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review. In our last time together we began to take a look at the church in Ephesus as it was seen by Jesus at the end of the first century In a letter addressed to these Christians Jesus revealed three things to them. First Jesus revealed Himself to these believers.

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Review

review

In our last time together we began to take a look at the church in Ephesus as it was seen by Jesus at the end of the first century

In a letter addressed to these Christians Jesus revealed three things to them.


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First Jesus revealed Himself to these believers.

He revealed Himself to them as the one who holds them in the right hand of His power.

He revealed Himself as in being in their midst.

He revealed Himself as knowing them.

Then Jesus showed them who they were!


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who they are

What a list of commendations from Jesus Himself.

They labored.

Twice commended their cheerful endurance.

They would not tolerate anything that would harm the flock.

They carefully approved those who wanted to be in ministry.


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who they are

They persevered with those who failed.

They labored for the sake of the Name of Jesus.

They hated what Jesus hated.

Wouldn’t you just love for Jesus to be able to say so many wonderful things about you?


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crucial observation

Yet as Jesus SPEAKS to these believers we find a radical word in verse 4 –

Nevertheless!

What do you mean Lord?

How can these believers, this church, need a rebuke?

The answer -


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"Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love.

(Rev 2:4 NKJV)


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who they are

key observation

They didn’t lose their first love.

They didn’t set it aside.

THEY LEFT IT!


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who they are

crucial insight #1

This tells us that love is a choice!

We can’t make someone love us.

Jesus won’t make us love Him!

It is our choice to love Him!


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who they are

crucial insight #2

In this single declaration the Scriptures make it perfectly clear that love for Jesus is the one ESSENTIAL element of being a Christian.


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who they are

crucial insight #2

No matter how on track you might be in everything else, without loving Jesus pre-eminently, the rest is useless.


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who they are

crucial application

Does ANYTHING matter more to you than just loving Jesus?

Did you know that it is possible to know more about Jesus but love Him less!


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who they are

note well

They did everything right, but had left their first love.

And in the eyes of Jesus 9 out of 10 doesn’t cut it!

(Rev 2:5 NKJV) "or else…

They did everything right, but had left their first love.

And in the eyes of Jesus 9 out of 10 doesn’t cut it!


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"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.

(Rev 2:5 NKJV)


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what they should do

remember

Can you remember a time when you loved Jesus more?

What were you doing then?


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what they should do

remember

Can you remember when Christ first came into your life?

When that ACHING PART of your heart was HEALED;

the VOID was FILLED?


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what they should do

remember

Do you remember your first prayers being answered and how amazed you were that God was interested in everything you had to say …. and that the Creator of the Universe would have time for someone as insignificant as you?


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what they should do

remember

Do you remember when you “discovered” the Bible, and for the first time you KNEW that it was the very Word of God to you?

Do you remember how certain passages would leap off of the pages because they were so personal?


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what they should do

remember

And then there was discovering church!

Do you remember going because you loved it; because you could sense the presence of the Lord, and loved to watch people to come to Christ?


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what they should do

remember

Do you remember always looking for opportunities to witness; to bring “Jesus” into the conversation?

Do you remember how sharing your faith was simply an “overflow” of your life with the Lord?


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what they should do

remember

Listen to these words that relate so perfectly to the words of Jesus to the Ephesians.


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Jeremiah 2:2

I remember how faithful you were to me when you were a young nation. You loved me like a young bride. You followed me through the desert, a land that had never been planted.


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what they should do

repent

Repent literally means – think differently.

Jesus is telling them that they need a change of values.

Somewhere along the way something had become more valuable than Jesus.


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what they should do

first works

Simply put –

Value Jesus above everything BECAUSE

“He loved YOU, and washed YOU from YOUR sins with HIS blood.”.


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what they should do

first works

Simply put – Just practice loving Jesus!

Anytime! Anyplace!

Simply put – Just practice loving Jesus!

Anytime! Anyplace!

You see, Christianity is NOT merely a set of Bible based principles on “how to” –

be a better husband, a better parent, a better businessman.


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what they should do

first works

Christianity is about knowing and loving Jesus!

There should be NO OTHER AGENDA besides knowing and loving Jesus.

If everything else does not flow out of that, it is of no value.


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what they should do

first works

Are you spending your time and energies on THAT agenda?

Are the things that you’re doing helping youto know and love Jesus more?

Is what you are doing helping others to know and love Jesus more?

If not, you have left your first love!


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what they should do

first works

Knowing Jesus more, and loving Jesus more is also the agenda for the Church.

Knowing Jesus more, and loving Jesus more is also the agenda for the Church.

I must confess to you that after 23+ years of full time ministry that I have had my fill of church with “agendas.”


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what they should do

first works

Church with agendas = a church that is constantly operating around, or dealing with, people who view church as the means to accomplishing their own “personal agendas” –

“I want to be…”

“I want to do”

“Why does he get to…”


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what they should do

first works

Church does not exist for our personal agendas.

It has a divinely ordained agenda –


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what they should do

first works

To help people to know and love Jesus more

To provide them with the opportunity to express their love for Jesus in worship

To help them share their love for Jesus.


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what they should do

first works

Over the past 2 years I have been challenged to scrutinize and re-evaluate my LIFE and my MINISTRY.

Does everything I do past the litmus test of

“First Love?”


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what they should do

first works

I am not interested in any other agenda!

Because any other agenda takes away from bringing to Jesus the love and adoration that He alone deserves from me!

I pray that we have ears to HEAR what the Spirit is saying to us today about our first love.


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what they should do

first works

If you have left your first love, we are here to help you in any way possible to get back to loving Jesus.

But any other agenda is outside of why we are here.


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