Revelation 2:1-7

Sunday Morning Bible Study

July 17, 2011


Do people see Jesus? Is the gospel preached? Does it speak to the broken hearted? Does it build up the church? Milk – Meat – Manna Preach for a decision

Even though we think of the Book of Revelation being about the future, we will see that its real aim is to affect the present.  The entire book is written to seven churches, and the specific letters to the seven churches is at the heart of what the book is about.

Applying the Seven Letters

With the seven letters to these seven churches in Asia, we are going to see principles that apply on a variety of levels.

1.  Seven churches in Asia

There is a sense in which these are seven literal letters written to seven specific, historical, literal churches that existed about 2,000 years ago.

2. The entire church

With the number seven being a symbol of things complete or perfect, there is a sense in which these letters are written to every part of the universal church of Jesus Christ throughout history.
Jesus will give the admonition in each of the letters:
(Re 2:7 NKJV) “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.

In other words, these letters are for all churches to pay attention to.

Throughout church history we have seen various movements, divisions, or denominations spring up.
The seven churches can be a picture of seven types of denominations.

There will be some denominations that will look a bit like the loveless Ephesus, while others might look like lukewarm Laodicea.

The seven churches can be like the different types of churches you will find in each denomination.

Not every Calvary Chapel or Baptist church has the same flavor.

3. Individuals

The different churches can become pictures of different types of individuals.
Jesus not only addresses the letters to the “churches”, but to individual readers:
(Re 2:7 NKJV)He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
There are going to be some people who have a tendency to be more like one church than another.
Some people’s lives are more characteristic of the persecuted church of Smyrna while others may have the evangelistic fervor of Philadelphia.
If you are honest with yourself, you are going to find that each of us has a tendency towards all the churches.
There are times when I am tempted to compromise like Pergamos or am feeling a big dead like Sardis.
Everyone in this room who has an ear to hear, ought to pay attention to what Jesus is saying to all the churches.

4. Prophetic

I believe there is a prophetic undercurrent with these letters as well.
You can see patterns in church history that roughly parallel the progression of these churches.
There is an order to the churches.  The progression of the “flavor” of one church to the next can be seen in church history if you stand back and look at the bigger picture.  We’ll talk about this later (at end of chapter 3)

Structure of the Letters

As we go through the letters, we’re going to see that they all follow a pattern.  There are seven elements that are common to most of the letters.  I’ll tell you more next week …

2:1-7  The Letter to Ephesus

:1 “To the angel of the church of Ephesus write, ‘These things says He who holds the seven stars in His right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands:

:1 angelaggelos – a messenger, envoy, one who is sent; an angel

:1 EphesusEphesinos – a native or inhabitant of Ephesus

:1 the church of Ephesus

Show “Map to Ephesus” clip.

When this letter was written, Ephesus was the major city of Asia Minor.

In John’s day, Ephesus was the second largest city in the world after Rome.  It had a population somewhere around 500,000 people.
The great temple of Artemis was located at Ephesus and considered one of the seven wonders of the ancient world.  It was considered the largest building in the world at that time.

The history of the church of Ephesus:

