Returning to Your First Works

Jesus was sending a message to the church at Ephesus.  He commended where commendation was needed but also admonished, revealing what was wrong.  Only two of the seven churches he addressed didn’t have something contrary to the will of God. He used the phrase “I have somewhat against thee.”  It’s hard to believe the early churches, started by the apostles, would fall in so short a time.  Here we are on the other end of the age of grace.  The admonishment is for us too.  Return to your first works.

Revelation 2: 1Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks; I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars: And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name’s sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted. Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent. But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitanes, which I also hate. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.

First works is not getting saved again.  He means that we should do the will of the Savior.  Seek again and put effort into being the Christian God saved us to be.  The book of Revelation was written around the end of the first century.  Half a century had come and gone.  When we look back 50 years to around 1965 we see changes too.

Many Roman Caesars had come and gone.  A bad one would leave and a worse would take over.  It was working on the church.  Jesus commented they had separated truth from error and borne a lot of suffering.  They were a busy church.  He wanted them to get back to where they should be.  It’s not enough to go through the motions.  Read a little Bible.  Say a little prayer.  We tend to lose the basic things.  Outwardly they appeared successful but they were losing ground on the inside.  When we accepted Jesus, it was the beginning of a relationship with the Lord.  It was new.  We put our faith in God.  All the elements were fresh and new and exciting.  The sin of Ephesus was they had gotten used to being Christians.  They began to lose heart.  Outward performance was okay.  Inwardly they were not.  It’s the private part that Jesus is interested in.  We’re not saved by a ritual; it is by Jesus personally knocking on our heart’s door and our letting him in.  We believed.  We prayed.  The scripture jumped out at us.  David said the Word was better than food.

The church at Ephesus slacked up and they weren’t feeding themselves.  There was a time we needed someone to feed us.  Now we’ve been saved long enough that we should feed ourselves.  You didn’t feed your children forever.  They had to feed themselves eventually.  Ephesus took God’s love for granted.  Instead of growing in that love they began to drift from it.  Don’t take for granted the confidence God puts in us.  They had the gospels and the epistles and they were losing their effect on them.  They weren’t motivated to keep them.  They neglected reading them.  The Word should never be boring to us.  They humbled themselves together and formed a church in idolatrous Ephesus.  They came alive in a wicked city and Jesus Christ was Lord.  It was an experience to read the Word.  It was an experience to go to church.  They made a clear-cut decision to follow the Lord.

That’s what we did.  Are we stepping as high in the Lord now?  If we don’t do our first works we won’t have the first blessings.  Are we as excited as we once were?  We are empowered, and it should never lose its newness.  We are risen with Christ.  It should be Christmas every day.  It should be Easter every day.  We used to have get up and go.  If we ask the Lord we can have it again.  We need to stay excited and decisive.  Kids grow out of clothes and shoes.  We should never outgrow the clothes that Jesus wrapped us in when we got saved.  His garments last.  The children of Israel were able to wear the same clothes and shoes for 40 years in the wilderness.  We don’t have to change the basics.  Always be aware of them.  Without the basics the details won’t mean a thing.

Their spiritual houses were falling in.  They forgot to pray.  They twisted the Word.  Pride and arrogance came to the surface.  We want to be our own person and fight our battles instead of letting the Lord fight for us.  David suffered defeat every time he tried to fight his own battles.  The very thing the people in Ephesus needed they had drifted from.

The “somewhat against us” may be small but if God sees it, it is important.  It may be the obvious thing.  Many accidents happen because obvious things are ignored.  Drivers take their eyes off the road or send a text while they try to dodge traffic at the same time.  Before they know it they’re off the road.  Let’s not be a Christian casualty.

It does matter what our appearance is to others.  It’s not nearly as important as how we look before God.  Sometimes others see more than we do.  Be a genuine Christian.  Ephesus abandoned its first love and first works.  The Lord renews every day.  The past is dead and gone but we should keep alive the yearning to serve the Lord.  Never be an antique Christian.  We’re new creatures in Christ.  Repent if needed and be renewed in the Lord.  We don’t have to be weak.  Face the devil and the world.  If your relationship with the Lord has lost its newness remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works.

I can’t be 17 again.  That’s my age when I got saved.  I can be as humble, as faithful and as true to the Word as I was in those first days.  We can have it again.  Repent and be what we need to be.  There is no reason not to do it.  Jesus is still Savior.  He has not changed.  We can’t reverse the aging of the body but we can be the ever renewing child of God.  That’s being young in the heart.

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