The translation for endurance in verse two can be continuing with a lasting hope.  
A Church Confronted for their Loss of Love vv.4-5  
Ephesus was in danger of becoming a “Pharisee church.” Meaning that they had a lot of knowledge, but they practiced legalism, and had lost a love for Christ and a love for people. If they remained on this path of destruction, it would result in death. What does God require? Matthew 22:37-39 “And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” The biggest gauge of how much you love Christ is how much do you love people? Every confrontation of sin must have a corrective action.  
How Do We Keep From Losing Our Love for Christ? Look at verse 5.
  1. Remember where you have fallen. Remember an earlier time in which you loved Christ (The present imperative form of this verb remember challenges those individuals and us today to keep on remembering.)
  2. Repent, Turn back to those disciplines that increase that love (hearing the gospel, studying God’s Word, being around a strong loving faith family, praying, go on a mission trip.)
  3. Return to the service of Christ. (Return to where you first fell in love with Christ.)

What happens if they don’t or if we don’t repent? The church dies! “Gone are the days when church attendance was a societal norm. For most of our American history, cultural and technological change was gradual, sufficiently paced for churches to lag only five to 10 years. Now churches are lagging 20 and 30 years as the speed of change increases dramatically. To many people, the church seems irrelevant.

“I am particularly concerned about the declining health of many churches. Between 6,000 and 10,000 churches in the U.S. are dying each year. That means around 100-200 churches will close this week. The pace will accelerate unless our congregations make some dramatic changes. It’s tempting to blame secular culture, national politics, or church leaders for the declining evangelical influence in today’s culture. If outside forces and culture were the reasons behind declining and non-influential churches, we would likely have no churches today. The greatest periods of church growth, particularly in the first century, took place in adversarial cultures. We are not hindered by external forces; we are hindered by our own lack of commitment, selflessness, and evangelistic urgency. Hear me well, church leaders. For many of your churches the choice is simple: change or die.” – Thom Rainer  

If we do not awaken to the fact and force that Christ must be our first love, we will die! What does this look like? An urgent emphasis on evangelism and discipleship.  

A Church Commended for their Lack of Acceptance of False Teaching v.6  

They did not tolerate evil. The Nicolaitans were a people who practiced idolatry and immorality. Not much is mentioned about them but early church history teaches that they followed the teachings of Nicolaus who was ordained a deacon in Acts 6, but who was later believed to trade following Christ for a life of pleasure and indulgence. The question is often asked, are we loving when confront sin? You better believe we are. In fact, that is one of the most loving things we can do is gently share that one is sinning. Paul makes this clear in Galatians. If they claim to be a Christian, they must know what the Bible says about the sin. Paul certainly did in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” Why did he share this? Because he loved the Corinthians. We love people so much we want them to experience the joy and satisfaction that only Jesus can bring. We often view Jesus as a meek and kind person, but he’s seriously against sin.  

A Church Challenged to Live for Christ v.7  


How do we live for Christ? We persevere. The word conquer in verse seven is translated to overcome. It’s the Greek word Nikao from which we get the word Nike. It’s a military term used to show victory. This term is used 26 times in the New Testament. Ultimate victory is with God and Him alone. John 16:33 “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”   There is a great promise here to all who live for Christ.


That promise is paradise with God.   

What would God say about Oak Hill Baptist Church? May He never say that we’ve lost our love for Him!