You Have Left Your First Love.

Revelation 2:1-7
“To the angel of the church of Ephesus write,
‘These things says He who holds the seven stars in His right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands: “I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars; and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary. Nevertheless I have this against you, that YOU HAVE LEFT YOUR FIRST LOVE.”
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.  But this you have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.
“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.” ’
Left your first love

Jesus through John, His Jewish secretary, dictated seven different letters to the seven Churches in Asia.  He wanted to make sure that He addressed certain problems or issues they were having at the time.  But they also tell us about problems we still face today.

To The Messengers.

Ephesus is addressed first because the problem they had is the most important issue for the Church to address in these last days.

Why did Jesus say, “To the ANGEL of the Church of Ephesus,” and not simply “To the Church of Ephesus?”  Most people seem to think He was addressing the whole Church. If so, why did He use the word, “angel?”  To whom is He really speaking?

Angel, in Greek, is the word, “Ángelos”  It can refer to an angel, as in one from heaven, but simply put, it means, “Messenger.”  Also, notice that the word is SINGULAR.  Who is this messenger for each of these Churches?

It cannot be an angel from heaven because of the phrase, “Remember from where you have FALLEN.” Jesus would not allow a fallen angel to shepherd His Church.   He is speaking to a human messenger: THE SENIOR PASTOR.  

His goal is to encourage, admonish and correct some wrong doctrines, which were found in five of them.  The only two pastors who were not corrected were the ones at Smyrna, who were under great persecution at that time, and Philadelphia. We’ll get to those later.

Please don’t be confused by the portion of the passage which says, “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.  But this you have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.

When Jesus “REMOVES YOUR LAMPSTAND,” it does not mean you lose your salvation. That is NOT possible. He will, however, allow your church to shut down and prevent you from being a pastor if you don’t “Repent,” i.e. “Change your mind,” and teach the truth. He loves both you and the people too much to allow wrong teaching to hurt His flock.

You Have Left Your First Love.

In the case of Ephesus, they had “Left their first love.”  What does that mean?
Most of you have probably heard a (fiery?) sermon or two on this topic. I’ll bet you were told that you need to put God first and love Him more, right?  They’re implying, of course, that we would all live more holy lives if we worked harder to love Jesus, just like the Old Testament admonition to love God with all your heart and souls and mind. But is that Jesus’ message here?
Surprisingly, NO.  But you know how religious folks are.  Man always feels the need to twist everything around to make it all about man, as if there’s anything you and I can do to add to what Jesus has already done.
HELLO!!!  His work is FINISHED!
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The Missing Elements.
Church, Jesus wasn’t telling the Church at large they needed to love Him more.  THE PASTOR FORGOT IT WAS JESUS WHO FIRST LOVED US.”  He had been telling his people to love God more instead of unveiling Jesus and His love FOR us. That’s what He meant by “FIRST LOVE.”
The Church at Ephesus used to be described this way:
I Thessalonians 1:3 “…remembering without ceasing your WORK OF FAITH, LABOR OF LOVE, and PATIENCE OF HOPE in our Lord Jesus Christ in the sight of our God and Father….”
Notice the words He left out of the verse in Revelation?  FAITH, HOPE AND LOVE.
Their works lacked faith; their labor lacked love and their patience lacked hope.  What Jesus wanted the pastor to do was to turn once again and focus on The One Who “FIRST LOVED” him and teach it to his Church. Then faith, hope, and love would once again be found in their works, labor and patience!  These things become a “fruit,” when we are rooted and grounded in His love, as opposed to a deadwork.”
That’s why the people’s love for God had cooled.  Jesus’ love was not being unveiled to them.  Remember, we are transformed by beholding Him.

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Wrong  Direction.

The spotlight isn’t shining on you and me, on what we are doing or not doing.  Preachers are POINTING IN THE WRONG DIRECTION.

Under the Old Covenant, God commanded the people to “Love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your and soul and with all your mind.”  But has anyone done that?  Can anybody do that?  BIG FAT NO!  We try…..and fail MISERABLY!

SO God TOOK US OUT OF THE EQUATION.

This is love under the new covenant:
I John 4:10
“In this is love, NOT that we loved God, BUT THAT HE LOVED US and sent His Son to  be the propitiation for our sins.”
You saw how God used to describe the Church.  They forgot WHO it was that first loved them:  JESUS!  It’s not the other way around.  See how man twists things? Full consciousness of that one fact is what activates (energizes) faith.  Faith comes by HEARING.  HEARING causes  miracles to take place.  FOCUS ON THAT.
greek bible
Clarity In The Greek Text.
Galatians 5:6
“For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but FAITH WHICH WORKETH BY LOVE.” 
The word for “Worketh” above is the Greek word “Energéo,” from which we get the word  “energy.”  Focusing on Jesus’ love FOR us “ENERGIZES” the faith that creats miracles!  Want your faith to grow and energize miracles in your life?  Focus on the love of Jesus FOR you!
Faith, Hope, And Love.

What is the FAITH that they were lacking? The belief in salvation by grace in Jesus’ FINISHED work. It is Jesus…..PLUS NOTHING.

We don’t keep our salvation by trying our best to obey the Big Ten. When you know how much you are loved by Him, you love Him so much more you can’t help but want to please Him. Obedience becomes that fruit rather than the root.

Our HOPE is that Jesus is going to return, take us out of this world before the Great Tribulation, so we can be with Him forever. We are much less apt to be afraid of those things coming on the earth in these end times knowing that we are soon out of here. We know our citizenship is in heaven, not on earth so we’ll be less attached to things here.

Our LOVE for God and for our fellow man takes on new meaning when we understand Who first loved us so much He took ALL our sin and shame on Himself and bore it in our stead. In that knowledge, it’s so much easier not to judge others, knowing that our right standing in God has nothing to do with us and EVERYTHING to do with Jesus.

He first loved us
So, Church:  Why do we love God?  We love Him because HE FIRST LOVED US. JESUS is our FIRST LOVE.

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