Summary: This message deals with the dangers of leaving the first love that a person receives when first introduced to Jesus.
Scripture: Revelation 2:1-7
Title: “A Lasting Impression”
Introduction: When someone is deeply in love with each other I don’t think there’s anything that can hurt someone as much as when their wife or husband leaves them for someone else. But this is exactly what the church of Ephesus had done to the Lord. For some reason (s) the church had allowed something else to occupy their interest. They had allowed their love for the Lord to become SIDETRACKED! Their love had grown cold for the ONE that had forgiven them of their sins. Their passion for the Lord had been transferred to something else.
There are problems when a marriage partner develops another “love” that takes the place of the original partner.
Sometimes that “love” is wealth, fame, alcohol, drugs, or something else.
It is also possible to leave a first love in a SPIRITUAL sense. This is what the church in Ephesus did to our Lord Jesus Christ. We must be careful because we can leave our love for the Lord Jesus just as easily.
The seven churches addressed in chapters 2 and 3 were actual churches of John’s day. But they also represent types and conditions of churches in all generations. These seven conditions can be present in our lives as Christians to some degree.
COMMENDATION – Vss. 2,3,6.
(v. 2) The Lord knows the work of each church. This church was hard working, diligent church. They hated the activities of evil workers and false apostles.
(v. 3) Life wasn’t easy for the Ephesian Christians, but the people labored faithfully during times of opposition and they did not faint!
(v. 6) There was a group of false teachers called the Nicolaitans whose deeds the Lord hated. The Ephesisans hated these deeds as well.
CONDEMNATION – Vs. 4
They had left their FIRST LOVE! They were still BUSY, but no longer loved the Lord the way they once did.
Do you know what you call a person who cheats on his wife! He is called an ADULTERER.
Our Lord hates spiritual adultery! James 4:4 “You adulterers! Don’t you realize that friendship with this world makes you an enemy of God? I say it again, that if your aim is to enjoy this world, you can’t be a friend of God.” (NLT)
How about us? Do we love anything or anyone more than we love Christ? Luke 14:26-27 “"If you want to be my follower you must love me more than your own father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters--yes, more than your own life. Otherwise, you cannot be my disciple.And you cannot be my disciple if you do not carry your own cross and follow me.”
COUNSEL – Vs. 5
They were to remember from where they had fallen.
They were to repent.
They were to go back to doing their first works.
They were to beware lest their candlestick (testimony) be removed.
CHALLENGE – Vs. 7
We are to hear what our Lord is saying.
If we heed, there is reward!
The church at Ephesus had been a HEALTHY church. It had enjoyed many successes and some failures. This church had been young and vibrant. (Page 3)
But the church at Ephesus had stopped TRUSTING God.
They had stopped remembering where they CAME FROM.
They had developed a CAUSUAL attitude concerning sin.
They stopped STRENGTHENING themselves in Spiritual things.
They had worked hard. They had refused to tolerate sin. They had endured hardships and not grown weary. – But they had LEFT THEIR FIRST LOVE!
I. FIRST LOVE.
a. When Jesus uses the words, “first love” here, He isn’t speaking of the immature love we experience when we’re first saved. Rather, He’s talking about exclusive love. He’s saying, “I once occupied first place in your heart. But now you’ve given first place of your love for Me to someone else. You’ve allowed other things to take my place!
b. In a physical sense every married person is to have a first love! That first love is to be the husband or wife that God has provided.
c. Think about it: If you love someone exclusively above all others, you’ll make that person feel he’s the most important being on earth. Everything else will pale in comparison.
d. Isn’t this how you first loved your spouse, when you were courting?
e. If she called on the phone while you were busy doing something, you dropped everything just talk to her.
f. And if anyone intruded on your time alone together, you resented it!
g. Your one desire was to develop the love between you. Everything else took second place.
h. Think back to what you were like when you first got saved: You were excited that Jesus had come to live in your heart.