“And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment”
The more you study Scripture, the more insight you will gain into the heart of God. Is He your first love? Does it matter to you if you please Him or not? It should. Serving Him on earth is just a foreshadowing of serving Him in the afterlife. Serve Him with joy!
Let me ask this question. Do you love Him? What do you love about Him? Do you even know what He did for you? He humbled Himself and gave His life. He took your sin, which separates you from God, so that you can spend eternity with Him. It’s easy to say, “I’m a Christian,” but it’s not as easy to let our life speak for itself. Your life should reflect your faith. Eternity is just that… eternal. You have to choose now if you will spend it in Heaven or in Hell. Just remember, it’s your choice to spend eternity with God or in the lake of fire. He doesn’t want anyone to perish. If you have chosen Christ for salvation, show your love for Him by living for Him.
The Book of Revelation is very interesting. Chapter 4 begins with the Rapture of all Christians, then goes on to describe a beautiful place with God. Prior to that, Chapters 2 and 3 contain seven letters that Jesus dictated to John. These letters were written to real congregations that existed at the time, and when all seven letters are studied in order, they describe seven eras of church history, written in advance. They are a prophecy that is being fulfilled daily. Each era of Christianity faced difficulties, and there’s actually a little of each one in every era. The first letter was addressed to the congregation in Ephesus.
“Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks:” (Revelation 2:1).
Revelation can be intimidating to read, but that’s mostly because we forget to study all of Scripture. In this case, we only need to look back to chapter 1 to see that it’s Jesus who holds the seven stars and walks amidst the candlesticks.
What era in history does the congregation in Ephesus symbolize? It’s the first letter and represents the first era of Christianity. Most of the first Christians had come from a Jewish background and faced overwhelming persecution. When persecution in Jerusalem became intense, many fled to Gentile cities like Ephesus. The Gentile population there was very pagan in their lifestyles; they worshipped gods and goddesses who were, in fact, demonic and embraced horrendous sin. As the Spirit-filled Christians took up residence in the various cities, their love and devotion to Christ showed these Hell-bound pagans the love of the True God. Then the Apostle Paul came to town, and his mission work there established Christianity in the hearts of all the people of Ephesus.
It must have been a challenge to live a God-honoring life while dwelling amongst the demonic and sin-filled lifestyle prevalent in Ephesus, but those first Christians made a difference there. The letter which Jesus wrote commended them.
“I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and has found them liars: and hast borne, and has patience, and for my name’s sake has laboured, and hast not fainted”
This reveals a couple of very important points. Jesus is watching us. He knows what we are all doing. He sees if you are patiently working to advance His truth among the unbelieving world around you. He knows if you are appalled by the evil that is everywhere or if you are dabbling in the sin. Do you follow every new trend within Christian circles? “Christian Yoga” (which is an oxymoron), contemplative prayer (not acceptable), New Age (ugh), and purpose-driven foolishness (run from it) are all trends that have no place in Christian circles. Put these and all wrong teachings to the test. Use Scripture to discern God’s truth. Jesus knows if you adhere to His truth or not.
Jesus saw that those early Christians had faith that wouldn’t fail. Some of them may have been amongst the crowd yelling “Crucify Him” when Jesus was on trial, but they also may have heard Peter speak on the day of Pentecost and repented. Peter preached a very convicting sermon that day, filled with the love of Christ. Peter’s words weren’t “seeker friendly” but spoke truth and touched the hearts of at least 3,000 people who were immediately baptized. These people fell in love with Jesus. Why? I would say that they realized who He was… God incarnate… and that they had committed great sin against God. Yet, Peter said they could repent and be forgiven. They realized that God had shown amazing love by stepping into His creation to spread the Gospel and forgive sinners. What wonderful love that is.
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast”
That love is still available to us today. The secular world cannot understand, but Christians should certainly understand God’s love. We are sinners and make errors, but our sins have been forgiven.
“We love him, because he first loved us”
(1 John 4:19).
