Quarter’s Theme: DIVINE DISPLAY OF THE WORD OF KNOWLEDGE
Unit 2 – I Know Thy Works-Time For Critical Self-Examination (Lessons 4-11)

LESSON 4                             28/6/2015
EPHESUS: THE CHURCH THAT FORSOOK THE FIRST LOVE
Suggested Hymns: G.H.B. 223, 260 
Devotional Reading: GAL. 1:3-10
Topic For Adults
GOD KNOWS ALL YOUR DEEDS
Topic For Youths
TEST ALL SPIRITS
Topic For Intermediates
LISTEN TO THE WORDS OF GOD
Scripture Lesson
REV. 2:1-7

Memory Verse:   “Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love “Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works” (Rev. 2:4-5a) NKJV

DAILY DEVOTIONAL READING
Sun.  28/6/2015
Put On The Whole Armor Of God
Eph. 6:10-18

Christian life is not a play ground, but a battle ground where Christians engage in a spiritual conflict with evil. This spiritual conflict is described as a continuous battle until life to come, the believer’s victory has been secured by Christ himself through His death on the cross. Jesus waged a triumphant battle against Satan, disarmed the evil power and authority. We are involved in a spiritual warfare that is waged by the power of the Holy Spirit against the sinful desire within, against ungodly pleasures of the world and against Satan and his forces. In this warfare of faith we are called on to endure hardships as good soldiers of Christ, suffer for the gospel and fight the good fight of faith. And he who thinks he stands should beware less he falls.
Point Of Emphasis:        Be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power
Prayer Point:                  Father, back me up so that I will not be wounded in the battle of life

BACKGROUND
Ephesus was a leading wealthy ancient city in the province of Asia. It was located
in a rich farming area close to Patmos. The temple of Artemis: one of the seven wonders of ancient world and the great trade port in Ephesus made the city a place of worship and tourist attraction.  The Ephesians were proud worshipers of Artemis, the many–breasted goddess of fertility and believed this image “fell from heaven” (Acts 19:35). The city is filled with idolatry, immorality, debauchery as well as religion, philosophy and cultures. The foundation of the church of Ephesus was laid during the visit of the apostle to the gentiles. It was sustained by the labour of Aquila and Prescillia, and strengthened by the support of eloquent Apollos (Acts 18:19-27).  The church enjoyed the ministration of Apostle Paul for 2 years and 3 months and was succeeded by Timothy who evidently spent major part of his ministerial life in Ephesus (1Tim. 1:3)

NOTES ON THE TEXT
(1)   CHARACTERISTICS OF THE AUTHOR OF THE LETTER (REV. 2:1)
Holding the stars in His right hand, not left hand, and walking amidst the lamp stands symbolically indicates that Jesus Christ was active in the church at Ephesus. He was acquainted with the activities and services in the church. He walked in the midst of His people and beheld all, top secrets inclusive. All that is hidden to man is exposed and known to Him.  This is an excellent picture of the early church, where the presence of the Lord was constantly in power to save souls and perform other miracles. Our lord still desires to be present in such power in church services today. It is one thing to know that Christ is in the church; it is another thing to allow Him to manifest Himself in our church services. Our pattern ought to be to fit into His program – not to ask Him to fit to ours.  He knows exactly what needs to be done and how to do it. As we learn to depend on our Lord’s guidance, He will continue to build His church through us.

(2)   COMMENDATION AND CHASTENING OF THE CHURCH (REV. 2:2-4, 6)
The statement “I know your deeds” indicates that the Ephesus church was an active church. While “good deeds” don’t save a person, they are indications of his spiritual vitality. We are not saved by faith and work, but by faith that works. With hard work and patience the church performed many righteous deeds.
·      They did not tolerate sin in the church
·      They allowed only sound doctrine to be taught
·      They suffered for Jesus Christ
·      They hated the practice of the Nicolaitans.
The Greek word Nicolaus means “to conquer the people”. This was a sect who “lord things over the church”. The sect robbed the people of their liberty in Christ. They initiated the clergy-laity: a false division that is not seen in the New testament church. The Lord hates this and the church also hates the practice.
Examining these commendations, one will conclude that the congregation is just above perfect; however, the one among the lampstands, who saw into the heart and diagnosed that the church has left, “ fallen” from his first love. First love here is the Agape love, giving oneself in totality, holding nothing back from God. This is the devotion to Christ, fervent personal, uninhibited excitement that so often characterized the new believers.
Paul emphasized the believers’ exalted position in Christ in heavenly places. (Eph.2:6). The Ephesians church has fallen and not living up to their heavenly position in Christ because they lost their first love, labor is not substitute to love. The church must have both.

(3)   COUNSEL AND CHALLENGE OF THE CHRUCH (REV. 2: 5, 7)
Believers’ love for God had not remained fresh and alive; therefore; the Lord of the church issued 3 sinister, simple warning and counsel or face the music of their lampstand being removed.
·      Remember the height where they had fallen. This is to keep on remembering what they have lost and cultivate a desire to regain that close commitment once again.
·      Prepare to have a change of mind, confess and turn to the Lord (I John 1:9)
·      Return to the first Love: the church is counseled to repeat and restore the spiritual fellowship that was broken by our sins and neglect believers. This means regular prayers, Bible reading and meditation, obedient service and worship. Jesus promised all overcomers would receive fruits from the tree of life in paradise, this is a challenge.

CONCLUSION
God’s act of love is still valid and always available for us today. The steadfast love of the Lord never ceaseth neither His mercies come to an end. If the church hates what God hates the church should also love what God loves. Let the church remain loving. We must not pay lip service.

QUESTIONS
(1)   How was the Author of the letter described?
(2)   What are the instructions of Christ to restore the first love?
(3)   What are the five commendations of the church in Ephesus?
(4)   What did Christ condemn in Ephesian church?

French

DIMANCHE  28/06/2015
REVETEZ-VOUS DE TOUTES LES ARMES DE DIEU
EPHESIENS 6 :10-18      

La vie chrétienne n’est pas un terrain de jeu mais un terrain de bataille où les chrétiens s’engagent dans un conflit spirituel avec le mal. Ce conflit spirituel est décrit comme une bataille continue jusqu’au monde à venir ; la victoire du croyant a été obtenue par Christ lui-même par sa mort sur la croix. Jésus mena une bataille triomphante contre Satan, désarma la puissance et l’autorité malveillante. Nous sommes impliqués dans une guerre spirituelle menée par la puissance du Saint-Esprit contre le désir immoral à l’intérieur contre les plaisirs impies du monde et contre Satan et ses forces. Dans cette guerre de la foi, nous y sommes appelés à endurer des épreuves comme de bons soldats de Christ, à souffrir pour l’évangile et a combattre le bon combat de la foi. Que celui pense être debout fasse attention de peur qu’il ne tombe.

Point essentiel : Fortifie-toi dans le Seigneur et par sa force toute-puissante.

Axe de prière : Père, soutiens-moi afin que je ne sois pas blessé sur le champ de bataille de la vie.

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