Both Paul and Apollos had a hand in the first preaching of the gospel in Ephesus, but it wasn’t until Paul stopped through on his third missionary journey (AD 53) that the church was established.
During Paul’s three years in Ephesus, the church grew and ended up influencing most of Asia at that time.
The church had such an effect on the city, and so many people began to turn from worshipping idols that the men who manufactured idols got upset, caused a riot, and Paul ended up leaving town.
After visiting the churches in Greece, Paul makes one last stop in Ephesus and meets with the elders where he gives them a sort of “farewell address”.
We believe the pastor of the church at the time of this letter is Timothy, who two years after this letter will die at the hands of an angry mob.
In Asia, the church of Ephesus was the prominent church, perhaps planting the other churches.
AD 50 – When Paul was on his second missionary trip, he was “forbidden by the Holy Spirit” to preach the word in Asia.
(Ac 16:6 NKJV) —6 Now when they had gone through Phrygia and the region of Galatia, they were forbidden by the Holy Spirit to preach the word in Asia.
AD 52 – On his way back to Antioch (home base), Paul stopped briefly at Ephesus, where he made a short stay and preached at the synagogue in Ephesus.  He left his friends Priscilla and Aquila there.
(Ac 18:19–21 NKJV) —19 And he came to Ephesus, and left them there; but he himself entered the synagogue and reasoned with the Jews. 20 When they asked him to stay a longer time with them, he did not consent, 21 but took leave of them, saying, “I must by all means keep this coming feast in Jerusalem; but I will return again to you, God willing.” And he sailed from Ephesus.
While Paul was gone, a fellow named Apollos made a brief stay in Ephesus, preaching the gospel, but he was a fellow who needed a little more training in the gospel.  Priscilla and Aquila helped straighten him out a bit.
(Ac 18:24–26 NKJV) —24 Now a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man and mighty in the Scriptures, came to Ephesus. 25 This man had been instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things of the Lord, though he knew only the baptism of John. 26 So he began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Aquila and Priscilla heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately.
AD 53 – On Paul’s third missionary journey, he made another stop at Ephesus, this time staying for almost three years (the longest he stayed in any place).
(Ac 19:1–2 NKJV) —1 And it happened, while Apollos was at Corinth, that Paul, having passed through the upper regions, came to Ephesus. And finding some disciples 2 he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” So they said to him, “We have not so much as heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.”
While in Ephesus, the church grew and became a planting church – the gospel went out from the folks in Ephesus to the rest of Asia.
(Ac 19:26 NKJV) —26 Moreover you see and hear that not only at Ephesus, but throughout almost all Asia, this Paul has persuaded and turned away many people, saying that they are not gods which are made with hands.
Paul ended up leaving Ephesus when a riot broke out, caused by those who made idols for a living.  They were mad at Paul and the Christians because people were no longer buying their little statues.
Paul visits the Macedonian and Greek churches and stays three months.
AD 56 – Paul is making his way from Corinth to Jerusalem and stops briefly outside of Ephesus where he meets with the elders of the church and gives them a sort of “farewell” address.
(Ac 20:17 NKJV) —17 From Miletus he sent to Ephesus and called for the elders of the church.

:1 who holdskrateo – to have power, be powerful; to be chief, be master of, to rule; to hold; to hold in the hand; to keep carefully and faithfully

:1 the seven stars –these stars were symbolic of the seven “angels” or “leaders” of the seven churches (Rev. 1:20)

These leaders are in Jesus’ right hand, a good place.

:1 the seven golden lampstands – these are the seven churches that Jesus is writing these letters to (Rev. 1:20)

:1 who walks in the midst

Last week we talked about how Jesus here was dressed like a priest.  In the Holy Place the priest would enter every day to clean, refill, and relight the lamps.

We as the church are the “lights of the world”.  Jesus is walking among the lampstands cleaning and helping His church to be bright lights.

:2 “I know your works, your labor, your patience,

The Commendation

:2 I knoweido – to see; to know; to see with the mind’s eye, signifies a clear and purely mental perception

Jesus appreciates that this is a church that has worked hard for the Lord.

:2 worksergon – business, employment, an act, deed, thing done

:2 laborkopos – a beating; sorrow; labor that results in weariness

:2 patiencehupomone – steadfastness, constancy, endurance; it’s staying true even under the pressure when things get tough.

:2 and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars;

:2 you cannotdunamai – to be able; to be able to do something

:2 bearbastazo – to take up with the hands; to sustain

They did not “put up with” evil people.

:2 evilkakos – of a bad nature; base, wrong, wicked; troublesome, injurious, pernicious, destructive, baneful

:2 you have testedpeirazo – to test: for the purpose of ascertaining quality

:2 those who sayphasko – to affirm, allege, portend or profess

People are not always what they say they are.

