We're going to be reading out of revelations chapter 2.
Here in the first verse it says, “to the angel, divine messenger of the church in ephesus. these are the words of the one holds firmly the seven stars which are the angels or messengers of the seven churches his right hand the one who works among the seven golden lampstands the seven churches, and then verse two he says i know your deeds and your toil and your patient endurance and that you cannot tolerate those who are evil and have tested and critically appraised those who call themselves apostles, special messengers, personally chosen representatives of christ. In fact they are not and have found them to be liars and imposters and I know that you who believe are enduring patiently and are bearing up for my name's sake and that you have not grown weary of being faithful to the truth. But I have this charge against you. that you have left your first love. You have lost the depth of love that you first had for me so remember the heights from which you have fallen and repent. change your inner self, your old way of thinking, your sinful behavior. seek God's will and do the works you did at first when you first knew me otherwise i will visit you and remove your lampstand the church its impact from its place unless you repent.”
Father, we thank you for your word today. We thank you for your challenge in your word today. Father, we exalt your word above all things. Lord, heaven and earth will pass away but your word will never pass away god you bring your word to pass. Father, we exalt the knowledge of your truth today. We exalt truth and we ask that your word would hit its spot in our spirit and transform us today. Father, we submit to your word in Jesus' name.
We've been doing a series called all, and today we're going to endeavor to finish the first segment, the first portion of all. it's love the lord god with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, with all your strength, and we've been talking about heart for several weeks here and today we're gonna endeavor to preach the last portion of loving god with all your heart.
We talked about this many times.They asked Jesus what is the most important commandment of all. He said, “to love the lord, hear oh israel the lord thy god is one and to love him with all your heart your soul your mind your strength, and the second like the first. To love your neighbor as yourself.” and what we discussed last week is actually called the shema. It's a jewish prayer that comes from deuteronomy. Whenever Moses was teaching the people. Literally the jewish people practice saying that repeating that as a prayer on a daily basis. They teach their children that on a daily basis just like some might rehearse the lord's prayer or whatever you think as a can be kind of a ritual but this is the one of the things that they did to continually keep that principle in front of their children. To teach them to say this prayer called the shema. I really felt like the lord wanted us to elevate this principle of loving god with all. Taking those four things and dividing them out. What does it mean to love him with your heart, with their soul, with your mind, with your strength? What does that really mean? So we have been delving into that and so today I'm going to endeavor to finish talking about the heart. loving the lord that god with all your heart.
I want to give you this. I want to be attractive to god.
I want you to think about that statement. I want to be attractive to god. Now God's attractive to us, right? we look at a mighty god and he's obviously attractive to us, but i want god to be attracted to our hearts for him. I want God to be attracted to me, and to us because our hearts are fully towards him. whatever your thoughts are on other ministers and other ministries please keep those to yourself. I don't want to be guilty of talking against anyone else. I'm just simply referring to something that I read and I felt that it was very appropriate for this message. So regardless of what you think about this individual or that ministry or whatever, please just keep it to yourself. don't don't speak it out your mouth right. Benny Hinn wrote a book called Good Morning Holy spirit. I loved the principle there he would talk about. how he would go to his time of prayer. He said “I would have to be very cautious and very intentional.” He said “I would have to make haste to get into my place and to get seated because the presence of the holy spirit would fall so fast and so heavy that I would almost fall if I wasn't in place.
I want to be so attractive. I want my heart to be so attracted to the Holy spirit. i want to draw on the presence.I want to draw the presence of the holy spirit because i'm fully in love with god with all of my heart. I love the portion of scripture over in the first Samuel. I'm sorry where the scripture is talking about saul. King Saul and King david. It's referencing Saul and his rebellious heart. the prophet comes and the prophet tells him, the lord has sought out a man after his own heart. Listen, I want you to get this. I want God to seek me out. I want God to be so attracted to my heart that fully belongs to him. that he seeks me out. David continually wrote of his love for god. Now listen, before I was married I was on the prow. I was looking for the right one. I was looking for the one that I was attracted to. There were some things that were a deal breaker. y'all know what i'm talking about? there were just some that i knew before i ever asked them out on a date. so i wouldn't ask them out on a date, because there were just some deal breakers. then there were some that I thought yeah she's pretty fine and we'd go out on a date and i'm like no that ain't the one! there were just some deal breakers y'all. Then all of a sudden I met judy. well i already knew her, but she wouldn't date me because i was too young. but anyway.. but then i went out on a date with her. and then I got to know her better and I fell head over heels for her and I fell in love with her. I hate to embarrass you too bad, but listen! all men and all women got the same equipment.
