1. Hello, listening friends, and welcome to this broadcast.
2. We always look forward to bringing you a new series of messages, as we will today;
3. and, today, we are bringing you a series about Jesus’ seven letters to the seven churches in the Book of Revelation.
4. We are calling this series, “What Does Jesus Think?”
5. because the resurrected Jesus tells us exactly what we need to know in these seven letters.
6. In the first letter, we are going to look at what Jesus thinks about our love for Him.
7. I’m sure you agree with me that enduring love between husband and wife is a beautiful sight,
8. where they have deeper love 40 years after they are married than the day they met.
9. I have known couples who have been married for many years, and, yet, they can’t stand to be away from each other.
10. The husband is overjoyed to get home to his beloved wife,
11. and the wife is eager to see her precious husband arrive each night.
12. It is a beautiful, inspiring and thrilling experience for everyone around them.
13. In a day when enduring love is rare,
14. such a marriage relationship is awe-inspiring.
15. In the same way, our continuous love for, and total commitment to, our Lord Jesus Christ inspires others around us;
16. and our continuous love for our Lord Jesus Christ is near and dear to the heart of God.
17. You say, “But how do we know this?”
18. The only way we know what brings joy to the heart of Jesus is through the words that He has already told us.
19. In His seven letters to the seven churches in the Book of Revelation,
20. Jesus tells us exactly what He likes and dislikes.
21. Jesus tells us exactly what is honoring to Him and what is not.
22. Jesus tells us exactly what is pleasing to Him and what is not.
23. There is no need for confusion by those who claim to speak for the Lord.
24. He speaks for history,
25. for He has already told us all we need to know.
26. Jesus Himself has shown us the way because He is the Way;
27. and that is why this series of seven messages is a vitally important series of messages.
28. In times of confusion and rampant false teaching,
29. it is vitally important to cling to the words of the risen Lord Jesus.
30. In each one of His seven letters, Jesus begins by saying, “I know...”
31. What does that mean?
32. It means that there is nothing hidden from the eyes of Jesus.
33. It means that He knows about the faithfulness and the unfaithfulness of His children.
34. It means that He knows who is truly serving Him and who is self-serving.
35. It means that He knows about the deeds and the misdeeds of each believer.
36. The risen Christ sends His first message to the church in the city of Ephesus.
37. Ephesus was a very important city at that time.
38. It was not the capital, but it was more important than the capital.
39. Ephesus was the most significant city in that region,
40. because Ephesus was a free city and a self-governing city.
41. Roman soldiers were not occupying it.
42. Secondly, Ephesus was the center of the pagan worship of Artemis.
43. Thirdly, Ephesus was a city with a diverse ethnic population.
44. The Apostle Paul stayed in Ephesus longer than any other city.
45. He was there for over three years.
47. Because it was probably the hardest place to teach the Gospel of the living Christ;
48. but, when the people of Ephesus understood the Gospel, they responded with passion.
49. Ephesus also was the place where John lived for a long time.
50. Now, listen to the reading of Revelation, Chapter 2, verses 1 through 7.
51. I love the description of the risen Christ.
52. He holds all seven stars in His hands.
53. These seven stars represent His churches throughout the world.
54. Jesus is sovereign over all His children.
55. Jesus is in control of the lives of all who have submitted to His control.
56. Jesus holds the security of all who love Him in His very powerful hand.
57. Jesus would never let any of His own perish, or be lost, or be snatched away from Him.
58. What a comfort, what a joy for us who know that!
59. He also walks in the middle of the seven golden lamp stands.
60. That fact tells us that Jesus is actively moving in the middle of His church.
61. Jesus said
62. where two or three are gathered in Jesus’ name and seek His face, He will be with them.
63. What does the risen Christ think of these believers in Ephesus?
64. First, Jesus praises them because He sees in them three praiseworthy merits.
65. Second, He finds in them one deep disappointment;
66. and, third, He gives them a three-step recovery program.
