Tuesday, September 7, 2010

First love

Rev 2:2-4 I know your works, and your labor, and your patience, and that you cannot bear evil ones; and you tried those pretending to be apostles and are not, and found them to be liars.
And you bore up and have patience and on account of My name you have labored and have not wearied.
But I have against you that you left your first love.

Here we see Jesus speaking to the Ephesian Church, and at the end of vs4 He tells them that they have left their first love.

So often this phrase is used with an incorrect understanding of what Jesus was actually saying.
Preachers and teachers (including myself!) have used this passage in the past to urge people to get back to loving God, to not become distracted with other things - even good things.
But was this what Jesus was telling them here?

Had they drifted away from their love for God?
Well, not according to the text. In fact, Jesus actually commends them for making a stand for what they truly believed. He commends them for patiently laboring in the truth of the Gospel and proving wrong those false apostles who would try lead any astray. They have endured persecution and held up under it because of Jesus' Name!
Friends, we must believe that these are people who love God.

Nobody in their right mind would endure persecution and ridicule for something they didn't believe in - surely?
So, we can see very clearly that it was not their love for God that they were lacking in. They had not left "their love for God", but they had left their "first love".

We can see in the next verse, just how important it is to God, they we stay in our first love.
He says:

Rev 2:5 Then remember from where you have fallen, and repent (change your thinking to something better), and do the first works (which were fueled by your first love). And if not, I am coming to you quickly, and will remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent (simply change your mind to something better).
brackets mine.

God was willing to remove His attractive manifest presence - that which attracts the lost - so that no new people would be drawn in and added to their number, to a congregation that was operating void of their first love.
Clearly, many were being drawn to be a part of this congregation because they were doing wonderful things because of their love for God - but this is not Gods way to draw all men to himself.....

lets look at another text:
1Jn 4:19 We love because he first loved us.

Friends, our first love is NOT our love for God. Our first love is Gods love for us!!
Even while we were still sinners, Christ died for us BECAUSE God loved us so much -that He sent His only begotten son to save us.
Gods way to draw all men to himself was not that they would see mans love for God, but that they would see His love for man. Thats why the Cross is the greatest display of love that the universe has ever seen. It reveals to a lost world, the manifest Goodness of God that ultimately draws us to repentance and believe the Good News.

"But Andrew, if we can only love once we know that God loved us (the first Love), well.... isn't that what was happening in Revelation 2, with the Ephesus Church?
How could they have been showing love for God without knowing His love for them?"

There are many unsaved people who do many good and wonderful things but know not the Love of God for them. In fact, the entire Old Covenant was based on this exact principle according to Jesus: (the principle of loving God to please him)

Mat 22:35 and one of them, a teacher of the Law, tried to trap him with a question.
Mat 22:36 "Teacher," he asked, "which is the greatest commandment in the Law?"
Mat 22:37 Jesus answered, " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.'
Mat 22:38 This is the greatest and the most important commandment.
Mat 22:39 The second most important commandment is like it: 'Love your neighbor as you love yourself.'
Mat 22:40 The whole Law of Moses and the teachings of the prophets depend on these two commandments."
(This, Jesus quoted from Deut 6:5 - straight out of the LAW.)

Many New Covenant Believers have been convinced that they have to prove their love to God, or somehow feel obligated to serve Him. Friends, IF SALVATION CAME WITH AN ATTACHED OBLIGATION OF SERVICE, THEN IT IS NO LONGER A FREE GIFT!! - and scripture is lying by calling it that!

This principle that the Ephesians Church (and thousands of congregations today) was operating in, was ended with the New and Living way. They were "working" at serving Him as an end in itself instead of works being the fruit of feasting on His love.
Jesus on the cross, ended that "weak and miserable" way of relating to God (zeal without knowledge), by revealing Gods love for us.
To leave your First Love as a New Covenant believer is to stray from the FUELING revelation of Gods unconditional Love for you and move back under the Old Covenant way of service. (obedience without relationship).

Nowhere does God command us to love in the NEW COVENANT, but rather, He reveals that when we walk in a revelation of His love for us revealed through Jesus on the cross, that we will automatically love, as He has loved us.

"Andrew, what about:
Joh 13:34 A new commandment I give unto you, that you love one another; even as I have loved you,....
...Jesus here is commanding us to love each other??!!"

