This city was a moral cesspool, a sink of pollution, filled with all corruption, and reeking with vileness!
(Charles Naylor, "In Christ, and in Ephesus" 1920)
"To the saints in Ephesus — the faithful in Christ Jesus" Ephesians 1:1
Ephesus was one of the great centers of paganism. It was adorned with costly and magnificent heathen temples. It was rich and voluptuous. Both private and public life were utterly corrupt. Even the religious practices of the Ephesians were unspeakably vile. This city was a moral cesspool, a sink of pollution, filled with all corruption, and reeking with vileness! It was a second Sodom. Vice stalked abroad everywhere — and was honored and worshiped.
We might therefore well say, "Can any good thing come out of Ephesus? Can Christianity flourish in such surroundings?"
Yes! There were saints in Ephesus — and faithful ones, too. They were such in their lives and characters as to win the commendation of that great apostle to the Gentiles. Out of that obnoxious cesspool of iniquity, were growing the pure white lilies of Christian character! That is the glory of Christianity and of Christ. Those who were now Christians were not superior to the other Ephesians — they were not by nature different. In fact, Paul tells them that they had been the children of wrath, even as the others — and that they had been such by nature. What a triumph of divine grace, which raised these people up out of such unspeakable filth — and made them faithful saints! And yet that is the power of our great Christ!
"For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord." Ephesians 5:8