The worship of Diana was vile and perverse. The idol was a many-breasted woman, which was believed to have fallen from heaven. (Acts 19:35) In her temple priests, slaves and thousands of women ministered in it. The women served as ritual prostitutes. Sex was a part of their worship. The worshipers were also dancers and musicians. The sounds were that of wailing, shouting and hysterically frenzied individuals. Ephesus’ reputation was one of being fickle, superstitious and very immoral.
Paul stayed in Ephesus for three years (Acts 20:31 and Acts 19). It eventually became a very strong spiritual church. This church received its letter forty years after it started.
1. Approved for their service
The Greek word for “labor” means toil or diligent labor, even to the point of weariness and exhaustion. It is Holy Spirit activated. It just wasn’t attendance, but working to further the kingdom of God.
There are three groups of people in the church:
-The Shirkers—they do nothing. Others have to take up the slack.
-The Jerkers—they start out fine. They jerk a little while, and then they run out of gas. They become indifferent and unreliable.
-The Workers—these are what a church needs the most. Ephesus was a working church.
5. Approved Their Steadfastness
They had patience, and they had not fainted. Patience from the Greek means durability, triumph and fortitude. It changes suffering into glory. It is a courageous acceptance of: (1) hardship; (2) suffering and (3) loss.
They were: fixed, firm and not fickle.
Every time they did something, they were persecuted. They were not easily disappointed or discouraged. They faced strong fierce opposition and hatred. Trade unions tried to make them leave the city. They were not deterred. (I Cor. 15:58)
2. Approved them for their suppression of evil.
They could not bear them which were evil. They were concerned about the quantity of persons rather than the quality of persons needed.