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December 12, 2016, 12:25 PM

Have you left your first love?



Scriptures are from KJV Bible

Revelation 2:2-5

In which direction are you headed? Are you heaven-minded or hell-minded? No one really wants to consider the answer to this, because it requires coming face-to-face with one's true self.

I myself am heaven-minded. What does this mean you ask? Well it means that my thoughts are focused on God and obedience to Him instead of on this world and the pleasures thereof. Have I always been this way? NO!! I fought the call of God for many years and it was to my own detriment. I praise God for His patience, because dealing with me had to require alot of patience. I praise God for His love, because without it, I would never have had the chance to come to know Him.

Today I want to discuss something that God brought to my attention in Sunday's sermon. Pastor Wayne preached on the direction that the church of today is headed. And unfortunately the direction is not heaven-minded. He discussed the Letters to the Seven Churches in the Book of Revelation. I have heard the subject many times before, but this time was different. 

How is it that the one thing we are taught to do is the one thing we forget or ignore?

In the Epistle to the Ephesians, Paul speaks of love on multiple occasions. God prepared the world in love, having love for God and one another, God is love and everything He does for us is out of love, we need to be rooted in love,  knowing the love of God fills us with the fullness of God, love is the foundation of Christianity, speak the truth in love, and it goes on through the entire letter. 

Let me say this, I speak in present tense because what was written so many years ago to the Ephesians applies to each and every one of us today. You cannot say that the Word of God was for those in the past. In Hebrew 13:8 we are told, "Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever." This still holds true today. Just clarifying this before we get started.

Now back to our topic. LOVE. Paul continuously reminded the Ephesians of God's Love and the Love we should have for Him and one another. How is it that they heard this so many times, yet the one short-coming Jesus points out is: "Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love." They had left their first love. They had gotten so wrapped up in doing good and being good, that they had forgotten why they were doing all these things. They forgot that is was LOVE for God that inspired their good deeds.

Don't think that Jesus was unaware of all the good they were doing. He tells them that He knows of their works. He said, "I know thy works, and thy labor, and thy patience, and how thou canst bear them which are evil; and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars: and hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name's sake hast labored, and hast not fainted." However, His desire is to make their short-comings known to them. Now don't take this personal, but it's not all about the good we do.

I don't want you to think that God overlooks all the good we do just to focus on the bad, but if you are doing something wrong and no one ever says anything, how can you correct your mistakes? God loves us enough to show us our mistakes, so that we can get our lives redirected on to the path He has laid before us.

Back to my quesiton: How is it that the one thing we are taught to do is the one thing we forget or ignore?

SELF!! We let our fleshly self aka sinful nature take control and we are no longer being led by the Spirit. Once the fleshly sin nature becomes involved (and not kept under check) it changes the whole course of our intentions. We no longer do things out of a love for God or others, but for self-satisfaction. Even if the things we are doing are for good, feeding the homeless or ministering to others, we no longer do these out of love for God, but for self-satisfaction. Even bad people do good things. 

Notice that Jesus does not tell the Church of Ephesus that they are doomed to eternity in hell, He tells them that there is a chance for redemption. Jesus tells them, "Remember therefore from whecnce thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works." He is giving them and us and opportunity to redirect our lives back onto the path chosen for us by God.

We all have a chance at redemption. We are not doomed to hell because of mistakes we have made. If that were the case, I wouldn't be here sharing the good news of salvation, I would be dwelling on a life that was doomed. We all make mistakes, this includes me, but God extends the offer of redemption to us all. REPENT! For Jesus to extend the offer of repentance, He had to make the Church of Ephesus aware of their need for repentance. The same applies to you and me. For God to extend the offer of repentance, He must first make us aware of the mistakes we are making. 

Now I have to add that if God extends the offer of repentance and you ignore it, there are consequences. "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." God will discipline  and punish those who ignore His chastisment. If you choose to ignore God, you will not go unscathed. You will answer to God one day.

Today the city of Ephesus lays in ruins and its church no longer exists. What will be the outcome of your life?

Please feel free to listen to the entire sermon from December 11th. 

Thank you,

Stefanie Murray

 

 

 

 

 



Comments

12-12-2016 at 7:49 PM
Charles Moon
Excellent. Stefanie!
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   "Freedom Worship Center"

Our foundation is laid upon the principles of biblical holiness. Even before the church experienced the outpouring of the Holy Ghost, it's roots were set in the holiness revival of the past century.  It was and is, a holiness church--holiness in fact and holiness in name. The passing of 18 years has not diminished our holiness position or convictions. The years have, instead, strengthened our knowledge that without holiness it is impossible to please God. We hereby remind ourselves that the Scriptures enjoin us at all times to examine our own hearts. Conditions of our day desperately require it. The basic doctrines of the church have remained constant since the inception of the church."