Remember to read these letters in light of what Chapter 1 shows us: They are the words of Jesus- the Alpha and Omega, the infinitely wise One, the One who has loved us a freed us from our sins by shedding His very own blood (1:5). These words are from the One with a passionate fire of love and zeal in His eyes (1:14). These are not the words of an angry, far away God who is looking to criticize.
The Loving One is affirming His people, encouraging them, equipping them, and preparing the ones He loves to walk worthy, to stand and to overcome in the midst of adversity and what could be troubling events. His goal, in love, is not to condemn, but to bring them into a place to be with Him and NOT be destroyed! So, these messages contain the keys for US on the matters that are dear to His heart and which will strengthen us and equip us to not just endure, but to OVECROME and be victorious in the day of His return!
You’ll notice that each letter seems to follow a pattern:
-There’s a greeting, highlighting a specific facet of Jesus’ personality
–Jesus affirms what He is proud of in this group of people
-He delivers a loving correction to areas of weakness
-Encourages them to submit to His leadership by telling them the reward they will receive if they are faithful. [It’s okay to be want rewards! God has planted it in us to be motivated by rewards!]
Here’s my outline of the message to the church in Ephesus:
Greeting/Personality feature: “The One who holds the seven stars in his right hand, the one who walks among the gold lampstands”.
Possible message: Jesus saying, “I hold the leaders of the churches (stars) in my hand, my hand of authority (right hand). I am with you, I walk among you in your churches (lampstands).”
Affirmations: I love your hard work, your patient endurance. I love that you don’t tolerate evil people, and you’ve discerned those who are for real and those who aren’t. You’ve suffered and not given up.Loving Correction: You don’t love me or each other the way you used to! Get back to doing that! It’s way more important to me than anything else!
Reward: You’ll get to eat from the tree of life in Paradise!