Rev. Trevor Johnston
Sermon: First Love
PDF file for printing: 09-01-18
Background to today’s Scripture: John was one of the original 12 disciples and was Jesus’ closest earthly friend. He lived the longest of the 12 disciples. John was an old man and the only one of the original 12 disciples still alive when he wrote the book of Revelation. The book records a vision that God gave John while John was in exile on the island of Patmos as a punishment for his faith in Jesus Christ. Near the beginning of the book of Revelation, Jesus asked John to write letters to 7 churches in Asia minor.
- Read Revelation 2:1-7:
To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: These are the words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks among the seven golden lampstands. 2 I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked people, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. 3 You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary.
4 Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. 5 Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place. 6 But you have this in your favor: You hate the practices of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.
7 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.”
What questions or comments come to your mind as you read this passage?
- In each of the messages to the 7 churches, Jesus pointed out some areas where the church was doing a good job, and some areas where they needed to improve. From the above passage, talk about some areas that the Ephesian church was doing well in. What do these commendations tell you about what it was like to be a Christian in Ephesus?
- The weak area that Jesus pointed out about the Christians in Ephesus was that they had “forsaken their first love”. What did Jesus mean by that? What are some ways that we do this today?
- What are some reasons why a person might forsake the love they originally had for Jesus Christ?
- Pastor Trever pointed out that we can know a lot about God without really loving God. What is the danger when a person has a lot of knowledge about Jesus Christ, but doesn’t really love Jesus? What tends to happen?
Here are some ways to keep your love for Jesus Christ fresh and alive:
- It helps your love for Jesus stay fresh when you take time to remember who you were before you knew Christ, who you are now in Christ, and how God brought you to Himself. Share your faith journey story with your group.
- Take a few minutes together as a group to thank Jesus for how He brought you into relationship with Him and for the ways He has changed your life.
- Read Matthew 18:2-3: He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. 3 And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”
What is Jesus getting at in these verses in Matthew 18? What does it mean to become like little children in terms of your relationship with God? How might this help keep your love for Jesus fresh?
- Returning to your first love with Jesus isn’t necessarily about feelings. Just like in a marriage, feelings are not the true measure of our love. Love is often more about what you do than what you feel. Name some things that married couples can do to keep their love alive.
- Now talk about some things you can do in your spiritual life to help keep your love for Jesus fresh.
- Read Jeremiah 29:13: You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
Read James 4:8a: Come near to God and he will come near to you.
What do these verses say about how to keep a loving relationship with Jesus alive and fresh?
- In a marriage, if there are unconfessed wrongs in your relationship, it creates distance between you and your spouse. The same is true in your relationship with God. Take time to silently consider whether you have hurt or offended God in some way that you haven’t confessed to Him. Ask God to show you things that have come between you and Him. As God reveals those things to you, confess them, and then accept God’s full and complete forgiveness.