Topic: Return to first love part 1
Text: Rev. 2:1-7
The church at Ephesus started very well. They kept the Christian standard and were zealous for the work of God. However, a time came when they failed to love God above every other thing. they were admonished to return to their first love. In this study we shall examine very closely this Church vis-à-vis our lives with a view to deriving some lessons.
What is the meaning of “first love”?
The words “first love” connotes the very beginning, starting point, the initial commitment, dedication, faithfulness and joy that an individual had at the point of conversion. There is usually great zeal towards God and the things of God. This drives the individual to be totally and completely sold out to the Lord and His service. There is a desire to please God above all odds, even at the risk of being ostracised, rejected and called names for this new way of life.
There is also a deep hunger to know God, hence such an individual is not compelled/forced or begged to attend Christian meetings and activities but finds great joy and delight in being in the presence of God, (Psalm 122:1). In the pursuit of knowing God, such an individual studies & searches the scriptures for himself, prays & holds his relationship & fellowship with God at a high esteem. Such and individual’s life is in consonance with the Word of God. In this state, such person does not partake in, condone or tolerate sin, but promptly rebukes it.
Whoever has left the “first love”, therefore, no longer has Christ at the centre/first in his/her heart & life and the love for God has waxed cold. Consequently, there will be compromises in Christian standards and company, prayerlessness sets in, has no little or no time for studying God’s word, evangelism is no more a priority and such a person will give every excuse not to be involved. Furthermore, the believer who has left the “first love”, looses the excitement in serving God, the initial fire & zeal begins to dwindle, the love for God & fellowship with brethren diminishes. Gradually, the joy & peace of such a person wanes or disappears completely so much that he/she begins to avoid brethren.
Comparing today’s Church with the Church at Ephesus.
The Ephesian Church was known for their works & despite the challenges/toils and troubles, they worked for God. But in some Church circles today, commitment to God and His Church, is usually at one’s pleasure or spare time & comfort (i.e. the work of God is done when it is convenient).
The Ephesian Church was marked out for their perseverance. On the contrary, the place of patience is dwindling/lacking in our present-day Church as we are in a hurry to impress, irrespective of how this is achieved. Emphasis is no more placed on the salvation of souls, but on population of the denomination, affluence & other mundane qualities.
The Ephesian Church resisted wicked & evil men but, in some Churches, today, such men are given choice positions, depending on what they have to offer to the “man of God” materially.
Daily living application
The Ephesian Church was commended by the Lord Jesus for some virtues. However, the Lord indicted them for leaving their first love. This is same position of some Christians today; we need to return to the path of righteousness & holiness, giving due reverence to the Lord & showing forth the life of Christ. There is hope for anyone who wants to return to his/her “first love”, provided he/she truly repents, seeks the face of God, forsakes his/her ways & turn to God, (2 Chronicles 7:14; 1 John 1:9).
The implications of not returning to our “first love”, are very grievous. God is not pleased with such persons. They are exposed to be attacked by the devil & his agents and God Himself can turn His wrath upon such individuals. And if Christ returns while they are in that state, they could miss eternity with Him, (Ezekiel 33:10-13; Rev. 2:5).
i). Mention other ways that the Ephesian Church differs from today's church.
ii). How can a believer return to the "first love"?
It is important to note that, it is not the day a believer backslides as seen by men, that he actually backslided. Most times, the backsliding had long taken place before the later fruits become manifest for others to see. It is very dicey because, the backslider might feel he/she is doing the right thing, (Proverbs 14:14).
Rev. 2:5 nkjv Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent.
In His presence
Mon: Rev. 2:1- 7; Jer. 2:1-3
Tue: Ezekiel 33:10-21
Wed: Gal. 3:1-4; Ezek. 18:20-28
Thu: 1 Cor. 15:33; Heb. 10:25; 1John 2:15-17
Fri: Mal. 3:7; Hosea 14:1; Gal. 6:1
Sat: 2Peter 2:20-22; Joshua 24:20
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