Thursday, May 28, 2009

Revelation- Our First Love

This week we looked at what will probably be our last "YouPick" series topic for at least a while with upcoming VBS, camp, revival, etc.  I hope to do this again either later in the year or next year.  I admit it has been a bit challenging to prepare messages of topics given to me by the students instead of how I normally do things.  It has been good though as it has stretched me a bit.

For this final talk I spoke on a topic that I had originally tried to ignore and that was the book of Revelation.  This was actually the only topic that more than one student submitted but to be honest at first I was intimidated by the thought of preparing one sermon out of the book of Revelation.  I mean, where do you even start.  You definitely can't cover the entire book in one night.  But after talking about it and praying and studying, we only looked at 7 verses.  I began the night giving the background behind the book and about what was going on in John's life as he was exiled.  I encouraged the students to not be intimidated by the book when reading it and to not look to deeply at the numbers, symbols, and prophecy but to focus on Jesus Christ.  I talked about the seven churches that are addressed and we focused primarily on the church at Ephesus, aka The Loveless Church.

If we look at Revelation 2:1-7 we see Jesus address the church at Ephesus which is the first of seven churches addressed.  Verse 1 begins with some statements that can tend to be confusing because it begins with the use of symbols.  We see mentioned 7 lampstands and 7 stars.  The 7 stars represents the messengers who represent the 7 churches and the fact that Christ holds them in His hands means that He controls the church and its leaders.  The 7 lampstands represents the 7 churches.  The number 7 itself represents completeness in the Bible and so these 7 churches are representative of all churches.  Ok now that we got that covered as we read on verses 2-7 we see both good and bad pointed out.

The Good
-He states that He knows their good deeds, the church at Ephesus did not tolerate evil and they exercised spiritual discernment.
-He also states that they remained faithful to God and had the right driving motive- Jesus Christ
-He says in verse 6 that they hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans.  The Bible never says specifically who the Nicolaitans were except it leads us to know they were a heretical group.  According to Irenaeus they were followers of Nicolas who was selected as a deacon in Acts 6 but that he was a false believer and heretic who led a group of people astray.  This group was known for living in immorality and tried to assault the church with sensual temptations.  The church at Ephesus did not tolerate their actions and did hated their deeds.  As Christians we are to hate the sin, but still love the sinner.

The Bad
-Jesus says that they have lost their first love which was their love for Jesus Christ and for each other

Lost their Love for Christ
-We all maybe at one time or another have went through a season where we become mechanical Christians or just going through the motions.  When we were saved we were full of love for Jesus and wanted to do everything we could for Him, but over time we lose that fire.  Just knowing about God isn't enough, we must know Him intimately and deeply.
Lost their Love for Each Other
-Out love for others depends on our relationship with God.  If there is someone you can't seem to love, then you may have left your first love

Verse 5 tells us that losing your first love is the first step to destruction, but it also tells us what to do when we recognize this fault.  We are to Remember, Repent, and Repeat.  Remember the time when you were first saved and the love you experienced.  Repent for falling away and losing the fire and love for other and for Jesus.  Repeat- do the deeds you did when you were first saved and seek to grow closer to Christ daily.

You never truly love anyone/anything until you first experience the true love of Jesus Christ and are saved.  I encourage you today to examine yourself and see if you may have lost your first love, the love for Jesus Christ.  If you have never accepted the love of Jesus and have never been saved, then I encourage you to take that step today.

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