Revelation  2_ 2- 5      Where's That First Love?

Rev. David Holwick  F                                   Valentine's Sunday

First Baptist Church                                  (pre 50-Day Adventure)

Ledgewood, New Jersey    

February 18, 2001

Revelation 2:2-5


WHERE'S THAT FIRST LOVE?



  I. What happened??

      A. Amy - Brian Cherry's fiancée - calls.

          1) She was very excited.  He was taking her out to dinner.

              a) She didn't know where, but "it would be Italian."

          2) I was going to take Celeste to Pizza Hut but she was sleepy.


      B. Do you remember your first love?

          1) Crushes in grade school.

          2) First boyfriend/girlfriend in high school.

          3) Engagement and marriage and the thrill of being together.


      C. Romance has a hard row to hoe.

          1) Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman - always showing affection,

                "never apart more than 12 days."

          2) Now they attribute the breakup to separate lives.


II. Spiritual love can also fade.

      A. John in Revelation speaks of their "first love."

          1) Could refer to their love for God, or for people.

              a) Both are intimately tied together.

          2) The Ephesians were once excited about their faith.

          3) They were still doing the right things, but the love

                was dimmed.

            J.H. Jowett has said:


            "The alluring wonder is largely absent from the Church.

                What then do we need?

             We need the return of wonder, the arresting marvel of a

                transformed Church, the phenomenon of a miraculous life."

                                                                    #4222


      B. Not a small matter.

          1) Outcome could be removal of their "lampstand."

          2) They would lose their salvation, in effect.


III. How deep is your love?

      A. You can only lose something you first have possessed.

          1) Do you have salvation, and know it?

          2) If not, enter into relationship with Jesus.


      B. Terry Ammerman's conversion.

          1) Mike worked on her.  (You know how bad it must have been!)

          2) A radio message by Ron Hutchcraft brought her over.


      C. First love is the best love.

          1) At least it is usually the most intense.

              a) Getting flowers and a kiss on your birthday.

              b) Waiting for their phone call.

          2) Excitement of young believers.

              a) Anything is possible and God is very real.

              b) We want to tell others about our Jesus.

              c) John says, "Remember the HEIGHT from which you have

                    fallen!"


IV. Getting it back.

      A. John's admonition is to repent and do what they used to do.

          1) Love is an emotion, but it grows out of actions.

          2) If the feeling is gone, do what you used to do.

              a) For couples, date again.

              b) For Christians, serve your Lord again.


      B. 50 Day Adventure can help.

          1) Adventure is intended to get us close to Jesus again.

          2) We will imagine him visiting our church.

              a) What would we do with that closeness?

              b) How could we keep it?

              c) How could we share it?


  V. The kind of things we can do as Christians.

      A. Practicing positive spiritual habits.

          1) Mark Twain -

              "Nothing needs reforming so much as other people's habits!"


              a) Habits can also be positive.


              Rochunga Pudaite is the founder of Bibles for the World.

              Do you know how his tribe in northeast India came to

                 know the gospel?

              Through the influence of a missionary from Wales,

                 Rochunga's father memorized the entire Gospel of John.


              It was the only part of the Bible he knew, and he was

                 afraid he would forget it.

              So he would recite it over and over again.

              In fact, everywhere he went he would quote from the Book

                 of John.


              And it was through his sharing of the Gospel of John that

                 the Lord reached that tribe of about 100,000 Indians.

              Rochunga Pudaite's father became known as the

                 "Walking Gospel of John."

                                                                   #19156


              b) Memorization will be one of the habits we will practice.

                  1> Nothing major - I know your capabilities.

                  2> My Sunday School class has spent a year and a half

                        on six verses.  Two people have it down cold.

          2) We have 50 days to develop some good habits.

          3) At our last Adventure, the biggest praise came from the

                youth group.

              a) This time the older ones can show the most growth.


      B. Journaling.

          1) Ten to fifteen minutes a day.

          2) A disciplined approach to your spiritual walk.


      C. Showing Christ's love through secret acts.

          1) We know we are supposed to be more loving.

              a) Do you expect me to tell you to hate people?

              b) In this adventure we will get concrete.

              c) Each of us will be challenged to do seven acts of

                    Christ-like love.  One per week.

                  1> Sending a card, paying a bill - easy stuff.

          2) Cars lined up outside Nagel's Candy store Valentine's Day.

              a) Probably not given anonymously.  We want credit.

              b) When we give anonymously it's for one of two reasons:

                  1> We are afraid of getting blown away.  (rejection)

                  2> We have a true servant's heart.


          3) Jesus says the less credit the better.        Matthew 6:1-4

              a) We should want the credit to go to HIM and not us.

              b) Some of that credit will rub off on the church.

                  1> Sign of a dynamic church - a relationship is

                        significantly healed.

                  2> People say you have a reputation for caring.

                  3> If we have to force you to do it, so be it...


VI. We can love God better.

      A. Prayer - conversing with Christ.

          1) Pray "best life" prayer each day.


             Gracious Father,

                You've been so good to me.

             Today I'm especially aware of _________________

             Whatever my circumstances, when I practice your presence

                I celebrate life at its best.


      B. Prepare yourself for meaningful worship.

          1) Imagine President Bush visiting us.

              a) Think of the level of excitement.

                  1> The tension in Wheaton College when President

                        Ford visited.  Especially when he appeared.

              b) I doubt we'll get Bush.  Maybe Bill Clinton - he'll

                    be a lot closer!  [His office is in New York City]

          2) We can definitely get Jesus Christ, the Lord of the

                universe.


VII. Come back to Jesus.



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SOURCE FOR ILLUSTRATION USED IN THIS SERMON:


#19156  "The Walking Gospel of John," by Rev. Steve Bell, 50-Day

           Adventure Sample Sermon, Second Pre-adventure Sunday, 2001,

           B.18.


This and 17,500 others are part of a database that can be downloaded,

absolutely free, at http://www.holwick.com/database.html

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