Wednesday, 16 October 2019

Our First Love

Scripture: Revelations 2 v 1 - 5: "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;
2  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 hast found them liars:
3  And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name's sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted.
4  Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.
5  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."

This is the first letter which the glorified Jesus dictated to John on the Isle of Patmos.  It was written to a church that had grown in Spirit and produced good fruit.  Jesus highlights their strengths but He also has one criticism....you have left your first love.

He is speaking about how we feel when we first get saved.  The joy of salvation, the blessing of forgiveness, the transformation within our lives and the purpose to please Him with our obedience.  His love changes us into the new creation that loves one another as He loves us.

When He sees that first love lose its shine, and that we only come to Him with our own needs, He needs to remind us in verse 5 that we have fallen from Grace, that we must repent and do the first works, which we find in Hebrews 6 v 1 - 2: 
"Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, 
2  Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment."

The Hebrews had been told to move forward from these first works or foundation doctrines, and go on to perfection.  However, if we are in danger of backsliding, we need to refresh ourselves of these and make sure we tick all the boxes.  

Jesus dictates to John that if we do not repent i.e. change our minds, our candlestick will be removed.  His light will be removed from us.  People believe "once saved always saved" but in these seven letters it is clearly not so.

If we, who once loved the brethren, have begun criticising, condemning, quarreling, gossiping, undermining, back-stabbing or teaching them a lesson they shall not forget, then our first love got trampled under foot and we need to rescue it.  Get that log out of our own eyes before removing someone's splinter.

There are many churches that exist with His candlestick today.  They are cold, dry, lifeless and fruitless places to visit or be stuck in.  They try to stay relevant with worldly pomp and ceremony but it only pleases man, not God nor His true saints.  The Anglican Church in England this week had the Pope canonize Saint John Newman who died in 1890.

Saints are those who are born again Christians and no longer sinners.  There is nothing Biblical that says you canonize them after death.  So this fine Anglican minister is now a Catholic saint.  Dear God, have mercy upon us!

Love is of God and if He is in us and we submit to Him then we must show love on our good and bad days.  If we have a problem then the Bible has an answer.  If someone is seriously upsetting us then turn to Matthew 18 v 15 - 17: "Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.
16  But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.
17  And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican."

So instead of getting into the flesh and punching each other, take it to Jesus and follow His procedures.  First, go gently to the offender and try to make peace.  If that doesn't work, take a third party who will judge fairly.  

If he resists that then take it before the whole church to pray and find a solution.  If he rejects that then he leaves and is relegated back to the state of sinner.  He has lost his first love for Jesus, but we have done it correctly according to the Word.  

Six of the seven churches to whom Jesus sent letters through John received rebukes and commendations.  The only church without rebuke was the Church of Philadelphia.  Philadelphia means brotherly love and this church did not fail in their love.

The Seven letters serve a double purpose.  They were for the existing churches established by the Apostles after Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit came upon them.  However, they are also intended for the seven types of churches that are even present now and will be until Jesus comes again.

We are in the age of the seventh church, Laodicea, which Jesus describes as blind in Revelations 3 v 15 - 19:  "I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.
16  So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.
17  Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:
18  I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.
19  As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent."

Sadly, this church does not know itself as being a problem because it equates financial abundance with spiritual success.  Churches with ATM's in their foyers!  If Jesus was here He would do as He did to the bankers on the steps of the Temple for making His Fathers House a place of merchandise.

Churches that delight in entertainment to draw people in.  Rock bands, neon lights, disco dancing are justified as holy and godly and church like.  Doctrines of man are flowing like waterfalls misleading those who actually need ministry into becoming part of Interfaith, the core of the Antichrist's One World Church.  

There are huge moves by these that have lost their first love to join Chrislam, or the Catholic Church has made huge inroads into churches in the UK and America and mainline churches are facilitating with them.  They are the enemies of truth.  Pray for their eyes to be open and that they repent before its too late.  The Apostasy is far advanced.  They need to renew their first love for Jesus.

2000 Years ago God's door was open to the Jews until the Temple was destroyed in AD 70.  The door closed on the Jews and opened for the Gentiles to hear the Word of God and repent.  Soon it will close on the Gentiles when the Rapture takes place, and reopen on the Jews.

Revelations 14 v 3 - 7: "And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth.
4  These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb. 
5  And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God.
6  And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people,
7  Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters."

Prayer:  Heavenly Father, we love You with all our hearts, minds, bodies and strength.  If it should ever change please alert us quickly so we can restore our first love.  Help us to shine this love into every place so the Church of Philadelphia can be restored as the last days Church.  In Jesus' name. Amen.