Summary: This sermon explores how Christians, over a period of time, have a tendency to stray away from JESUS CHRIST, their first love, and offers encouragement to return to HIM.
TEXT: Revelation 2:1-5
1 Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks; 2 I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars: 3 And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name’s sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted. 4 Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. 5 Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent. --Revelation 2:1-5 (King James Version)
1 "Write this letter to the angel of the church in Ephesus. This is the message from the one who holds the seven stars in his right hand, the one who walks among the seven gold lampstands: 2 "I know all the things you do. I have seen your hard work and your patient endurance. I know you don’t tolerate evil people. You have examined the claims of those who say they are apostles but are not. You have discovered they are liars. 3 You have patiently suffered for me without quitting. 4 But I have this complaint against you. You don’t love me or each other as you did at first! 5 Look how far you have fallen from your first love! Turn back to me again and work as you did at first. If you don’t, I will come and remove your lampstand from its place among the churches.
--Revelation 2:1-5 (New Living Translation)
SUBJECT: REVIVING YOUR FIRST LOVE
In the 4th Chapter of the Gospel According to Matthew, the Bible records that Jesus was walking along the Sea of Galilee and while there, He came across two men, Simon, who was called Peter, and his brother Andrew. When Jesus called out to these two brothers, declaring that He would make them fishers of men, the Bible records that they immediately dropped their fishing nets and left to follow Him. Like wise, Jesus continued walking about this same Sea of Galilee where he came across another set of brothers who were in their ship with their father, mending their fishing nets. And again, the Bible records that when these men were called by Jesus, they not only dropped their nets immediately to follow Him, but they also left their father, Zebedee, alone in the fishing boat. Thus entered James and John, the Sons of Thunder, into their service and love affair with Jesus Christ.
This is the John that is known as John the Apostle. And we must distinguish him from John the Baptist who was the forerunner of Jesus Christ. It was this John that became one of the pillars of the early church in Jerusalem along with James and Peter. This John is responsible for writing the Gospel of John, and the three epistles, entitled 1st, 2nd, and 3rd John. It was this John that ventured out of Jerusalem and went over to Ephesus to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ. It was in Ephesus that he penned the Gospel of John.
And you see we must understand a little bit about Ephesus. Ephesus had an almost perfect location for the spread of the Gospel because of its location near the sea. This location was instrumental in its vast sea traffic and commerce. Its population swelled to over 300,000 people of various backgrounds and ethnic groups. Ephesus quickly became one of the wealthiest cities in the Middle East. It was a city like some of the major melting pots in the United States, that had many different cultures operating together. This was due to its being occupied by the Lydians, the Persians, and the Greeks. Ephesus even had many different religions being practiced simultaneously including those of the Jews, the Egyptians, the Greeks, and the Romans. But in the year 53 A.D., the Apostle Paul began the spread of Christianity in Ephesus.
John later reported to Ephesus and continued this spread of the Gospel. But his fiery and powerful ministry got him in trouble. You see when you’re doing something good in the name of Jesus Christ, there will always be those who want to see your demise and stop the great works that you’re doing. Can I get a witness?
So the Bible tells me that the Romans exiled John to the Isle of Patmos. But how many of you know today that even in the midst of trouble, God always has a plan. And His plan for John was the writing of the Book of Revelation. Just as Genesis is the book of beginnings, Revelation is so styled the book of endings. Thus in the first chapter, Jesus lets us know in the very first chapter that He is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the ending; He who is, and who was, and who shall come again; the Lord Almighty.