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Title: Have you lost your first love?

Text: Rev 2:1-7

Introduction: Remember those times of walk with me and talking all night and gazing in my eyes.  Remember how you used to serenade me with song and always tell me that you love me and how wonderful I am.  This is what Jesus is feeling since you left your first love.  You stop doing it.  You left your first love. 

I.                    Jesus awareness

Verses 2&3 show us Jesus’ awareness of the activity of the church of Ephesus.  He is omniscience.  We have an all knowing Lord and Savior.  Jesus knows all the details of the life of this church.  .  When nobody else knows, Jesus knows!  Know why? Jesus is speaking to the church.  The church is the bride of Christ.  As in a marriage, the church and Jesus is one.  So whatever is in Jesus is in the church.  This verb “know” in the text stems from a word that means belonging to the family.  In others words, Jesus is saying I what you do because I know myself! He says I know your works.  In others words, I know your business. I know the stuff that you do.  Not only does he knows your efforts and actions, He knows your labor meaning the toil or the beating the church took for doing the work of the Lord.  Not only does He know the churches work and the beating they took but He also know the patience, endurance and the steadfastness of the church of Ephesus.  Look what else Jesus knows about Ephesus.  He knows how they “can not bear them up that are evil” which means they had no tolerances for evil. He keeps going on what He knows about the church.  He knows that they tried/tested those self acclaim apostles because this church knew the word they called them out as liars.  Jesus in verse 3 goes on to tell the church at Ephesus that He even knows who they are doing these things for.  Look at the text.   And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name’s sake hast labored, and hast not fainted. In other words, I know your persistence, your courage in my cause that you never wear out.  Jesus has a keen awareness of all these wonderful things that the church Ephesus has done because it is who and what he is and does.  Is it good to know that Jesus knows?  He knows when you are doing His works.  He knows how hard is for you.  He knows what you had to endure.  He knows that you don’t tolerate foolishness or evil. He knows that you spot a false teacher. He knows even that that all you do was not for fame or self interest. He knows you did all for Him.  And He appreciates it.  Jesus is aware of everything that church does and what we do that look like him.   He knows because He knows himself.  But there is a flipside to this equation.  If He knows what is Him, He also in all of His omniscience knows what is not Him.   Since the church comes out of him, He knows what He did not produce.  He did not produce all this foolishness that is why it is not prospering and the church is not growing.  But it ain’t him.  As good as the church of Ephesus was, it had a problem.  It was not all that.  It had a major issue that Jesus was not pleased with.  

II.                 Jesus’ accusation v. 4

Jesus has something against them.  Even though they were busy serving and sacrificing, they had a heart problem.  The text says that they left there first love.  The church was working but it lost its passion and affection for who and what it was created for.  They left their first love.  This tells me that they walked away or turn from their initial objection of affection.  All they did was not motivated by a love for Jesus.  They had another lover who they thought was better.  What you love the most gets most of your time.  You should spend more time developing your relationship with God than being busy.   When you see people in church mad and frustrated all time and come every Sunday serving with out anything good to say that is a person who left their first love. They are going through motions with no passion.  They are serving with no love or passion for Jesus and He got a problem with that.   What we do for the Lord is important, but so is why we do it! God is telling us that we better check our motives of why we are serving. If you don’t becomes about you and God no longer gets the glory.

Don’t leave your first love.  What is “first love”? It is that fervent, personal, excited , open and passionate devotion to Christ like when you first got saved!  It is that honeymoon love” husband and wife experience. However, like a marriage when a husband and wife start letting things get routine and take each for grant their marriage is in danger.  So it is with us as believers.  We can not let our devotion and service to the Lord get routine and take the blessing of God for granted.  Don’t leave your first love!

