(2.4)    Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.


1.   Again, we have the Greek second person singular pronoun used, sou, translated in this verse by the words “thee” and “thou.” There is just no evidence whatsoever to support the notion that the Lord Jesus is addressing the congregation as a whole. He can only be addressing the angel of the church, the pastor.


2.   With so many things going in this pastor’s favor, intolerance for sin, hatred of the lies of false apostles, endurance in the face of withering persecution, and continually serving Christ without fainting, there is still a heart problem that the Lord Jesus wants to address in this man’s life. Should not the Lord have given this man a break after all the commendable things he had done for Jesus? No. The closer someone walks to the Lord the greater will be the Lord’s scrutiny of his life. Thus has it always been. Thus will it always be.


3.   Notice, no man could have seen this problem. From the outside looking in this man has all of the evidences of spiritual greatness. But the Lord Jesus Christ looks with eyes which see far deeper than men can see. The Lord is looking into the man’s heart. And He sees that the pastor has left his first love.


4.   Who do you suppose was this preacher’s first love? The Lord Jesus. The Savior. And is it not interesting that although the Lord Jesus Christ is glad the man of God is working and laboring and persevering and fighting evil, what He really wants most of all is His man’s love? When He has your heart He has the rest of you. But there are times when it appears that He has all of you, but He only has everything but your heart. And your heart is the main thing.


5.   Thirty years earlier the apostle Paul had written to the entire congregation and told them that he was praying that they would be “rooted and grounded in love,” Ephesians 3.17, and that that they would come “to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God,” Ephesians 3.19. To love the Lord Jesus Christ was Paul’s strong desire for them all.


6.   What the Lord Jesus said to Peter really summed it up. “Lovest thou me more than these?” “Do you love me more than you love other people, Peter? Do you love me more than you love the things  you are doing for me?” How sad it must have been for the seven churches in Asia to realize, upon reading this letter, that the most prominent of the pastors had given up his first love, had forsaken Christ as his true love, for something less.


7.   Another contribution from Paul is found in Second Corinthians 8.1-5:


1     Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia;

2     How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality.

3      For to their power, I bear record, yea, and beyond their power they were willing of themselves;

4     Praying us with much intreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints.

5     And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God.


It just seems to bear out, does it not, that when the Lord Jesus has your heart he has everything else as well? So, concentrate on your heart relationship to Jesus Christ, my friend. Concentrate on giving to Him your heart.


8.   So, what did this Ephesian pastor actually do?  He left his first love. He did not fall from his first love. He did not lose his first love. He left his first love. The Greek word is afhkas. He left, he forsook, his first love.[1] Each of us should be sobered by the realization that we can become so committed to the ministry that we lose sight of Who it is we are supposed to be serving.


9.   By making bad choices, this Ephesian pastor was slipping from being like Mary to being like Martha, in Luke 10.38-42:


38   Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house.

39   And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus' feet, and heard his word.

40   But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me.

41   And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things:

42   But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.


(2.5)    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.


1.   “Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works


a.   There are two things the Lord Jesus Christ warned this man about. There are two things the Lord Jesus Christ demanded from His man, and from you and me; that we “remember,” and that we “repent, and do the first works.”


b.   What he was to “remember” was where he had fallen from. Anyone who has left his first love has taken a spiritual fall. Do you remember the sweet joy and love for the Lord you used to have? Let that be your motivation for repenting. But remember that repenting is not crying at the “altar,” though folks often do cry when they repent. “Repent,” translating the Greek word metanoew, means to change your mind, to change your thinking, to have an entirely different attitude toward sin.[2]


c.   By the way, you are responsible for your own repentance. Notice what happens in a believer’s life when he repents, Second Corinthians 7.8-11:


8     For though I made you sorry with a letter, I do not repent, though I did repent: for I perceive that the same epistle hath made you sorry, though it were but for a season.

9     Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing.

10   For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.

11   For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter.


Real repentance results in a changed attitude toward sins. As well, real repentance results in changed actions toward sins. The man who committed certain sins has not repented of those sins until he begins to exhibit the attitudes and actions toward those sins that are found in Second Corinthians 7.11. The Lord Jesus Christ expects this pastor to fix the problem, fix it immediately, and fix it decisively. Thus, repenting must necessarily loving the Lord Jesus as he had at first, as a Christian ought to.


d.   What would be involved after repenting, in doing “the first works?” Of course, works could refer to the miracles of Jesus Christ, works of righteousness that the lost do to try and merit salvation, or good works in general that are performed by a Christian. But my opinion tends toward thinking that this refers to those works that are related to evangelism that a new believer engages in when he is first converted, when his love for Jesus Christ is new and burns hot, and he tries to get people to church so they can experience what he has experienced. I think the Savior is telling His man that He wants a change in this man’s priorities, with evangelism being returned to the main focus of his ministry. I think “the first works” refers to the “work of faith,” such as we find in First Thessalonians chapter 1.          


2.   “or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent


a.   I do not believe this warning about coming quickly refers to the second coming of Christ, in power and great glory, but a coming in judgment should the pastor fail to repent.[3] By the way, the tense of the verb “repent” shows that what Jesus expected was that this pastor would make a decisive break with his current conduct to return to his former conduct and affections.[4]


b.   If God’s man would not repent as a result of remembering his former conduct and affections, the Lord gives him warning to repent. Perhaps he would only repent as a result of a warning. And the warning? The removal of the candlestick. But what is the candlestick? The candlestick is the congregation, Revelation 1.20. My friends, the Lord Jesus Christ actually warned that preacher that if he did not repent the Lord would actually remove the church, which is the candlestick, from the spiritual scene. I think there are a number of us here tonight who have seen what is probably this very thing happen.


c.   It is quite obvious that most so-called churches in Monrovia are not now and may have never been genuine New Testament churches. Why? Because they have never been candlesticks from which the genuine gospel of Jesus Christ has ever been preached. But of those so-called churches that used to be candlesticks, there is not a single gospel preaching church within the city limits of Monrovia that I am personally acquainted with. Likely as not, the blessing of God, if any congregation here ever did enjoy it, was removed because of a pastor’s sins.


d.   Pastors are ordinary and normal men. But the position they have in the church and in the lives of other Christians is critical. Dr. Lee Roberson has said for many years that “it rises and falls on leadership.” He is right. Pastors must be right with God for God to bless the congregations they pastor. Further, they must also be men called of God. Most pastors, tragically, are neither, but are really entertainers and organizers. They are better suited to be cruise ship captains or carnival barkers, since they are not right with God and not called of God. Pray for those who are called of God.

[1] Rienecker, page 815.

[2] Ibid.

[3] John Walvoord, The Revelation Of Jesus Christ, (Chicago, Illinois: Moody Press, 1966), page 57.

[4] Rienecker, pages 815-16.

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