God’s Correction of the First Church
Revelation 2:4 “Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.”
This verse was written toward the end of the Apostolic Age of the church.
The apostles had gone forth into the world, preaching the good news of Christ.
Their hearts were so full of love to Him;….many suffered persecution and death, to show forth Christ, to a dying world.
But time had past. Some believe the Apostolic Age to have lasted only 100 years, before it was plunged into the persecution of the the ten Caesar’s, where thousands of Christians were beaten and fed to lions, to please the bloodthirsty crowds of Rome.
But before the persecution, there was the error of putting work, for Christ,….of putting service in the place of devotion to Christ.
(Now we all need to work for Christ…..there is a work for each of us. But we easily get “wrapped up” in what we are doing…..and lose sight of Who we work for. Service becomes obedience…..when Christ says, Obedience to Me, is service.)
The Apostle Paul had warned this Church about such men that would come in and lead them away, from what was really important: devotion and obedience to Christ, Himself.
Acts 20:28-30 “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which He hath purchased with His own blood.
For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.
Also of your own selves shall men rise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.”
Notice, it is “take heed” unto yourselves…..we are responsible to grow in grace and the knowledge of Christ Jesus.
If you love Christ; what wouldn’t you do for Him?
But if you are doing a work for Christ without great love to Him, what good does it do?
The value of any work, is that it is done out of love to Him: to please and honor Him, as it says in Corinthians…..”….it profits me nothing.”
1 Corinthians 13:3 “And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity (love to Christ), it profiteth me nothing.”
Like all of us,…….that church had become focused on one part of our lives. (It is so easy to do)
Revelation 2:2-3 “I know thy works, and thy labor, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear with them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars:
And hast borne, and hast patience, and for My Name sake hast labored, and hast not fainted.”
This is all really great stuff! But…..
…they had become so busy in their responsibilities to others (so they thought), that they had set Christ aside.
He was no longer first…..He was no longer the goal to which they “reached forth”
Philippians 3:7-8 “But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.
Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for Whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ.”
(This is not for Salvation,….but for a relationship which draws me nearer, nearer still, My Beloved Lord. And we do need to “hang on” in this; for so many things try and lead us away from Him.)
Sadly, for this church, He was no longer the reason they did what they did.
They had fallen short in the loving fellowship and devotion to Christ, Himself,……for themselves.
And there is no bigger step out of the Way of God, than this.
Revelation 2:4 “Nevertheless, I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.”
Jesus warns them to repent: To turn around and remember their first love;……the warmness and sweetness of clinging to Christ,…..for themselves in everything.
If we do this, we won’t forget others; but they will be in their proper place.
Christ first, everything else next.
How sweet our lives are, as we are walking hand in hand, arm in arm with the “Someone” we love.
Christ calls them to repent. To stop placing their personal relationship with Him after others,…..and do “the first works”.
The very first “work” we do, is to look to Jesus, and Believe and Trust Him; opening our hearts to Him, and our lives to Him.
A life open to and receptive to Him.
All our lives should be an expression of love for Christ. Whatever we are, think or do; it should be out of love to Jesus.
Then He promises them to eat of the Tree of Life.
Revelation 2:7 “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.”
Life is personal; you can not eat for someone else. You can only have it for yourself.
This is what Jesus is saying:
Come and have as much of Me as you want. This is My personal invitation and promise……for I will not take second place, in your life.
When God takes our lives and puts them into His balance:
He puts in one side, our love to Him,
And in the other, what we do for Him.
The balance only comes out even, if the love we have to Christ is the reason we do what we do.
John, the Beloved Apostle, wrote to warn the church about anything which should take Christ’s place in our hearts. It is short, and inclusive:
1 John 5:21 “Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.”