Sermon Illustrations

In the book of Revelation, Jesus himself speaks to them. He commends them for many things. But then he adds this sobering rebuke. “Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. ” (Rev. 2:4) WHO is your FIRST LOVE? Over the years, have the pursuits, the distractions, the cares of this world drawn you away from God?

Keith Green, the Christian song writer who died so tragically at the age of just 28, wrote a song about this. “O Lord, please light the fire, that once burned bright and clear. Replace the lamp of my first love, that burns with holy fear. ” Keith Green’s FIRST LOVE was God. When I served in Holland and Belgium with Youth With a Mission, our team would often listen to his music. That was partly we didn’t have any money and Keith offered his albums free of charge to those involved in ministry. But it was mostly because his music was so powerful. Keith Green sang passionately about his FIRST LOVE. Many of us heard him in concert at our little meeting hall, a converted laundromat down the road from our base. In the late spring of 1982, I remember our team driving down the highway between Amsterdam and Antwerp. I sat in the back seat of our van, excitedly unwrapping a new Keith Green tape I’d just picked up in my mail box that morning. It was his latest album, “Songs for the Shepherd. ” We popped it into the cheap tape player we had jammed between the stick shift and the seat and listened to it as we rolled down the road. Just three months later, as we were gathering for a prayer meeting, our team leader brought the news of Keith’s tragic death in a plane crash. We were stunned. After praying for his widow Melody, their children and the ministry, we broke up and spent time in silent reflection on Keith Green’s life and spiritual legacy. Back in my room, my eyes fell on the “Songs of the Shepherd tape. ” I opened the case and began to read the lyrics of each song. The words of one song in particular arrested my attention. “When I stand in glory, I will see His face, and then I’ll serve my King forever, in that holy place. ” It hit me: “That’s where Keith Green Is right now. ” Standing in the presence of the one he loved more than anyone and anything else. His FIRST LOVE. DO YOU KNOW WHO YOU’VE LEFT?