I fell in love with her heart. I fell in love with what was on the inside of her. i loved her, and i loved the way that she loved me! and we got married y'all. y'all we hadn't been married very long i'm telling you. It just wasn't very long till one day the phone rang and on the other end of the phone was my ex-girlfriend named denise.
man you should have seen my wife's face when she found out Denise was on the other end.. I'm not just talking about any girlfriend. i'm talking about my main girlfriend when i was in school growing up. This was my main task, and she called me on the phone. I told her , “Now I'm married.
oh i didn't know you got married.
before she hung up she said “well i have to confess i did know you got married.”
now! But my heart fully belonged to judy.
Now listen, just a few days ago I got a threatening email. The email is worded a little like this. I got into your device through the adult sites you visited. I messed up your system using our unique virus and already successfully copied all of your data to our server. In short , your videos on these sites contain malicious viruses which are automatically activated after being played. I have full control over your device with which you access the internet and can easily see your screen and be able to access your device camera, along with a microphone without your knowledge, and permission. i already made several screen recordings of you watching p*rm.
There's some other things that it says that I won't say in mixed company. videos with a clear image of your face. I believe that this won't have a positive effect on your reputation. I also have complete access to your contacts and social media profiles, and can send you footage using your personal email or messenger. You can still prevent this by following a simple step I provided below. All you have to do is simply transfer $1,200 us dollars to my wallet.
I'm reading this, and a smile is coming on my face. I got through and I just wanted to scream out loud. bring it baby!
See, my heart fully belongs to god! now if this would have been 35 years ago… oh my lord. i'd have been shaking in my boots thinking oh no! Did he really? Now are you hearing what I'm saying? Of course we didn't even have cell phones back then, but understand what I'm saying. I want you to understand because I love God. Because he delivered me. because I gave him all the secret places in my heart. I have no fear. I am not worried that somebody saw me doing something I did not do, because I'm fully in love with him. because my heart belongs to judy. I'm not worried about her seeing my cell phone, my ipad, or my emails. knowing every single passcode that i have, but here's the revelation. The only reason my heart can fully belong to Judy, is because my heart fully belongs to him. I wanted to fully belong to her when we first got married, but I kept piercing my heart. The only way I can fully give my heart to her is by first fully giving my heart to him.
One of the ladies elder ladies in the church started doing this series. she sent me an email a week ago and she said… “I just started this bible study. you are not gonna believe what the email that they sent me today on the devotion that they gave me today. it's entitled, for the one you love.”
For the one you love you do anything to spend time with them. For the one you love you travel miles to get to, for the one you love you think of them through the day. For the one you love you share hidden secrets. For the one you love you listen closely. Jesus replied, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, your soul, your mind and your strength.” For the one you love, you trust them with all your heart. for the one you love you lean on in hard times. For the one you love, you do silly things for, and please them. for the one you love, you put their life ahead of yours. for the one you love, you probably would die for them.
teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the law? For the one you love, you know their voice. for the one you love you seek to understand them. For the one you love you desire to know them more for the one you love, you listen when they ask you to do something. for one you love you do things to bless them. Jesus replied, “Love the Lord your God with all of your heart, your soul, your mind, and your strength.” guys, i want god to be attracted to my heart. because it fully belongs to him.
Number two. Does God have first place in our hearts? We've been discussing loving him with all. Jesus, having John write to the church of ephesus. in revelations chapter 2 he says some amazing things there. Jesus says, “Tell them I know your works, I know your toil.” listen this is a hard-working church. you're a hard-working person. we're busy. I don't know about y'all, but I often get tired. We've got amazing volunteers, amazing staff, an amazing group of people, and Jesus is writing to the church of Ephesus and says, man you guys are hard workers.
he says i know your worth, your toil, and then he says, i know your holiness. man we believe in holiness around here. We believe in the word of God, and in holiness. Then he says, i know your knowledge of the truth. How you have tested those that have come in and they've declared to be something that they're not. They declared to be prophets and you've tested and you've found out that they're not prophets at all. He says, “I know your faithfulness, your patience and your faithfulness, your endurance.” I don't know about y'all, but if Jesus said those things about me, I'd be like whoa! right it'd be like, “man that's awesome, that is so cool.” then he said but he just erased everything that was on the board. I know all of these things about you, but I have this one thing against you. In spite of all those great things, you have left your first love.
How horrible is it for us to get all of those things right, and to have left our first love? The word there in the Greek (to leave or left) is to send away, like a husband divorcing his wife, or to let go to disregard, to omit , to neglect to leave or to go away from. He said, “you have either let go or you have divorced or you have severed, or you have omitted, and you have left your first love.
I was so reminded in my spirit this morning. The scripture was just so clear to me this morning. the end of this passage that we're talking about, he says. if you don't repent, and return to your first works. (return to your first works.) That's the thing that stuck out to me early this morning and I was reminded of Martha and mary. We understand that Martha was busy with many things. Martha was a busy bee. She was the worker. She took care of all the stuff, and yet Jesus said Mary has chosen the needful thing. Mary was simply sitting at Jesus' feet worshiping jesus. so Jesus is literally saying, all of these other things are good. All of these other things are wonderful. but don't you remember, there's a song. don't you remember you told me you love me.
don't you remember what it was like to love me first? Don't you remember what it was like?
He said repent and return to the first word.
Number three, what have we allowed to compete for first place? Mark chapter 4: I was reminded of the passage of scripture we all know. I love the parable of the seed and the sower. It's just one of my favorite parables, and we understand what he says. He goes out to sow the seed. Some fall by the wayside and some on stony ground. Then he said some fall on thorny ground, and some on good ground. I was really reminded about the thorny ground. After Jesus had taught these things, the disciples said teach us what these things mean. as he's explaining these things in verse 18 he said, “and others or other people are the ones sown among thorns the seed stone among these people are seeds sown among thorns they are those who hear the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches, and the desire for other things enter in, and choke the word and it proves unfruitful. NIV actually says “making it unfruitful.”
Listen, there's always going to be a devil named “Denise.”
There's always the devil's name Denise, calling us trying to vie for our affection. there's always going to be devils that are saying. “I know you're a christian but…I know you're married but… There's always going to be the enemy competing with the worries of life. The cares of life, the deceitfulness of wealth. the desires of other things, and Jesus said “There are always going to be things entering in.”
How many know when food gets put in the mouth and you don't want it there you can spit it out? We get sidetracked by worries of this life. by the deceitfulness of wealth, and by the desires of other things. but he says, “remember from whence you have fallen.” My question to you is, when you think of all of these things that have a vibe for your affection. all of the things it seems l we've gotten sidetracked from. all of the things that have pulled us away from our first affections. Was it worth it? Jesus said, “remember from whence you've fallen, did it really prove to to satisfy you to give you all of the things that you thought it would, to to make your life what you thought it would be?
I want God to be attracted to my heart because my heart fully belongs to him and he has first place. So here's the question. Is he your first love or just a love? boy that's a deep question. Is he your first love, or is he just a love?
Repent and return. revelations chapter two days, “but i have this charge against you that you have left your first love you have lost the depth of love that you first had for me so remember the heights from which you have fallen and repent. Change your inner self. your old way of thinking. your sinful behavior. Seek God's will and do the works you did at first when you first knew me. otherwise, i will visit you, and i will remove your lampstand from its place unless you repent.