:2 liarspseudes – lying, deceitful, false


Healthy skepticism

There was a freshman who won first prize at his Science Fair.
In his project he urged people to sign a petition demanding strict control or total elimination of the chemical “dihydrogen monoxide” because:

1. It can cause excessive sweating and vomiting

2. It is a major component in acid rain

3. It can cause severe burns in its gaseous state

4. Accidental inhalation can kill you

5. It contributes to erosion

6. It decreases effectiveness of automobile brakes

7. It has been found in tumors of terminal cancer patients

He asked 50 people if they supported a ban of the chemical.  Forty-three said yes, six were undecided, and only one knew that the chemical was - Water!  The title of his prize winning project was, “How Gullible Are We?”

Sometimes Christians are just a bit too gullible.

We take the phrase “love believes all things” just a little bit too far.
When Paul gave his parting words to the elders at Ephesus some forty years earlier, he gave them a warning about what was up ahead and what to do about it.
(Ac 20:29–30 NKJV) — 29 For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. 30 Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves.
John himself had warned the church at Ephesus:
(1 Jn 4:1 NKJV) Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
Apparently the church at Ephesus had taken these warnings to heart.
Even as late as 431 AD they were still serious about this as they hosted a church wide council to deal with the heresies of Nestorianism and Pelagianism.
They became known as the church that dealt with the “wolves”, and Jesus commends them for this.
We will see that they also went down a road that today’s “heresy hunters” sometimes go down – they lost sight of God’s love.
But don’t lose sight that correct “discernment” is a good thing.

:3 and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary.

:3 perseveredbastazo – to take up with the hands; to sustain (“bear” in vs. 2)

Even though they did not “put up with” evil people, they did “put up with” the difficulties of their lives.

:3 patiencehupomone – steadfastness, constancy, endurance; it’s staying true even when things get tough. (“patience” in vs. 2)

Same word as “patience” in vs. 2

This isn’t patience with difficult people (makrothumia), but endurance in difficult situations.

:3 laboredkopiao – to grow weary, tired, exhausted with toil or burdens (“labor” v.2)

to labor with wearisome effort, to toil; of bodily labor

The verb form of the word translated “labor” in vs. 2

Perfect tense

:3 become wearykamno – to grow weary, be weary; to be sick

Perfect tense


Keep going

Several times now Jesus has commended them for their endurance.
Roy Cleveland Sullivan was a U.S. park ranger in Virginia, 1942-1977.
PlayMan Struck by Multiple Lightning” clip
What’s really sad is that after enduring all these difficulties, Roy died at the age of 71 from a self-inflicted gunshot wound over unrequited love.

He endured lightning strikes, but quit over matters of the heart.

Sometimes the heart issues are the most difficult ones.

Everett Koop, former surgeon general of the United States and a vocal opponent of abortion on demand, tells of a family whose severely handicapped child he delivered and helped to keep alive after birth. He writes, “I asked the child’s mother, ‘What’s the worst thing that ever happened to you?’”
“She said, ‘Having our child born with defects that required thirty-seven operations to correct.’
“Then I asked, ‘What’s the best thing that ever happened to you?’
“She said, ‘Having our child born with defects that required thirty-seven operations to correct.’”
Koop goes on to explain: “I know what she means. It’s been terribly hard on them, but, through the experience, they’ve grown enormously as a family. They’ve had a remarkable spiritual reawakening. One of their sons is now in law school planning to defend the rights of the handicapped. The other child has now had fifty-five operations, with one more scheduled. Despite the hardships, it’s been an overwhelmingly positive experience for them.”

-- Ben Patterson, "A Faith Like Mary's," Preaching Today, Tape No. 87.

There is great treasure in learning to endure.  James writes,
(Jas 1:2–4 NKJV) —2 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.

Learning to endure results in “perfection” or “maturity”.

:4 Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love.

The Rebuke

:4 love agape – brotherly love, affection, good will, benevolence

:4 firstprotos – first in time or place

:4 you have leftaphiemi – to send away; of a husband divorcing his wife; to leave

It’s not a coincidence that Jesus uses a word that can be used for divorce.

