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02/10/13 A Christian's Greatest Loss!

Posted by Pastor Steve Siegrist on Monday, February 11, 2013 Under: Sermon
Text: Revelation 2:1-5 (NKJV)

1 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: 2 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; 3 and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name's sake and have not become weary. 4 Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. 5 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.”

INTRO: Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love The meaning of "first love" as used here is obviously that feeling of dedication to God's will as we, by faith, accept Christ as our Savior. Every year when February comes the 14th day of the month is marked as a day and reminder of love, love for spouse and family. I suppose that the best expression of this feeling of one's first love is seen in Peter's First Epistle: “Whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory.” 1 Peter 1:8 (NKJV)

Application: Your first love can be re-found through Christ!

1. Have you Outgrown it:

It is no secret that many so-called Christians seem to have outgrown a sense of vital relationship with Christ. Far too many regard - The Bible as a kind of "moral inconsistency." There are too many contradictions, it was written thousands of years ago… Times and ways have changed! Jesus’s command of “Take up your cross” is just a one-liner not a reality. We don’t really have to do that! Here is another one-liner “Ye shall be witnesses” that’s just preachers talk, they do that we don’t. We pay the preacher to do that! There are those who look at prayer as a kind of public embarrassment. Is any of this rattled you a little? Could it possibly be that you have outgrown your love for Christ, your position in the church. How about your relationship with your spouse? You’re Children. Have you lost your first love? Have you outgrown it???

2. Have you Religion?

Yes, we have religion! But it may be damning us! The Bible has examples of those who have religion.

Diotrephes had preeminent religion: “I wrote to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves to have the preeminence among them, does not receive us.” 3 John 1:9 (NKJV)

Saul had "I... thought" religion: “Indeed, I myself thought I must do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth.” Acts 26:9 (NKJV)

The rich young ruler had "ten commandment" religion: “The young man said to Him, "All these things I have kept from my youth. What do I still lack?" Matthew 19:20 (NKJV)

The scribes and Pharisees had "public show" religion: “But all their works they do to be seen by men. They make their phylacteries broad and enlarge the borders of their garments.’ Matthew 23:5 (NKJV)

Diotrephes wanted to be the dominant one he had religion, Saul before he saw the light on the way to Damascus had the: I thought! I thought! Religion. The Rich young ruler had the head knowledge religion not the Christ of the heart relationship. The scribes and the Pharisees were all about the being seen religion. So church near the Ocean in Kill Devil Hills have you got religion? Or a relationship?

3. Have you Concerns?

The true Christian’s chief concern is his or her first love for Christ as Savior: “So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?" He said to Him, "Yes, Lord; You know that I love You." He said to him, "Feed My lambs." John 21:15 (NKJV)

Another concern for a first love would be the Lord’s will to be done: “So he, trembling and astonished, said, "Lord, what do You want me to do?" Then the Lord said to him, "Arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do." Acts 9:6 (NKJV) In Acts 9:6 on the way to Damascus Saul has a confrontation with his Lord, sees the light and obeys.

A final concern with your first love, should be a love for Christ and the CHURCH! “Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.” Acts 20:28 (NKJV)

I guess that only means the pastor? Or does it? Should anyone else have a concern for themselves and to all the flock? Should fellowship be a concern? Be aware Church the world wants to devour us, have you concerns?

4. Have you learned?

What should we learn? Should we understand that the Ephesus church is a representation of many churches today that have lost their first love? Could the second chapter of Revelation be telling us Jesus is in close contact with His people and He knows! The bridegroom is “jealous” of His Bride: “Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love.” Broken vows cancel Christ's plans for us: “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.” Christians can lose their first love. So if you have learned, what must you do? What is the remedy: “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.” Jesus always warns us before He brings judgment. A Christian can lose nothing more vital for time and eternity than his first love. However; Christ always stands ready to forgive us. “Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches. To everyone who is victorious I will give fruit from the tree of life in the paradise of God.”

The Christians greatest loss would be to outgrow the first love you have with Christ, and allow religion to guide you with no desire to have a growing relationship with Jesus Christ. If you have learned anything you will have concerns about your love for others and maybe, just maybe you might need to learn to love yourself first!

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