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Message

True Lovers - Part 7, First Love
George Clerie - May 31, 2015

Message Recap

The Five Love Languages
Words of Affirmation
Gifts
Quality Time: Uninterrupted time in God’s presence
Acts of Service
Physical Touch

In this True Lovers message series, we’ve studied the five primary ways people give and receive love. A true lover loves others according to their love languages, rather than his own.

Jesus is the ultimate true lover. He loved us first. He loved us even before we were born.

Jesus is the ultimate true lover. He loved us first. He loved us even before we were born. In Revelation, Jesus writes a series of seven love letters. In this letter to the church in Ephesus, Jesus reveals many things about His love for us.

“To the angel of the church of Ephesus write, ‘These things says He who holds the seven stars in His right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands:  “I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars;  and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary. 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 its place—unless you repent. But this you have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.
“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.”’ 
Revelation 2:1-7

With these words, Jesus shows us that:

Jesus is present in His Church.

‘These things says He who holds the seven stars in His right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands: (v.1)

It is revealed in a later letter that the seven lampstands represent the church. Jesus loves His church and is always in the midst of His people. He loves to reveal His presence when His people gather together. All throughout the Old Testament when the nation would gather together to worship, fire would fall from Heaven,and God would manifest Himself in special ways. In the early church, they always gathered together and the Holy Spirit would reveal Himself in power and special ways. This is why it's important to gather together as believers.

God did not design us to do our Christian life alone. He blesses us when we come together and He desires to have an encounter with us and for us to seek Him and to become more aware of His presence.

When You said, “Seek My face!”
   My heart said to You, "Your face, Lord, I will seek.
Psalm 27:8

The word “face” in this Psalm means “presence” in Hebrew. Jesus is with us and wants us to be aware of Him.

Jesus is pleased with His Church.

Jesus commends the Ephesians for three things in verses 2-3:

1) Good deeds
Jesus is pleased that the Rock is a Do Something church, reaching out to the community sacrificially. Jesus is pleased with us when we serve in ministry. He wants to engage with us and do good through us.

2) Good discernment
Discernment is the ability to test different things. Jesus is pleased when we’re authentic, genuine, real, honest, and upfront about what we’re going through.

3) Good doctrine
Jesus is pleased with us a church when we are biblically based and doctrinally sound. Jesus is pleased when His people test teaching according to His Word. Jesus doesn’t change or adapt to culture; He is who He is. When we base our lives on the rock solid word of Jesus, this pleases Him. Without God’s Word, our souls suffocate in the world, but His word breathes fresh life into us. Without His word, we are incomplete and unprepared to face life.

Jesus is passionate about His Church.

Jesus also expresses his grief against the church: that it has lost it's first love. Remember, we love because He first loved us (1 John 4:19).  Jesus is the ultimate first love. True love begins with being loved by God, as He is love and the source of all love. If I have not been loved by Him, I am not experiencing true love.

Leaving our first love is not so much about loving God less, but more about losing our sense of what it means to be loved by God first.

The love of God should be occupying the primary place in our hearts. It is about needing to recapture the awe and gratitude of knowing that the God of the universe knows us and loves us with an infinite love.

…that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge... Ephesians 3:17-19a

If I an not experiencing the reality of God's true love for me, I can't give true love to anyone else. When Jesus isn’t our first love, we seek secondary loves to fill us.

2 Timothy 3:2 says that in the end times, “People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy…” People will love other things rather than loving God. Take stock of your own love for God. Has He taken a back seat to job, finances, friends, ministry, or possessions? Who’s sitting in the first seat of your heart?

Jesus says in Matthew 22:37-38: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.” Jesus is passionate about His church, He is unwilling to take second place in our hearts.

Jesus has a promise for His Church.

“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.”’ Revelation 2:7

Jesus promises that if we love Him, He will be our life. There is nothing better in life than being loved by God!

Therefore...

We must remember to keep Him first in our hearts.

Sometimes we need to be reminded of how much God loves us. Think back and remember the gratitude you felt the first time you realized Jesus loved you. Remember the relief you felt the first time you were forgiven of all your sins and the guilt, shame, and condemnation fell away. Remember the joy you had at being one of His children and being overwhelmed by His presence.

We need to feed our affections for Jesus with great reflections of Jesus. If we’re not remembering, it’s easy to drift and forget. If you are not doing so already, buy a journal and begin writing your daily thanks and observations of God moving in your life. These entries will become cherished memories that keep you close to Him.

We must repent of following our own hearts.

Jesus urges us to repent for leaving our first love. It’s a sin to not have Jesus as our first love. If we are ok being dull of heart and apathetic for Christ, we need to pray for a holy conviction because we are missing the most important thing in life.

“I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” John 10:10b

Life is found in experiencing, knowing, and expressing the love of Jesus. If we’ve lost our first love for Jesus, we’ve lost everything.

“For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?” Mark 8:36

Repentance is much more than apologizing or confession. It’s doing what’s necessary to get back on track, changing direction from following our own will and hears to following Him; this doesn’t come naturally. We have to pray that God will help us change, restore our souls, renew our minds and hearts, realign our actions. Then we have to take a step in the right direction, toward God and away from our own fleshly desires.

He who trusts in his own heart is a fool,
But whoever walks wisely will be delivered.
Proverbs 28:26

We must return to the first things with right hearts.

Everything is easier when you’re in love. When we truly love God, following Him becomes a joy.

For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome. 1 John 5:3

Start reading your Bible, take the LIFE growth track, join a LIFE group, serve in ministry – but let us do it for the right reasons. Let us love God with the right heart, with all of our heart.

True Lovers

This 8-part series teaches us how we can best love in a way others are designed to receive it, and love in the God-glorifying way we were designed to give it. In Part 7, Pastor George teaches on how Jesus is the ultimate true lover.

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