The Bible tells us that our relationship with Jesus is like the marriage between a husband and wife.
(Eph 5:25 NKJV) Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her,
One of the great events that is coming in heaven is when we will sit down at a dinner table with Jesus, known as the “marriage supper of the Lamb”.
(Re 19:7 NKJV) —7 Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.”
There are going to be principles that we will talk about here in terms of our relationship with God, but they are the same principles that apply in a marriage.
We can “leave our first love” in a marriage.
And we can get it back.  There is a way back.

When Paul wrote his letter to the Ephesians 30 years earlier, there was a sense of love in the church, a love for believers:

(Eph 1:15 NKJV) Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints…

In Greek, emphasis is made by word order.  Words don’t have to be in a certain order like in English to make sense.  Here the order is exactly the opposite of what it is in English:

The love of yours, the first, you have left

The emphasis is on “love”.  This is what’s important.  This is what they left.


Leaving my love?

Relationships go through stages.
There’s the first crazy in love stage.  And things can go downhill from there.

PlayBob Smiley For Newlyweds Only

The thing is – it doesn’t have to only go downhill.
God wants your love for Him to grow warmer, not colder.
Love does change.  It can mature.  Or it can lessen.
How would you characterize your love for the Lord?
Listen to this encounter that two people had with Jesus.  One person is a Pharisee – a very strict, religious person.  The other person is a woman known simply as a “sinner”.  She may have been a prostitute, but all we know is that she is a “sinner”.
(Lk 7:36–50 NKJV) —36 Then one of the Pharisees asked Him to eat with him. And He went to the Pharisee’s house, and sat down to eat. 37 And behold, a woman in the city who was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at the table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of fragrant oil, 38 and stood at His feet behind Him weeping; and she began to wash His feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head; and she kissed His feet and anointed them with the fragrant oil. 39 Now when the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he spoke to himself, saying, “This Man, if He were a prophet, would know who and what manner of woman this is who is touching Him, for she is a sinner.” 40 And Jesus answered and said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” So he said, “Teacher, say it.” 41 “There was a certain creditor who had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42 And when they had nothing with which to repay, he freely forgave them both. Tell Me, therefore, which of them will love him more?” 43 Simon answered and said, “I suppose the one whom he forgave more.” And He said to him, “You have rightly judged.” 44 Then He turned to the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has washed My feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head. 45 You gave Me no kiss, but this woman has not ceased to kiss My feet since the time I came in. 46 You did not anoint My head with oil, but this woman has anointed My feet with fragrant oil. 47 Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.” 48 Then He said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” 49 And those who sat at the table with Him began to say to themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?” 50 Then He said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.”
Who do you identify with in this story?
Are you like the Pharisee who is quick to be critical of those around him?  Or are you like this sinner woman who only has eyes for Jesus and for whom she can’t seem to do enough?
If you identify too much with the Pharisee, perhaps you have grown too distant from your own real, continuing need for God’s forgiveness.

There is a connection between “loving much” and forgiveness.

:5 Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works,

:5 Remembermnemoneuo – to be mindful of, to remember, to call to mind

Present imperative

:5 from wherepothen – of place: from where, from what condition

:5 you have fallenekpipto – to fall out of, to fall down from, to fall off

Perfect tense

:5 repentmetanoeo – to change one’s mind, not an emotional change but a change of choice

Aorist imperative

The Remedy

:5 firstprotos – first in time or place

What was the “first” and most important commandment?

(Mt 22:37–38 NKJV) —37 Jesus said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and great commandment.

Same word as “first” in vs. 4

:5 worksergon – business, employment, that which any one is occupied; an act, deed, thing done

Same word as “works” in vs. 2

:5 dopoieo – to make; to do

Aorist imperative


The way back

Jesus tells the church to do three things.  All are “commands”.  None are optional.
Look back to see where you’ve fallen from.  Look back to when you used to do things out of love for Jesus instead of because you “had to”.
Has there ever been a time when you loved the Lord more than you do now? Do you remember what it was like when you had a stronger love for the Lord?
For those of you who are new Christians, pay attention!  There may be a time when you too will find your love growing cold.
Something has come between you and Jesus and you need to turn around, you need to remove the thing that’s standing between you and Jesus.

