Sunday, November 10, 2013

To Judge Ourselves Part 11 – First Love

To Judge Ourselves
Part 11 – First Love
Pastor Bruce A. Shields
House of Faith Church | |

We spent the last year looking at what the Book of Acts had to say about the founding, operation and behavior that the Lord expects from us as individuals, and as a church, or congregation of believers.

We then spent a few weeks looking at the letters that Jesus sent to the seven churches in Revelation, telling them where they were going right, and wrong, as well as what the punishments and rewards would be.

A few weeks ago, I took all of those letters, and compiled them into one letter from the Lord, to us.

Our new series will take a look at each of the points Jesus made in that letter, and we will not only examine our church as a whole, but ourselves as individuals.

2 Corinthians 13:5 "Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!"

1 John 1:9 "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."

2 Peter 2:4-10 "For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell[a] and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment; if he did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a herald of righteousness, with seven others, when he brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly; if by turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes he condemned them to extinction, making them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly;[c] and if he rescued righteous Lot, greatly distressed by the sensual conduct of the wicked (for as that righteous man lived among them day after day, he was tormenting his righteous soul over their lawless deeds that he saw and heard); then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment, 10 and especially those who indulge[e] in the lust of defiling passion and despise authority."

We have already looked at Jesus speaking to us about hard work, not tolerating wicked people in the church, and testing those who claim to be apostles, but are nothing more than false prophets, and last week we spoke on perseverance, and enduring hardships for His name, Spiritually Rich during times of affliction and poverty, Slander, Not Being Afraid, Where Satan Rules, Faithfulness, Deeds.

Last week we looked at The Open Door.

This week we will look at First Love.

Revelation 2:2-5
" I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked people, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary.

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."

I.         i know your deeds / works
a.      Your hard work
                                                             i.      They were doing the Lord's work

                                                          ii.      However, so were those in Matthew 7:22-23, "22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’"

                                                       iii.      It is NOT works in the name of Jesus that saves!

b.     Your perseverance
                                                             i.      Although a wonderful trait, does not save.

c.      You do not tolerate wicked people and tested those claiming to be Apostles
                                                             i.      They were doctrinally sound believers
                                                          ii.      Even turned away wicked people (those who were NOT doctrinally sound)

                                                       iii.      Sound doctrine is a MUST, yet, it is not doctrines and law which saves.

                                                         iv.      Romans 8:3 "For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh,"

d.     You persevered and endured hardships for my name
                                                             i.      They set a course and did NOT deviate from it.

                                                          ii.      And even suffered for the name of Christ because of that course.

                                                       iii.      However, suffering for Christ's name is honorable and commendable, suffering does not save!

                                                         iv.      There are many in this world who suffer, some even for the name of Christ, but without Salvation in Christ, suffering is for nothing, and will not save you.

e.      and you have not grown weary
                                                             i.      They continued to believe when things were NOT going well.

                                                          ii.      But it takes more than just believing.
1.      They needed to return to relying on Christ, instead of themselves.

II.      yet, i have this against you
a.      Something was wrong, despite all their zeal
                                                             i.      Something was once wrong with Paul's Zeal for God
1.      It blinded him to the Truth

2.      He persecuted JESUS
a.    Acts 9:4, "He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”

3.      His zeal kept him from Salvation

                                                          ii.      Do not let your zeal blind you from the truth, which is your NEED for relying on Christ Jesus!

b.     They lost their first love, according to NIV
                                                             i.      LIT Revelation 2:4 "But I have against thee: That thy first love thou didst leave!"

                                                          ii.      They did not "lose" it, they left it!

c.      What was the "First love"?
                                                             i.      Coming to the cross

                                                          ii.      Confessing their sin

                                                       iii.      Repenting of their sin

                                                         iv.      Depending on JESUS

                                                            v.      They LEFT their first love when they stopped depending on Jesus, and started depending on their own WORKS

d.     How they fell
                                                             i.      They allowed their zeal for God to blind them to their need for Christ

                                                          ii.      They began to rely on themselves, and their hard work, perseverance, their endurance during bad times, always standing for Christ, not growing weary, they allowed their "WORK" to become a substitute for their faith in Christ.

                                                       iii.      To which, there is only one remedy.

III.  repent!
a.      Walking away from Christ
                                                             i.      Can be as simple as putting more faith into your abilities than into God.

                                                          ii.      The Ephesians had worked so hard for so long, they began to rely on themselves for all their needs, and stopped seeking God.

b.     Apart from Christ, I am nothing
                                                             i.      Philippians 4:13, "I can do all this through him who gives me strength."

c.      Repent!
                                                             i.      Depend again, not on your works, your deeds, your labor, your zeal, but on faith in Christ.

                                                          ii.      Confess your sin of self-reliance, and rely once again on the one who saved you.


Want to learn more about Salvation and Getting Saved?    CLICK HERE!

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