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Faithlife

Course Management

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Scripture: Revelation 2:1-7

1 ¶ "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 men, 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 your first love.  5  Remember the height from which 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 favour: You hate the practices of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.  7  He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.

Intro: This is a sermon for Hugh Mcknight.  “Remember the height from which you have fallen.  Ichabod illustration.  He died in the process of moulting, shedding his skin.

vMeasuring Our Loss.

“4  Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love.  5  Remember the height from which you have fallen!”

The church was commended for several things:

     

v     Their hard work.

v     Their perseverance

v     Intolerance for wicked men

v     Ability to distinguish truth from error

v     Surviving the rough times without weariness

However in the midst of all their correctness they had “forsaken” their first love.

It is possible for us to function correctly in the church and our individual lives but somehow to leave behind the very heart of our faith.  Often people are unable to distinguish the death throes of spiritual life within us because we a functionally unchanged.  Only the closest to us can tell that “the wheel is still spinning, but the hamster is dead.

863 aphiemi { af-ee’-ay-mee}

AV - leave 52, forgive 47, suffer 14, let 8, forsake 6, let alone 6, misc 13; 146

GK - 918 { ajfivhmi } & 1889 { ejnafivhmi }*

1)   to send away - to bid going away or depart, of a husband divorcing his wife

Dick Halverson, the Chaplain of the Senate, notes:

 In the beginning the church was a fellowship of men and  women centering on the living Christ. Then the church moved to Greece where it became a philosophy. Then it moved to Rome where it became an institution. Next, it moved to Europe where it became a culture. And, finally, it moved to           America where it became an enterprise.

n      Bruce and Marshall Shelley, The Consumer Church, p. 109.

How does that happen – how do our lives become empty shells?  How do we experience such loss?

q      Devotion turns to duty because we fail to nourish our souls

q      Dreams turn to drudgery because we surrender them to discouragement

q      Passion turns to pain because we neglect to pace ourselves properly

vMaking A Change

John’s recorded message to the church in Ephesus was to “repent”.  It is the “metanoeho” (metanoeo)  It means to realize after the fact.  Meta means after and noeo – to perceive.  It means a change of attitude based on hindsight – the idea that if you could go back and change what you did then you would do that

vBack To The Basics

“. . . .do the things you did at first.”

John tells us to do the things that you did at first.

1.      Whatever it takes for you to draw close to God, you need to allow yourselves to do that.  We are all touched differently.  There are things that quickly usher me into the presence of God and other things that are ineffective.  What is the point?  Find the things that nourish your own soul and engage yourself in them regularly.  Over the space of time those things will change somewhat and other things will take on a more significant role.

 

2.      Submit yourselves to God.  “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. James 4:7.  Often I believe that it is our unwillingness to accept life’s setbacks as a part of God’s over arching providential plan for our lives that gets us into difficulty.

3.      Learn your pace.  The idea is to finish.  If you run someone else’s race you’ll never enjoy the experience and it is highly unlikely that you’ll ever cross the finish line.

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