I want you to think about what he says here. He talks about the candle, and the lampstand, and it talks about us being the light, and when we look at the scripture he says, “if you don't repent, i'll remove the candle. I will remove the lamp stand.``He didn't say, '' I would remove the candle. He said, “I would remove the stand that the candle is on.” I want you to think about the context here, and what he's literally saying. think about the impact of the church today. think about the condition of the church world today. He says, “if you don't repent and turn to me, I will remove the impact of the church.”
It's interesting to me, right after we see this passage of the seed and the sword, that he immediately picks up and continues to teach. The next thing he says is bring in a lamp to put it under a bowl or a bed. instead, don't put it on a lamp stand. I want you to get this today. Our hard work, all of the things that Jesus said about the church of ephesus is great but it means nothing unless it's driven by our love for him. Our holiness is great but it means nothing unless it's driven by our love for him. Our knowledge of the truth is great, but it means nothing unless it's driven by our love for him. Our faithfulness is super important, but it means nothing unless it's driven by our love for him. Remember what the scripture says? it says, will you know us?
They can't see our love for them unless it radiates our love for him! The entire equation comes down to his love for us, and our reciprocated love for him. the only way is for me to be in love with him with all of my heart. the only way! He wants first place, and we've let so many things sidetrack us. I want God to seek me out. Are you hearing me? I want God to seek me out. I remember in the Exodus the scripture tells us that the glory of God has fallen on the mount. There's dark smoke, thunder, and lightning. The scripture says, “and the people drew back and stood at afar but Moses drew near.” I love it because the scripture also says that when he comes out of the deep dark smoke. from meeting in the glory and the presence of god that the radiance of his face shone so much that they had to cover his face with a veil.
Scripture says that there was a tent of meetings that Moses would go out too on a regular basis and little Joshua was right in behind him. They would go. The scripture says the glory of God would settle down over the tent of meetings. all the people would stand in the opening of their tent, and they would worship. As Moses and Joshua met with God, as he would talk with God like one friend talks to another. Moses would get through talking to God and he would turn to leave, and Joshua would stay and worship and linger in the presence of god.
I want to be that guy.
Wait wait wait wait! Don't be the guy that comes and sits and watches everyone else worship God. don't be the guy that comes, and listens to what god said to someone else. Don't be the guy that stands at afar and watches others have that deep glorious walk with god. Don't be the guy that lives vicariously through someone else's experience with God.
Be the guy that draws near. He said through Jeremiah to the people of Israel when they were in exile. He said, “I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper.” We all know that, but the verse after that says, and they that draw nigh unto me. I will draw to them.
Is he first place? Are you distracted? Are you busy with many things? or does he have first place?
I think at some point in time we all get a little distracted. At some point in time we all get busy about many things. At some point in time we all get things a little out of balance. At some point in time we get distracted with a devil named “denise” that's vying for our affection.
I just believe that god is drawing us all back to a place of intimacy with him where he is number one in our heart. where he is first place in our heart.
How many how many would you just be honest in the presence of the holy spirit today and say pastor I feel convicted? I feel the conviction of the spirit of god drawing me back to that special place with him. be honest there's no shame in being honest. The shame is being dishonest this morning. allowing this special moment, this special drawing of the holy spirit to pass by. Are you here this morning?
If you're in the house you would say pastor, I don't have a relationship with jesus. I don't know him as my personal savior today. maybe you've never had a relationship, maybe you've had a relationship and you walked away. if that's you this morning and you feel the tug of the holy spirit don't take that lightly. That's a supernatural, precious thing, that is a mighty thing that God is drawing you with in his spirit.say i need Jesus today. I need him in my life today.
this morning would you just repeat this prayer as we pray the prayer of salvation. Heavenly Father, we come in Jesus' name. We believe he is the only way to heaven. We know we are sinners, and we need a savior. we can't save ourselves, we can't fix our own lives. But you sent Jesus to pay for our sins. To give us a new heart to forgive us and to adopt us and to make us your children. So that you can write our names down in heaven for all of eternity. secure our eternal life. today we're forgiven. Today we're saved. We cast our faith on you, not ourselves in Jesus name. amen.
Say father, today anywhere that my life is out of balance help me see it. today i'm putting you first. today i'm putting you back at number one today.