Letter to Ephesus, a Story of Tenacity

 


To the Church in Ephesus

1“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.

“‘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.

I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary.

But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first.

5Remember 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.

Yet this you have: you hate the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.

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. Revelation 2:1-7

Have you became so focused on your walk with Jesus that you have become a robot? So focused on trying to be perfect, always making sure that if someone is doing something they should not be without correction, you make sure they are rectified. I know it is hard when God has done so much for us that we do not understand how others can’t see the way we see it. We will become course in our correction, this abrasiveness is unfeeling lacking in love. The bible does say that as; Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Galatians 6:1 ESV So as you can see we are supposed to help correct those who have fallen, but notice that it says in gentleness. Gentleness, in love, tenderness is the key to what it is telling us to do, if you read on it tells you “lest you be tempted”. Be tempted? As it says in Rev 2:4 we are told that you can lose the love that you once had. That is not good we are supposed to love or neighbor, without that love we are doing the opposite of what Jesus told us to do. A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35 ESV So have you ever wondered exactly what love looks like: Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 ESV There are some that have been convinced that because we are Christians that we can do no wrong because God will always forgive us (“do the works you did at first”), that is correct but if we keep on doing the same things over and over again we are told that we need to repent. No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God. 1 John 3:9 Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? Romans 2:4 ESV Then there are those that have been praying for what is or seems to be years, remember in both instances: The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. 2 Peter 3:9 ESV My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. 1 John 2:1-2 ESV Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:2 ESV If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9 ESV

Getting to Know Him

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Citation:

“Bible Gateway Passage: – English Standard Version. version=ESV.

Smyrna

“And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write: The words of the first and the last, who died and came to life. I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich) and the slander of those who say that they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. The one who conquers will not be hurt by the second death.” Revelation 2:8-11 ESV

Smyrna; What’s left

Smyrna stands at the foot of a range of mountains which enclose it on three sides. The only ancient ruins are upon the mountains behind the town, and to the south. Upon the highest summit stands an old dilapidated castle, which is supposed by some to mark the previous (but not the most ancient) site of the city; frequent earthquakes having dictated the necessity of removing it to the plain below, and to the lower declivities of the mountains. Mr. Arundell says, “Few of the Ionian cities have furnished more relics of antiquity than Smyrna; but the convenience of transporting them, with the number of investigators, has exhausted the mine. It is therefore not at all wonderful that of the stoas and temples the very ruins have vanished; and it is now extremely difficult to determine the sites of any of the ancient buildings, with the exception of the stadium, the theater, and the Temple of Jupiter Acraeus, which was within the acropolis”. Of the stadium here mentioned the ground plot only remains, it being stripped of its seats and marble decorations. It is supposed to be the place where Polycarp, the disciple of John, and probably “the angel of the Church of Smyrna” (Joh_2:8), to whom the Apocalyptic message was addressed, suffered martyrdom. The Christians of Smyrna hold the memory of this venerable person in high honor, and go annually in procession to his supposed tomb, which is at a short distance from the place of martyrdom. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature

History

Smyrna, a large ancient city on the western coast of Asia Minor, at the head of a gulf which reaches 30 miles inland, was originally peopled by the Asiatics known as the Lelages. The city seems to have been taken from the Lelages by the Aeolian Greeks about 1100 BC; there still remain traces of the cyclopean masonry of that early time. In 688 BC it passed into the possession of the Ionian Greeks and was made one of the cities of the Ionian confederacy, but in 627 BC it was taken by the Lydians. During the years 301 to 281 BC, Lysimachus entirely rebuilt it on a new site to the Southwest of the earlier cities, and surrounded it by a wall. Standing, as it did, upon a good harbor, at the head of one of the chief highways to the interior, it early became a great trading-center and the chief port for the export trade. In Roman times, Smyrna was considered the most brilliant city of Asia Minor, successfully rivaling Pergamos and Ephesus. Its streets were wide and paved. Its system of coinage was old, and now about the city coins of every period are found. It was celebrated for its schools of science and medicine, and for its handsome buildings. Among them was the Homerium, for Smyrna was one of several places which claimed to be the birthplace of the poet. On the slope of Mt. Pagus was a theater which seated 20,000 spectators. In the 23 AD year a temple was built in honor of Tiberius and his mother Julia, and the Golden Street, connecting the temples of Zeus and Cybele, is said to have been the best in any ancient city. Smyrna early became a Christian city, for there was one of the Seven Churches of the Book of Revelation (Rev_2:8-11). There Polycarp, the bishop of Smyrna, was martyred, though without the sanction of the Roman government. It seems that the Jews of Smyrna were more antagonistic than were the Romans to the spread of Christianity, for it is said that even on Saturday, their sacred day, they brought wood for the fire in which Polycarp was burned. His grave is still shown in a cemetery there. Like many other cities of Asia Minor, Smyrna suffered frequently, especially during the years 178-80 AD, from earthquakes, but it always escaped entire destruction. During the Middle Ages the city was the scene of many struggles, the most fierce of which was directed by Timur against the Christians. Tradition relates that there he built a tower, using as stones the heads of a thousand captives which he put to death, yet Smyrna was the last of the Christian cities to hold out against the Mohammedans; in 1424 it fell into the hands of the Turks. It was the discovery of America and the resulting discovery of a sea route to India which ruined the Smyrna trade. International Standard Bible Encyclopedia

