Summary: Ephesus lost their first love, Jesus gives us guidelines to retore our first love
Losing your First Love
Paul Simon a famous Pop singer one time recorded a song called "50 ways to leave your lover." In it he has answers of how to get out of a relationship. But before some one can leave a loved one, they have to first stop loving them. This is probably the #1 reason for divorce; they just fell out of love with one another. This is a process that starts slowly. Edmund Burke said "very seldom does a man take one giant step from a life of virtue and goodness, into a life of vice and corruption. Usually he begins his journey into evil by taking little steps into the shaded areas, areas tinted and colored just a bit, almost unnoticed by those around him. Until one day hardly aware that he has made the journey, he finds himself firmly entangled by those around him. Young Goodman Brown is such a story. But the Bible has several of these stories. The church at Ephesus is one of these stories. They were theologically sound, they have endured hardships, and they knew what they believed and why they believed it. They were started by the Apostle Paul, nurtured by the Apostle John. They were a church who had these super APOSTLES as their pastors, yet they lost their first love. We need to discover why this happened, can it or has it happened here, and how to get it back.
In the book of Judges we read about Samson, he was like this church he was a man who loved God, from birth to manhood he was dedicated to God. He started his morning with God, spent the day with God, and ended his day with God. But gradually he fell away. Gradually he lost his first love. Judges 16:20 tells us "he did not know the Lord had left him." Samson had been flirting with evil; he had done things against God. The Lord left him and he did not even realize it. A man dedicated since birth to God, became so desensitized he did not realize God had left him.
Saul is another such character. His reign over Israel starts with such fervor. He is a man who God loves, and who loves God. Yet he turns his back on God gradually. We are told that Saul ended up slinking off to the witch of Endor, seeking help from the powers of evil because those were forces that were now controlling his life. Eventually Saul is driven mad, He is a man who left his God and now his God has left him.
APPLICATION: It isn’t the giant step from virtue into corruption that we need to fear; it is the little steps that ultimately lead us from God.
There were many positive things that were said about the Church at Ephesus. They were hardworking, they were of sound doctrine, they did not tolerate evil among them, and they have persevered. Yet how could they have lost their first love? Matthew 24:12 Because of the increase of wickedness the love of most will grow cold. How does our love grow cold?
1. Not taking care of it
a. Supporting it financially
i. We have great pride in the history of this congregation
1. Survived several fires
2. The addition and how we have accomplished to whittle the debt.
3. We support several missions here and abroad
4. Have been benevolent to those of our community and of the congregation.
5. Yet we have not made budget financially in 8 of the 12 months of this fiscal year.
b. Loving it
i. Building the congregation up
ii. Praying for each other
iii. Leaving the work to be done by a handful
iv. Not taking our place in the ministry of the church
vi. Giving to God what is best not what is left.
Illustration: Two people meet, they fall in love. They spend time talking to each other, sharing their hopes and dreams. And when they are apart they are thinking of each other. Counting the days until they can be together again. They marry, their love blooms and mushrooms. Nothing will come between them. Then there are jobs, appointments, stresses to be dealt with, arguments, demands become overwhelming, and the relationship begins to suffer. Before you know it they are looking at each other, saying to themselves "this is not the person I married" Their love has grown cold.
C. This starts in our personal lives
1. IS our life seasoned with prayer
2. Do we have personal devotions at time where God speaks to us?
3. What have we allowed in our lives that is not pleasing to God.
4. Do we treat our Sunday service with contempt
a. Come when it is convenient