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.
A.W. Tozer said, “If Christianity is to receive a rejuvenation, it must be by other means than any now being used. If the Church is to recover from the injuries she has suffered, there must appear a new type of leader. The proper, ruler-of-the-synagogue type will never do. Neither will the priestly type of man who carries out his duties, takes his pay, and asks no questions. Nor the smooth-talking pastoral type who knows how to make the Christian religion acceptable to everyone. All these have been tried and found wanting. Another kind of religious leader must arise among us. He must be of the old prophet type, a man who has seen visions of God and has heard a voice from the Throne.”
Leonard Ravenhill said, “I had a man chase me one day because I said that to become a Christian you must renounce your sin, repent, and take up your cross. ‘Oh no,’ he said, ‘you mustn’t tell young people to take up their cross; you’ll frighten them.’ I said, ‘Why don’t you argue with the Lord about that, not me?’ That’s what the Word of God says: ‘Take up your cross and follow me.'”
In their book, The Ten Greatest Revivals Ever, Elmer Towns and Douglas Porter share with us: “When evangelist Asahel Nettleton returned to the Bridgewater pulpit, the church experienced revival blessing. Excitement soon spread to other towns. Many recognized their need to reform and began attending services. Nettleton’s faithful preaching, addressing specific spiritual needs, was effectively used by God to bring revival to Bridgewater, Connecticut, and surrounding towns. But it was a silent pulpit and an absent preacher that God used to begin his work of grace in that church and community.”
So far, we have looked at the first and second steps to getting back to our first love. Remembering what we have lost and Repenting of present sins. Remembering looks at the past; repenting looks at the present. Today, we see the third step — Repeating or Redoing. Jesus says, “Remember… repent… and Do the first works.”
Remembrance and repentance are no good if those actions do not bring forth results. The result of remembrance and repentance should be returning to those things which we used to do when the Lord was still our first love. The first works are those things which, when you first got saved, you did with alacrity and joy — the very same things that you do now with drudgery and a lack of enthusiasm. These are simple things like praying, reading your Bible, attending church, and telling others about Jesus. If you are unsatisfied with your Christian life, if you have left your first love, it is not because the rules have changed. It is because you are no longer playing by the rules. You must start doing the first works.
Charles J. Ellicott points out, “Christ does not say, ‘Feel thy first feelings,’ but, ‘Do the first works.'” Jesus’ admonition is not for you to sit around waiting for the feeling of love for Him to return to your soul after you have repented. It does not work that way. Feelings come after action. You must choose to love God and start doing those things which you used to do whether you feel like it or not. In fact, most of the time, you will not feel like praying, reading your Bible, meditating on the word of God, attending church, or witnessing to others. But Jesus says, ‘Do these things anyway.’
When you start doing the right things, you will eventually begin to feel the right feelings. Jesus is concerned more with what you do than He is with how you feel about doing it. Jesus did not feel like going to the cross for us, but He went anyway. He is not under any obligation to love us, but He loves us anyway. We should follow His example.
It is also important to note that the word used to describe the church’s “first love” is “agape.” This is not love based on feeling or emotion, but love based on choice. So, even though you may not feel like doing the first works, or you may not feel like you have gotten back to your first love, you can choose to love God, to love Jesus, and to obey God’s Word. If you do so, you will live a life that is pleasing to God.
Our desire ought to be for our hearts to honestly agree with this song:
Jesus Lord, You’re our first love;
You’re the One we love the best.
When our heart is loving You,
How we’re filled with Your sweet rest!
Lord, we love You for Yourself,
Not for what You give or do.
Nothing else could ever compare
With the joy of loving You.
Never more could we desire
Anything that’s less than You,
And to this we would aspire—
Simply to be filled with You.
Now, if you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior, please keep in mind that the Bible says, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.” First, understand, that you are a sinner and that the wages of sin is death and Hell. But God sent Jesus Christ to die on the cross for your sins. He was buried, and He rose from the dead by the power of God so that you can be saved from death and Hell. Romans 10:13 says, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
If you believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead, and you want to trust Him for your salvation today, please pray with me this simple prayer: Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I now believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.
If you just trusted Jesus Christ as your Saviour, and you prayed that prayer and meant it from your heart, I declare to you that based upon the Word of God, you are now saved from Hell and you are on your way to Heaven. Welcome to the family of God! Congratulations on trusting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour. You have done the most important thing in life. For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door”. Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door, by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”
God loves you. We love you. And may God bless you.