Ephesians 1:1-2
Acts 20:17-31
“… I have received of the Lord Jesus,
to testify the gospel of the grace of God.”
Morris MacDonald (in his book published by the FEBC Press in 1999) observed that the Ephesian church is the only New Testament church examined by three New Testament writers. In Acts, Luke wrote from the vantage of history; in Ephesians, Paul wrote from the vantage of testimony; while in Revelation, John wrote from the vantage of eternity. MacDonald also noted that it was the only church where three of its leaders were known: Paul who oversaw its beginning, Timothy who continued its development and John who directed it in its maturing.
The founding of this church is recorded in Acts 18-19 and is a product of Paul’s missionary efforts. Ephesus was a commercial centre in Asia Minor and was also a religious centre. It housed the idol goddess of the Greeks known as Artemis (or Diana in Latin). Paul found it a ripe field for gospel outreach. At the end of his second missionary journey he visited Ephesus where he left Priscilla and Aquila (Acts 18:18-21). Paul remained and ministered to the church at Ephesus for three years (Acts 18-19). The Ephesian church grew and matured during that time and became the mother church of at least seven churches (the church of the Colossians plus the six churches mentioned in Revelation).
The ministry of the gospel began to hurt the idolatrous worship in Ephesus and also the worldliness. This resulted in an uproar and Paul had to leave the city. However that adversity unintentionally greatly helped in publicising the gospel. A strong church was already organised and the elders were committed leaders. Paul had established a Bible School where he trained the disciples while in that city (Acts 19:9). When he returned from Macedonia, he summoned the elders of this church to Miletus and in that last meeting he spent a great deal of time charging them to remain strong in shepherding the church of God. The church was already on her feet and went on to further maturity.
THOUGHT: Faithful missionary outreach yields godly churches.
PRAYER: Lord, may I always have an evangelistic zeal.