Well, the word translated "THAT" (hina) in the sentence is incorrect.
The correct translation is "SO THAT".....
It should read:
"A new commandment I give unto you, so that you love one another; even as I have loved you,....

So the command is not that we ought to love, but rather, He has given us a command or instruction that will enable us to love... something that we must work at obeying all the time...

"Joh 6:28 Then they said to him, "What must we do, to be doing the works of God?"
Joh 6:29 Jesus answered them, "This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent."

The more we drink down the revelation of our First Love (His Love for us), the brighter the light of His Glory will shine out of us, and the knowledge of His Glory be made know across the planet.

May the Love of God already in your heart explode in a Glorious Gospel revelation of His extreme Love for you personally!!



  1. Very good bro. Amazingly clear revelation.


  2. Well, exactly!
    I just LOVE the fact that everything Jesus has ever said makes so much sense if you look at it through His eyes only! It's when we take Jesus' words and look at them through our eyes that we miss the mark completely!

  3. Interesting posting. It is so true that our walk in the Spirit has its source in Christ living in us. For without Christ we can do nothing. Yet there is a sense in Scripture that we are to just obey loving each other surpass our time of glorious inspiration.

    There are times we are to live in pure obedience to Christ who rules our hearts, above our feelings that are so easily swayed by our immaturity

    Joh 13:34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.
    Joh 13:35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another."

    1Jn 3:23 And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as He gave us commandment.

    Paul; who is the dominant writer in the NT of living under the Grace of God; went and gave them a list of instructions, just after he explained to the Romans so nicely not to live under the Law.

    Rom 12:9 Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good.
    Rom 12:10 Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another;
    Rom 12:11 not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord;
    Rom 12:12 rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer;
    Rom 12:13 distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality.
    Rom 12:14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.
    Rom 12:15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.
    Rom 12:16 Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion...

    Paul continues with the list until the end of the chapter and even add some more to the list in chapter 13. One could have accused him of mixing law with grace, if we did not know better. Yet it boils down to the fact that we can love because He who loves - lives in us; and we can obey because He obeyed right to the death on a cross - has raised His life in us.

    There is nothing wrong to follow rules as long as it has its source and root in Him Who Rules our hearts as appose to following some law to gain some sense of self-righteousness.

    Beautiful revelation, thanks Andrew

  4. I hear you annon, thanks for your comments.

    To teach "cold hearted obedience" - even from scripture in the New Testament.... even from the very mouth of Jesus - is to miss the Gospel completely, and it causes those listening to that teaching to build up for themselves a pile of clanging hay, straw and stubble that will amount to absolutely nothing in the end.

    Like you rightly pointed out, " One could have accused him of mixing law with grace, if we did not know better. Yet it boils down to the fact that we can love because He who loves - lives in us"
    However, probably well in excess of 95% of the Church does not know any better. Even Paul qualifies all this by starting "Chapter 12" by saying:
    "Therefore, I urge you brothers,in view of Gods mercy....".....

    Gods mercy is what Paul had just spent the previous 11 chapters describing.... It is Jesus and Him Crucified.... Gods love for us that nothing in ALL creation can separate us from, it is His Sin offering body and life that put an end to the Law system of work to attain righteousness.... For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness... for all who simply Believe.... there is no more means/system to attain righteousness by obedience cause Christ was the end of that Law. Now (New Covenant) it's Obedience of Faith (not works) and Galatians says that Faith expresses itself through Love (Gods love, not ours - Love is His and is Him).

    So all thats quoted in "Chapter 12" of Romans is ... "In the view of GODs MERCY...", in other words - the Cross.
    Whatever "works of righteousness" we may do, those that are done out of a revelation of the cross.... ie, we are close enough to the cross that it's still in view.

    "Works of Righteousness" done when the cross is no longer in our view, because we have been lured and enticed away, ARE NO LONGER WORKS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS..... THEY ARE DEAD WORKS!
    Works done by the body that is missing communion with its HEAD - Jesus- are DEAD WORKS.

    So... works conceived out of "cold obedience" without revelation of Gods warm love for you will certainly produce cold, dead fruit.

