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June 25, 2023 Sermon Notes and Questions

Times Up! Revelation

“Does Our Church Still Love Jesus?”

Revelation 2:1-11

Letters to Ephesus and Smyrna


Justin Scarberry

Message Notes

Churches in Revelation


  1. Ephesus-The Loveless Church
  2. Smyrna-The Persecuted Church
  3. Pergamos-The Compromising Church
  4. Thyatira-The Corrupt Church
  5. Sardis-The Dead Church
  6. Philadelphia-The Church Jesus Loves
  7. Laodicea- The Lukewarm ChurchCan you remember your First Love?

    Church #1 Ephesus:

    The church in Ephesus had a great start with a solid leadership team.  But they developed a serious problem.

    Revelation 2:1-7

    “To the angel of the church in Ephesus write:

    The One who holds the seven stars in His right hand, the One who walks among the seven golden lampstands, says this:

    2 ‘I know your deeds and your labor and perseverance, and that you cannot tolerate evil people, and you have put those who call themselves apostles to the test, and they are not, and you found them to be false; 3 and you have perseverance and have endured on account of My name, and have not become weary. 4 But I have this against you, that you have left your first love. 5 Therefore, remember from where you have fallen, and repent, and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you and I will remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent. 6 But you have this, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. 7 The one who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who overcomes, I will grant to eat from the tree of life, which is in the Paradise of God.’

    The church has to ensure its members build up the church

    and do not tear it down.


    The Bible says that God is Love

    1 John 4:7-8

    7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.

    We can get so busy with everything that we can walk away from our first love, Jesus.



    When we find that we’ve walked away we need to:

    1. Remember (from where we fell)
    2. Repent (turn back to God)
    3. Repeat (the deeds we did before we walked away)

    The church in Ephesus also may have started a practice of having an earthly intermediary between the people and God, who was not Jesus.

    Church #2 Smyrna:

    This church suffered, and the suffering would get even worse. Jesus promises them the crown of life for making it through.

    Revelation 2:8-11 NASB

    8 “And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write:

    The first and the last, who was dead, and has come to life, says this:

    9 ‘I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich), and the slander by those who say they are Jews, and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. 10 Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, so that you will be tested, and you will have tribulation for ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life. 11 The one who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. The one who overcomes will not be hurt by the second death.’

    Why does God allow His people to suffer?

    Romans 8:28-29

    28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. 29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.


    When we are conformed into the image of His son that doesn’t always feel good but when we compare it to what Jesus did for us it helps to put our trials and suffering into perspective.

    Who Rules this World?

    Since the first sin, Adam signed the dominion of this world over to Satan and are dealing with the fallout of that decision still today. Sin brought death, suffering and pain into this world.

    God gives everyone a choice to choose life or death through believing in Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross as redemption for their own sin

  1. What is meant by the statement “God is love”?

    1. Can we love apart from God?

    2. Can we leave things/people that we love?

    3. Read 1 John 4:7-8

             Does this scripture match with your answer to the questions above?

  1. Read Revelation 2:1-7

    1. What do the 7 stars represent?

    2. What do the 7 lampstands represent?

  2. How do you think the Ephesians put “those who call themselves apostles” to the test? What is an apostle?

  3. What is leaven?

    1. What is it typically used to represent in scripture?

  4. What happens when we allow just a little bit of sin to hang around in our life?

    1. What are some ways we can be discerning of folks in the church who may want to tear down the church rather than build it up?

  1. What does Revelation 2:4 mean when it says that the Ephesians “have left your first love.”?

    1. Can that happen in a church today?

    2. Can you sight some examples from experience of how this might happen?

    3. What are some ways to keep it from happening?

  2. Read Revelation 2:8-11

    1. Why would God allow His church to suffer?

    2. Why do you think God does not just take the devil out of the world?

  3. Read Romans 8:28-29

    1. What do you think it means “to be conformed to the image of His Son”?

    2. What are some of the ways God conforms us to the image of Jesus?

  4. What is “the second death” mentioned in verse 11?

  5. If you are suffering, going through a rough patch, maybe have walked away or backslidden some, would you consider reaching out to someone at the church to pray for you? You may feel alone but you are not alone.  We all have a direct connection to God but sometimes we mistakenly feel that we’ve wandered too far off the path.  Consider having someone pray with you and help come along side you to get you back on God’s path for your life.