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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » James Merritt » James Merritt - Ephesus, You've Lost That Loving Feeling

James Merritt - Ephesus, You've Lost That Loving Feeling

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    James Merritt - Ephesus, You've Lost That Loving Feeling
TOPICS: This is Your Captain Speaking, Seven Churches of Revelation, First Love

Whenever you fly on a commercial airline was on a plane last week, you could always count on hearing five words over the intercom every single time I heard it last week. This is your captain speaking. Have you ever wondered why they do that? Have you ever wondered why every flight you get on, you're going to hear those five words? Well, a captain is the most experienced pilot on the plane and he's responsible for the flight, the crew, the passengers, the cargo. He's the person with the highest authority on the aircraft. He's in charge of checking and making sure that all necessary procedures and safety checks are carried out before the flight. He has the duty to to conduct weather and flight plan checks, coordinate with air traffic controllers, airport personnel.

And you may not know this, but in effect, from the time that plane takes off to the time that plane lands, he owns that aircraft. He may be flying for Delta, but he owns the aircraft in that flight. He may be flying for American, United or whatever, but he owns that aircraft. But why do they do that? Well, the reason is they know there are always people on every flight that are afraid of flying. Many flights are people of the first time they've ever flown in their life. And so that terminology is psychological because what they're wanting those people to know is, Hey, there's somebody in charge of this flight that knows what they're doing. We are in total control and we wanna give you a level of confidence you're going to make it to your destination.

Now, sometimes it doesn't always quite work out that way because I read a story the other day about a plane that was taking off from New York City's LaGuardia Airport. And after they reached their cruising altitude, the captain came on the intercom and said, "Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain speaking. Welcome to flight number 123. Nonstop from New York to Los Angeles. The weather ahead is good. We should have a smooth and uneventful flight. Now, sit back, relax. And oh dear God". And the intercom went dead. Well, you can imagine minutes went by, passengers are getting nervous, they're looking at each other, they're wondering what happened. And the captain finally came back on and said, "Ladies, gentlemen, I am so sorry if I scared you earlier. But while I was speaking, the flight attendant brought me a cup of coffee and spilled it in my lap. And you should see the front of my pants". There was a passenger in the back of the plane and said, "That's nothing, you ought see the back of mine".

Now, today we are gonna begin a seven week series. It's gonna help you find the Bible book we're in very easily. So you go ahead and turn to the last book of the Bible we're in the book of Revelation chapter two. And we're gonna be in a series we're calling, this is your captain speaking. And this is what happened. And it's always amazing to me whenever I read these letters. Jesus actually took time after he'd gone to heaven to write seven letters to seven churches through an apostle named John. And these letters are a result of an onsite inspection. Jesus Himself conducted. They remind us of who's in control of the church, how we can stay on course and be the church we ought to be and the church members we ought to be.

Here's what I find interesting. Jesus personally inspected every one of these churches. He went into these churches. He did His own personal investigation to see what was going on inside of these churches. And what He saw and what He found He put in a letter. So what you're going to be reading and what you're gonna be listening to over the next seven weeks, you might say is a divine audit of seven churches, not the IRS, the ERS, the eternal revenue service. Now, I got the thinking as I was working on this series, I can't imagine how it would feel if Callie, my assistant, walked into the office and said, "By the way, you got a letter today, special delivery. And it says it's from Jesus. And it has on the front of it, divine audit of CrossPointe Church".

I don't even know how to respond. I would be shaking like a leaf. What in the world does Jesus have to say to us? Now you may even wonder, well, why are you even bothering telling about this? I mean, these letters were written 2000 years ago to by the way, churches that don't even exist even today. But the truth of the matter is He didn't just write seven letters to seven churches. He wrote letters to all churches of every age, not just churches in Asia Minor. You say, "How do you know that? And why would you say that"? Well, to understand the book of Revelation, you have to understand how important numbers are in the book of Revelation.

Numbers in the Bible are important. They are symbolic. And if you know anything about numbers, you know that this number seven in the Bible is symbolic of being full and complete. God created the world in six days. He rested on the seventh day. His work was over. So it's not coincidental that there are seven letters. There are seven letters because Jesus was saying, "These churches represent every church of every age". You say, "Okay, but what has that got to do with me as an individual"? Well, churches are just made up of individuals. So when you read these letters, don't just look at what He says to the church. He's actually talking to us individually. You say, "How do you know that"? Listen to what He says in verse seven of chapter two. "Whoever has ears let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches".