    "There is nothing wrong to follow rules as long as it has its source and root in Him Who Rules our hearts as appose to following some law to gain some sense of self-righteousness."
    -very true indeed :)

    For me, there is no point in even mentioning obedience on its own, because obedience is simply a fruit of a connection with the root - Jesus.

    The reason so often, so many teacher feel such a need to mention... "but you still must have some sort of obedience...", is because they have a fear that people will go wild without any restraints. But the thing is, their FEAR simply shows that they have not grasped the Gospel fully (and yes, we are all GROWING in revelation of it), because when one sees the perfect Love of God revealed in it - that Love casts out ALL fear.
    I promise (and so does God -lol!), Jesus is more than capable of holding and building His Church... we can TRUST Holy Spirit to produce the fruit through the Gospel of Grace. We need not add any balances or slight cautions here or there because then its no longer the GOSPEL... - then its the Law, and the Law is not of faith and CANNOT bear any lasting fruit.

    Church, lets trust Jesus to build His Church.

  5. What you are saying Andrew, is absolutely true. That is why Paul said that he has no confidence in the flesh. Without Christ we can do nothing. Our spiritual fruit can only come from abiding in Him, or it is carnal dead works. Yet there are times where some children would go and rebel, even though they know perfectly well they are loved and valued by their father. That is when the Father shows His love and care through discipline and chastisement.

    Heb 12:5 And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: "MY SON, DO NOT DESPISE THE CHASTENING OF THE LORD, NOR BE DISCOURAGED WHEN YOU ARE REBUKED BY HIM;
    Heb 12:7 If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten?
    Heb 12:8 But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons.
    Heb 12:9 Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live?
    Heb 12:10 For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness.
    Heb 12:11 Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

    This is obviously not true for all children, but some children, enter moments of madness, where they feel the need to test their Father’s will over their lives despite the fact that they know that they are their Father’s sons and daughter, and that their Father loves them, and their Father esteems them highly.

  6. Thanks for comments :)
    Gods discipline:



  7. "What you are saying Andrew, is absolutely true."

    You dont really believe that do you Anon?

    "but some children, enter moments of madness, where they feel the need to test their Father’s will over their lives despite the fact that they know that they are their Father’s sons and daughter, and that their Father loves them, and their Father esteems them highly."

    Enter moments of madness?

    If unbelief is madness, I think its safe to say, all of us are guilty of that almost every day sir...

  8. I can agree with you guys on the issue of God loving us, and accepting us, and that we are of value, which are all established in Christ on Calvary. However, I cannot see what you guys mean by discipline. I honestly do not see how discipline and punishment are the same as wrath. Surely if the author of Hebrews speaks of discipline not being pleasant…

    Heb 12:11 Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

    …he speaks of something that is not pleasant, like punishment. Maybe I am still old school, but I believe that if a child does not get a spanking when they are acting up, or being disrespectful, they will end up like spoiled brats, even though they know they are loved and accepted.

    Jesus himself said in
    Rev 3:19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent.

    Look what Jesus said earlier in:
    Rev 2:20 Nevertheless I have a few things against you, because you allow that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and seduce My servants to commit sexual immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols.
    Rev 2:21 And I gave her time to repent of her sexual immorality, and she did not repent.
    Rev 2:22 Indeed I will cast her into a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of their deeds.
    Rev 2:23 I will kill her children with death, and all the churches shall know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts. And I will give to each one of you according to your works.

    That is constant with the incident in:
    Act 5:8 And Peter answered her, "Tell me whether you sold the land for so much?" She said, "Yes, for so much."
    Act 5:9 Then Peter said to her, "How is it that you have agreed together to test the Spirit of the Lord? Look, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out."
    Act 5:10 Then immediately she fell down at his feet and breathed her last. And the young men came in and found her dead, and carrying her out, buried her by her husband.
    Act 5:11 So great fear came upon all the church and upon all who heard these things.

    We even read in:
    1Co 11:30 For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep.
    1Co 11:31 For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged.
    1Co 11:32 But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world.

    As you can see my theology on sickness was not sanctified by Curry Blake yet :) Maybe I am a hopeless case after listening to so many hours of his teachings and then still believe that a loving God would put sickness on us :)

  9. Hey Craig, you made me thinking. Maybe I don’t believe or understand it the way you guys do. Hope you will be patient with me.