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Have You Left Your First Love?

Have You Left Your First Love?

 "To the angel of the church of Ephesus write, 'These things says He who holds the seven stars in His right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands: "I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars; and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name's sake and have not become weary.  Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. But this you have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.
Revelation 2:1-4,6 (NKJV)

"You lost your first love," were the words of Jesus to the Church of Ephesus as recorded in Revelation 2:1-4.  They had been faithful to discern evil in the pagan lifestyles; they were patient in enduring suffering for Christ's name; they had done many good deeds, and they were hard workers, full of perseverance- so what went wrong?  What was the problem that Jesus was referring to here in Revelation?  

Well, the first thing we need to know is that Jesus was not only writing to one of the 7-Churches - the Church in Ephesus - but He was writing this to us on a personal level as well - all those who have an ear.  

 "He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God." ' Revelation 2:7 (NKJV)

And so we need to ask ourselves,

Q:    What can we learn from this warning since this letter is also written to us?

A:    That we too, can get so busy doing the "Work" of God, that we can leave our "Love" for God - just as they had left their first love.

The Ephesian church was zealous for Christ when they first heard the Gospel message - they were faithful to abandon their worldly lifestyles and serve each other in the Body of believers with a true love.  They hated the false doctrinal teachings of the Nicolaitans, and the worship of pagan religion that was prevalent in their culture and city they were focused on Christ and the Love of God was evident (See Eph 1:15, 16, 6:24).  But something had changed.  

In the midst of serving and working diligently - in the midst of weeding out those people who would otherwise deceive the flock of believers - they left their first love.  Notice how Jesus said they had "Left," and not "Lost" their first love.  Jesus had not left them, He was still right there in their midst - but He was no longer their first love.

We see this in many Churches today, as marketing systems, and various programs implemented to entertain people and fill up the pews replace the compassion of sharing God's Word - verse by verse.  And in the process the simplicity of loving God with all of our heart, mind and soul is being crowded out.  Many of the same things such as false doctrines that confronted the Church in Ephesus now confront us in these last days.  We need to ask ourselves an honest question as Christian men and women.

Q:    Are we willing to acknowledge how important it is to Christ to bring honor to His name, and reflect His love through our lives while fellowshipping with others?

We must never take for granted, or worse yet, become jaded to what our Savior has done for us.  Let me ask you something today.
Do you remember the first time you heard the Gospel message and it penetrated your heart?  Do you remember the feeling of freedom the first time when you confessed your sins and repented and accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior?  Do you remember how alive you felt, and how you couldn't get enough of the Word of God - how you would go to church and read your bible as much as possible?  

I certainly do - and I also remember a time where I took that for granted as well.  I remember a time where I was willing to work very hard for the Lord - but I wasn't worshiping Him in the same way.  It can happen slowly but the enemy deceives and tempts us to take our eyes off of Jesus and put them back on ourselves.  We can begin to look at what "We" are doing - what "We" are sacrificing, rather than what God is doing in us, on us, and through us.  We can begin to look at others critically and wonder why they are not engaging in ministry or helping out.  And suddenly the metamorphosis happens - we have exchanged the loving "Worship" of God for the legalized "Work" of God.  We have taken God's loving grace and exchanged it for our inadequate works - we have "Left" our first love.

Hey Christian, I want to truly encourage you today to think back to how you felt when you first started your relationship with the Lord.  Go back to that time - drop all the baggage of  the people who have let you down - it's got nothing to do with God's love for you, and your love for God.  If you're hurting today, or maybe even just feeling numb about your relationship with Jesus, then repent - turn around, because He is right there with arms wide open.

STUDY QUESTION: What did Jesus have against the Church of Ephesus?

PERSONAL INVENTORY: Are you just as in love with Jesus as you were when you first believed?  Have you found yourself taking your eyes of Him, and putting them on yourself?

APPLICATION: Take some time today to tell God how much you love Him.  Tell Jesus and the Holy Spirit how much you love them as well.  It is a relationship, not a religion that we have been privileged to be a part of.  Now go serve others by your love for Christ.

Father, Thank You for Your unfailing love.  Thank You for being faithful when I have been faithless.  I am sorry for the times where I have taken my eyes off of You, and have put them on myself and what I am doing.  I want to say that I love You tremendously and I need You in my life today.  Fill me with Your love and allow me to reflect it upon others as I seek to serve them today.  In Jesus precious name, amen...

Be Blessed, Pastor Scott

Copyright ©2017 by Pastor Scott Wright.
Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Bible text from the New King James Version is not to be reproduced in copies or otherwise by any means except as permitted in writing by Thomas Nelson, Inc., Attn: Bible Rights and Permissions, P.O. Box 141000, Nashville, TN 37214-1000