Summary: Have you left your first love?
Who Do You Love?
This past week has been full of love
Folks getting together to celebrate
With food and drink
Sharing stories of past experiences maybe
Lots of smiles and exciting times
A lot of people wearing red even
And this all started long before this week as well
People getting prepared for this special occasion
Making sure everything was just right
Things had to be perfect or else the results could be disastrous
Timing had to be exact
All the people had to be in their proper place
All leading up to that special day
And of course that day is…
No, that day is today
THE DAYTONA 500!!!
Today is the 50th running of the Daytona 500
The super bowl of NASCAR
Teams spend nearly the entire off season preparing for this
Months of planning go into each and every aspect of this race
And the fans love it
They come out to watch anything that has to do with Daytona
Hey I admit it, I watched some of the qualifying the other day.
There are no more dedicated fans than NASCAR fans
They love their drivers, and hate the others
See its not even possible to like Mark Martin and Jeff Gordon
I can’t see how anyone likes Jeff Gordon, beside the point
And of course this past week was Valentines day as well
The day of love
Where every guy must prove his love to his woman with jewelry, chocolates, teddy bears, roses, and whatever else they are trying to guilt trip us into on TV
It is a good time to reflect on how much that special someone means to us.
And how much we truly love them.
And just like you might send your sweetie a love letter
John records a letter to be given to the church at Ephesus from Jesus Christ himself
But this letter is not a love letter
Rather , leaving your first love
So let’s read Rev. 2:1-7
According to legend, when pioneers came to the
mainland of Asia minor
being uncertain where to settle, they consulted an oracle which told them
that a fish and a boar would show them the place.
One night, as they were cooking fish, one fell out
of the fire pit with a live coal attached which set fire to some nearby brush.
A boar hiding in the bushes fled in fright but was pursued and killed.
Recalling the word of the oracle, the founders built the city on the spot where they killed the boar.
This was the founding of Ephesus.
Years, decades, and centuries passed and this city became plagued with paganism.
A man named Paul visited and brought hope.
Paul ministered in Ephesus for three years
And warned the Ephesians that false teachers would come
And try to draw people away from the faith
False teachers did indeed cause problems in the church
But the church resisted them
And John also spent much of his ministry in this city
And knew they had resisted false teaching as well.
The purpose of this letter and this message is so important
We need to discover the problem this church had
We need to discern if this problem exists today in our church
We need to discard this problem in pursuit of revival
I. The Position in Which This Church was Found
A. They were Tireless in Service
I know thy works, for my name’s sake you have labored and hast not fainted
Over a long period of time the church at Ephesus had refused to tolerate sin among its members
This was not easy in a city noted for immoral sexual practices associated with the worship of the goddess Artemis.
Consider the trials they endured
It was not exactly a ideal place to be ministering
And their works are mentioned, their good works
Both of ministers and the church
No evil works are mentioned no complaints save one
Christ knows all the works of His people
And He knows whether they are done in obedience to Him
And spring from a love for Him
And He knows if they are performed in His strength and by His grace
And are directed to His glory
And He takes notice of approves of and is well pleased with these works
And these early churches were very diligent in working
They were laborious
The phrase I know thy labor
Is particularly speaking of the labor of ministering the Gospel
The frequent preaching of it, in season and out
In constant administration of the ordinances
And in diligent exercise of church discipline
The work of the ministry is a laborious work to the mind in studying
And to the body in the outward discharge of it
And it becomes more so through the malice and opposition of enemies, and the weakness of friends