According to archeologists, the city of Ephesus was occupied as early as 1400 BC. Some ancients believed the city to be founded by the Greek heroic prince Androclus. Others traced its founding to the legendary, all-female Amazon warriors who named the city after their queen Ephesia. Alexander the Great took control of the city in 334 BC. His successor, Lysimachus, constructed a six-mile wall around the city and rebuilt the temple of Artemis. That temple became known as one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. The port of Ephesus became a major harbor and place of connection for transporting Greek and Roman wealth over the highways of Asia Minor.
Ephesus entered a new epoch once visited by Christian Missionaries Apollos of Alexandria (Acts 18:24-28) and Paul of Tarsus (Acts 19). Many Jews and Gentiles alike converted to faith in Christ through their bold preaching of the kingdom of God. Those who had been caught up in satanic magic and sorcery “confessed and divulged their practices and proved their sincerity by burning their books” (Acts 19:18-19).
All who repented received new life through the forgiveness of sins. The city became a vibrant center for ministry in the region of Asia minor. Paul was able to spend three years there providing thorough spiritual instruction in the “whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:27).
As an established congregation, Zion Mondovi has many similarities to the Ephesian Church. We have each been set free from sin by Christ’s Good News. Now we are given tremendous opportunities to bear witness to the grace, peace, mercy, and truth freely offered in the Word of Jesus for all who believe. At the same time, the threats that presented in Ephesus could become real here too. On the one hand, the Ephesians faced significant social opposition: “There arose no little disturbance concerning the Way” (Acts 19:23). Much of Christian teaching comes into conflict with the values of the world. Will we be publicly opposed for our biblical Christian teaching which is increasingly counter-cultural? I pray for strength if we do.
On the other hand, certain rifts occurred in the Ephesian church due to personality cults and teachings that twisted/abandoned the Word of God. I pray the steadfast faithfulness of Paul who “did not cease night or day to admonish everyone with tears” (Acts 20:31).
So that we may continue in the Way that leads to Life, Zion has meditated on chapters 1-3 of the Ephesian Epistle during July. We will continue walking through the book during August. Our themes/scriptures for each week will be as follows:
July 28/Aug 1 – “The Christian’s Map” based on Ephesians 4:1-16
Aug 4/8 – “Just Imitation” based on Ephesians 4:17—5:2
Aug 11/15 – “Practicing the Resurrection” based on Ephesians 5:6-21
Aug 18/22 – “The Perfect Marriage” based on Ephesians 5:22-33
Aug 25/29 – “Access to Christ’s Armory” based on Ephesians 6:10-20
Due to an earthquake in the 6th Century AD and invasion in the 14th Century the
city of Ephesus was eventually abandoned. A few remaining artifacts are located at the small museum in the modern Turkish city of Selçuk. The greatest treasure from Ephesus, however, is found in Paul’s Epistle contained in all our Bibles. We pray that this message may reside in our hearts as well.
In His Grip,
Pastor Scott Johnson