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Exploring Revelation
“Loss of first love - Exploring Revelation”
by Art Sadlier   
April 28th, 2020

Last week we saw the Church of Ephesus as a Model Church.

We saw how hard and faithfully they labored to serve and glorify Christ. We saw how they were faithful to God's Word and would not tolerate sin and disobedience to the Word. Apostates and apostasy were not tolerated for one second. The church was a model of what Christ desires His church to be.

Ephesus was also a representative church. FIRSTLY it was typical of the churches in the First Century, in that ERA, the churches were predominantly like Ephesus.

SECONDLY Ephesus was representative in that in every period of Church History there would be some churches, maybe few at times but there would be some churches like Ephesus.

We need to study this church carefully and ask God to enable us to be like it.

Today,in our study, we see a terrible decline in the Ephesian Church. At the time of John's writing the Ephesian Church was about forty years old.

Somewhere along the line, in the history of this wonderful church, something tragic happened! Something unacceptable happened. Outwardly, the church appeared the same as it had always appeared.

Listen as the Lord puts His finger on the terrible, unacceptable thing that happened. "Thou hast lelt thy first love." The Lord says I cannot accept that.

When a young man and woman fall in love, there is FIRST LOVE. Only those who have experienced it can understand what first love is. It defies description, it is so intense, so wonderful.

Almost invariably, after marriage, after the children come, after the tedious fulfilment of obligations, somewhere along the line, the first love is lost! Perhaps there is still love, but not First Love.

That happened in the Ephesian Church. quietly, imperceptibly, that white hot love, first love, cooled and faded away.

The problem was not on the outside, not in their programs or service. The problem was on the inside.

Vance Havner said, "People can be as straight as a gun barrel theologically, and as empty as a gun barrel spiritually."

The same thing happened to the Galation believers. Paul said to them, "Where is the blessedness ye spake of?" Those Galatian believers had lost their first love. The Laodicean believers lost their first love, the Lord said they were lukewarm. The Lord said lukewarmness, loss of first love will cause Me to spew you out of My mouth, it's not acceptable.

What a tragic thing it is when a person loses his or her first love. Put a number of them together and you have a church that has lost its first love.

We can fool everyone around us, they won't even know. We can't fool the Lord, He feels it with pain. We can't fool our own hearts!

I can recall the days when I devoured God's Word. When I revelled in Christian fellowship, when I spent sweet times alone with Christ. When I gave out tracts. When I witnessed and longed to see others come to Christ. to get alone with God's Word, Oh how it thrilled my heart! Oh the thrill of those early days when Christ was truly Lord of all!

But, never mind 40 years ago, what about today? Is Christ as real to you today? Does your heart vibrate with LOVE and JOY and PEACE?

One major evangelical denomination in America conducted a survey. They discovered that 96% of their High School Grads left the church within 24 months of graduation. You can't transfer lukewarm, loveless, lifeless christianity to the next generation.

Lukewarmness is always terminal in christianity if it is not repented of, and corrected.

John says, "Remember from where thou art fallen" (vs.5) Remember where you once were and "wake up!" Remember how you used to love Me, "Thou art fallen".

It doesn't matter that you are working hard for me, laboring hard,and doctrinelly true, if you've lost your first love you are just going through the motions. Unless things come out of a heart that is aflame with love for Me, they are meaningless to Me.

"REPENT AND DO THE FIRST WORKS," Return to your first love, return to the works that first love moves you to do.

Then we have the warning "OR ELSE" this is a very stern warning, you cannot go on like this! I never intended My church to be a cold and indifferent organization that just functions mechanically. I will not allow you to go on like that indefinitely.

"I WILL COME UNTO THEE QUICKLY (suddenly) AND REMOVE THY CANDLESTICK.' Do you realize that the Lord is in the business of terminating churches? Five of the seven churches were terminated by the Lord. De-commissioned, no longer a Church of Jesus Christ. Everywhere you look today you can see de-commissioned churches. They still have a building, they still have services, they still think they are a church. The truth is they are no longer the Church of Jesus Christ.

"THOU HAST LEFT THEY FIRST LOVE," that is ultimately terminal for the life of any church!!!

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