Taking the Epistle

A biblical journey through the epistles

Category Archives: Revelation

Lessons from the Ephesians – Don’t lose your first love!!!! – Revelation 2:1-7

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Lessons from the Ephesians – Don’t lose your first love!!!! – Revelation 2:1-7 – 06/28/2016

It has been a while huh? I bet most of you haven’t noticed but I haven’t put out a blog in nearly 6 weeks and I think that is some sort of record for me. In that time I have not been idle, I have been doing some reassessing and looking at myself and as the church at whole introspectively. This blog article is not dedicated to any particular group of Christians but to Christianity as a whole. The verses I want to look at today are a well-known passage in Revelation…

Revelation 2:1 (ESV) “To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: ‘The words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand, who walks among the seven golden lampstands. 2 “‘I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false. 3 I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary. 4 But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. 5 Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent. 6 Yet this you have: you hate the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. 7 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.’

I want to go to this church!

When I look at what the Ephesians had together I am amazed I would want to go to this church!!! They had …

  • Works
  • Toil
  • Endurance
  • Patience
  • A hunger for holiness
  • Enough doctrine to test what was good (They remembered the warning in Acts 20:17-31)
  • Judgment to call those false who were false
  • They were okay to endure for the name of the Lord/They were known as Christians
  • They did not grow weary/remained hopeful despite trials

Sounds like a solid bunch huh? I know from experience when I have been assessing churches to make sure that my wife and I are serving where we are called to be at this time by the Lord I have a list of “must haves” a list of “nice to haves” and a list that are “cosmetic purposes only” and this was from advice from a Pastor I trust that asked me once “what is your deal breakers?”.

Warning to the new church seeker

I say this because there maybe that guy or girl at the moment who is contemplating switching churches, perhaps for a good reason, perhaps not but I would encourage you to watch out for the Ephesian church, they may be the one with the biggest youth ministry, the best programs, the largest congregation, the best sounding worship, the best light display but outside the Sunday meeting they may be a group who never interacts with each other and are strangers apart from a warm handshake and a bunch of promises to meet (which never materialize).

They may have none of those things and may tick all of your intellectual boxes, they may not have worship down, children’s ministry sometimes happens and sometimes does not but the Pastor teaches some of the most intellectually profound, right on doctrine that flexes your spiritual muscles on a weekly basis, the exegesis and hermeneutics are phenomenal and the teaching is at college level theological seminary and new believers learn a lot of spiritual language but is light on application and you see quickly that apart from the weekly lecture, there is no mentoring, no feeding into one another and loving on one another apart from maybe one or two individuals but the culture of love is not present and you know that a year down the line you won’t know these people any better than today.

Those are two extremes of course and the church you are looking at will most probably be somewhere in the middle of those but what they have in common is that while each opposite have vital components that will get people through the door if they are Ephesian in nature and forgotten their first love then all else is in vain. As Shakespeare would say “it is all for nought”.

Beware of the Pharisee Christian

Let’s look at those vitals that are alive in this Ephesian church…

  • Works
  • Toil
  • Endurance
  • Patience
  • A hunger for holiness
  • Enough doctrine to test what was good
  • Judgment to call those false who were false
  • They were okay to endure for the name of the Lord/They were known as Christians
  • They did not grow weary/remained hopeful despite trials

However…you can fall victim to the human nature that thinks that as you progress as a Christian you become “too good” for the things you did as a baby Christian (or the basics) but I would remind you that you would not build a structure without a foundation and even if you become a master builder and have built many fine buildings, imagine turning up a new job and stating to the works foreman that we “would not bother with the foundation as this building will be great because I am the builder”. All you are setting yourself up for is a building that will fall and a reputation ruined… How is your relationship building with Jesus? Is the foundation sure?

Jesus had a lot to say to the Pharisees in the Gospels because they were the ones who know the doctrine, they were the ones who should have known better and they should have been rejoicing at the Messiah, the Pharisees had the works, had the doctrine, they were known as the holy ones, they were supposed to toil, have endurance and patience and many did but some did not… (see a pattern here?)

