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Summary: Ephesus had been a great church, but now it had lost it's first love for Jesus. If it happened to them, how can we make sure it doesn't happen to us?

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OPEN: Someone once asked a bunch of elementary aged children what they thought about love.

Glenn, age 7: If falling love is anything like learning how to spell, I don’t want to do it. It takes too long.

Regina, age 10 agrees: I’m not rushing into love. I’m finding fourth grade hard enough.

Angie, age 10: Most men are brainless, so you might have to try more than once to find a live one.

Dave, age 8: Love will find you, even if you are trying to hide from it. I’ve been trying to hide from it since I was five, but the girls keep finding me.

Manuel, age 8: I think you’re supposed to get shot with an arrow or something, but the rest of it isn’t supposed to be painful.

ILLUS: Some recent studies tell us that when a person is in love, their brain lights up.

When you're in love, your eyes light up, your face lights up - and apparently, so do 4 tiny bits of your brain. According to Andreas Bartels, a research fellow at University College London: It is the common denominator of romantic love.

When test subjects were shown photographs of their sweethearts… certain areas of their brain just lit up – which means there’s a higher flow of blood going to that part of the brain.

These "love spots" were near, but not the same as, sections that become active when someone is feeling simple lust. And - in addition - looking at these pictures of their sweethearts also reduced activity in 3 larger areas that are active when people are upset or depressed.

(Janet McConnaughey R.Digest 9/01)

APPLY: In the text we’re looking at this morning, Jesus is SCOLDING the church at Ephesus.

They’ve lost something.

What have they lost? (Their First Love)

And Jesus rebukes them for it.

"Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. 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.” Revelation 2:4-5

It’s like Jesus is telling them there’s certain parts of brains that don’t light up like they used to.

But how did that happen? How did they lose their first love for Jesus? Was it kinda like when you lose your keys or your TV remote? I mean - did they just misplace Jesus somewhere along the line? Well yes… and no.

I’ve known people (and whole churches) that have lost their first love for Jesus. But they didn’t wake one morning and say “I’m going to walk away from Jesus today.” If they gave any thought to it at all - if they even realized it had happened - they might say that their love for Him was just missing. They’d say it feels like they’ve MISPLACED that love and they just don’t know where it went.

But that’s not actually what happens.

They don’t MIS-place Jesus… they RE-place Jesus.

It’s kind of like a man who loses his love for his wife - and runs off with another woman. Most adulterers don’t set out to do that. They don’t just wake up one day and say “Hey, I think I’ll leave my wife today.”

ILLUS: At my first church I had one man come to me with his fiancé asking me to marry them. They’d both been divorced so I asked what happened in their previous marriages. His answer was “We just fell out of love.”

That raised all kinds of red flags, so pursued it a little further: “How long were you married?”

“Five years” he replied.

“When did you ‘fall out of love?’”

“About the 3rd year.”

“So, why did you fall out of love?” I asked.

“Oh, I don’t know, we just did.”

By the flippant way he answered I realized he’d fall out of love with this woman too, and I wanted nothing to do with the wedding.

He was telling me he just lost his love for his first wife… kind of like losing his keys. And it didn’t bother him in the least. But I doubt he “misplaced” his love for her. More than likely he found someone else who “replaced” that love.

ILLUS: Years ago, a number of preachers and I attended a session conducted by a local counselor. He warned to beware of our church secretaries, because he’d known too many preachers who’d run off with their secretaries… even though they were not nearly as attractive as the wives these men had left.

He said what happened was: the secretary would come into the office and do something nice for preacher… and he’d compliment her. Later on, she’d do something else for him… he’d give her more compliments. Before long this interaction built to the point where the secretary thought: “If only my husband treated me like this at home.” And the preacher got to thinking “if only my wife treated me like this at home.” And eventually they ran off together, only to find (about 6 months later) that the person they ran off with wasn’t all that much different than the spouse they’d left.

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Richard John Hayton

commented on Apr 1, 2017

Dear Jeff. I have been a pastor of a Baptist church in England for more than 20 years. I regularly find that it is the sermons you submit that help to inspire me most often. Thank you for this one too. I have most recently been preaching a series on different prodigals, currently on "The Prodigal Church" using the letters in Revelation as the base. Thank you for what you do it is most appreciated.

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