Summary: The aim of this year end sermon is to get us to rexamine ourselves as to the intensity of our first love.
The Church that Lost its First Love
December 28, 2003
A. 2003 was certainly an eventful year; let me briefly take you through it…
1. January began with a month of news talk about the disappearance of Laci Peterson who was last seen on Christmas Eve, 2002.
2. On February 1 we saw the plume of smoke that marked the passing of the seven crew members of the space shuttle Columbia.
3. Presbyterian Minister and PBS television host Mr. Fred Rogers died on February 27.
4. March 19 was the beginning of the war in Iraq.
5. On March 12 authorities found 15-year-old Elizabeth Smart.
6. On April 9 we saw the statue toppled in Baghdad.
7. The remains of Laci Peterson were found on April 14 in San Francisco Bay.
8. On May 1, President Bush spoke from an aircraft carrier declaring the end of major combat operations in Iraq.
9. ABC News man, David Brinkley, died on June 11.
10. July 22 was the day that Uday and Qusay Hussein were killed.
11. “Mr. Entertainment,” Bob Hope died on July 27.
12. Charles Bronson passed on August 29.
13. Indiana sadly made national headlines on September 1 with the passing of Governor Frank O’Bannon.
14. The “Man in Black,” Johnny Cash went to be with June Carter on September 12.
15. In October California voters ousted Governor Gray Davis and elected Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger .
16. On November 20, “The King of Pop,” Michael Jackson was arrested and charged with child molestation.
17. In December, just two weeks ago, American Forces captured Saddam Hussein and then were honored as Time Magazine’s Persons of the Year.
B. You probably have things about jobs, health, family, or finances that you will remember personally from 2003 as well.
C. It is a solid Biblical principal to review the past, learn from it, and praise God for the things that He did in the past.
1. The word “remember is in the NIV 166 times.
2. God does stress remembering.
D. But it is also certainly Biblical to look ahead….
1. Philippians 3:13 & 14 says, “But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus."
2. It is certainly important to look back, but we cannot live in the past.
3. It is certainly important to remember the past, but we must press on!
E. So today, God has lead me to a passage in Revelation 2.
1. We need to remember 2003, but we need to press on towards 2004.
2. And as we look ahead to 2004, I believe Christ has some very important words for us recorded in Revelation 2:1-7 (read). First…
I. CHRIST’S COMPLIMENTS FOR THE CHURCH (1-3, 6)
A. The book of revelation is a record of a vision that the apostle John saw while on the Isle of Patmos.
1. While on the Isle of Patmos, John saw a vision of what was to take place at the end of the world.
2. During this vision, he was told to record what he saw so that we would have a record of what the end times would be like.
3. Here at the beginning of the book of Revelation, Christ dictates some letters to some churches.
a. Now the one we just read is written to the Church in Ephesus.
b. That could have been addressed to the first century church in Ephesus.
c. It could be addressed to the church in Ephesus that will be in existence when Christ returns.
d. It could be addressed to a church of a certain century and not to any church in Ephesus at all.
e. For example, the letter to the Church in Laodicea, certainly resembles the church of 1990’s America.
f. But even though we are not sure of what specific church Christ was addressing the letter to the Ephesians, it really doesn’t matter.
g. Because we know that every letter that the apostle Paul wrote to other churches were intended for us as well.
h. The things that the apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians, the Galatians, the Thessalonians are all relevant to us.
i. So no matter whom this letter of Christ was specifically addressed to, it still applies to us.
j. And in the first three verses, as well as verse 6, Christ commends the church.
B. First, in verse 2, Christ commends them for their deeds.
1. He says, “I know your deeds.”
2. Christ knows who these church members are and the deeds they have done.
3. Christ knew their hard work.
1. He compliments them for their deeds; their works.
2. But I must point out that works save neither them nor us.