Each of the churches listed in Revelation 2-3 was a literal congregation in Asia Minor. But one of the amazing truths about this list is that they also represent church ages that have taken place throughout history. In any other order, this would not be the case. So, there are lessons to learn from church history, but there are also lessons for us to learn from each of these congregations.
Ephesus is the first church listed. Some of the meanings for the name Ephesus can be Desired One or Beloved. This points to how much Jesus loves the church. Historically this would have been the church age at the time of the apostles.
“I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked people, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary.” Revelation 2:2-3
This church had a lot of their priorities in the correct order. They were hard workers, recognized wickedness, and refused to stand for it, understood truth and persevered. They would not grow weary and quit. The Lord had a lot of good to say to them.
And don’t we want that? We want to hear that we are pleasing Him. So, what can we learn from this church?
Work hard...look for ways to make a difference.
Persevere...keep on, even in difficult circumstances.
Refuse to tolerate wickedness...don’t accept every teaching, but test it through the Word of God.
Endure hardships...recognize that the Lord can use everything for building His Kingdom.
The Lord had a lot of good to say to this church, but His message wasn’t over...