Friday, 11 April 2008

Forgetting our first love

At UMCU we have just started a short series of talks in our Wednesday Evening Meetings looking at the messages to the churches in Asia Minor. On Wednesday we looked at the message to the church in Ephesus in Revelation 2:1-7.

Ephesus was one of the great churches at the time in one of the great cities in the world. They had had fantastic teaching from Paul, Apollos, Priscilla, Aquilla (and possibly John.) They are enduring patiently, they are toiling and working, they are bearing up for the sake of Christ and are not growing weary and God commends them for this. But one of the things that really struck me was that, despite all this good, God told them not to forget their first love. If they didn't repent and do the things they did at first, God would remove his presence from them. They'd become guilty of turning their relationship with Jesus into an intellectual philosophy or an assortment of things to do, and if they didn't change, God would remove his presence from them. They were going to die spiritually from the inside out unless they changed.

I think this warning still applies today - look around at the many churches that still meet on Sundays but rather than meeting in God's presence, are just going through the motions. How tragic is it that these people are just meeting up and going through the motions, when maybe just a few centuries ago they might have been meeting with God's presence amongst them... There could be many reasons for why churches end up like this, but surely some must have died spiritually as a result of not heeding God's warning at forsaking their first love.

Are we guilty of this too? Have we become so much about doing things and knowing things that we've forgotten the awe and wonder that we first experienced when we came to know Christ as our Lord and Saviour? Personally and as a CU we were all really challenged to remember that first love, that first awe and wonder at the gospel - that we can come empty handed to a God of grace and holiness for forgiveness because of Jesus Christ's death and resurrection.

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