It might be a relationship.

Somebody has entered your life that has become a bigger priority to you than the Lord.

It could be one of those bad fantasies – some guy or girl that shouldn’t be in your life, but you are too infatuated to let them go.

It could be a good person in your life – your husband, wife, kids – but somehow you’ve allowed them to become a higher priority than Jesus.

It might be your job

You’ve gotten so sucked into working hard and advancing at work that you’ve neglected your walk in the Lord.

God wants you to do an excellent job at work, but He doesn’t want your work to be a bigger priority than He is in your life.

It might be “stuff”.

Jesus told a parable about a farmer not having a good crop because the seeds he planted got choked out by thorns.

(Mat 13:22 NLT)  The thorny ground represents those who hear and accept the Good News, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the cares of this life and the lure of wealth, so no crop is produced.

Has your quest for more “stuff” or even just holding on to the “stuff” you already have – crowd out your time with Jesus?

It might be a disappointment

Something didn’t work out the way you wanted it to.  You feel like God let you down.  You haven’t realized yet that God may be trying to do something in your life.

Whatever it is, repent.  Change your mind.  Turn around.
Find the kinds of things you used to do when you were in love with Jesus, and do them all over again.

It starts by repenting, changing your mind.

It continues by action, doing things that come from a love for Jesus.

Did you use to read your Bible all the time?  Did you use to pray all the time?  Did you use to go to church every chance you could?  Did you use to tell people about Jesus?  Then do all these things, not because you have to, but because you want to love Him more.



The lessons between Jesus and the church apply marriage.
Marriage often goes through cycles.  Love can run hot and cold.

When love grows cold, don’t bail out on the marriage, get the love back.

Remember what it used to be like.
Pray that God will restore your love.
Repent – get rid of the very real things or people that are hurting your marriage.
Repeat – start doing those loving things.

:5 or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent.

:5 I will comeerchomai – to come

Present tense

:5 quicklytachos – quickness, speed

This is that word (Rev. 1:1) that doesn’t mean that things will happen in a few minutes from John’s day, but that when they do happen, they will happen quickly.

Remember the Honda commercial we saw with the Rube Goldberg machine …

:5 removekineo – to cause to go, to move from a place

There has been no church in Ephesus for almost 1500 years.

Future indicative

The church did continue and was later the scene of a major church council, but after the 5th century both the church and the city declined. The immediate area has been uninhabited since the 14th century.

:5 out of its place

Where is the “place” of the lampstand? In the presence of Jesus in the Holy Place.


He’s serious

Jesus warns the Ephesians to pay attention to the issues of the heart.
There is no longer a church in Ephesus.
A little girl got home from Sunday school, where she had been taught the verse: Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and give glory to our Father who is in heaven. She asked her mother, when she repeated the verse, what it meant. Her mom said, “Well, it means that when you are good and kind and thoughtful and obedient, you are letting Christ’s light shine in your life before all who know you.”
The very next Sunday in Sunday school, the little girl got in a bit of a fight with another student and created somewhat of an uproar—to such an extent that the Sunday school teacher had to go and find her mother to get her settled down a bit in the class. Her mother was concerned when she got to the classroom and said, “Sweetie, don’t you remember about letting your light shine for the Lord before men?” The girl blurted out, “Mom, I have blowed myself out!”

-- W. Frank Harrington, "The Love That Brought Him," Preaching Today, Tape No. 51.

I think Jesus is warning the church at Ephesus that if they don’t take the state of their heart seriously, they will have “blowed themselves out”.

:6 But this you have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.

:6 you hatemiseo – to hate, pursue with hatred, detest

:6 deedsergon – business, employment, that which any one is occupied; an act, deed, thing done

Same word as “works” in vs. 2, 5

:6 NicolaitansNikolaites – “victory + people”

We know very little about these people.  We’ll talk more about them in two weeks.