This I have against you…

God is not saying do not have these things in place but there is an important foundation to have in verse 4 and 5…

“V4 But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. 5 Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first.”

The word “abandoned” is telling here, it is not like losing your keys, they had made decisions to leave their first love, that to me is the saddest part of the passage and even although internally they were like whitewashed tombs (Matthew 23:25-28) They had left the love of God and the love for one another, they no longer had that first love of Jesus, like a marriage that both parties have allowed to become stale they no longer have that new romance spark and they did not allow it to mature so they have a broken relationship.

They are prodigals or wayward sons that have still got to come to that afternoon in the pigpen eating swill and realizing that they could have it much better as the lowest servant in their father’s house. Like the father in that account in Luke (Luke 15:11-32) when they returned to the love of the father there was much celebration, forgiveness and absolution of the sin that cause the son to go so low.

Exhortation and application

We are all sinners and the Ephesian church did not always have it together, read the epistle to Ephesians if you do not believe me. We all need repentance; we all need forgiveness whether your sins are few or many and we all could do with being closer to Jesus and I commend you all to learn the lessons of the Ephesians, take the good in what they do and in the spirit of application we need to do the basics, repent, find our first love and then follow Gods plan!

God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to, as always I love questions about this or any other article so please feel free to fill in the form below, all comments are moderated to avoid profanity.
TTE
TGBTG
SDG

If we endure, we will also reign with him – 2nd Timothy 2:8-13

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If we endure, we will also reign with him – 2nd Timothy 2:8-13 – 04/29/2016

Thank you for clicking on our page for the Pauline epistle which is called 2nd Timothy, the letter is authored by the apostle Paul to Timothy who was in the Ephesian church. This is called a Pastoral Epistle and gives many doctrines that we still use in both church structure and also for choosing leaders in the church. For other bible studies on other epistles please see our main epistle page or for others in 2nd Timothy please click on this link.

2nd Timothy 2:8 (ESV) Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my gospel, 9 for which I am suffering, bound with chains as a criminal. But the word of God is not bound! 10 Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. 11 The saying is trustworthy, for: If we have died with him, we will also live with him; 12 if we endure, we will also reign with him; if we deny him, he also will deny us; 13 if we are faithless, he remains faithful—for he cannot deny himself.

When I set this blog up my intention was to explore the epistles and do the occasional bible study based on what I had studied and learned, what you are reading below is notes I have made. I have to confess that this bible study is basic in its content and is not prepared by a pastor and I have to admit I have no theological training; my hope in prayer is that someone will be blessed by the notes below.

Let’s start in verse eight of the second chapter of Second Timothy.

V8 Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my gospel,

Paul continues his epistle to Timothy by asking him to be in remembrance who the faith is based on, that he should not forget that Christ was the very cornerstone of the faith and if he was forgetting then Paul was going to spell out the reason why Jesus should be remembered. It was not likely that Timothy would forget because he would be proficient in sound doctrine before Paul would allow him to teach on his own.

Jesus who rose from the dead should be front and center of the doctrine of Timothy’s assembly. I would go so far as to say that it should be the number one priority of every assembly. Paul states the credentials of Jesus the Messiah reminding him that he was of the line of David, thus fulfilling prophecy and he was raised from the dead. Death could not hold him in the grave, we see Paul reminding Timothy that the whole Old Testament pointed towards Jesus as the messiah.

Paul writes here that he had taught Timothy the history of the Messiah and the gospel message when he taught him and Paul reminds him that the fact that Jesus was resurrected was part of the glorious message and that this had not to not bury (no pun intended) this in the message and that it should be part of the evidence for the faith (to quote Josh McDowell).

V9 for which I am suffering, bound with chains as a criminal. But the word of God is not bound!