Now, churches don't have ears. We have ears. Individuals have ears. So these letters are not just written to churches as a whole, they are written to individuals. So every time we read a letter, don't just look at the church there. Look at yourself now. And by the way, something I don't want you to miss. Jesus is right in the middle of the church. He's not outside, He's not above the church looking down on the church. He's not outside looking in on the church. He is right in the middle of the church. You say, "What's the point"? Here's the point. You cannot say yes to Jesus and say no to the church. It doesn't work that way. If you're watching online right now, you can't say yes to Jesus and say no to the church. Just as Jesus is going to church, we ought to be going to church.

I heard someone say this, that's so true. If your faith won't take you to church, you ought ask yourself why you think it will take you to heaven. If your faith won't take you to church, you might wanna ask yourself why you think it will take you to heaven. Now, the church in Ephesus was a tremendous church, but it had a tremendous problem and it had one big problem. And the problem was all about loving Jesus. So here's what we're going to learn today from this church. The only way to love Jesus right, is to love Jesus best. Let's say that out loud. The only way to love Jesus right is to love Jesus best. Now, we need to hear what Jesus says to the church, this church, our church, and to all of us this morning. I want you to see three quick things.

Number one, I want you to see how Jesus commends this church. One of the things that encourages me about Jesus, He always wants to encourage us. You know what I love about Jesus? Jesus is not one of these kind of gods that wants to catch us doing what's wrong. He really loves to catch us doing what is right. So He starts the letter this way. We're in Revelation 2:1. "To the angel of the church in Ephesus write. These are the words of Him who holds the seven stars in His right hand and walks among the seven golden Lampstands". That's the church. He's in the middle of the church. Now, listen to what He says. "I know your deeds, your hard work, your perseverance. I know you cannot tolerate wicked people. That you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and you have found them to be false".

Now, let's go back 2000 years I've been to Ephesus. You ever get to go with me to Greece? One of the cities we get to visit is Ephesus. Well, it's my favorite place in the world to visit. You actually walk the very streets that the apostle Paul walked. You're actually in the very ruins of the city that John was writing to. So He's writing to this church, and I'll be honest with you, you would've been very tempted to join this church the first Sunday you visited. I mean, it was an absolutely dynamic church. If you'd walked into this church, the first thing you would've said was, "Man, this church has got it together. I mean, this church knows what they are doing". It was about as perfect a church as you can imagine.

Look at what Jesus said about the church. He said, "First of all, I know your deeds. You're not lazy. It's full steam ahead. I see how you're ministering to people. You're serving people, you're feeding the hungry, you're helping the poor. You're ministering to the sick. I know your deeds". This is a building full of busy bees you're getting after it. Then He said, "I also know your hard work". Now there's a different word there in the Greek language that's used for deeds. The word for hard work, it refers to the sweat, the blood, the tears they were pouring into what they were doing. In other words, they weren't just seeking the Lord, they weren't just serving the Lord, they were sacrificing for the Lord. They were giving time out of their schedule to serve other people 'cause they realized even in the kingdom of God, there's no gain without pain.

So these people were giving their time, they were giving their talents, they were giving their treasure for God's work. Because anytime you're going to serve the Lord, you're going to have to adjust your calendar. You're going to have to adjust your budget. You're going to have to adjust your priorities. And then Jesus said, "I know about your perseverance. I know you're not a bunch of quitters". If I was thinking today or the other day, how would I compare Ephesus, this would be a good way to put it. Ephesus was kind of the Las Vegas of the first century. It was a jetsetting city. It was filled with paganism, idolatry, sexual immorality.

These Christians were under tremendous political and cultural pressure. They were being told to sit down, shut up, go with the flow, be politically correct, plain the nice. But this church said, "No, we're not gonna let politicians tell us what to do. We're not gonna let pundits tell us what to do. We're not gonna let polls tell us what to do. We're going to stand for the truth". And then Jesus said, "I know something else. You have tested those who claim to be apostles, but they're not". People who they found to be false. Jesus said, "I appreciate the fact you're not impressed by these slick people that wear slick suits and slick their hair back and look great. And yet they're preaching false stuff. You're not taken in by those kind of people. You're not understanding by the task. You're standing by the truth. You're a church. You don't care about being on the right side of history. You don't really care what the world thinks. You don't care where the culture is going. You've determined in your mind, we're gonna stand by whatever God says in His word. And we're gonna test what anybody says by what God's word says".

