The Church of Ephesus
The Church of God in Ephesus (referred to simply as “church of Ephesus” in Revelation 2:1) started with Paul’s first visit to Ephesus and Apollos’ strong preaching. When Paul returned to the city the next time, he discovered that some people had become disciples, including “only twelve” men (Acts 19:1, 7).
Paul then preached the gospel for three years in Ephesus (Acts 20:31), which was a relatively long period of time in comparison to his other stops. He started by speaking in the sanctuary and then teaching daily in Tyrannus’ school “so that those who dwelt in Asia, both Jews and Greeks, learned the word of the Lord Jesus” (Acts 19:10).
As a result, the church of Ephesus increased in size and became a major centre for preaching the gospel across Asia (which is now western Turkey). Paul wrote a letter to the Ephesians that includes more specifics about his ministry in this city. And when he returned through the region on his way to Jerusalem, he summoned the elders.
According to Paul’s correspondence with these men and their parting, it appears that they had grown very close. “They all wept openly, and fell on Paul’s neck and kissed him, sorrowing most of all for the words which he said, that they would no longer see his face,” Paul said after they had prayed. They accompanied him to the ship as well” (Acts 20:37-38).
Timothy later worked as the pastor of the church in Ephesus, according to the Bible (1 Timothy 1:1-3). According to legend, the apostle John spent several years in Ephesus at the end of the first century, dying and being buried there.
Meaning of the Message to the Church of Ephesus
When we examine this instruction from Christ, we see that he told the Ephesians that he knew their deeds, patience, and conduct toward those who practiced evil—all of which seem to be Nicolaitan characteristics. Christ realized that their city had achieved much and that they had set an example for all of Asia.
He also recognized that members of this congregation had remained loyal to God despite false teachers pretending to be apostles.
After thanking the Ephesus church for its good works, Jesus informed them that He had something against them. They had experienced the loss of their “first love” (verse 4).
Relevance of the Message to the Church of Ephesus Today
“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches,” Jesus concluded His message to the Ephesus church. I will offer to him who overcomes to eat from the tree of life, which is during God’s Paradise” (Revelation 2:7). In this declaration, Jesus encourages us to pay attention to the messages that have been sent to all the churches so that we can enter the Kingdom of God.
This advice to Ephesus is still valid today. We must keep our love for God and others. In John’s words; “In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness, but who does not love his brother, is not of God” (1 John 3:10).