Paul states that by sharing these truths this is what has made him a prisoner, there was no Mercedes Benz, no luxury yacht and no flash lifestyle of ease for this trailblazer of the gospel he suffered and was bound in chains as if he was a criminal. He wrote this letter of encouragement and exhortation whilst being in chains, Paul had a peculiar but wonderful attitude that we could all learn from because o what he states next.

He acknowledged that they could chain him up, attempt to break his spirit and stop this evangelist from travelling through these Romans lands spreading the good news of Jesus Christ, however he could not stop the truth of the Word of God from reaching peoples ears and as long as there were people like Timothy teaching the true word and not being discouraged or diluting the gospel then the Word of God would never be changed. Paul himself although he was limited in his geographical reach being chained up as a prisoner, we know that Paul preached to those who were guarding him and he literally would use any opportunity to sow a seed for Jesus. That convicts and challenges me that although I do what I do under the direction of the Holy Spirit, I do wonder what I am missing?

The same is true today because when Christians are persecuted and forced underground we see that despite the very fact that these people often times have no bibles, no real pastoral help and often times if they share the gospel they are risking their lives we see that the gospel thrives in those areas because it is real life and it is a matter of life and death. The Word of God cannot be chained by anyone and Praise God that is the case!

V10 Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.

Paul isn’t complaining here, he is stating fact, he does it for God certainly but he suffers for God’s people also. He had one mission and one concern and that was to see people join him in heaven, that they may obtain that salvation through Christ, see them in a relationship with Jesus, be strong in the faith and in the end to be with him in eternal glory. What a mission and if we are not on board with that then we really have to question our mission on this earth. If you are not then you need to look at the stuff that you have allowed you to get distracted (look at verse 14 of this chapter if you think this is just my opinion) because I am sure that there are some folks that still need to hear about Jesus love in your life. I know I have some in mine!

V11 The saying is trustworthy, for: If we have died with him, we will also live with him; 12 if we endure, we will also reign with him; if we deny him, he also will deny us; 13 if we are faithless, he remains faithful—for he cannot deny himself.

Paul finishes this part with a trustworthy saying; you know that he is being honest here because he goes to great lengths to tell you he is. This passage is not really a popular passage among those pastors who like to give “motivational messages” every Sunday and Paul states that we are called to go out but not always called to return. There may come a day when we have to pay that ultimate price for association with Jesus Christ and I personally think that day is closer today than it was yesterday.

I say this because of the context of the passage and that Paul has endurance before death and denial and faithlessness afterwards. Paul is staring at the business end of a Government that wasn’t all that friendly to those who followed Jesus of Nazareth so it is fairly probable that his own sacrifice was on his mind as well. Imagine that you are confident that you will only get one letter out to Timothy before you are executed for your faith, I am sure that you are going to take all of your swings and make sure that every bullet in your barrel is spent before that letter leaves for him, that is exactly what Paul is doing here.

We are also told that if we endure, if we struggle on in the faith regardless of the odds and despite how bleak it seems then we will also reign with him. The most prevalent example I can give of this is the man who despite everything, despite how bleak this appear is the man who still prays in faith for a promise that he had from God even although he is in the pit of despair and any logical mind would tell him that it is not happening! Whatever trial we are going through we have a much greater reward in store if we endure.

If we deny him then we will also be denied and that is a very stark and frightening warning which makes me want to do all I am commanded to by God and fulfil all that he has for me in my life. I do not want to miss a thing and I do not want to live in a way that would deny my Savior. Jesus states the same in Matthew 10:33

Matthew 10:26 (ESV) “So have no fear of them, for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. 27 What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops. 28 And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. 29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. 30 But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. 32 So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, 33 but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.

If we are faithless he will remain faithful and my life is testimony to that. I have had times in my life when I walked away from God and was not faithful but my Savior remained faithful to be and I was truly a prodigal son. (See Luke 15:11-32) God knew that he would be the faithful one in his relationship between man and God, even Abraham when the Abrahamic covenant was made, God was the one who made the covenant and did all the hard work and lastly we see this confirmed in Revelation 14.

