Summary: Is your love for Jesus exclusive? Do you regularly take quality time to be with him? We must guard our "first love."
Guard Your First Love
Pastor Bob Ashcraft June 2, 2002
· In the first three chapters of Revelation, Jesus addresses the churches:
· He has come to judge these churches in righteousness
· 1 Peter 4:17 "...judgment must begin at the house of God..."
· Jesus appears among the seven churches, he begins to judge them according to both the good and bad he sees
· God’s voice speaking not only to these particular churches, but to the church universal
· The judgments are given in this order:
· Lists the good things that bless Him
· Compliments each church on these things
· Lists several things that grieve Him deeply
· Issues a warning to each church
His first message is to the Christians at Ephesus
2:1 "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: 2 "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; 3 and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary. 4 Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. 5 Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place--unless you repent. 6 But this you have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. 7 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." ’
· Vs 4 we see the term "first love"
· This is not an immature love rather exclusive love
· It is significant that of all the sins Jesus points out in these seven the first sin he names is the one that grieves him most: a loss of affection for him.
· Our God is a jealous lover
Of all the Seven Churches, the Christians at Ephesus Wounded Christ The Most!
· Ps 41:9 Even my own familiar friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted up his heel against me
· People who are closest to our heart can wound us the most
· Vs 2"I know your works
· In other words: "I know all the good things going on in your lives
These are not novice Christians
· Jesus is examining the hearts of a people who are well-grounded in the truth of the gospel.
· Yet Jesus points out something else in the hearts of these Ephesians
· Vs 4 "I have something against you!"
· But when I see Jesus among such well-taught believers as the Ephesians and telling them, "I have something against you"
· My question is "Jesus, do you have something against me? Have I grieved you?
Christ’s Warning Isn’t Just For Christians in 1st Century Ephesus – It is for Us Today!
· These warning are for us and every Believer.
· So, what is God saying to us living in these last days?
· Simply put, the Lord is telling us, "It’s not enough;
· To be caring, giving, a diligent servant, to be grievous over sin, a preacher truth…
· If our affection for me is no longer a matter of great concern to you, then I have something against you!
Ps 73:25 Whom have I in heaven but You? And there is none upon earth that I desire besides You.
· David is saying, "There is no one I love exclusively in my heart as I love my Lord. I desire him above all others!"
David also writes;
Ps 63:1 O God, You are my God; early will I seek You; my soul thirsts for You; my flesh longs for You in a dry and thirsty land where there is no water.
Ps 42:1-2 As the deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God?
· Likewise, Jesus is telling the Ephesian Christians, "You no longer seek me as the deer does.
· I’m no longer the chief object of your desire.
· You may be willing to do things for me - but I’m not at the center of your heart anymore!"
Many Christians Do Not Take This Rebuke Seriously.
Jesus takes any lack of affection very seriously. Indeed, he says such a lack constitutes a fall: