Love Abandoned

 

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Love is a very important truth taught in the Scriptures. John wrote the profound words “God is love” () and this great love of God was put on most beautiful display when the Lord Jesus Christ died on the cross as a substitute for His people. The Scripture says, “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (). What an amazing demonstration of love! Christ died for sinners because of God’s great love for us. In addition to this, to those who are His people He bestowed even more love, “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God” ().

Because of this great love, the children of God have entered into a new life, because they have a genuine relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, it is expected and commanded of God’s people that they love their Lord and His people. This is not referring to a sentimental or superficial kind of “love.” Instead, this love is unconditional, loyal and deliberate. It is not sourced in ourselves as it is given to us by God (). For this reason every believer is commanded to love the Lord and other believers ().

There was once a church that had a fervent love for her Lord and for His people. In fact, their fervent love for God was put on public display () and their love for the saints was heard by those outside of their city (). This was the church in Ephesus. However, at the end of the first century the glorified Christ – the One who knows all things – gazed at this church and concluded, “But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first” (). How shocking, after commending them for their commitment to doctrine and service () He reveals this devastating concern. They abandoned their first love. I take this to be a reference to the burning enthusiasm and excitement that once marked the Ephesians service for the Lord. Notice that He doesn’t say that they no longer love, but they “have abandoned the love” they “had at first.” What makes this very sad is that their aforementioned service, sacrifice, suffering and fight against sin () were done out of everyday routine and not out of enthusiastic devotion for their Lord. They love Him, but not with the burning enthusiasm and excitement they once had. Their first love () has been abandoned.

What does one do when this becomes a reality? How can we change and recover that first love? In my next post we will consider our Lord’s gracious and urgent counsel to this church.

Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.

but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

3:1 See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him.

and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.

18 Also many of those who were now believers came, confessing and divulging their practices. 19 And a number of those who had practiced magic arts brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. And they counted the value of them and found it came to fifty thousand pieces of silver. 20 So the word of the Lord continued to increase and prevail mightily.

15 For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints,

But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first.

“‘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.

“‘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.

37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

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Andrew Courtis

Andrew Courtis

ANDREW - Serves as Pastor of Hills Bible Church. I am married to Dianne and we have three children (Kate, Emma and Jack). I was born and raised in Melbourne, moved to Adelaide to undertake theological studies (BMin.), and have completed additional studies with the Australian College of Theology (MATh.). I have served in pastoral ministry in both Melbourne and Sydney and am a qualified school teacher. I am committed to expository preaching and making the word of God known and understood.

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