Revelation 14:12 (ESV) Here is a call for the endurance of the saints, those who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus. 13 And I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” “Blessed indeed,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them!”

In our own lives we have to do our best to not turn people from Jesus based on what we do, we are to not serve as a bad example of what a Jesus person would be. We should be diligent, we should work hard, we should be honest and that way when we tell people of Jesus and his love for us we will be more credible and genuine because we won’t attract gossip and have to deal with character questions.

Lord willing, in our next article in Second Timothy we will look at the verses eight through thirteen of chapter two where Paul talks being a worker approved by God, having read ahead I love these scriptures and I pray that you are able to join us as we go through the bible, line by line and precept by precept.

God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to, as always I love questions about this or any other article so please feel free to fill in the form below, all comments are moderated to avoid profanity.
TTE
TGBTG
SDG

BIAY – Bible in a year – December 31st 2015

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This article is part of a series called Bible in a year, for the full year please check out our BIAY home page, or for December check out our December page.

Thank you for checking out “bible in a year” post for December thirty first.

Today’s scripture is as follows:

Revelation 20-22.

Please share, comment or like below as the LORD leads
TGBTG
TTE

BIAY – Bible in a year – December 30th 2015

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This article is part of a series called Bible in a year, for the full year please check out our BIAY home page, or for December check out our December page.

Thank you for checking out “bible in a year” post for December thirty.

Today’s scripture is as follows:

Revelation 18-19.

Please share, comment or like below as the LORD leads
TGBTG
TTE

Genesis One – Day Three – Land, seas and plants – Genesis 1:9-13

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Genesis One – Day Three – Land, seas and plants – Genesis 1:9-13 – 12/29/2015
Genesis 1:9 (ESV) And God said, “Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.” And it was so. 10 God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good. 11 And God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind, on the earth.” And it was so. 12 The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed according to their own kinds, and trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 13 And there was evening and there was morning, the third day.
This article is designed to be a slightly more in depth article than I did in the “creation series” elsewhere on this website, Lord willing I hope to look at the full creation week and examine the case for a Biblical creation from the mindset that the bible is accurate and a honest and truthful source of history in how we came to be here. I am not here to attack other mindsets as I appreciate that not everyone shares my view of a biblical history and I do welcome lively debate on the subject regardless of your thoughts or beliefs on how the earth was made.
In order to look at this from a biblical context we must first look at the text in question starting in verse nine…
V9 And God said, “Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.” And it was so. 10 God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good.
Remember in the last article I wrote that “the creation of the earth was very ordered in that God did not place land dwelling animals or humans while it was all seas, well this is where we see the fruition of that. Before that point the earth was covered in water, there were no plants, no living things in the seas and no fossil record at that time.
It is vitally important that we read when the dry land appeared and why there was a separation between the two. We were not made to be evolved creatures as none of us have scales, fins or amphibious breathing apparatus in our bodies and would only survive in the waters as long as our strength would keep up above it. There is no fossil record that shows a half man/half fish evolved creature so by reasoned logic we use good observational science to state that there is not one due to lack of evidence. There is also no “FishDog” or FishCow” so the same can be concluded about the animal kingdom.
Can you imagine this task that God had here? Imagine the millions of gallons of water in the sea and the weight of what had to be moved. It seems like a small thing because it is only a few words but it is a large task and to remove it in such a fashion that it is just not covering the earth but the land was dry. This is what we live on today, the earth and the last part of verse ten confirms that “it was good”, at that point there was only positive creation, there was no death, no disease, no pain, no suffering and everything was good.
V11 And God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind, on the earth.” And it was so. 12 The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed according to their own kinds, and trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.
Being of a critical mind, the first thing I notice is that the earth was growing vegetation, plants who yielded seed and trees bearing fruit all happened before the sun and moon were made on the fourth day, (Genesis 1:14-19) the skeptic may claim this is an error in creation or that the plants would never have survived without solar light. Well if this is their only criticism of creation then Praise the LORD!
My answer to this is that it follows creation perfectly in that if God had wished the Sun and the moon to be markers of a day or a night then he would have created them one day one. What he did create on day one was a light to signify day and a darkness to signify night. (Genesis 1:1-5) so the light that would have been enough to satisfy creation in day one and two is more than capable of sustaining life on day three.
Here also is where the evolutionary Christian, or Gap Theorist comes into an issue as well. If the days (even though the word for day is “yom” a literal Hebrew word for “day”) were ages of thousands of years or any time period in between would have a real issue trying to sell the notion that plant life, vegetation and trees could survive for thousands of years without a sun or a moon.
It is of course not out with the realms of possibility that God started Creation with the way that it will end (with no Sun and Moon) Let’s look at the book of Revelation…
Revelation 21:23 (ESV) And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb.
I am not here to tell you what to believe, I am just attempting to present the biblical case based on the text in front of me and how you interpret it or take a belief from it is on you, however I will state my bias as a Creationist and I have formulated that belief based on ten years of studying various texts from both sides and coming to the conclusion that my hermeneutics are that I will take the Genesis text as a literal translation based on what I have read and the text evidence from the original languages.
The text here tells us that the growth on earth was created not by God tossing some seeds on the ground and allowing the earth to cultivate crops within a few weeks or months or years, no! It states that “The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed according to their own kinds, and trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind” so by the end of that third day then those plants were already fully grown, bearing seeds to replicate and the trees were already bearing fruit as mature plants. This is consistent with the fact that when man was created there was food already there for him to eat and there is very little faith involved in looking at the text and reading it as a whole account.
God created them to bear seeds after its kind, so we don’t read of an orange tree bearing apples or vice versa, we would allow variation within a kind such as a red apple, yellow apple, green apple but they would still be – Apples! And God called it “good” and that comes from the one who cannot lie! He is the author and finisher of creation and despite it being his design it is called “good” as a reminder that it is a place that he has created that man can live in.
V13 And there was evening and there was morning, the third day.
And if we needed a reminder the writer gives us a reminder that it was a literal third day and as if to labor the point we are also reminded that it was “an evening and a morning”.
God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to
TTE
TGBTG
SDG