What a Past

Smyrna has a deep interest to Christians from this fact. During one of the Roman persecutions many Christians suffered the most dreadful torments here. They were put to death at the stake, or by wild beasts in the amphitheater; and the only test applied to them was whether they would throw a few grains of incense into the fire as a sacrifice to the genius of the emperor, or whether they would refuse. A circular letter addressed to the churches in the Christian world from that of Smyrna gives a most interesting account of Polycarp’s death, and Neander has admirably translated, abridged, and systematized it. The proconsul before whom Polycarp was accused did all he could to save the venerable bishop, now in his ninetieth year; and when, like Pontius Pilate before him, he found it impossible to restrain the popular fury, he refused to allow any wild beasts to be let loose, and Polycarp, abandoned to the populace, was fastened to a stake and soon surrounded with flames. An old tradition states that the flames formed an arch above the head of the martyr, and left him uninjured; seeing this, a Roman soldier pierced him to the heart with a spear, and the fire then did its office, and consumed the lifeless body. It is, however, as Neander observes, more rational to believe that Polycarp died as Ridley and Latimer have done in more modern times. It is by no means improbable that Polycarp was confined in some one of the arched vaults within the acropolis, which remain to this day. An ancient mosque is also standing, which is said to have been the Church of St. John; but tradition is not much to be depended upon for assigning the correct site to such buildings, and the edifices of Smyrna are constructed of a white and peculiarly friable marble not adapted for great permanency. The Apocalyptic message to the Church at Smyrna is one which conveys no reproach, and, it has been often brought forward as a proof of the inspiration of the book in which it is found, that Smyrna has been always a flourishing city, and that there has been, ever since the days of the apostle, a numerous congregation of Christians among her inhabitants. This, however, has not been, strictly speaking, the case, and it is easy to carry such a mode of proving the truth of Scripture too far; but it is satisfactory to know that true religion is greatly on the increase in this important city, and that the labors of Protestant missionaries have been abundantly successful. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature

Smyrna/Izmir Now:

Izmir/Smyrna is the third largest city in Turkey with a population of around 4 million, the second biggest port after Istanbul, and a very good transport hub. The fact that almost half of its population of 4 million are under the age of 30, makes İzmir a city full of life. The city hosts tens of thousands of university students, educates scientists, artists, business leaders and academics. Several railroads follow the courses of the ancient routes into the distant interior. In its harbor ships from all parts of the world may be seen. The ancient harbor of Paul’s time has been filled in, and there the modern bazaars stand. The old stadium has been destroyed to make room for modern buildings, and a large part of the ancient city lies buried beneath the modern houses and many mosques of which the city boasts. The better of the modern buildings, belonging to the government and occupied by the foreign consuls, stand along the modern quay. Traces of the ancient walls are still to be found. West of Mt. Pagus is the Ephesian gate, and the Black-gate, as the Turks call it, is near the railroad station. The castle upon Mt. Pagus, 460 ft. above the sea, dates from Byzantine times. The prosperity of Smyrna is due, not only to the harbor and the port of entry to the interior, but partly to the perfect climate of spring and autumn – the winters are cold and the summers are hot; and also to the fertility of the surrounding country. Figs, grapes, valonia, opium, sponges, cotton and licorice root are among the chief articles of trade. International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Wiki Travel

Getting to Know Him

Do you want eternal life? Do you want to enter heaven through the only guide that can help you navigate your way there? To enter His home, get to know Him better, and make Him your Lord and Savior CLICK HERE…..

Citations:

Esword

“Sword: Free Bible Study for the PC.” International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature, e-sword.net/.

Bible Gateway

 “BibleGateway.” BibleGateway.com: A Searchable Online Bible in over 150 Versions and 50 Languages., http://www.biblegateway.com/‎.

ESV

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.