“To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: These are the words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks among the seven golden lampstands. 2 I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked people, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. 3 You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary. 4 Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. 5 Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place. 6 But you have this in your favor: You hate the practices of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. 7 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.
TIME CAN MAKE LOVE BORING. BUSYNESS CAN MAKE LOVE STAGNANT. SUCCESS CAN MAKE LOVE COMPLACENT. These are all warning signs for newlyweds.
The tragedy of honeymoons is that at some point they must come to an end. Often times the honeymoon ends too quickly. But for some people, the honeymoon never starts.
What do we do when our love for Jesus grows boring? When the newness of our faith wears off? How do we continue to love God with our heart, mind, soul, and strength? How do we continue to love our neighbor as ourselves?
These questions are not new. They were the subjects of Jesus’ letters to the seven churches in the book of Revelation.
Four Things We Must Do To Keep Jesus First
- 1. YOU’VE GOT TO LISTEN TO JESUS.
“Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecies and heed the things that are written in it for the time is near.” Revelation 1:3
“O Israel, you should listen and be careful to do it that it may be well with you and you may multiply greatly just as the Lord the God of your fathers has promised you in a land of milk and honey.” Deuteronomy 6:3
“They did not listen to Me or incline their ear but stiffened their neck. They did more evil than their fathers as a result.” Jeremiah 7:26
“This is My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.” Matthew 17:5.
What does he say to the disciples? “Listen to Him.”
How do you listen to Jesus? How do you develop that?
I. Quiet solitude and reflection in our lives, in prayer and in God’s Word.
II. Through wise counselors and friends.
III. A message that you hear.
IV. Steps of obedience.
- 2. DON’T HIDE BEHIND A BUSY CHRISTIAN LIFE.
“I know your deeds and your toil and perseverance that you cannot endure evil men. You put to the test those who call themselves apostles. They are not and you found them to be false. You have perseverance and you’ve endured for My name’s sake and you’ve not grown weary.” Revelation 2: 2-3
- 3. ACKNOWLEDGE THAT OUR FIRST LOVE IS JESUS CHRIST.
Revelation 2:4 “But I have this against you that you have left your first love.”
“Every Christian would agree that a man’s spiritual health is exactly proportional to his love for God.” C.S. Lewis
“More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.” Philippians 3:8
- 4. TAKE STEPS TO RETURN TO YOUR FIRST LOVE FOR CHRIST.
Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place. Revelation 2:5
“Pay attention to what you have heard lest you drift away from it.” Hebrews 2:1
So… What happened to the church in Ephesus? Did they repent? Did her believers return to Jesus as the first love of their lives? Was their church restored to greatness? No. In fact, today there is no Ephesus and there is no Ephesian church. There are only ruins—ruins of her stadiums, her temples, and her theatres. Ruins of her church. The lampstand has gone. Of all the churches in Revelation, she was the greatest, and now she is gone.
The church in Ephesus had only one problem, and a crucial one at that. One that many churches I suspect have today. They had forsaken their first love. A massive spiritual malignancy had formed in their hearts. “They we consumed with the doing and had lost the being”.
Are you in a honeymoon period in your life? Have you lost your first love? If you’ve lost your first love, it’s not too late for you. At least, not yet!