Lessons from Jesus’ Words to the
2:2 I know your deeds your hard work and your perseverance.
“Know” is “oida” and refers to complete and full knowledge.
“Deeds” is “erga” (“erga”) menas “works”
“Hard work” is “kopon” (“kopon”) means “laborious work, toil.”
“Perseverance” is “ ‘upomonhn” (“hupomonen”) means “patience, and endurance under difficult circumstances.
The focus is on their EFFORT and their ENDURANCE.
This formula is seen in 1 Thessalonians 1:3 as
2:2 I know that you cannot tolerate wicked men, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false.
These are two more things they are commended for in regards to:
1) Not tolerating wicked men. . . .sin
2) Not tolerating imposters and false doctrine. . . .truth
The first is in regard to men who may name Christ and profess to Christianity but have no power over sin. They are unregenerate in their lifestyles. No one is perfect or sinless, but if there is no change, no production of righteousness, and no fleeing from sin this man should not be tolerated.
“The man who says, ‘I know him,’ but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him.” 1 John 2:4
“No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him.” 1 John 3:6
The second is in regards to Paul’s warning in Acts 20:28-31 concerning false shepherds.
False teaching will destroy the effectiveness of the local church just like sin will.
The Bible warns in:
“Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them.” Matthew 7:15
“Many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world.” 2 John 7
“If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not take him into your house or welcome him.” 2 John 10
“There were also false prophets
among the people, just as there will be
false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even
denying the sovereign Lord who bought them. . .” 2 Peter 2:1
The early church had traveling apostles and teachers that would go around and encourage and teach the believers. John trained men and sent them out.
“They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that
none of them belonged to us.” 1 John 2:19
In Ignatius’s book to the Ephesians in 6:2 and 9:1 he wrote to the Ephesians concerning this same issue about twenty years after John wrote Revelation:
“You heed nobody beyond what he has to say truthfully about Jesus Christ. . . I have heard that some strangers came your way with a wicked teaching. But you did not let them sow it among you. You stopped up your ears to prevent admitting what they disseminated.”
The use of the word “apostle” refers to:
“Apostle” or “apostolos” occurs three times in Revelation:
1) Representative sent by one of the Apostles – In Rev. 2:2 as a term for a special messenger, an itinerant missionary, whose legitimacy could be confirmed or disconfirmed by certain criteria. These men would have connection to the original apostles in some way such as having traveled with them, having been trained or placed in position by them, or having gone through their school. Today our only connection to the apostles and their original doctrine and belief system is the word of God. So, today this use of the term true “apostle” would refer to those who teach the doctrines that are presented in the scripture.
A false apostle would fall into one of three classes:
a) They teach from the scripture but twist and distort the true teaching of the apostles.
“His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.” 2 Peter 3:16
b) They teach from their own imaginations concerning visions and revelations that they have had. Are their visions more important today than the word of God from the hand of the apostles?? They were not in the days when the apostles where alive. Why would they be today? “Such a person goes into great detail about what he has seen, and his unspiritual mind puffs him up with idle notions. He has lost connection with the Head.” Colossians 2:18,19
c) They abandon the word of God and the spiritual concept and teach human view point and the basic principles of this world system instead.
“See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.” Colossians 2:8
Office of Apostle - In 18:20 the
apostles are listed with the “saints and . . .prophets”. They are
persecuted by “
3) The 12 Apostles of the Lamb - In 21:14 “The twelve apostles” is the technical term to refer to those appointed by the Lord to begin the church.
2:3 You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name,
“persevered” is “ ‘upomona”
“endured hardships” is “ebastasas” and means “to take up” or “to bear”
2:3 and have not grown weary.
“not grown weary” is “kekopiakas” is perfect indicative active of “kopiaw” from above which means “to work or labor to the point of being weary”.
2:4 Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love.
Every strength has its weakness.
Here the “heresy-hunting” had been paid with the price of fellowship within the church.
Their hatred of heresy had closed off any connection with believers with different views.
We need to realize that love and truth both teach that believers are at different levels of maturity and at different levels of understanding.
1) Spiritual Maturity
“Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted.
Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:1,2
2) Scriptural Understanding
“So this weak brother, for whom Christ died, is destroyed by your knowledge.”
1 Corinthians 8:11
3) Calling and Ministry Service
“They saw that I had been entrusted with the task of preaching the gospel to the Gentiles, just as Peter had been to the Jews. For God, who was at work in the ministry of Peter as an apostle to the Jews, was also at work in my ministry as an apostle to the Gentiles.” Galatians 2:9
wanted to take John, also called Mark, with them, but Paul did not think it wise to take him, because he had
deserted them in Pamphylia and had not continued
with them in the work . They had such a
sharp disagreement that they parted company.
Barnabas took Mark and sailed for
Acts 15:37-40 (2 Timothy 4:11)
If you want to keep a family or any group together you must be willing to accept different personalities and to be willing to tolerate or work through “personality conflicts.”
The church is not about you succeeding and others fail.
The church is not about you being right and others being proved false.
The mission of the church is to commit to each other in growing as a body together.
We need to help each other.
This is where “Do not judge” comes into play.
We do need to judge all things, but we judge to assist the body not to destroy it.
The Church needs truth, discernment but also love for each other and an understanding that we stand together or we fall apart.
The plan for truth, maturity and love in the body is seen in Ephesians 4:11-16:
2 John 5 “I am not writing you a new command but one we have had from the beginning. I ask that we love one another.”
John 13:35 “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
2:5 Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first.
2:5 If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.
“Repent” means “to change one’s thinking, to think differently.”
This is not a reference to Jesus coming back at the Parousia,
but a more immediate visitation.
Similar to Jesus returning to judge
The church is the light of the world. Salt is good for nothing if it loses it saltiness but to be trampled on by men.
2:6 But you have this in your favor: You hate the practices of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.
Nicolaitans were a sect of false teaching that had infected the Asian area.
They are mentioned in the letter to Thyatira and to
Basically the Nicolaitans had developed a theology that compromised with their society.
It appears the Nicolaitans continued in pagan practices like idol worship and sexual immorality.
trace the Nicolaitans origin back to Nicolaus, the Gentile proselyte of
The Nicolaitans claim to spiritual maturity allowed them to practice idolatry and immorality.
2:7 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
2:7 To him who overcomes, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.
The tree of life is said to make a person immortal in Genesis 3:22-24. The overcomers will be allowed to eat from this tree when they reach the paradise of God.
Tree of Life in Proverbs
This is what the tree of Life would have provided Adam and allowed him to properly manage, rule and enjoy life.