7 Churches | Week 1: First Love
Ephesus was an important city in the Roman Empire and it became a major center for the early church. The city was religiously and culturally diverse. It contained the main temple dedicated to Artemis. Paul spent a great deal of time there teaching and training the followers of Jesus. His subsequent letter to the church there contains several foundational and doctrinally important elements. Interestingly, Paul warns them against spiritual warfare and the schemes of the devil and instructs them to “put on the full armor of God.” A reader of Revelation 2:1-7, cannot help but wonder if this focus on a defensive posture is the very thing that lead to their reprimand by Jesus.
READ Matthew 22:37-40
“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."
READ this passage again and consider these related questions.
What is the foundational element of every aspect of the Law?
Describe the phrase, “letter of the law vs. spirit of the law.”
Describe the extreme nature of the love that Jesus is referring to.
Read Revelation 2:1-7
1. What is “hard work & perseverance” describing in light of the rest of verse 2?
2. What do you think is different about the perseverance in verse 3 compared to the second verse?
3. What is the relationship of verse 6 to verses 2-3?
4. How might this focus as a church go from being positive to detrimental to their faith?
5. Look at verse 4. What kind of love and for whom is Jesus referring?
6. Define “repent.” What are the different parts/requirements of repentance?
7. Drawing from what you may know about the first century church in Ephesus, discuss “do the things you did at first” v.5b.
8. Read 1 Corinthians 13:1-3. Relate this to the call for repentance in the Ephesian church.
9. Look at verse 7, what makes a person “victorious”?