But also my beloved, don’t substitute your labor for love.  That is why Jesus had to check Martha when she said her sister Mary did not care that Mary chosen the good part. That good part was spending time and loving on Jesus.  Mary knew and never left her first love.  Some of y’all can kick yourself because you messed up when you left your first love.  When neglect our bonding and passion for Christ all we are doing kicking ourselves and living a life of frustration because we left our first love. 

III.               Jesus Admonishes

One thing that I love about Jesus is that when I am wrong He does not just kick me to the curb or leaving embarrassed or feeling less than or a good for nothing.  He gently corrects and rebukes but gives me a way out so I can be all that I can be.  He wants me get back on track.  We can learn from Jesus on how we need to deal with people. If you going to cut somebody down yet better bring them back up!  Jesus admonishes the church of Ephesus to get right.  Tried Stone, Jesus today is admonishing us to get right by getting back to your first love. 

Look at verses 5 and 6.  “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.  But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.”

The word fallen in the text tells that they were at a higher place but descended to a lower place.  What caused their fall?  When did it happen?  Practically speaking, in order for me to fall, an impeding force has to hinder my normal flow of motion that is stronger than what I am able to exert.  For example, when I trip over something due to an obstacle in my flow and lose my balance.  Or if I am push off a ledge and if it is high enough, I would not be able stabilize myself to sustain the force therefore I can be injured.  My brothers and sisters, what did you trip over that caused you leave your first love?  What pushed you away from your first love?  There was some event that caused this to happen.  No matter what it is, it has to be removed so you can get back to your rightful place in Christ. But Jesus warns the church of Ephesus if they don’t make the necessary correction.  He will remove them.  Look at the text he will “remove thy candlestick out of his place”.  He will take the church out of its rightful place and put it somewhere else.  Anywhere is else the church is other than where God wants it to be is destined to fail its purpose.  That goes for us individually too!  When you are out of place, we will get in trouble.  Even though in his admonishment, Jesus commends them on those who compromise the faith.  The text says that the Church of Ephesus hates the Nicolaitans.  Their names mean destruction of people.  They lived up to it because they called themselves Christians but fornication and idolatry was their normal practice. Just like today sex and put other things before God is still destruction to the people of God.  Jesus is telling us through this example of Ephesus’ behavior that they had the right intent but the wrong motivation.  But within this same text Jesus gives us the how that we are looking for to get back to our first love and overcome anything that hinders you from your relationship with Jesus.  Here is what Ephesus and we have to do:

A. Remember

The first thing we have to do according to the text is to remember.  Literally it means to keep on remembering. It is reflecting on what happened that caused you to deviate from you original state of bliss with Jesus.  It is realizing where you lost and how you lost that first and you are will to cultivate a desire to get back what you lost.   Remember that situation that caused you to look at church a different way.  Remember that person what disrespected you giving a skewed view of Christian leadership.   Whatever you remember you have to realize that was nothing but the devil put darkness in your light.  But remember that the Lord does not want you in darkness. Ask Jesus to shine light you can see Him and expose the real enemy.  You got remember God’s original plan for you and it is not to make you bitter but better and closer to Him. 

B. Repent

After you remember you have to repent according to the text do your first works.  Repents does not mean just to says sorry.  Repent means to change your mind set and feelings.  It is not doing that thing again.   

C. Return

Then do those you used to do before you fell away from your first love.  Have that same passion and devotion Jesus like when you first met him.  Serve him with joy and enthusiasm like you used to.  You have been cheating on Jesus with another lover now go back He is waiting with a forgiving heart!  When you do these things, Jesus promises you a reward.

D. Reward

The text says He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.   Whoever is listening to what I says to the church, whoever overcomes this problem I got something for you.  You will get to eat from the tree of life. You will be eternally saved.  You eat what Adam messed up and you will have eternal bliss with me in paradise.  This promise is for right now!

Celebration: When you remember, repent and return to Jesus, you are saved right now. You can have paradise right now.  Just go back to your first love! Go back to having pure heart. Go back to having joy when you service. Go back to loving God’s people. Fall in love again! 

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