Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. (Rev 2:4)
In our past studies, we took a hard look at the church of Ephesus. This was a church that was founded by the Apostle Paul. It was a church that had tremendous growth. They won so many souls that they, practically, emptied the temple of Diana. The idol Diana brought great gain to the silversmiths, and this massive conversion to Christ affected their business. They, in return, stirred the mob against Paul and the church.
In spite of all this opposition, God protected Paul. The church overcame this obstacle and increased in size. God gave them uncommon favor with those in high places and they influenced that city for the Lord. We could conclude a happy ending to this story, right? Not quite, the Lord had a final say—They left their first love! How did they get so distracted and how does this apply to us?
Defining first love
First, let us address the topic of first love. There have been many interpretations about defining first love, but let’s look at Matt 22:37-38 —
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. This is the first and great commandment.
So, based on this verse above, we find that loving God is the first thing we should do. We could conclude by this that the Lord Jesus is our first love. He is before your wife/husband, family, job, etc. When you love someone, you do the things that please them. They have top priority,
Perhaps, the church was doing things in a routine way. When you get to see many miracles, signs, and wonders, it can get to be a routine. Another thought to this is their work in the ministry. Working for the Lord in ministry is good, but it can have its drawbacks.
Church Pastors can get caught up in helping the poor and other community ministry outreaches that it robs their time with God. After a while, they spend less time in prayer and Bible study. The results? Their sermons are improvised and not anointed. Finally, maybe many rich and influential members were pressuring its leaders to adopt worldly ways of doing things that were not right with God. A spirit of compromise could have been a major factor causing them to lose their first love.
It is an unknown issue what happened in that church. The main issue is that there was a falling away from God. They had grown cold towards God and lost their first love, but not all is lost. God had some answers to this problem.
Consequences and benefits
To further enhance this study, we will use the Amplified version. The Amplified version of the Bible gives us clarity on God’s ultimatum (Consequences and benefits). Let’s look at the following verses below–
So remember the heights from which you have fallen, and repent [change your inner self—your old way of thinking, your sinful behavior—seek God’s will] and do the works you did at first [when you first knew Me]; otherwise, I will visit you and remove your lampstand (the church, its impact) from its place—unless you repent. Yet you have this [to your credit], that you hate the works and corrupt teachings of the [a]Nicolaitans [that mislead and delude the people], which I also hate. He who has an ear, let him hear and heed what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who [b]overcomes [the world through believing that Jesus is the Son of God], I will grant [the privilege] to eat [the fruit] from the tree of life, which is in the Paradise of God.’(Rev 2:5-7)
God is threatening to remove their candle. What does this mean? This means that they will lose their influence with those in high places. They will not longer be making an impact on society. On the bright side, God has an answer to their problem. The answer is that if they get this matter corrected, they will eat the fruit of the tree of life. God is opening up heaven on earth again if they repent.
Proverbs 15:4 says that a wholesome tongue is a tree of life. This talks of dominion and authority. Your tongue can bring life and death. God has given us authority to tread on serpents, scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy. (Luke 10:19)
As we study this subject further, God is addressing their authority. Their authority was at stake in this matter. They were at risk of forfeiting their authority because of their sin. The good news was that God was willing to take them to even deeper dimensions and blessings. The only thing that was required was repentance and correcting the problem of falling away.
They had a choice to make. The first one was to continue in their sin and forfeit their authority. The other alternative was to repent and correct the problem. God, always, gives us a choice. There is a saying that with great power comes great responsibility.
As we ponder on this example, we need to ask ourselves–Have I lost my first love with Jesus? Here are some points to consider..
- Have I had so many answers to prayers that I become complacent and robotic in my service to the Lord?
- Have I allowed distractions to take away my time from the Lord?
- Have I been so involved in ministries and good works that I placed the Lord in second place?
Let us not cut the flow of blessings from God in our lives. God is a jealous God and he demands our time with him. Doing so will allow us to continue to eat from the tree of life and be an overcomer.