Everything we do should reflect Christ. We cannot work for our salvation, but works should be a result of our faith. Works don’t bring faith, but faith should be seen in works.
“Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works”
Our works should always bring glory to God.
As we read this letter to Ephesus, we might think that these early believers had it easy. Sure, they were persecuted, but Jesus saw their works and was pleased. They stood against evil and wouldn’t listen to false teachers. They were doing wonderful works for God. Yes, Jesus was watching.
“Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou has left thy first love”
What was their first love? That love should be our first love today. Jesus. We can do all the great things we want, but unless we love Jesus and do all for Him, our faith is dead. There are ministries with a huge number of followers, but Jesus isn’t their first love. As long as the ministry is raking in lots of money, the leaders are happy. It doesn’t matter to them if they are preaching a different Gospel than found in Scripture. It doesn’t matter to them if the full counsel of God isn’t being taught or that Jesus is compromised. The goal is to make money. They have left their first love. Jesus. The Gospel they spread isn’t found in Scripture.
“But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him”
(2 Corinthians 11:3-4).
It’s easy to point fingers at these megachurches, but then we need to get the mote out of our own eye. We must examine our own life and our motives. Are we true to our first love? Do we fellowship with fellow believers only if it doesn’t interfere with what’s on television? Do you intend to study Scripture in the evening but can’t fit it in because you’re too tired? Although you can find time to read the newspaper or stop off at the bar on your way home from work, you can’t find time for God. That’s sad. You’ve left your first love.
Many Christians have left their first love. Notice Jesus says they “left.” It’s a choice. People choose to allow the world to come between them and God. We need to remind ourselves that Jesus first loved us, and we must choose to love Him better.
“Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent”
Think back to when you first met Jesus. You had a burden of sin that weighed you down. Were you happy? By the standards of the world, you probably were. Then, you heard and received the Gospel message. Maybe a preacher actually preached a sermon that didn’t tickle your ears and make you feel good about your sin. You were convicted, not condemned. You saw that your sin separated you from God, and you were on the broad road to Hell. Many people think Hell doesn’t exist, or they think it’s temporary and you can work your way out of it. Others think it’s a place where all of your unsaved friends gather for a good time of eternal fun and games. Scripture makes it clear that Hell does exist, and there is no fun there. Your choice must be made while living in this life; there’s no second chance. It’s a place of eternal torment with no partying.
Satan is a liar, but he is good at making the unbearable look appealing. Don’t believe the lies; believe the truth that God gives us in Scripture. When you come to the realization that God won’t send you to Hell but your own choices will, that’s the time you recognize that you’re a sinner in desperate need of Jesus for salvation. That’s when you need to repent.
“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God”
Even though everyone has sinned, that doesn’t make sin acceptable. Jesus is our example, not worldly attitudes. All sin can be forgiven, but you have to repent. You need to change your mind about sin, and you will find forgiveness.
“Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; to declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus”
Thank You, Jesus, for your love and forgiveness of sinners such as me. I do love You.
When you realize your sins are forgiven, your love for Jesus will cause you to experience great joy. The weight of sin was a load that caused great unhappiness, but when that load of sin was forgiven, the joy was indescribable. Most likely, you shared your joy with others and felt compassion for others. Then, time went on. The world began to beat you up again. Maybe you felt persecution just like the Ephesians. Maybe you stumbled a few times in your walk with Christ, and you “…left your first love.” It’s not too late to get back into a right walk with Christ. “…repent and do thy first works.” Study Scripture. You will find out that God is ready to forgive.
Our sin nature will always be a problem to us while living on this side of eternity, but Jesus loves us enough to have allowed Himself to be beaten, mocked, spit upon, and crucified in order to offer us salvation.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God”
That should make you love Jesus, and if you’ve left your first love, He will forgive you. Return to Him now.
God bless you all,
Recommended prophecy sites:
All original scripture is “theopneustos,” God-breathed.
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