What We Lose When We Leave

Bible Book: Revelation  2 : 1-7
Subject: Backslidding; Love, First; Commitment
Introduction

The theme of this passage is pretty much summed up in verse 4, “You have left your first love.” We oftentimes boast of the fact that “you can’t lose your first love, but you can leave your first love.” I sense that the Lord has dealt with me in the area of what one does lose, when he or she chooses to leave.

This passage somewhat reminds me of the statement often used by the spouse who seems to be experiencing diminishing love for the other. “I love you, but I am not in love with you.” The supreme characteristic of a Christian is love for his Lord and God. When challenged to name the single greatest commandment of the law, Jesus replied, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind.” He challenged His disciples to make love for Him the highest priority of their lives. Oswald Chambers would call it, “My Utmost for His Highest.”

Note Jesus’ confrontation – Richard Mayhue

Done with love and with the goal of restoration.
Encouragement preceded correction.
Christ openly and concisely stated the problem.
He told them how to be restored; remember your past, repent of your error, return to your best.
Christ clearly laid out the consequences if they did not obey.

John 14:21, “He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him."

Love for Christ is inseparable from obedience. Love originated in God, was manifested in His Son, and demonstrated in His people.

I. THE MINISTRY AT EPHESUS. 1

A. JESUS WRITES TO THE SEVEN CHURCHES

This was the most prominent church of the seven. It was the mother church out of whose ministry the other six were founded. (Acts 19:10)

B. JESUS WALKS ABOUT THE CHURCHES

The Lord is seen walking among the churches scrutinizing and examining both methods and motives of their ministry. No church in history had as rich a heritage as this congregation of Ephesus. They had known the ministry of Aquila and Priscilla. Apollos, the great preacher, along with the Apostle Paul had ministered there. Paul encountered a group of John the Baptist followers in this city. The Apostle John spent the last decades of his life at Ephesus before being arrested and exiled to Patmos. Think of the investment our Lord has made in your life!

II. THE MESSAGE FOR EPHESUS. 2-7

A. COMMENDATION. 2,3,6

2 - “works” – service rendered; busy

- “labor” - working to the point of sweat and exhaustion; describes an all-out effort; no spectator mentality

- “patience” – patience in trying circumstances; a courageous acceptance of hardship, suffering, and loss

- “Did not give place to the devil” (Eph 4:27); and they were very discerning

3 - They endured for the highest motive; had not yielded to disappointment, ingratitude, or criticism

6 - This seems to be a doctrine that led people into immorality and wickedness; all in the name of Christian liberty. An exaggeration of the doctrine of Christian liberty which attempted an ethical compromise with heathenism.

Irenaeus wrote that they lived lives of unrestrained indulgence.

Clement of Alexandria added they abandoned themselves to pleasure like goats - leading a life of self- indulgence.

Galatians 5:13, “For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.”

B. CONCERN. 4

“you have left your first love”

“The main thing about Christianity is not the work we do, but the relationship we maintain and the atmosphere produced by that relationship. That is all God asks us to look after, and it is the one thing that is being continually assailed. (To attack or assault)” Oswald Chambers, August 4th

What’s love got to do with it?

ILL. Story of Luke 7:36-50

It’s a story that describe the forgiveness that God grants believers in Christ.

Principle of the story - Whoever is forgiven the most will love the forgiver the most; great love comes from great forgiveness.

It contrasts a woman’s love for the Savior with the “cold indifference” of religious leaders.

Her demonstration of love for Jesus gave clear evidence of her transformed life; she loved much because she had been forgiven much.

Her love and good deeds she had done to Him were the result of her salvation, not its cause. Salvation is by faith alone. What blesses me?

Her Openness

Her Un-ashamedness

Her Generousness

“left” – to forsake; you can forsake someone without leaving them. The Ephesians were there working and maintaining their separation; but neglecting their adoration.

Heart’s Rival:

“The insult is not so much in what you had rather have, as much as what you are willing to leave.” J.M. Hunt

The Wells of Futility

Jeremiah 2:2-13

"Go and cry in the hearing of Jerusalem, saying, ‘Thus says the LORD: I remember you,

The kindness of your youth,

The love of your betrothal, (Engagement)

When you went after Me in the wilderness,

In a land not sown.

Israel was holiness to the LORD,

The firstfruits of His increase.

All that devour him will offend; (Protection)

Disaster will come upon them,’ says the LORD.

Hear the word of the LORD, O house of Jacob and all the families of the house of Israel. Thus says the LORD:

‘What injustice have your fathers found in Me, (Forsaken)

That they have gone far from Me,

Have followed idols,

And have become idolaters?’

Neither did they say, 'Where is the LORD,

Who brought us up out of the land of Egypt,

Who led us through the wilderness,

Through a land of deserts and pits,

Through a land of drought and the shadow of death,

Through a land that no one crossed

And where no one dwelt?'

I brought you into a bountiful country,

To eat its fruit and its goodness.

But when you entered, you defiled My land

And made My heritage an abomination.’

The priests did not say, 'Where is the LORD?'

And those who handle the law did not know Me;

The rulers also transgressed against Me;

The prophets prophesied by Baal,

And walked after things that do not profit.

‘Therefore I will yet bring charges against you,’ says the LORD,

‘And against your children's children I will bring charges.

For pass beyond the coasts of Cyprus and see,

Send to Kedar and consider diligently,

And see if there has been such a thing.

Has a nation changed its gods,

Which are not gods?

But My people have changed their Glory

For what does not profit.

Be astonished, O heavens, at this,

And be horribly afraid;

Be very desolate,’ says the LORD.

'For My people have committed two evils:

They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters,

And hewn themselves cisterns — broken cisterns that can hold no water.’”

WHAT YOU LOSE WHEN YOU LEAVE?

Passion - A fire deep in my heart that burns for Him.

Power - The Holy Spirit. Zechariah 4:6, Eph 5:18

Protection

Purpose - God’s will that leads into His activity

Priority - Jesus First - nothing more important

Purity – Truth in the inward parts (secret); pure motives

Prudence – Caution/with regard to practical matters; insight, wisdom in order to shepherd, mentor, and equip others; street smart

Perspective- Seeing from His point of view – What’s He up to?

Perception - Knowing the depth of what I am doing

If you leave your love you will soon lose your light

C. CORRECTION. 5

“Remember” – notice that forsaking is followed by forgetfulness. Present tense, keep on remembering, don’t ever forget.

Wow - the Ephesians needed to be reminded of Jesus and His love, and their love for Him.

“fallen” – forsake, forget, fall; works cannot replace worship; service cannot replace the Savior, etc.

Sacrifice can’t replace obedience.

“repent” – for the believer, not loving Jesus first is a sin.

“Do the first works” – recapture the richness, the reality of Jesus Christ that once characterized your life. Renewed belief in Jesus and mission

1. Remembering

2. Repenting

3. Returning

D. CHASTISEMENT. 5-6

1. Punishment. 5

2. Promise. 6

“overcomers” – “God does not give us an overcoming life; He gives us life as we overcome. The strain is the strength. If there is no strain, there is no strength. If you spend yourself out physically, you become exhausted; but spend yourself spiritually, and you get more strength.” Oswald Chambers

The “tree of life” is your nourishment.