BIAY – Bible in a year – December 29th 2015

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This article is part of a series called Bible in a year, for the full year please check out our BIAY home page, or for December check out our December page.

Thank you for checking out “bible in a year” post for December twenty ninth.

Today’s scripture is as follows:

Revelation 15-17.

Please share, comment or like below as the LORD leads
TGBTG
TTE

BIAY – Bible in a year – December 28th 2015

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This article is part of a series called Bible in a year, for the full year please check out our BIAY home page, or for December check out our December page.

Thank you for checking out “bible in a year” post for December twenty eighth. 

Today’s scripture is as follows:

Revelation 12-14.

Please share, comment or like below as the LORD leads
TGBTG
TTE

BIAY – Bible in a year – December 27th 2015

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This article is part of a series called Bible in a year, for the full year please check out our BIAY home page, or for December check out our December page.

Thank you for checking out “bible in a year” post for December twenty seventh.

Today’s scripture is as follows:

Revelation 8-11.

Please share, comment or like below as the LORD leads
TGBTG
TTE

BIAY – Bible in a year – December 26th 2015

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This article is part of a series called Bible in a year, for the full year please check out our BIAY home page, or for December check out our December page.

Thank you for checking out “bible in a year” post for December twenty sixth.

Today’s scripture is as follows:

Revelation 4-7.

Please share, comment or like below as the LORD leads
TGBTG
TTE

BIAY – Bible in a year – December 25th 2015

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This article is part of a series called Bible in a year, for the full year please check out our BIAY home page, or for December check out our December page.

Thank you for checking out “bible in a year” post for December twenty fifth.

Today’s scripture is as follows:

Jude 1
Revelation 1-3.

Please share, comment or like below as the LORD leads
TGBTG
TTE