Paul travels to the city of Ephesus because he has heard that there are a number of disciples of the Lord Jesus in that city. He is hoping to meet with them and encourage them in their journey as believers. He knows that Ephesus is not an easy city to be a believer in and so wants to help them in any way that he can.
In Acts 19:1-6 we see the record of him finding and meeting with the believers. He asks them a question or two and discovers that they are not born again but are really disciples and followers of John the Baptist. So, they have responded to John’s message of repentance and are ready for someone like Paul to show them who the Messiah is and what He has accomplished through His death and resurrection. So, Paul shares the Gospel of the Kingdom and these men – about 12 in number – receive the message, become born again, are baptized by immersion in water, are baptized in the Holy Spirit as Paul lays hands upon them and immediately begin to move in the supernatural gifts of the Spirit. It is a powerful and encouraging story about what God can accomplish when hearts are open, hungry, and ready.
The story continues… Paul stays in Ephesus and teaches and leads. And, this local church becomes very powerful and evangelism is a real key to their life and to the expansion of the Kingdom. Acts 19:10 states, “This continued for two years (Paul teaching), so that all the residents of Asia heard the word of the Lord, both Jews and Greeks.”
Later, after leaving Ephesus, Paul writes to them (Ephesians – the epistle) and prays that the same Holy Spirit who lives in them because they are born again and is upon them because they have been baptized in the Holy Spirit … that this same Spirit would bring them revelation. Ephesians 1:17 states, “that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him…” So, Paul is praying that his people in this local church would be constantly receiving revelation and wisdom from the Holy Spirit.
He goes on to state that they should also allow the Holy Spirit to have control of their life. Ephesians 5:18 states, “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit…” So, just as alcohol controls your words, actions, and attitude when drunk … let the Holy Spirit control your whole life every day. This, of course, is key to maintaining a supernatural lifestyle and witness.
Well, obviously something goes terribly wrong a number of years later because this powerful church receives a word from Jesus – the Head of the Church – and it reads: “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. Remember 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.” (Revelation 2:1-7a).
And, in time, the church in Ephesus simply ceases to exist.
Well, there is much for us to learn and apply from the story of the church in Ephesus. So, give some thought to it today as you go about your daily chores. Ask the Holy Spirit if there are some things that need to change in your life and in your church… and then respond to what He shows you.