Losing Your First Love - Studying the Church in Ephesus
The church in Ephesus started off like many churches in the 1st century as one established by the missionary journeys of Paul. Many great things were recorded for us in the early years of this church. (Acts 18-20) It was founded in around 52AD and had the benefit of strong early teachers in Paul, Priscilla, Aquila, and Apollos all working with the blossoming young church. After around 3 years, Paul left the church, and Timothy was charged with preaching to this flock. We can see in Paul's letter to the church in Ephesus that he had many great things to say about the church.
By the time John wrote to the seven churches in Asia in the book of Revelation, something had gone drastically wrong with this model church. Revelation 2:4-5 reads “I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. 5 Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first."
Although we may not know the exact what the cause of this admonishment, we can see several points that Paul wrote to Timothy about that were challenges to the church, and Paul's guidance in dealing with them.
- Devotion to myths and endless genealogies which promote speculations instead of stewardship (1:4);
- Wandering into vain discussion, desiring to teach the law without understanding (1:6);
- Departing from faith, preferring instead deceitful spirits and the teaching of demons; being guided by the hypocrisy of liars (4:1-2);
- Forbidding marriage and enjoining abstinence from foods (4:3);
- Preference to godless and silly myths over godliness (4:7);
- Craving controversy and fighting over words (6:4);
- Trying to use godliness as a means of worldly gain (6:5);
- Partaking in godless chatter (2:16);
- Belief that the resurrection is past already (2:18);
- Stirring up foolish controversies; breeding quarrels (2:23);
- Following teachings to suit their own passions; wandering into myths (4:3-4).