October 13th, 2019 | Chad Gardner
Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
You have said, “Seek my face.” My heart says to you, “Your face, Lord, do I seek.”
The church of Ephesus was solid and faithful. You can feel the love Paul has for them when you read Ephesians 1. The persecuted church of Ephesus is addressed in Revelation 2. They had remained solid and knew their doctrine. Only one thing was held against them: they had abandoned their first love. Their first love had grown cold and now they were following secondary things.
There’s more important things to do than just checking off boxes and doing the right things. Remember your first love, your zeal, your passion! Repent! God wants us to love him. I want to be drenched! I don’t want to quench the Spirit of God.
” ‘I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false. I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary. But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent.’
Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”
Martha was being hospitable, playing hostess. Mary was sitting at the feet of Jesus, taking it all in. Jesus’s message to Martha and to us today is, “I want you, not the stuff you’re doing.”
Now when Jesus was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, a woman came up to him with an alabaster flask of very expensive ointment, and she poured it on his head as he reclined at table. And when the disciples saw it, they were indignant, saying, “Why this waste? For this could have been sold for a large sum and given to the poor.” But Jesus, aware of this, said to them, “Why do you trouble the woman? For she has done a beautiful thing to me. For you always have the poor with you, but you will not always have me. In pouring this ointment on my body, she has done it to prepare me for burial. Truly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will also be told in memory of her.”
Jesus explained to his disciples there would always be something to do, a need to be met, but the story of this woman who prioritized Jesus as her first love would be shared everywhere. She loved him more than anything, all else was secondary.
What if we actively pursued God? What if today we sought God with everything we had? Seek, pray, listen. God wants to be your first love.
Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.
Lord, show my anything that is distracting me, I want to be right with you, on fire for you; I want to have your heart.
When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.”
Peter had declared he’d die for Jesus, but Jesus told that him that Peter would actually deny him instead. By this conversation, Peter had lost that arrogance. He knew he had messed up. Jesus restored him and told him to now do the work.
Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent.
The lampstand represented the church’s witness to the world. Ephesus was warned that their light would be removed, that it would be shut down like many churches in America today are being closed because of their lack of witness and impact in the world.
I’m not okay with no salvations or serving. I don’t want the light to go out. You called me to this.
Let’s all take a spiritual inventory of our lives. Where are you in your walk with God? Wait on him, listen. To serve God is one thing but to seek him is another. Go after God this week.