This message is a fitting introduction to a series on the nature of the church. In these verses, the Lord Jesus Christ is speaking to the church and he is speaking to us.
John the Apostle knew Jesus well. He walked, travelled, and served with Jesus for three years. He sat next to Jesus at the Last Supper. He ate breakfast with him after the resurrection. But now Christ has ascended into heaven. The Father has glorified the Son and given him the name that is above every name.
John is in prison on the island of Patmos. He is given a vision, a revelation of Jesus Christ. John sees his glory and says, "When I saw him I fell at his feet as though dead." Then Christ puts his hand on John and says, "Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever" (Revelation 1:17-18).
Christ speaks to his church
Notice what Christ says to this church in the first five verses of this passage. First, the risen Christ speaks to his church in verse 1: "To the angel of the church in Ephesus write." We know a lot about the church at Ephesus. It was a privileged church that had been greatly blessed. The church at Ephesus was planted by the Apostle Paul and it began with a great outpouring of the Holy Spirit. You can read the story in Acts 19.
There is evidence that John had strong links with this church. Timothy later served as its pastor—Paul tells him to "stay … in Ephesus" in 1 Timothy 1). When Paul says farewell to the Ephesians elders in Acts 20, he weeps and so do they, because they know they won't see each other again. The Letter to the Ephesians was also written to this church. It was a marvelous church, privileged and blessed in every way.
Then Christ ...
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