The Stewardship Of Love
Bible Text: Revelation 2:1-7 | Preacher: Pastor Steve
Revelation 2:1-3 To the angel of the church of Ephesus write, These things says He who holds the seven stars in His right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands: I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars; and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary.
Perseverance of spirit: consistently pressing for the kingdom of God, they were mindful of ministry, they worked hard and they didn’t give up
Faithfulness to the truth: They were truthful, they lived with great integrity. The Bible says that they could not bear those who are evil. There was a loyalty to the truth: they knew to leave truth meant death
Zeal for God: And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars
Revelation 2:4 Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love.
THE CHURCH STOPPED STEWARDING THE LOVE OF GOD
Revelation 2:5 Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place– unless you repent.
Forgetfulness is the initial cause of spiritual decline
Just like in a healthy marriage, love deepens over time. It matures. The earliest love is not the best love. True love doesn’t look backwards.
You have forsaken your first love!
Who is the first love of the church? The church is the bride of Christ, and her first love is the Bridegroom. When Christ says you have forsaken your first love, He is saying:
You have forsaken me!
Keep on remembering the time when you had a more intense living relationship with Christ.
Has there been a time when you loved Christ more than you love Him now?
The best way to measure yourself is not against our past experience but against the Scriptures
Jesus is committed to us. Are we committed to Him?
True commitment is when we carry someone in our heart. Commitment is holding the person we love in our heart so that even when we are apart we still think, act and talk as if we are together.
In essence we are never separated from one another. Jesus said to us I am with you ALWAYS and FOREVER! Jesus said I am COMMITTED!
Many in the church today are just “cohabiting” with Jesus.
Commitment to Jesus entails greater personal investment, binding covenant agreement and real life with eternal consequences if broken! Cohabitation is less binding.
Higher the commitment…higher the security and stability of the relationship.
The Degree of Closeness
Jesus loves us! Do we love Him?
1 John 3:16 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.
Love isn’t just something we feel or something we say. Love is something we do. It’s an action. Jesus gave His life for us.
1 John 4:9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.
Love is giving of yourself for the good of others—
to meet a need, to serve a purpose.
1 John 4:10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.
Love is giving of yourself for the good of others, even for those with whom you have differences.
When we love people who are like us that is ordinary. When we love people who are unlike us that is extraordinary. When we love people who dislike us that is revolutionary.
Forsaking Jesus means that He is no longer the center of who we are and what we are about.
But the Church in Ephesus was no longer good stewards of the Love of God and He is saying that unless they change the way they were living; the living Lord is saying:
The light will go out!
Forsaking our “first love” means we have forsaken Christ
The church needed to demonstrate the genuineness of their repentance and they needed to recapture the richness of God’s Word, prayer, and passion for worship that had once characterized them, etc…