We’ll see them pop up again in Pergamos (Rev. 2:14-15)
Could be followers of someone named “Nicolas”
Could be a description of a group who wants to dominate the common people, such as the idea of some sort of priesthood ruling over the common people of the church.
To the church of Pergamos, Jesus wrote,

(Re 2:14–15 NKJV) —14 But I have a few things against you, because you have there those who hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit sexual immorality. 15 Thus you also have those who hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate.

It’s possible that these “Nicolaitans” were promoting sexual immorality and eating things sacrificed to idols.

:6 which I also hate

Jesus “hated” these same people.

:7 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.

:7 earous – the ear

:7 let him hearakouo – to hear

Aorist imperative



How many people in this room have an ear?
If you are a newer believer, this might sound strange to you – you probably can’t imagine not being so in love with Jesus.
I have to confess that for the last 41 years, my love for the Lord has gone up and down and up and down.  I have learned that I MUST keep coming back.
This is a warning that you can’t avoid.

:7 To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.” ’

:7 the tree of life

There was a tree of life in the Garden of Eden.  Adam sinned and we lost it.

There was another tree at Calvary.  Jesus died for our sins and brought life back to us.  God’s love for us was demonstrated there.

Jesus promises eternal life to those who “overcome”

The Garden of Eden has a “tree of life” (Gen. 2:9)

(Ge 2:9 NKJV) —9 And out of the ground the Lord God made every tree grow that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

When Adam sinned, God removed him from the Garden to be sure that he didn’t eat from the tree of life, and live forever in a state of sin (Gen. 3:22-24)

(Ge 3:22–24 NKJV) —22 Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil. And now, lest he put out his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever”— 23 therefore the Lord God sent him out of the garden of Eden to till the ground from which he was taken. 24 So He drove out the man; and He placed cherubim at the east of the garden of Eden, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life.

The next time we see this “tree of life” appear, it’s in heaven:

(Re 22:2 NKJV) In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.

Jesus promises this Tree to those who “overcome”.

This is all about eternal life in heaven.

:7 who overcomesnikao – to conquer; to carry off the victory, come off victorious

:7 the treexulon – wood; as a beam from which any one is suspended, a gibbet, a cross; a tree

:7 of lifezoe – life

:7 Paradiseparadeisos – a garden, pleasure ground; heaven

The word originated with the Persians to describe a garden or park full of vegetable products of the earth.

The Septuagint uses this word to refer to the Garden of Eden (Gen. 2:8)
Paul used this word to describe heaven itself:
(2 Co 12:4 NKJV) how he was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.

The Garden of Eden had a tree of life:

(Ge 2:9 NKJV) —9 And out of the ground the Lord God made every tree grow that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

When Adam sinned and ate from the forbidden tree, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, he was removed from the Garden to keep him from eating of the Tree of Life and living forever in his sin.

(Ge 3:22–24 NKJV) —22 Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil. And now, lest he put out his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever”— 23 therefore the Lord God sent him out of the garden of Eden to till the ground from which he was taken. 24 So He drove out the man; and He placed cherubim at the east of the garden of Eden, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life.


Eternal Life

What is required for Eternal Life?
John wrote,

(1 Jn 5:4–5 NKJV) —4 For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world— our faith. 5 Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?

Jesus said we must “overcome”.  It’s our “faith” that overcomes.

Have you put your life into the hands of Jesus?

Jesus has a message to people in each church to “overcome”.

Part of the implication is to learn to “overcome” this world we live in.

Part of the implication is to deal with the things that Jesus addresses in His concerns for the church.

We call this “the perseverance of the saints”
Endure to the end

(Mt 24:13 NKJV) —13 But he who endures to the end shall be saved.

I am concerned with those who feel too comfortable in thinking “once saved always saved”.

I believe in the security of the believer – I don’t think we need to be looking over our shoulder every second wondering if we’re going to go to hell.

(Jn 10:28 NKJV) —28 And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.

But I believe our sense of security comes from staying close to Jesus.

The Bible teaches us to be careful about “staying” a believer.

(Heb 3:12–14 NKJV) —12 Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; 13 but exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. 14 For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end,