This is a sermon my Dad, Jerry Trammell preached on August 8th 2004 at the church he pastored, First Assembly of God, Dumas Texas.
SIGNS OF LOSING YOUR FIRST LOVE
Revelation 2:-17 NKJV – 1 “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: 2 “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; 3 and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary. 4 Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. 5 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. 6 But this you have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.
7 “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.”’
INTRO: In Chapters 2 & 3 of the book of Revelation, the Lord Jesus Christ is dictating letters to the Apostle John. John was to write what was dictated to him and then send them to the seven churches of Asia. In most of these letters the Lord gave commendations as well as some criticisms of those churches that He was addressing. To the church of Ephesus He said, “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.” But then after commending them for all the good that they had done, He pointed out their failures and gave them a very stern warning. For He said, “Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love.” In other words they had allowed other things to become more important to them than the Lord was. Friend, when you allow other things to become more important to you than the Lord, then you have “left your first love.” To show how important that it is that the Lord is first in one’s life, Jesus said in Matthew 10:37, “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.” Because the Church of Ephesus had allowed other things to become more important to them than the Lord, Jesus gave them this stern warning, saying, “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.” I believe that it is obvious what the Lord was saying here. He was in actuality saying, “If you don’t repent and place me back on the throne of your life, making me number one in your life, then I will remove you, I will not longer call you my child.” Oh, church, when you lose your first love you have lost the Lord out of your life.
Oh, how important it is that we maintain our experiences in the Lord, and keep Him number one in our lives. We should daily examine our lives, and our motives in the things that we do to be sure that He is still number one.
For a few moments, I want to preach to you from the subject of, “Signs of losing one’s first love.” For church, I believe that there are certain tell, tell signs which show up if we are losing our first love. In this message, I want to deal with some of those things that reveal that we have or are in the possession of losing one’s first love.
1. When we no longer long for those times of rich and intimate fellowship with the Lord we have, or are in the process of losing our first love.
How do we know when we no longer long for those special times with the Lord? I think we all know the answer to that if we would but be honest with ourselves. The problem is that when one starts losing their first love they don’t want to admit it to themselves. They want to keep up the front of everything being alright between them and the Lord, when in reality it isn’t.
I think that may have been a part of the problem with the Ephesian Church. They had worked and labored for the Lord, and were morally upright. Perhaps serving the Lord had become routine to them. Perhaps, because they were doing good things, and because they were morally upright, they just thought everything was all right. But they had lost their fervency for the Lord. They were doing the work of the Lord, but the Lord of the work was not number one.
Church, when there is no longer that desire to spend precious time with the Lord you have lost your first love. When the Lord is first in your life, you will long to be with and spend time with the one that you love the most. That means that there will not be a day go by that you don’t close yourself in with God in your closet of prayer to commune with Him.
David talked about having those special times with the Lord, when he said in Psalm 77:6, “My nights were filled with joyful songs.” David also said in Psalm 107:9, “He satisfies the longing soul, and fills the hungry soul with goodness.”
When there is a true longing for the Lord in a person’s heart they will long to be in God’s house, and will long for those times of private communion with the Lord also.
We see the desire of in those early Apostles like Peter and John who daily went up to the temple together at the hour of prayer. We see this desire in the early church as they continued in the apostle’s doctrine and in prayers.
2. Another sign that some have lost their first love is their lack of love and affection for, and fellowship with the people of God.
That early church did more than just continue in the apostle’s doctrine and prayer. They continued in fellowship also.
Notice what the Bible says in Acts 2:42, “And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.”
Some believe that the breaking of bread here refers not to the fact that they were having communion together. That the sharing of the bread, which is symbolic of the broken body of our Lord, and the cup of wine, which is symbolic sharing of the shed blood. I’m sure that was part of it, I’m positive they shared communion regularly. And sharing communion with each other was indeed a precious time for them.
But I also believe the breaking of bread however, went beyond just partaking of the communion elements together. There was a profound love for one another, and they enjoyed just the fellowship with each other. There was a deep abiding love and appreciation of one for the other, as they drew strength from each other in their fellowship together.
1 John 3:14 NKJV – We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother abides in death.
When John says, a person who does not love abides in death, he said it in context of brothers and sisters loving each other. Verse 15 sternly warns, “Anyone who hates another Christian is really a murderer at heart. And you know that murderers don’t have eternal life within them.”
1 Peter 1:22 – We should love one another from a pure heart.
What am I saying? I’m saying one of the signs that one has lost their first love is when that individual no longer has a deep abiding love and appreciation for one’s brothers and sisters in Christ.
1 John 4:20-21 NLT – 20 If someone says, “I love God,” but hates a Christian brother or sister, that person is a liar; for if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see? 21 And he has given us this command: Those who love God must also love their Christian brothers and sisters.
I shudder when I hear people who are a part of a church, and then hear them sarcastically refer to that church which they are a part of as, “that church.”
When we don’t love the people within our church, problems and all, it is another sign that we have lost our first love.
CONCLUSION: These are only two signs which reveal when someone has left their first love, but there are many more.