May 3, 2013
Revelation 2:4, 5
In 40 years of being a pastor, I have heard it from many people I’ve counseled concerning their marriage – “I don’t love him anymore,” or “I don’t love her anymore.” What they are saying is, “I don’t feel love for my mate anymore. The feelings I used to have for him (or her) have left.” And so they want out of the relationship. Or they have found someone else who has stirred their emotions of love again.
Jesus dealt with this very issue in Revelation 2:4 and 5, and it applies to marriage and all relationships where love is supposed to be manifested. Here, in our scripture, the Lord is addressing the issue that we are to love God first and foremost. He is dictating a letter to be sent to the church at Ephesus, one of the seven major churches in Asia Minor to which the seven letters of Revelation 2 and 3 were to be sent. The church at Ephesus was a good church by all appearances, the members of which were commended by Jesus for standing firm against false teachers and for the truth. They had experienced the hardship of persecution and had shown patience and steadfastness in the hard trials they faced. Jesus told them in Revelation 2:4, 5 (NKJV):
Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love.
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 it’s place — unless you repent.
Now our first love is to be directed to the Lord. The Great Commandment (Mark 12:30 – NKJV) discussed in the last blog says “…you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.” So above any other love in our lives, God is to have first place (see also Matthew 10:37).
Apparently, in all their busyness of standing true to the Lord, the believers in Ephesus had not been emphasizing the main reason for their stance. They were busy doing all the right things, but it was just going through the motions of their faith because they weren’t loving the Lord Jesus first and foremost of all! They had left their first love!
But did you get what Jesus was saying after He identified the problem with the Ephesus believers? He said nothing about feeling love. But He did tell them to do three things:
• Remember from where you have fallen – Think about how it was when you first found the Lord. Remember the freshness, the joy, the excitement that was just too great not to share with someone else. Remember how you just wanted to be near Him, talk to Him and hear Him speak to you through His Word. That’s how it was with me when I first opened my heart to Jesus at age 19.
• Repent – It means in the Greek to turn around and go the other way. The believers in Ephesus had been moving away from their intimate relationship with and obedience to the Lord Jesus Christ. Now He was calling them to turn around and come back to the place He told them to remember – where they were at the first of their faith.
• Do again the first works – Begin to do again the same things that you did when you were so in love with the Lord – the worship, the witness, the Word and prayer. And, guess what? …the feelings of love will follow the actions because feelings (emotions) follow actions!
As I said before, this three-step plan of action works in all relationships where the feelings of love have grown cold. For instance, the situation of Love Lost between a husband and wife:
• Remember from where you have fallen – Call to mind what it was like when you were so in love with her. Remember the special things you delighted to do for him. Think of the sweet words and actions that made your time together so precious.
• Repent – Stop going in the direction away from the one whom you promised to love and honor. Turn around, and go back the other way, towards him or her.
• Do again the first works – Start doing again those things you remember doing at the first. Never mind that the special feelings of love are not there. Feelings follow actions! If you do what you are supposed to do, then the emotions will follow!
Where are you with the Lord? Are you going through the motions of your faith? Or are your actions flowing from a heart that is loving and obeying Him first? Where are you with your wife or husband? The same prescription works here too!
Love Lost can be love regained!!! Just follow the Lord’s prescription in Revelation 2:4 and 5.