Summary: To have revival in our lives means we must have a ’our first love’ in perspective. Credit where it is due; Many years ago I heard a message by Ron Phillips which inspired this message.
* It’s an old story, I’ve told it before, you’ve heard it before, but here it is again; Couple was married for 50 years! Problem was, all they did was fuss. About everything!! For their 50th anniversary their kids chipped in to give them their most needed gift; a trip to the marriage counselor. They first argued about whether to accept the gift or not which was followed by ‘how they would get there.’ Their oldest child stopped that argument by announcing he would drive them. All the way to the appointment they argued about who would go first in telling about their difficulties. Arriving at the appointment and seated in front of the counselor this argument continued until the counselor dropped his pad and paper on the desk, stood up, walked around the desk, took the older lady in his arms, and planted a big-wet-Hollywood style- kiss on her lips. After the extended kiss, he gently seated the woman in her chair (she sat down with a half smile on her face) and turning to the stunned husband he said, “She needs this 3 times a week.” Without missing a beat the husband responded, “I can bring her by Monday, Wednesday, & Friday.”
* As a church family we are approaching the time we are setting aside for a series of meetings which we call, “REVIVAL.” My prayer is that God would come down and do miraculous things in our midst. Until that time I am calling us to devotion and prayer that God may be released in this place to accomplish the change He desires in each of us. Each message will be a call for us to personally prepare for revival. I begin with a question.
* What do you think when you hear the expression “First Love?” Does your mind go to that first person you dated in High School? You do remember & it would be my thought that you carried a special feeling about that ‘love’ for a long time. In fact, though not particularly romantic in nature, truth is that you two may have a special friendship that is never forgotten.
* Turn with me to our text and today let’s talk about “FIRST LOVE.” Jesus made it clear that ‘love’ is to be the center piece of our faith. Love for our Lord is to be first followed by love for each other. Over the past few weeks, as we have begun to discuss the need for spiritual renewal one of the comments which I hear in leadership meetings has to do with love or lack thereof. Our love for each other is directly related to our love for the Lord. If we love God first then live like we love God, our love for others will be the most normal & natural part of our lives. Let’s view ‘First love’ from the text.
* (READ) Hardy Sheffield is a name that will live in infamy. He is the man who dropped the Olympic Torch on the “Trevors Narrow Bridge” outside of Portland, Oregon. Onlookers thought they might have to go back to Greece, but the Committee had made contingency plans having a “Mother Fire” so the torch could be re-lighted and the journey continued.
* This perfectly symbolizes the church in Ephesus, in America, & believers today. All began right & yet, have seemingly dropped the torch allowing the flames to be blown out by the winds of hurts, conflict & disappointment.
* The message to Ephesus is this; ‘you do a lot of right things, work hard, keep on trudging along, but you have a problem. To the American church today, the same message can be given. If God would bless a church with a visitation of His Holy Spirit because of Activities, we’d be a blessed bunch. Have we, like the Ephesians Church, traded human activities for divine actions? The text is a quotation from the Lord who says, “You’re doing all these good things, but I have something against you because you have left, lost, or forgotten your first love which is THE MAIN THING. Our first love should be our best love to the point of becoming our main love.
* So let’s examine this concept of “First Love” through 3 different lenses.
1. The Meaning of First Love – What exactly does Jesus mean when He uses this thought? In our text He calls us to ‘return to our first works.’ What exactly is our Lord referring to? In order to know this, let’s return to the first days of the Ephesians church in Acts 19. After receiving the word of truth from the Apostle Paul some things happened which we can enumerate as first works. These are; baptism in order, laying on of hands, filled with the spirit, speaking in other languages, and prophesying. Additionally, the new converts were so anointed that they made the church establishment so uncomfortable that they were kicked out of the building and had to open a store front church. Miraculous healings and spiritual activity were the order of the day. There was confessing, cleansing, and sacrifice. Don’t miss this ‘First works like first love always upsets the normal order of things.” What happens when we lose this?