Summary: Using God's instructions to the Church at Ephesus in Revelation 2, we learn how to stop forsaking our first love in our marriages.
A. I want to begin today’s sermon with a video clip that contrasts the difference between newlyweds and not so newlyweds (Show video about newlyweds from Chip Ingram’s series “Marriage Built to Last”).
B. I want to follow up that video clip with two important questions:
1. Does the honeymoon ever have to be over?
2. Does the way we treated each other during courtship and the newlywed stage have to end?
3. Ultimately, the answer to those questions is: “No, It doesn’t have to.”
a. The loving way we treat each other during the honeymoon doesn’t have to end.
b. The loving way we treat each other during the courtship and newlywed stages doesn’t have to end.
4. What I’m going to suggest today is that one of the ways to affair-proof, divorce-proof, or jump-start a dead marriage is to return to the way we treated each other during courtship and when we were newlyweds.
5. As you know, we have been focusing on marriage for the last five sermons in our Marriage Matters series.
a. I hope you have found the lessons helpful as I’ve tried to be simple and practical.
b. Today’s sermon is the final lesson in the series.
C. As we begin today’s lesson, I want to employ an illustration that has to do with cars.
1. Some men and some women are really into cars, but all of us have experience with cars.
2. All of us know that cars have to be maintained.
a. All of us know what happens if you don’t change the oil, change the brakes, tune up the engine or keep the tires properly inflated.
3. And all of us also know that if the battery is dead, then the car won’t start.
4. Well, marriages are a lot like cars, they have to be maintained.
a. And if we allow the marriage battery to die, then it must be jump-started.
5. So what should we do if our marriage needs a tune up or if our marriage needs a jump-start?
6. Let’s answer that question by looking at the problem, the prescription, and the plan.
I. The Problem
A. You may think it odd that I’ve chosen a text from Revelation 2 for this sermon, since the text is not about marriage.
1. In the beginning of Revelation chapter two, the church at Ephesus is addressed.
2. We know, that Paul ministered at Ephesus on his 2nd missionary journey and that he wrote them a letter that is a beloved part of the New Testament.
3. In Revelation 2, the Ephesian church is being addressed many years into the life of that church.
4. We discover that there are some good things that have occurred in this church.
a. The angel talking to them through the apostle John says, “I know your hard work, I know your perseverance, I know you do not tolerate wicked men and I know you have endured great hardships.”
b. These are all marvelous qualities and characteristics of this church
5. And when we look at our marriages, my guess is that we can also find some good things.
a. If you’ve been married four years or forty years, I’m sure there have been some good times and good things over the years.
6. But for the Ephesian church it wasn’t all good.
a. There were some criticisms. There were some problems.
b. The angel pointed out, “I hold this against you. You have forsaken your first love.” (v. 4)
B. When I think about marriage, and I think about the problems that we face in our marriages, many of the problems can be traced to that problem itself.
1. We have forsaken our first love. We have forsaken our wife or our husband.
2. The love that we had for them that caused us to make the marital covenant with them and the actions that were associated with that love have been forsaken; they’ve been forgotten; they’ve been put aside.
3. For that reason, all kinds of other problems have begun to arise.
C. Let’s ask this question: “How does a church get to that point—how do they get to the point that they have forsaken their first love?”
1. And we can ask the same question about marriages: How does a husband, or how does a wife get to that point where they have forsaken their first love? How could that happen?
2. In reality, there are lots of things that happen along the way that can cause that to happen.
a. Perhaps it is success that has caused us to forsake our first love, whether that love is for Christ and the church, or whether it be the love for our wife or husband.
b. Another thing that can cause us to forsake our first love is the problems that we face as we walk through life: illness, accidents, job losses. All of these things can become distractions.