Church is Not Enough
While being a faithful church member, giving sacrificially of your time and resources, and knowing good teaching from bad, may earn you respect in your church, it’s not enough for God. God wants nothing less than to be your “First Love” and for you to return to doing the “First Work.”
In His letter to the Church at Ephesus, God says: I know all the things you do. I have seen your hard work and your patient endurance. I know you don’t tolerate evil people…you have suffered for Me without quitting. Nevertheless, I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen and repent and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly and will remove thy candlestick…except thou repent.
What’s the last thing you remember being so excited about, that you repeatedly told people about it — something like a great meal, a movie or something you did? When’s the last time you were that excited to tell someone about God?
There are lots of things in life that we love, but God wants to be your “first love” above everything else, and telling someone is the “first work” every new Believer does when they get saved. In this letter to the Church at Ephesus, God is calling His most faithful church attenders to repentance or He’ll remove their “candlestick,” which is commonly understood to be their testimony or the Holy Spirit. This is exactly where the American Church is today. Not only have we dwindled to just 20% of our population but also, by our thoughts and actions, we love God like we love so many other things in life, having lost our excitement over telling people about Him. The Church has lost its testimony. Our salt has lost its saltiness and it’s being trodden under the foot of man (Matthew 5:13).
Loving God and sharing our faith (doing the first work) are inextricably connected. When we love God as our first love, we love to lead people to Him. And when we love to lead people to Him, it’s because we love God as our first love. The two cannot be separated.