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2/8/17 – Your love and your freedom in Christ

Published: Wednesday, 08 February 2017 Written by Carlton L. Arnold

Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first.  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.  But you have this in your favor: You hate the practices of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.  Revelation 2:4-6


In the book of Revelation, Jesus Christ told John to write seven letters to seven churches.  The verses above are to the church at Ephesus, the first church to be discussed in Chapters 2 and 3.  Two of the seven churches received nothing but praise from Christ: Smyrna and Philadelphia.  The other five received some praise, but they also received some warnings.  The above verses contain both a warning and a praise that Christ gave to the church at Ephesus.


Christ told them that they had left their first love.  Do you intimately and deeply love Jesus Christ?  Do you unconditionally love others?  When the church at Ephesus was first established, the Believers had a deep and intimate love of Christ and others.  They were enthusiastic about being true Believers.  As time past, those first Believers began to lose that intimacy.  The next generation of Believers could not quite reach the same level of love of the first Believers in the church.  Instead of growing in their love, they began to allow other things of the world to take away time with God and forget about their love for Christ. 


Because of this decrease in an intimate love relationship, Christ told them that they must remember how they once loved Christ.  He also asked them to repent and do the things that they first did.  Repent means to recognize that you have allowed your Christian love to decrease causing you not to serve our Living Lord.  Your degree of love for Christ should always be increasing.  Unfortunately, the first excitement of knowing your sins are forgiven soon leaves your mind, and you become more excited over the things of this world. If they did not repent, Christ would come and remove their lampstand.  This is an indication of a church that is slowly dying.


Christ also tells the church at Ephesus that they are doing one thing that He favors.  They hate the practices of the Nicolatians.   The 2nd and 3rd century church leaders believed that the Nicolatians were founded by Nicolas, one of the seven deacons chosen to serve described in Acts 6:5.  The practices that are talked about are a common fault of many Believers, and can easily become a natural part of any church. 


God has forgiven all of our past, present, and future sins.  He does not even remember them.  As a consequence, Believers could think that they are now free to sin as much as they want.  They give in to the flesh believing that God has forgiven them of all of their sins.  Paul discussed this thinking in many of his letters.  I encourage to read Romans 6 and Galatians 5.  Believers are free to do what they want.  However, Believers should focus more on the love of Christ expressed through His sacrificial death on the cross for their sins as opposed to their own desires to do whatever they feel like doing. 


Please meditate and think about the love of Christ rather than your own flesh.  “The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.” (Galatians 5:6b)  Make this verse a part of your love for Christ and living a life as a servant in your church.

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