So in other words, this was not a spiritual country club. This church was not for the faint of heart. They behaved right, they believed right. They stood for moral integrity, for theological purity. It was a dynamic devoted church because it was made up of dynamic devoted individuals. And then I was reading and I thought, you know what? I think I'm gonna remind me of something that I want my people to hear. So I'm gonna remind me of something. You just listen. A church may depend on the leadership of the pastor, but ultimately the greatness of a church will be determined by the devotion of its people.

Let me tell you something, I try to give you the best leadership I can. I'm not saying I'm the best leader, but I try to give you the best leadership that I can. But I'm gonna be very honest. We will never take this church farther than you will help it get there. We will never take this church further than you will help it get there. There's only one entity in this church that can fill every empty seat in this building. And that's you. You, I'll do my part, but I can't do yours. But I want you to see how Jesus commended the church. He said, "Look, you believe what's right and you're behaving right". Well think, man, that's great. But then I want to see how Jesus confronts the church.

Now you may thinking what I was thinking as I was working my way through this passage. I put my pen down and I thought, gosh almighty, what in the world could be wrong with a church like this? I mean, it was a dynamic church. It was a dedicated church. It was a devoted church. They were standing strong for theological truth and biblical morality. And I thought to myself, Lord, who wouldn't want a pastor a church like that? I mean, if that church voted to call me, I'd take the job the first thing I'd say, absolutely sign me up. And then I got to thinking when I was on vacation in July, Teresa and I visited four different churches. And I will tell you, all of them were hustling, bustling, dynamic churches everywhere church we visited, the worship was strong. They had tremendous facilities of and preschoolers and kids and teenagers.

And frankly some of these churches, I took notes. They did things that we didn't do. They gave me ideas. I came back, shared the staff I said, "Hey, I picked up this idea. They're doing this better than we are. They're doing this better than we are. I think we ought begin looking at some things that we could do". And I'll be honest with you, from everything I could tell, they believe what they ought to believe and they were behaving the way they ought to behave. And then I was reminded of this passage of scripture. And I told Theresa, I said, "We made a big mistake on vacation". She says, "What do you mean"? I said, "We evaluated every church we went to the same way most people evaluate churches". She said, "What are you talking about"?

I said, "Think about it? When I got out of the car, I looked at everything on the outside of the church. Do they have greeters? They have people parking cars. Are there people greeting you when you walk in the door? Is the shrubbery manicured? Is the grass cut? Is the paint fresh? I walked inside. Were people worm? Were people friendly? Did they gimme free hot chocolate? Did they pat me on the back and thank me for coming and telling me what a great person I was just for showing up. And then I went to the worship service and I'm judging the music and I'm judging the instrumentation. I'm judging the sermon, I'm judging the outline. I'm judging to make sure, hey, is this really meeting my standard"? She said, "What's wrong with that"? I said, "The problem is I was asking the wrong question". She says, "What do you mean"? I said, "I was looking on the outward appearance. God looks on the heart".

I was more interested in what was going on outside the church and inside the building. But I never thought to ask myself. But what is going inside on the hearts of the people? Let me tell you something. Jesus doesn't care nearly as much about what our church looks like on the outside and even what our church looks like on the inside, as He is concerned about what's going on in the hearts of the people that are sitting in the chairs. That's what's got His attention. And see this church in Ephesus, you would've looked at that. You'd have said in every area A plus, A plus, A plus, A plus, A plus. They were doing everything right except one thing. And matter of fact, you might say even this, they were doing everything right except the main thing. And then Jesus makes a devastating statement. He says, "Yet I hold this against you".

If you know Jesus, I wanna ask you a question. If Jesus came to you this morning before you came to church and said, "Could I have a word with you"? "Yes Lord". "Lemme tell you what I see in your life. I see this and I see that and I see this and I see that and you're such a blessing to me". And you said, "Oh Lord, thank you". How would you feel if then Jesus looked at you and said, "Yeah, but I've got one thing against you". I don't know about you. My heart would stop. I'd feel everything sinked to the bottom of my body. The blood would drain outta my face. What in the world do you have against me? You know how it is when somebody's on just come and tell you, "Hey, by the way, I've got a problem with you. I got something against you. I got something".

You know how you just get that bad feeling in the pit of your stomach? Can you imagine how you would feel if Jesus came to you and talked about all the wonderful things you were doing. He said, "But I do have this against you". Your breathing would stop. Your heart would see, you'd be devastated. You'd say, "Good gosh, what in the world could Jesus have against this church? They got deeds. They got hard work. They're persevering. They're not putting up with false teachers. They believe right, they behave right. What in the world could be the problem"? And he says this, "You have forsaken the love you had at first". See, Jesus sees something about this church and says something about this church you would never know about attending that church. You never see on the outside or even the inside of that church. You would never know it.

