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Back to my First Love

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Scriptures:
Revelation 2:1–5 KJV 1900
1 Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks; 2 I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars: 3 And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name’s sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted. 4 Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. 5 Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.
Revelation 2:1 KJV 1900
1 Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks;
Tonight’s objective is to understand that we must return to our first love and understand the steps to do so.
Tonight’s objective is to understand that we must return to our first love and understand the steps to do so.
Church at Ephesus:
· The church at Ephesus had endured in the faith (2:2, 4).
· Suffered for Christ’s name and had not grown spiritually tired.
· The church had also suffered at the hands of false prophets and heretical teachings.
The opening of the book Revelation has seven letters given by the Lord to the apostle John while he was exiled on an island called Patmos. These seven letters were to be sent to seven different churches, yet with each letter is says this – “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.” (vs 7)
John understood better than any other disciple the importance of love.
John is the one who understood that love is a part of God’s nature.
says, “God is love.”
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son…”
Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God.” ()
“Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.” ()
g) John is the one who understood that those who don’t love, don’t know God. “He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.” ()
· The question we must ask ourselves today is if we have left our first love
· The question I ask you as a believer today is – ‘Have you left your first love?’
· Have you become so busy and preoccupied with life, that Jesus is no longer that important to you?
· Has your relationship with the Lord become just another part of your routine? Some who would say, “
How did the church at Ephesus lose their first love? It didn’t happen overnight. It gradually happened over time.
1. It was a productive church
I know thy works, and thy labour..
a. ‘Works’ refers to its activities. It was a very active church. If it was in existence today, you would find a ministry and program for every need and age. It was a dynamic church.
b. The word ‘labor’ refers to the amount of effort and energy the members put into its ministry. The word literally means to toil in labor.
Ministry requires work and labor. Good things don’t happen in a church just by accident. Someone is working. Yet we must never forget that labor is not a substitute for love.
2. It was a persevering church
… and thy patience … 3 And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name’s sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted.
a. ‘borne’ – to bear what is burdensome
b. ‘patience’ – steadfastness, endurance
c. ‘laboured’ – to labour with wearisome effort, to toil
d. ‘not fainted’ – to not quit when you grow weary ( quit)
3. It was a pure church
3. It was a pure church
‘… and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars.’
In , we read of a time when the Apostle Paul was with the Ephesians and during his final address to them he said,
Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. 29 For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. 30 Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.
B. Problem? – It was not a passionate church
II. Condemnation of the Ephesian Church – ‘they had left their first love.’
What is most amazing about this is that I would imagine that many of the Ephesian believers were in a state of shock when they first read this letter. “What does He mean – we have left our first love?” “Doesn’t He see all we’re doing?” “I love the Lord.”
Christ was not speaking to believers who had left the church and gone out into the world and begun again to live a life of sin. From the things He has said, many of these believers must have been the core members of the church.
It was not that they no longer loved the Lord, but that they no longer loved Him in the way they had when they first became Christians. Can that actually happen? Can a Christian be doctrinally pure and actively involved and yet cold in their love for the Lord?
Apparently so because it happened to one of the greatest churches of the New Testament period.
Signs that I have left my first Love!
1) No strong desire to spend time with Him
2) Private worship / prayer – almost non-existent
3) Corporate worship – dry
4) Crave things of this world, more than the things of God
5) Talk about everything else other than the things of God
6) Uncomfortable talking about spiritual things
7 )Justify our disobedience
9) Judgmental and critical of others
10) We have become greedy and selfish
For the Ephesians, their Christian walk had become more duty and drudgery than delight. Perhaps they were much like the children of Israel that the Lord spoke to through the prophet Malachi –
You say, ‘It’s too hard to serve the LORD,’ and you turn up your noses at his commands,” says the LORD Almighty. “Think of it! Animals that are stolen and mutilated, crippled and sick – presented as offerings! Should I accept from you such offerings as these?” asks the LORD. 14 “Cursed is the cheat who promises to give a fine ram from his flock but then sacrifices a defective one to the Lord. For I am a great king,” says the LORD Almighty, “and my name is feared among the nations!
The Israelites were going through the form and ritual of worship, yet their hearts were not in it. They were giving to the Lord their second best instead of their very best.
III. Counsel to the Ephesian Church
Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent .
A. Remember
1. Remember where you were when you first came to know the Lord
2. The Ephesians had at one time enjoyed a very deep and rich relationship with the Lord
Labor became a substitute for love and now they were only going through the motions.
B. Repent
1. Renounce your sin of pride, self-sufficiency and self-centeredness and put Christ back at the center of your life.
C. Return
1. The Lord says, “Do thy first works.” ‘Do’? Wasn’t the problem that they were doing? The problem was not what they were doing but why they were doing it. They were not doing with delight, but out of duty and drudgery.
a. Be joyful in your worship. The phrase ‘joyful noise’ means to shout as those who have won the victory! A Sunday morning service in the house of God should be one of the most exciting places on earth.
b. Be glad in your service. Jesus was not saying to the Ephesian church – ’stop serving.’ Instead He was saying – ‘Serve Me with gladness and not with madness.’ If it begrudges you to serve the LORD, you need to get your heart right.
c. Be thankful in your living. Has God been good to you? Are you appreciative of His goodness? Do you enter His gates with thanksgiving? Are you thankful and bless His holy name?
Conclusion
If the Ephesian church could lose its first love, so can we. Perhaps many of us have. If we sense we have, we need to stop and remember what it was like when we really loved the Lord. We need to repent of the things that have come between us and the Lord. And we need to return to the basic things of a relationship with the Lord: joyful worship, glad serving, and thankful living.R
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