Overcoming #1 – Works – At Ephesus

Rev 2:1-7 “To the messenger of the assembly of Ephesus write, ‘He who is holding the seven stars in His right hand, who is walking in the midst of the seven golden lampstands, says this:I know your works, and your labor, and your endurance, and that you are not able to bear evil ones, and have tried those who say they are emissaries and are not, and have found them false; and you have been bearing up and have endurance, and have labored for My Name’s sake and have not become weary. But I hold this against you, that you have left your first love.” So remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the first works, or else I shall come to you speedily and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent. Yet this you have, that you hate the works of the Nikolaites, which I also hate. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the assemblies. To him who overcomes I shall give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of Elohim.”

In Luke’s account of The Master’s life, we read;

Luke 10:38-42 And it came to be as they went that He entered into a certain village. And a certain woman named Martha received Him into her house. And she had a sister called Miryam, who also sat at the feet of Yahusha and heard His word. But Martha was distracted with much serving, and coming up she said, “Master, are You not concerned that my sister has left me to serve alone? Speak to her then, to help me.” And Yahusha answering, said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many matters, but one only is necessary, and Miryam has chosen the good portion, which shall not be taken away from her.”

Martha was misjudging her sister Miryam, thinking that she was lazy because of her desire to hear and know The Word, whereas Martha thought that serving was more important, even though the Master points out that it actually caused her to worry and be troubled…

Similar to Martha’s approach, the Ephesians were very industrious, always toiling and laboring for HIS Name’s sake! They learned to endure and were successful in exposing false sent ones! (apostles, pastors, teachers, etc.)

What I refer to as “the Martha Syndrome” is the tendency for professing believers to be so preoccupied with works of service for Messiah that subtly they substitute these works of service for time with HIM. In their zeal they become judgmental of others who are not accomplishing as much as they are. But in all of their doing they rarely spend time in prayer or sitting in quiet contemplation and no longer read HIS Word for the shear pleasure of it. Theirs is a works based religion. These do not rest, nor are they at peace. To these the Master calls in Mat 11:28-30 “Come to Me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I shall give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am meek and humble in heart, and you shall find rest for your beings. For My yoke is gentle and My burden is light.”

If we find ourselves in this peace-less, joyless, distracted and worrisome Martha mode of thinking, we must STOP and receive HIS exhortation to remember, repent, and return to our first love! We must regain the focus that we had at the first. That of waiting on HIM…hearing HIS Voice and listening for HIS specific instruction so that we can enjoy accomplishing HIS good works, which Elohim prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10b)

But, why is there such a hatred for those known as the Nicolaites?

Trying to understand just exactly who the Nicolaites are and their deeds and doctrine takes a bit of exposition. Because there is so little mention of them in the Scriptures, many have decided that we cannot arrive at a definitive conclusion as to who they were and what they were all about.

The two references that mention the Nicolaites are:

To the Ephesians in:

Revelation 2:6 “But this you have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaites, which I also hate.”

And to in Pergamos in:

Revelation 2:15 “Thus you also have those who hold the doctrine of the Nicolaites, which thing I hate.”

There appears to be two types of unacceptable works addressed in Revelation 2:1-9. The first, we addressed above. This next type seems to be even worse. That of “the deeds (works) of the Nicolaites. These works must be diabolical! They are clearly hated by The Master. Lets find out why!

The word used in 2:6 is defined in the Strong’s #G2041 hñãïí ergon er’-gon

From ergo (a primary but obsolete word; to work); toil (as an effort or occupation); by implication an act:—deed, doing, labour, work.

It is the very same word found in verse 2, translated “works.” So see how this word also used by Shaul in his letter to the Ephesians . We find four references. Consider;

Eph 2:8-10 For by favour you have been saved, through belief, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of Elohim, it is not by works, so that no one should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Messiah יהושעunto good works, which Elohim prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

Notice the Contrast;

  • Supernatural works – not by (natural) works!
  • HIS Work-manship IN Us – not our work on us!
  • Our Works IN HIM, HIS Way – not our works our way!

Eph 4:11-12 “And He Himself gave some as emissaries, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as shepherds and teachers for the perfecting of the set-apart ones, to the work of service to a building up of the body of the Messiah…”

Notice the context;

  • HIS resurrection substantiated HIS gifting and empowering of HIS called and sent ones such as emissaries, prophets, evangelists, (under) shepherds / teachers to “perfect” those who receive HIS Workmanship in their lives!
  • The result will be “building up” (edifying, confirming) those who are HIS!

Eph 5:11 And have no fellowship with the fruitless works of darkness, but rather reprove them.(reprove; expose, reveal)

Notice that Shaul’s final use of this word seems to be in perfect alignment with The Master’s hatred of “the deeds (works) of the Nicolaites in Revelation 2:6!

Those deeds / works being;

  • Their rejection of the work of HIS SPIRIT in their lives! No need of: new birth, anointing, empowering, revelation, inspiration, leading, guiding, teaching, lifestyle in line with HIS Word. In essence; “an appearance of esteeming HIM, but no power!”
  • Their rejection of the work of HIS SPIRIT through HIS Gifts and HIS Gifted Ones! No more: Emissaries, Prophets, True Evangelists, Shepherds / Teachers committed to HIS Word above all else. In essence; Just career clergy for hire.
  • Their receiving of “the fruitless works of darkness” in their lives, ministries and movements! Propagating men, women, myths, fables, idolatry, lawlessness, doctrines of demons, false: teachers, evangelists, prophets, emissaries, etc!

So, from the verses in Revelation 2:1-9, we can conclude that the Ephesians, (and us!) MUST OVERCOME the tendency to fall into a works based mentality for the Master, instead of allowing HIS Workmanship to be accomplished IN us! And the Ephesians, (and us!) must continue to hate and expose the fruitless works of darkness known as Nicolaitanism!

Heb 12:1-2 “We too, then, having so great a cloud of witnesses all around us, let us lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race set before us, looking to the Princely Leader and Perfecter of our belief, יהושע, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the stake, having despised the shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of Elohim.”

Amein