|FIRST: THE GOOD NEWS - CHRIST COMMENDS THE EPHESIANS.
"I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars: And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name=s sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted."(Rev. 2:2-3)
Jesus says to this assembly that He knew of their deeds and hard labor for the Lord showing which shows His personal attention to the affairs of His congregation. Christ commends them for their "work." This refers to the service done in the power of the Holy Spirit. The term "hard labor" means to "toil, or strenuous exhausting effort." Thus this church was a well-organized, busy and a hardworking assembly.
Their patience denotes they were enduring and not losing momentum. They refused to be defeated even though wickedness and opposition was all around them. This church just fought harder when presented with difficulty.
They did not tolerate evil men. Unbelief is evil and sin whether it be in a preacher, a church, a denomination, or an organization or people in general. This church abhorred evil and false teachers. Today often peace is placed ahead of truth in churches and pastors and churches have compromised God's Word least they offend the wicked. They preclude that, "I know it is wrong, but for the sake of peace we will tolerate it." Some proclaim, "Peace at any price," yet the Lord says "have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them." (Eph. 5:11) If the price of peace is to allow sin and false teaching to go unrebuked in the church or in one's life, the price is too high and God’s will is not being done. There can be no true peace where false doctrine and sin are found.
The Lord is commending them for their uncompromising stand for the truth against false apostles who this church showed to be liars. Pastors and churches today should take heed of the Christ=s commending approval of this church for contending for the faith. (Jude 3) The modern trend is to accept anything and anyone who says he is speaking for Christ without testing them by closely examining their teachings and actions by the Bible. Many churches striving for outward success and numbers and have allowed worldly philosophies and methods into their midst. The modern heretical emerging church movement is a perfect example. Using faulty human wisdom they have abandoned God word, merged worldliness into their services. Pragmatism has replaced sound doctrine in many churches. To these church is not a matter of “What does the Bible teach” but what works. The radio and TV is flooded by false preachers and churches of every persuasion and rarely if ever do you hear them exposed and denounced from the pulpits of most churches.
In the church at Ephesus false teachers were identified and rebuked as liars and this pleased the Savior. An example church ignoring God=s truth is the growing acceptance of the false doctrines of the Pentecost and Charismatic movements. Once biblically sound churches are now rushing to copy the worldly practices of these groups by having what is called non-traditional services, changing their names to identify themselves as being non-denominational, and participating in the gross errors of movements such as the Promise Keepers and teaching the human philosophy such a Rick Warrens “Purpose Driven Church.” The music in many of these churches is patterned after the world using rock music with supposed Christian words. Biblical doctrine rebukes sin and error and therefore has been set aside in the pursuit of greater bigger churches and more money. Christ cannot nor will He bless error and those that ignore His word. A stern warning should be seen in Christ=s praising these believers for upholding biblical teachings and for their discernment. Romans 12:2 proclaims "And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.@
The Ephesians hated false teachers. They tested their teachers and compared them and what they taught to the Word of God. They were as orthodox and fundamental in doctrine as any church. Yet, in spite of all their outward appearance of being a spiritual church they were backslidden. The word of God is to be believed and upheld, yes, but unless it is lived it produces no honor to the Lord. One commentator said, "They were straight theologically as a gun barrel and just as empty." How sad that they championed God=s word, looked so good outwardly, yet were inwardly dead.
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