January 30, 2000            The Church that Lost It's Love                  Rev. 2:1-7

By Ronald E. George Jr. at the Fayetteville Baptist Church

I once saw, lying side by side in a sculptor's workshop, two heads made of metal. One was perfect. All the features of a manly, noble face were clear and distinct. The other, however, had scarcely a single, recognizable human characteristic. It was marred and spoiled. The man who was showing it to me said, "This one is badly distorted because the metal was allowed to cool before it was stamped out, and therefore it wouldn't take the impression." So, too, many souls might have been stamped with the likeness of the Savior while they were still warm with the glow of early youth, but they were allowed to become cold. Thus, they were misinformed and their lives ruined.

Purpose: The purpose of this message is to show how the Lord was happy with this church and how that He wanted them to change to be effective in His work.

Scripture Text: Rev. 2:1 (KJV) 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. 6 But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. 7 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.

  1. Who is this message from: This message is from the Lord Jesus Christ. These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks;
  2. Who is this message to: the church at Ephesus the first of the seven. As you would walk around the road to deliver the letters as instructed by the Lord, the first church you would come to was Ephesus.
  3. What are their good points? 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. He says that they are good workers. They are hard laborers. They are persistent. They are people who are willing to take a stand against perceived evil. They are willing to even put people who say they are apostles to the test to see if they are true. They have born a lot of burdens. They are willing to continue against many difficulties.

  5. What do they need to try to correct to continue to shine as a Church.

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.

  1. They need to recognize their lost first love.

The church at Ephesus was good at the mechanics of church but they had lost the heart of the church. The heart of the church is the love that we have for our Lord. That love for God is expressed in our desire to join with him in all aspects of his life and character. The one characteristic that he says they have lost is their love.

  1. How do you know when you have lost your first love?
  1. When you don't think about them anymore.
  2. When you don't talk to them or speak. You ignore them and their calls and messages.
  3. When you don't like their friends.
  4. You don't want to be with them anymore.

    b. How do you know when you have lost your first love of the Lord?

  1. You don't pray as much.
  2. You don't spend time with the Lord anymore. No devotional or personal time of worship.
  3. You don't spend time with the Lord's people. How is your church attendance?
  4. You aren't able to get along with others because you can't get your way.
  5. You spend more time talking about people and their faults than you do praying for them.
  6. You aren't able to forgive people. You continue to hold grudges against others.
  7. You aren't accepting and loving of people who are different or those who hold different opinions than yours.
  8. If you aren't flexible to the will of the Lord in your life even when he says to love and forgive others as he has forgiven us.

II.  They Need to return to that first Love. Do you remember your first love? Do you remember your first love of the Lord?

III.  They Need to repent and do the first works. First things first. The Christian life is a balance. Love first and works that are a result of the love that we hold for the One who loved us first. Works without love is similar to faith without love. Love is the reason that leads us to serve Him. There must be a balance. But, love is the first and great commandment.

Matt 22:37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second [is] like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

The 21st Century Church is a church that is built on the love of God that is pulsing in the veins of the people of the Lord. It isn't a club that is based on man made requirements. But, it is the love of the Lord that has brought the church to this century. Will we be a 21st Century Church?