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What the Bible says about First Love, Waning of
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Malachi 3:4

Things shall be as when they had their first love. What happens when first love wanes? The blush of being thrilled to be in God's church seems to evaporate. We may approach obedience to God as a mere duty to perform and not give His instructions and commands much thought.

John O. Reid (1930-2016)
Tithing

Acts 20:28-31

Around AD 56, the apostle Paul prophesied that upon his departure, false teachers would infiltrate the Ephesian fellowship to lead them astray, and men from among the congregation would also rise up to corrupt the divinely established doctrinal truths (see also Ephesians 5:6-7). Although the Ephesians deserved praise for their dedication to Christ (Ephesians 1:15), Paul feared they would neglect their duty to love one another.

Soon after his exit, his dire prediction came true. Disputes arose, leading to division. Many drifted away, and the loving fellowship of earlier years began to wane (I Timothy 1:18-20; 4:1-3). Paul ordered Timothy to remain in Ephesus to combat these very problems (I Timothy 1:3-7), emphasizing that it was necessary to promote “love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith,” from which many in the early church had strayed (Galatians 1:6-7).

Martin G. Collins
First Love (Part One)

Revelation 2:4

“You have left your first love.” Christ's rebuke in Revelation 2:4 contrasts with what Paul had written to the same Ephesian church 35 years earlier, that he never stopped giving thanks for them because of their faith in Christ and their love for the saints (Ephesians 1:15-16). At the time of Christ's letter, most of the Ephesian Christians are second-generation believers. Still, they fight against evil, guard against false teachers, and labor with steadfast resolve to serve Christ (Revelation 2:2-3). They retain doctrinal purity, but lack deep, heartfelt devotion to Christ and to the brethren.

While the work is challenging, the church in Ephesus remains busy and by many standards can be considered successful. Christ, however, accuses them of leaving their first, God-centered love, settling instead for something less passionate and more mechanical. Many of today's churches with their full calendars and weary workers would fit a similar description.

Martin G. Collins
First Love (Part Two)

Revelation 2:5

Christ follows His admonition in Revelation 2:4 with a three-part exhortation for the church at Ephesus, beginning with “remember therefore from where you have fallen” (Revelation 2:5). He prescribes a sincere and thorough self-examination of the Ephesians' spiritual condition (II Corinthians 13:5; Psalm 119:59; Haggai 1:5, 7). He strongly implies their need to compare thoughtfully their current love with their former, or first, love. He implores them to recall the goodness they once experienced and to embrace again their initial, unconditional zeal that they had displayed in their early years (Matthew 3:8; Acts 4:31-33; Lamentations 3:40).

The second and third parts of the exhortation are “repent and do the first works” (Revelation 2:5). Christ wants the Ephesians to recognize and correct the error of their ways by repenting and returning to a better state of mind—a state that most newcomers to the faith experience upon their baptism and initial justification (Acts 2:41-47; Matthew 3:8; Hebrews 10:32). It is here that we receive the gifts of peace from God, which reveal His grace and provide our motivation to serve Him and man (Romans 5:1-5; II Thessalonians 3:16; Colossians 3:15).

Martin G. Collins
First Love (Part Two)


 




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