Posted by: mikenicholsblog | September 29, 2011

first love

Remembering my sixth grade teacher’s name would be a strong assignment for me. But remembering my first love that happened in sixth grade, now that’s another story. Her name was Bonnie Oliver, and I was smitten. On the day she moved to Alabama, I rode my bike by her house, but didn’t have the courage to say goodbye. I can’t recall if she even knew me, but I really liked her. It’s been nearly fifty years, and I still haven’t forgotten about my crush on that cute young lady. You can probably also remember the first time you fell for someone. Somehow that first love is etched in your memory. In a far more significant way, the first love that we experienced in Christ should be remembered.

The church at Ephesus was one of the churches in Asia Minor highlighted in the book of Revelation. Great teaching has been done on the seven literal churches, and one article could never even scratch the surface of all the treasures that can be gleaned from studying them. I do believe however that characteristics of these churches can be instructive for 21st century believers.

Ephesus at one time was the most prominent city in Asia Minor. The church at Ephesus was blessed to be established by Paul, and later led by Timothy and the Apostle John. Talk about a privileged group of believers. They were commended for their works, patience, perseverance and stand against evil. Aren’t those the characteristics that every church and believer should strive for? But something was wrong. Take a quick look with me at their great service and lost love in Revelation chapter two…

I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked men, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary.Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.
Revelation 2:2-5

All the accolades, and then: You have forsaken your first love. Something happened to that first love. The church was still a serving group, but not with the right motivation. If you have served Christ for any length of time, you probably remember the early days of your journey that were filled with excitement, passion and joy. And just like the Ephesians, you may still serve and love your Lord, but something is different. The early passion, excitement and joy have been replaced with __________.  You probably still read some Scripture, pray about issues, give to your church and maybe even serve, but something is different.

John was very straightforward with the first love lost Ephesians. Remember what you lost. Repent of your sin, and repeat the things you did at first. The passion, joy and relationship with the Father that this church once had could be restored. If this article finds you in the place of first love lost, John’s advice is still relevant: Remember, repent and repeat! There is never a good reason to live looking back at a better love. Remember your first love and reclaim the joy that is yours in Christ.

What could be better than loving your Savior with that first love?


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