Saturday, August 12, 2017

Forsaking the Love of God

Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. - Revelation 2:4

Over the years we hear many explanations of the reasons why our Lord spoke so strongly to the Ephesian Church about their loss of their "first love." Our Lord summed up the entire Old Testament in one sentence, paraphrased: "Love God and Love Others." This love has action and proof to it. Intense and sincere devotion to Jesus Christ will produce a life of godliness and good works. Jesus was calling his Church back to practical worship, godliness and a denying of worldliness. They had hatred of evil, endured persecution in their society (Revelation 2:3), were able to spot false teachers and doctrines (Revelation 2:2) and even hated the major evil doctrine of the day taught by the deacon Nicolas (Revelation 2:6). Yet slowly love of pleasures were mingling into their affections for Jesus Christ alone. They passion they had for Him and Him alone was beginning to wane. Their looking to the cross and seeing the "lover of their souls" was something that lost its luster at least for a moment.

Nicolas began as a full-hearted believer full of the Spirit of God (Acts 6:2-6). Yet slowly through self-importance he went away from the teaching of the Apostles and formed his own teaching and way. 

David Wilkerson says of Nicolas of Antoich, "The church fathers had two cardinal rules for believers - do not eat meat offered to idols and avoid fornication. Nicolas evidently fathered a doctrine that led to idolatry and fornication. The society of that day winked at sexual promiscuity. Nicolas and his followers invented a doctrine of false security that eventuated in mixture with the world and an undercurrent of sensuality in their teaching."

Clement of Alexandria said of the Nicolaitans, "They abandoned themselves to pleasures like goats, in a life of shameless self indulgence."

How do we not lose and forsake our love for the Son of God:

1. Look to Him alone for nothing else but Him. It is God that is our goal, not success, money, fame or anything else the world can offer. Give God your love and worship.

2. Pleasures are always fighting us for our affection for Jesus Christ. Our worship for Him must overcome and let Him be our satisfaction not passing worldly pleasures.

3. Look to the cross. It is there you find meaning, fulfillment, peace, joy and life eternal. Meditate on the cross. Daily thank the Lord for His death.

4. Look to yourself more then others. Instead of seeing others faults, look to your own. See the apostate deacon Nicolas in the early church as a warning sign to look inward in your own life. Are you submitting to what is the apostles doctrines today? Are you believing what the Church has always held to or are you trying to make your new teachings and ideas? The road to apostasy always begins with the separation from the people of God which leads to a leaving of God Himself.


5. Love others, find ways to do good to others. Think of others more then yourself. And you will find peace.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Praising Jesus Everyday

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. - 1 Peter 1:3

Sometimes our life seems to spiritually become foggy and we lose sight of what really matters. Pressures, trials, circumstances come in like weeds crowding out the very purpose and reason why we exist.  When we lose sight of the cross, when we begin to lose our desire to praise and thank the Lord, we can know that we are failing to really focus on the matter of first importance.  Christ was the one that became flesh, who shared our humanity. He suffered and died, and God resurrected him. He is our hope, our sure foundation, our mighty fortress, our promise of eternal life.  Our response must be praise, thanksgiving, a singing of hallelujah.  As St. Peter opened his epistle with "praise" we should also begin each day with praise to our God.

There is a wonderful chorus that goes:  "Thank you Jesus, Thank you Jesus, Thank you Jesus, Thank you Jesus, Thank you Jesus, Ha-Hallelujah, Ha-Hallelujah, Ha-Hallelujah, Ha-Hallelujah, Ha-Hallelujah."   Take time even now while reading this short mediation to praise Jesus, He is longing for your adoration.  Look again to the cross, see its beauty and glory. Glorify the risen saviour who paid so much for you. Thank Him who died for you. Heaven will be filled with praise and thanksgiving. God is looking for worshippers in the work of the Lord. It has been noted by godly men that we sing songs about God but our need is to sing worship to Him. Jesus deserves and desires this attention and focus.  God alone our goal and sight. Look to Him today, take time to praise Him.  This will be our heavenly occupation, enjoy it now.