“I know all the things you do. I have seen your hard work and your patient endurance. I know you don’t tolerate evil people. You have examined the claims of those who say they are apostles but are not. You have discovered they are liars. You have patiently suffered for me without quitting.” Revelation 2:2-3
More than 24,000 people could sit in the theatre of Ephesus. As Paul preached, he educated the population that they did not need a piece of silver shaped into a human form to have God as their protector and provider. On several of Paul’s missionary trips to Asia Minor, he visited Ephesus. He and John knew the people and their problems quite well. During one of his visits, we read in Acts 19:23-41 about the uprising over Paul’s teachings which came to a head in this theatre. The silversmith named Demetrius, who appeared to be a leader in the guild, and was a worker in silver, made shrines of Artemis. The entire silversmith gild accused Paul of ruining their trade by his preaching. They were a huge and quite powerful group. Its main source of income was creating trinkets and icons of the Greek goddess. The people in this church worked hard to let the people know who the True God was.
In the second part of the verse, the early church recognized a select group of men who they called apostles. They were a very small and specific group who met qualifications. They must have been in Israel and had seen the man: Jesus Christ. They had to be chosen by the Holy Spirit. Jesus is commending the church for holding these men up to the test, to confirm if they truly were apostles. They claimed to be something they were not, and the church was faithful in casting them out. This is a problem in our churches today. We have many false prophets in our churches. The church allows them to weaken the church because the people in the church do not know the Word of God and they cannot tell if they are false prophets. If what they are preaching sounds good and it makes me feel good, it must be the true Word of God. Many times it is not.