67. Let’s look first at the three praiseworthy merits Jesus sees in the Ephesian believers.
68. The believers in Ephesus were alert.
69. They were discerning.
70. Discernment is a vitally important virtue for a believer to have.
71. The Ephesians tested false teachers and, then, rejected their false teaching.
72. They faced tribulations, persecution and discrimination with courage.
73. They did not give in to the current of culture and surrender their convictions.
74. They were biblically sound and they did not tolerate evil.
75. They refused to allow sin to fester like a cancer in their midst.
76. They would not put up with the sin of the Nicolaitans.
77. The Ephesus believers were hard workers and they had done everything right;
79. in their focus on doing the right things, they forgot to do the most important thing.
80. They forgot about their love for Jesus Christ;
81. and this was the deep disappointment Jesus found in them.
82. You know that Jesus loves you, right?
83. And Jesus tells you that He loves you;
84. but did you know that Jesus wants you to love Him back?
85. Believe the right thing about Him? Yes,
86. but expressing your love for Him is more important than anything else.
87. Jesus wants you to love Him.
88. He desires your love.
89. He wants you to act on your love for Him, day in and day out.
90. The problem with all of us is that we live busy lives
91. and we take the Lord’s love for granted.
92. We take loving the Lord for granted.
93. In the Old Testament, we have a powerful symbol to illustrate His relationship with His people.
94. That symbol is that of a husband and wife.
95. God’s people deserted God, and that broke His heart.
96. Read the Book of Hosea about this.
97. In the New Testament, the church is the bride of Christ.
98. Christ is broken-hearted when His people love things more than love Him.
99. Did you know that you can serve Jesus, but your love for Jesus can still be cold?
100. Did you know that you can believe all the right doctrine, but your adoration of Jesus can be non-existent?
101. When your love for Christ dies, then your service for Him becomes a drudgery, instead of joy unspeakable.
102. Here is the good news for all of us who have forsaken our first love.
103. Your Divine Lover wants you back;
104. and that is why He gives you a three-step program for recovering your love for Him.
105. Here are the three steps.
106. First, recall.
107. Second, reverse.
108. Third, recapture.
109. Step One, recall the past times when you were so overwhelmed by the love of God in Christ,
110. a time when you were overwhelmed by the forgiveness of your sins in Christ,
111. a time when you were overwhelmed by the gift of eternal life in Christ.
112. Recall the time when you were so overwhelmed that your love and adoration for Jesus were on fire;
113. then, recall what caused that flame to die down;
114. then, ask yourself these questions:
115. “What sin entered into my life?”
116. “What or whom distracted me from my love for Him?”
117. “What or whom diverted my attention?”
118. “What or whom stole my heart’s devotion?”
119. My listening friend, the place of failure is the very place of recovery;
120. and that is why Jesus says, “Repent.”
121. Step Two is reverse course.
122. Turn around.
123. Go back.
124. Don’t just feel remorse.
125. That feeling, by itself, is useless.
126. You must also act on the feeling of remorse by reversing course.
127. Step Three is recapture.
128. You must recapture the time when you loved being in the presence of Christ.
129. Recapture the time when you loved worshipping Christ.
130. Recapture the time when your love for Christ occupied your thoughts and your desires and your decision-making.
131. Jesus said,
132. if you persist in going your own way,
133. He will have no choice but to remove your lamp stand.
134. That means that the light of Christ will be extinguished from your life.
135. The light of Christ will be taken away from the life of church members.
136. Please take heed of this warning.
137. I want to go quickly to verse 7 where the positive reward for repentance is mentioned.
138. It is eternal life with Christ.
139. Adam and Eve grabbed from the Tree and they lost everything;
140. but, when you love Jesus, He will pick the best of the fruit of that tree and hand it to you.
141. Let me tell you a story, as I conclude this message.
142. A well-known 19th century lecturer was deeply devoted to, and adoring of, his invalid wife.
143. At the close of a lecture one night in a town many miles away from his home,
144. the lecturer’s friends urged him not to attempt the journey home until morning.
145. They said, “The last train has left and you will have to hire a special cart into the city.
146. It is cold and sleeting.
147. You will face several miles of rough riding before you get home.”
148. His reply was very simple.
149. “But, at the other end of those miles, I shall find my beloved wife.”
150. My listening friend,
151. loving Jesus will not only make the journey easy,
152. but loving Jesus will assure you of being with Him forever.
153. Until next time, I wish you God’s richest blessing.