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Faithlife

Thou Hast Left Thy First Love

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Text:  Rev. 2: 1-7

Thesis:  To prove that a child of God must both do good

    works and remember his first love at all times.

Introduction:

1.              Works of righteousness are a necessary part of a Christian’s life.

a.               Repentance is a work of righteousness (Jon.3:10).

b.              Belief is a work of righteousness (Joh. 6:29).

c.               What constitutes a work of righteousness?

(1)                Works that are done in an attempt to come up with one’s own scheme of redemption is not a work of righteousness (Eph. 2:8-9).

(2)                Works with which we come up are condemned (Titus 3:5).

(3)                Works of righteousness are those that are commanded by God (Joh. 14:15).

2.              God has never been satisfied with just one’s going through the motions (i.e., leaving his heart out of his deeds).

a.               Christ tells us that our obedience must be motivated by our loving Him (Joh. 14:15; 15:14).

b.              The false teachers were still condemned by Christ despite their doing some good works (Mat. 7:22).

c.               Christ tells us that the first and greatest commandment is to love God with all of our heart and being (Mat. 22:37).

d.              Thus, His commandments our not grievous because we love Him (I Joh. 5:3).

3.              The church at Ephesus had been a faithful congregation doing many wonderful works, but she had left her first love (Rev. 2:4).

a.               The church was established by Paul on his 2nd and 3rd missionary journeys (Acts 18, 19).

b.              Paul had left Timothy with the congregation to work with the brethren (I Tim. 1:3).

4.              We will examine the text in three main areas:

a.       The “faithfulness” of the congregation at Ephesus.

b.      The failure of the congregation at Ephesus.

c.       The fate of the congregation as it continued on its present course.

Discussion:

I.                   The “faithfulness” of the congregation at Ephesus.

A.            “I know thy works”

1.              “I” refers back to the “he” in verse one, which is a reference to Christ.

2.              “Know” is from the Greek word, “oida,” which means a knowledge that is divine.

a.               God knows what we do.

b.              We will give an account to God for the things that we do (Ecc. 12:14; II Cor. 5:10).

3.              Christ knew their works, and He recognizes their patience, i.e, steadfastness.

B.             They had tried the false apostles.

1.              They knew that Satan could transform himself into an angel of light (II Cor. 11:14).

2.              They tried the teachers by the standard of God’s Word (Acts 17:11).

3.              The also tried them by the signs of an Apostle (II Cor. 12:12).

4.              We are commanded to try the spirits (I John 4:1).

C.             They had also been patient in their labor.

1.              They were steadfast and unmovable (I Cor. 15:58).

2.              They were standing the test; thus, they were to be commended for that.

D.            Most people would be content and/or happy for a congregation in such a state, but this congregation, like many today, had a problem.

II.                The failure of the congregation at Ephesus

A.            Note: “I have somewhat against thee.”

1.              It is not man who had a complaint with this church.

2.              It is Jesus Christ; thus, they needed to open their ears and listen attentively.

3.              Despite their being doctrinally correct, there was still a problem.

B.             “Thou hast left thy first love.”

1.              Their hearts were elsewhere.

2.              They had ceased loving God with their whole being (Mat. 22:37).

3.              They were giving the Lord their service but not giving Him themselves.

4.              They had lost their love for service, worship, Bible study, prayer, and soul winning.

5.              One can see the signs of this in his own life when he disregards Matthew 28:19, misses a service or two when he could have been there, and begins to miss days in between prayers.

6.              Are you in that boat?

III.             The fate of the congregation as it continued on its present course

A.            Christ told the church, “Repent!” Thus, they were in need of forgiveness.

B.             They stood lost, and they would continue to be in such a state unless they were willing to change.

C.             A prescription is given for the church:

1.              “Remember … from whence thou art fallen”

a.               If they would look back to their past status, being faithful to God, then they would see the great blessings and love therein contained.

b.              They would see that they have an All-Loving God (Rom. 8:31-39).

c.               The cross would be their motivation.

2.              “Repent”

a.       They were to repent of their leaving their first love.

b.      Repentance is a change of the mind brought about by godly sorrow resulting in reformation of life and restitution wherein is possible.

c.       We should mourn over our sins (Mat. 5:4) by having godly sorrow (II Cor. 7:10).

3.              “Do the first works”

a.               They were to do the works they first performed so lovingly and loyally immediately following their conversion.

b.              Can you remember the zeal that you had then?

D.            Their fate stood in their hands.

Conclusion:

1.              The section addressed to the church at Ephesus was ended by stating that they should listen to the message and make the proper application.

2.              We are to be doers of the word, not hearers only (James 1:22).

3.              The Spirit and the Bridegroom say “Come.”

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