Greetings brothers and sisters in Jesus' Name!
I feel to give a brief exhortation on the topic of First Love. I thought this weekend on the Ephesian church whom Jesus both encourages and rebukes in Revelation 2. As I meditated on this assembly and their condition, it dawned on me that this church would have been hailed and praised by the clergy and laity of our day. The scripture tells us they were a hard working people. It also tells us that they were even bold and fiery in their condemnation of false teachers and apostles. I can see the Ephesian believers openly denouncing and debunking the claims of those who claimed to be christs and were not.
The scripture (Jesus) also commends them for enduring hardships (persecution) for the sake of His name. I don't know about you, but people who endure REAL persecution are my heroes. It takes intense zeal, and passion to be faithful even to the point of shedding blood.
In my eyes, and in the eyes of the majority of Christians, this was a powerful and dedicated body. Yet Jesus saw through the zeal, and saw that they had left their first love. In other words, the house was clean, the dishes were done, but the bride and the groomed had not danced for awhile.
I think of many churches today, my own denomination included, who have (at least partially) left their first love. They were at one time lovesick, zealots, and have become loveless zealots. I see much zeal over exposing false teachings, and living right, etc... Yet how many have forgotten how to simply romance with the King of Kings?
I see a bride who has become ashamed of the gifts here groom handpicked for here to wear. He placed upon her tiara of prophecy, the ring of apostleship, the earings of discernment etc... (all purely my examples) And in His eyes she was beautiful. But soon enough this beautiful brides eyes began to drift from her Bridegroom King, to a rebelious peasant called "The world". The king loved her jewels but the world said they were loud and gaudy. "Remove them," the world said, "and I will make you beautiful. Nations will come and marvel at your beauty. I will place upon you jewels with names like, seeker-sensitive, inoffensive, palatable, compromising, these will make you beautiful."
And so the bride dripped with jewels. The world marvelled at her beauty. A following of those who were entranced by her beauty thronged about her. But her first love, Jesus, was sickened. In a heap lay the precious gifts He had given, and he sat alone without companionship.
He then cried to the Ephesian church, "REPENT! and do the things you did at first"
Have you ever considered these words, "Do the things you did at first."? I'm reminded of my wife and I in our early "dating" or courtship relationship. I tried with all of my might to impress her, and her me. I would practically bathe in cologne. I always looked neat and clean. I would do and say things that she liked even if those around me did not. We all can remember things like this.
I believe this is the context Jesus is speaking in to the Ephesians when he says, "Do the things you did at first..." Do the things you did when you were in love with me and trying to impress me. Be Holy as you were, strive to live righteously, dive into my word, fall on your face and seek me! When you did these things you were attractive to me! You did not look like the world, an adultress when you were doing these! You looked like my beloved! Do these things again!
The warning from Jesus was then, "If you do not, I will remove your lampstand from it's place."
The Lord had already revealed to John that the mystery of the lampstands was that they were the churches. The fire that sits atop of the lampstands is the Spirit of God, the stands themselves however, is the church. Prov 20:27 says the spirit of man is the candle of the Lord.
The Lord warns them that if they do not recapture their first love He will separate them from the other churches. They will still appear to be a lampstand, they will still have the capability to give off light and heat, but they will not. They would become apostate. Despite all of their good, their adultress heart would cause them to become separated!
I simply want to ask today, have you forsaken Your first love?
I encourage you to read Jeremiah 2 and 3, let God break your heart through it. Remember that these scriptures were written at a time when Israel was very zealous, for it was in the 13th year of Josiah's reign that Jeremiah began to prophesy! However, zeal without knowledge (intimate knowledge of God) is no good!