||Bible Question: In
Revelation 2:4 Jesus says to the angel of the church of Ephesus, "
. . . you have left your first love." Someone has taught that
this first love is "love feasts," which are our communion
services. I understand the Greek can be translated both ways: "love"
or "love feasts." This teacher also proves from this passage
the importance of having communion as often as possible, at least
once a week. What does it mean?
Bible Answer: Revelation
2:4 is about our love for God.
know your deeds and your toil and perseverance, and that you
cannot endure evil men, and you put to the test those who call
themselves apostles, and they are not, and you found them to
be false; and you have perseverance and have endured for My
names sake, and have not grown weary. But I have this
against you, that you have left your first love. Remember
therefore from where you have fallen, and repent and do the
deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you, and will
remove your lampstand out of its place--unless you repent. (NASB)
and Warning. The Holy Spirit says that He knows their deeds, labor,
perseverance, attitude towards evil people, rejection of false leaders,
and their failure to grow spiritually weary. What a great statement
to make about this church! Most of us would be happy if we could find
a church like that. Today, many churches have settled for second or
even third best. They are happy with their doctrine, happy with their
large church, money, leadership, missions program, ministries, or
whatever. But God was disappointed with them because they had left
of The Heart. The church at Ephesus had a problem - an absence
of love for Him. He says they had left their first love. The Greek
word for love is AGAPE. Of the one hundred and fourteen times it is
used in the New Testament, only once is it translated "love feasts"
(Jude 12). This is a very unusual use of the word. The other one hundred
and thirteen times it means "love." It is very speculative
to say the word means "love feasts" and then to jump and
say it means "communion."
passage is NOT talking about love feasts or communion. Love is the
focus here. Have you ever noticed that God always focuses on our hearts
AND conduct? He does this because our actions are barometers of our
heart's relationships. Just like in marriage or any relationship.
The condition of our hearts can be identified by our conduct. Here
is the first mark.
the Lord said, Because this people draw near with their
words And honor Me with their lip service, But they remove their
hearts far from Me, And their reverence for Me consists of tradition
learned by rote . . . (NASB) Isa. 29:13
problem is easy to see during worship. We sing songs, express praise,
and pray words that we that do not really think about. Many times
we sing songs because we love the melody, and rarely think about the
words. In fact sometimes we sing words that are not true about us
or with which we disagree. Sometimes the lyrics are not even biblically
correct. When this happens we are singing by "rote.' "Our
heart, and our minds are not in it. We are caught up in the ritual
but not in a love for Jesus.
As the heart slips farther away from
God, the next step is indifference to God and his Word, and an absence
they come to you as people come, and sit before you as My people,
and hear your words, but they do not do them, for they do the
lustful desires expressed by their mouth, and their heart goes
after their gain. And behold, you are to them like a sensual
song by one who has a beautiful voice and plays well on an instrument;
for they hear your words, but they do not practice them. (NASB)
you notice the Holy Spirit warns them to do "the deeds you did
at first?" He is not specific. They had a heart problem and a
heart problem starts ignoring everything, except for one's favorite
activity. It becomes self-centered rather than God centered. Oh, the
person can serve his/her "ministry" and ignore God. He loves
his/her "ministry" more than God.
wants our heart "AND" our action. When our heart is close
to Him, when the words of the Bible have rich meaning, when the songs
we sing pulse with emotion, when our ministry is given to please Him,
then our hearts flow with rivers of living water. We sense the life
of the Holy Spirit flowing through us.