True New Testament Revival: Getting Back to Our First Love, Part 6 (Revive the Family, Revive the Church, Awaken the Nation, O Lord #284)

spiritual-warfare

A homily is “a short talk on a religious or moral topic; a usually short sermon; a lecture or discourse on or of a biblical theme.”


In our series of homilies from the book of Ephesians, we focused on reviving Christian families. Now, I am sharing a verse-by-verse series of short messages from the book of Revelation, specifically targeted at reviving the church. If our country is to be awakened, the family and the church must be revived first.

TEXT: Revelation 2:1-7:

1 Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks;

2 I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars:

3 And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name’s sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted.

4 Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.

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.

6 But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitanes, which I also hate.

7 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.

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William Booth said, “While women weep, as they do now, I’ll fight; while children go hungry, as they do now, I’ll fight; while men go to prison, in and out, as they do now, I’ll fight; while there is a drunkard left, while there is a poor lost girl on the streets, while there remains one dark soul without the light of God, I’ll fight. I’ll fight to the very end!”

Leonard Ravenhill said, “If you’re a Christian, you’ve got victory over sin. The Lord Jesus Christ came to purify us unto holiness and nothing but purity will satisfy Him.”

In their book, The Ten Greatest Revivals Ever, Elmer Towns and Douglas Porter share with us: “While the Bridgewater church didn’t know where their pastor had gone, he was only about ten miles away, visiting with a friend in the ministry. Evangelist Asahel Nettleton persuaded his friend, Bennet Tyler, to preach in his place the following Sunday in Bridgewater. Afterward, Tyler reported that there had been a dramatic change in the character of the church, with the result that many sought salvation.”

—-

In our last message, we looked at the first step to getting back to our first love. It was the simple, but important step of remembering what we have lost, remembering how we used to love the Lord. The second step that Jesus says is necessary for getting back to our first love is to “repent.”

Remembering looks at the past; repenting looks at the present. We can’t do anything about how things were “back then.” What we can do is look at what is wrong in our lives right now. Is there sin? Is there disobedience? Is there a lack of faith? Is there bitterness toward a brother or sister? Is there unforgiveness? Are we resisting the clear call of God? We need to look at what is wrong in our lives right now and change that. We need to repent.

If we have lost our first love, the likely culprit is sin in our lives. Jesus said, ‘If ye love me, keep my commandments.’ If we are not keeping His commandments, then we must not love Him like we used to. Thus, we need to repent. Keith Krell said, “The English word ‘repent’ conveys the idea of sorrow or contrition. The Greek word does not carry that idea; it is more a total change of thought and behavior. It conveys both ideas of attitude and behavior depending on the context. ‘Repent’ means to change one’s thinking. It is clearly connected with changed behavior, as seen in the following phrase ‘and do the deeds you did at first.'”

Do you ‘think’ it is okay to continue in sin? Do you think it is okay to tell ‘little white lies’? Do you ‘think’ it is okay to engage in adultery? Do you ‘think’ you are justified in holding on to a grudge? Do you ‘think’ you are right in not forgiving somebody for what they have done to you? Do you ‘think’ it is okay to engage in homosexual activity? Do you ‘think’ it is okay to mistreat others, to slander, to gossip, to cheat, to steal? If so, then you are thinking wrong!

The Bible says, “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.” If you want to change your life, you must first change your thinking.

If you want to get back to your first love, you must change your thinking and change your behavior. If you don’t, a wall will always remain between you and the Lord and the fire you once had for the things of God will never be rekindled. So, remember and repent.

Our prayer ought to be the same as expressed in this hymn by Richard Redhead:

God, be merciful to me,
On Thy grace I rest my plea;
Plenteous in compassion Thou,
Blot out my transgressions now;
Wash me, make me pure within,
Cleanse, O cleanse me from my sin.

My transgressions I confess,
Grief and guilt my soul oppress;
I have sinned against Thy grace
And provoked Thee to Thy face;
I confess Thy judgment just,
Speechless, I Thy mercy trust.

Gracious God, my heart renew,
Make my spirit right and true;
Cast me not away from Thee,
Let Thy Spirit dwell in me;
Thy salvation’s joy impart,
Steadfast make my willing heart.

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