Summary: This message uses a large wooden cross as a prop. As I discuss each item, I place it on the cross. By the time I am done the sermon, the cross is completely hidden from all the garbage hanging from it.
Losing Sight of The Cross
REV. 2:2 5a
I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked men, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary. Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first.
This morning, I am preaching a message that is not new. In fact, to be honest with you, much of my message this morning I’ve preached a number of times before. This message is one which the Lord gave me a about two years ago. I have preached it in 3 or 4 churches since then. This morning, I believe the Lord would have me to preach it again. It seems like it is a message that is needed to be said in far too many Christian circles. We need to be reminded again of the danger of losing sight of the cross.
THE EPHESIAN CHURCH
The Christians in Ephesus had a lot going for them. According to Rev. 2, they were involved in all kinds of ministries. They were committed to the work of the Lord. They were doing lots for God.
They ran a Women’s Ministry, a Men’s Fellowship, a L.I.F.E. Youth Ministry, a Missions Committee. They operated a Library, passing out the various letters they would receive from the Apostle Paul. Their Children’s ministry was a model for all the other churches. Recently their Puppet Team was featured in the Jerusalem Post. Not to mention, they strongly supported the other Christian Ministries volunteers and finances.
This church was happening. They had a high standard of holiness. They worked hard at protecting themselves from worldly influences.
They had even been persecuted. Yet through it all, they persevered. They refused to give up.
Yet, this was the charge held against them: You have forsaken your first love . . . repent and do the things you did at first.
While they were busy fulfilling commandments and obey the Lord. While they were spending their time ministering to others and reaching the lost, they had lost sight of the Cross. They lost their love for Jesus Christ.
PASTORS GUILTY OF THIS
Some people find it hard to understand how this church could be accused of losing sight of Jesus. How could you be so involved in ministry and yet lose sight of Christ?
Pastors have been surveyed many times about their personal walk with Jesus Christ. It is very alarming to discover how few of them actually spend time daily in prayer and reading the Word.
You see, most pastors are so busy planning ministry, that they don’t have time to spend developing their relationship with Christ.
ILL.: Imagine a young man and women getting engaged. Their wedding day is coming up. The bride is so busy planning the wedding. She is making phone calls, she is visiting florists, she is reading bridal magazines, she is even crashing other weddings to see what they are doing.
Every night the groom phones her to see how her day went. She quickly tells him that she is so tired from all that she did that day, and would he mind if she waited and talked to him the next day. Every day she tells him the same thing.
For months they never see each other because she is so busy with this very important part of her life. One day she pauses, realizing that it has been three weeks since she last called her fiance. She reaches for the phone, about to dial his number. But she remembers that a new florist opened up last week and she needs to call the store. She quickly calls the florist, and forgets the fiance.
Finally, the night before the wedding is at hand. She is waiting at the rehearsal for her soon-to-be husband to show. But he is late. After a hour, she decides to phone him. She can’t recall his number so she looks it up. His mother answers and is surprised to hear her voice. She asks were her finance is.
The mother is surprised, “Where have you been? Didn’t you know that he got married last week to someone else?”
Many Christians are so busy doing the work of the Lord, that they’ve forgotten that being a Christian means building a relationship with Christ.
When we first accept Jesus Christ into our life, He is all we see. But, along the journey, we seem to pick up so much . . .
Soon, our eyes are no longer focused on the Cross, but they are focused on . . .