"I have somewhat against thee, because thou
hast left thy first love" (Revelation 2:4)
One of the saddest things that can happen to anyone is to lose our love. When love is lost in a family, when the passion of love dies, the family begins to disintegrate. When love "wax cold" in any relationship, iniquity abounds (Matthew 24:12). When the Church stops loving Jesus it becomes an automation, a machine that makes toast for her Husband but who does not care whether He eats or not. A loveless Church hurts her Loving Bridegroom!
Several years ago a steam engine called "The Peavine" ran through our West Tennessee community. The Peavine went as far as Parsons in one direction, and beyond Lexington in the other. The Peavine bound communities together, allowing all to share supplies and people with one another. The Peavine was a steam engine. Though the engineer controlled the train, the fireman kept the steam pressure going by constantly shoveling coal into the belly of the beast. The coal burned hot, making steam that turned the wheels of this mighty engine. If the engine lost it's fire, the engineer might as well go home. An engine without steam was unable to do its job. It was no more than several thousand pounds of useless steel and iron. Even so the Church at Ephesus.
The Ephesian Church followed all of the rituals of the faith. It's pastor preached, it's members served, but Jesus said "I have somewhat against thee - you have lost your first love". Jesus Christ loves us and gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity. He wants us to be "zealous of good works" (Titus 2:14) . But Jesus expects more than mere works from His Bride! We must love Him, because He first loved us. Just as fire had to be in the belly of the Peavine, Love must be in the belly of the Church. The Spirit of God, like the fireman of old, continually reminds us what Jesus did on that old rugged Cross. We were due to enter Hell, but Christ loved us enough to take our punishment. We had no right to an inheritance, but by His we have been adopted into the Family of God. He has gone to prepare a place for we who believe - what did we do to earn or deserve this future glory?
Condemned by the Law, Jesus not only pardoned us, but He married us to Himself (Romans 7:4). The ring He wore on our wedding day was that crown of thorns that so pierced His brow! His "best man" was a tree, and the vows He gave three rusty nails. Oh my Beloved, will you not love Him?
In the early Church Jesus Christ called many different types of people together under His banner of love. Look at the original disciples. Some were tax collectors, some ex-prostitutes, others repentant tavern owners, yet others were fishermen. Jesus called people of different temperament to Himself. Some were patient, others impatient. Some even tempered, others angry. Some were well educated, others ignorant. Some were white collar workers, others blue collar. As Jesus drew these people together He proved the supernatural state of His Church by saying, "By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another" (John 13:35). How will others - our co-workers, our wives, our husbands, our children - know the Christian faith is true? Will our faith be proved by the number of people who attend our local Church? No, for great masses of people followed Jesus in the first part of His ministry. These same masses cried out "crucify Him" while a murderer was released in His stead. Will our faith be proved by the size of our building? Absolutely not! The early Church had no building at all, and usually met on Solomon's Porch in the Jewish Temple, or in caverns or private homes. Will our faith be proved by the amount of money we give, or by the prosperity of our members? No, for riches often draw people away from Christ (Matthew 19:24). Will our faith be proved by the easy life, by our lack of suffering? No, for God calls us to suffer for His sake (Matthew 5:11), calling us blessed when we are persecuted and hated. How then shall our faith be proved?
Our faith is proved by the love we have for one another, by the unity we have in worshiping our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The Ephesian Church had lost that love, that passion for Christ - and this we must not do! We have often stood on the seashore and watched waves roll in from the sea. The waves are temporary, quickly dying - but the sea is eternal. If we are saved, we are saved by faith in God. This is our Source of power, the love of God shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us (Romans 5:5). Ephesus forgot where they came from, forgot the Source of their life. Take care, Beloved, lest you forget to Whom you are wed, and at what price you were purchased. May God touch your hearts with these words.
"I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain." (Galatians 2:20-21 KJV)
Pastor David Buffaloe
Rock Hill Baptist Church
605 Rock Hill Road
Lexington, TN 38351
online at www.bibleteacher.org