And lemme just stop say just one thing to help you out on something, what really matters at the end of the day is not what other people think about our church. What really matters is not what our denomination thinks about our church. What really matters is not what newspapers think about our church. What really matters is not what outsiders think about our church. The only thing that matters is what does Jesus think about our church? The only thing that matter is about you, it doesn't matter what other people think about you. It doesn't matter what other people say about you. It doesn't matter what the public says about you, what the schools say about you, what politicians say about you. The only thing that matters is what does Jesus say about you? And Jesus says, "You got one fatal flaw in your fellowship".

Oh, you love Jesus. And I just wanna say a word to all of you out there that know Jesus. I don't have any doubt that those of you who truly know Jesus love Jesus. I'm not questioning your love for Jesus. Here's what I wanna ask you. And this is the hard question. And get honest. Has there ever been a time that you love Jesus more than you love Him today? Has there ever been a time that you were more on fire for Jesus than you are today? Has there ever been a time when Jesus was more fresh, more exciting, more captivating, more of the passion in your life than He is today? Oh, they love Jesus. They just didn't love Jesus like they used to. They had forsaken their first love. Put it this way, the spiritual honeymoon was over. How many of you are married? Hold your hand if you're married. Okay. Remember how much in love you were when you were engaged? And do you remember how much in love you were when you went on your honeymoon? Do you remember how your love for your spouse trumped every other human love?

Now I wanna make you say something you may not believe is true, but I believe it after being married almost 47 years. You're gonna roll some you're gonna roll your eyes. And by the way, if you roll your eyes, that's why you probably don't have the marriage you ought to have anyway. The honeymoon should never end. Where does it say the constitution the honeymoon ever ends? I don't see that in the Bible. Why should the honeymoon ever end? We talk about taking second honeymoons. Listen to me, husbands and wives every day ought to be a second honeymoon. Every day y'all have fallen in love with your spouse all over again. And I've got news for you. If you're married and you don't love your spouse more than you did when you first got married, you probably love her less.

One thing I've told Theresa every day of our marriage for 46 and a half years, I love you more than I've ever. I just sent her a text just a while ago. I love you more than I'm ever loved you. Now why do I say that? Now I'm gonna get some garlic, best breast strong things said right now. I am absolutely convinced of two things today. The greatest problem in the church and the greatest problem with Christians is we don't love Jesus like we ought to love Jesus. If you wanna know what's wrong with the church today, I can tell you that's the problem. We just don't love Jesus like we ought to love Jesus. If there's something wrong in your Christian life, I can tell you right now the heart of the problem. You just don't love Jesus like you ought to love Jesus.

Listen, there is not a problem we have as a church. There is not a problem we have as individual Christians that loving Jesus won't solve, not one. Lemme tell you something that broke my heart. Years ago there was a project called the Reveal Research Project. They wanted a search for people though what they were looking for were people who were really sold out to the Lord. They really were absolutely devoted to the Lord. So beginning in 2007, they surveyed the members of more than a thousand churches. And what they were looking for was this percentage of people listen to this, who went to church, who did what they did. They said for one reason they were motivated by their faith to love God more than anything and to love others more than themselves.

Now, the surveys were totally anonymous so everybody could afford to be honest, nobody had to lie. You ready for this? Guess what percentage of people said they went to church, they served, they worshiped, they shared their faith. They supported the church financially simply because they loved God. 11%. In other words, nine out of 10 believers said that the reason they went to church or the reason they gave or the reason they served had nothing to do with loving God. You say, "Why do people do it"? Well, some people give for a tax break. Some people serve out of guilt. Some people go to church 'cause they got nothing else to do. But it's not because they love Jesus.

Pastor Tim Keller said something about loving God and it was so powerful I just wanna quote the entire statement. Just be patient. Listen to what he said. He said, "Whatever captures the heart's trust and love also controls the feelings and behavior. What the heart most wants, the mind reasons out, the emotions feel out and the will acts out. It is all important then that preaching moves the heart to stop trusting and loving other things more than God. What makes people know what they are is the order of their loves. What they love most, more, less and least. That is more fundamental to who you are than even the beliefs which you mentally subscribe. Your love shows what you actually believe in, not what you say you do. People therefore change not by merely changing their thinking, but by changing what they love most".

My number one job as your pastor, my number one job is to get you and to motivate you to love Jesus more than you love anything or anybody else. Your number one job as a Christian is to make sure every day that the fire in your heart is stoked, that you put kerosene on it and that you love Jesus more than you love anything else can. Remember what we said at the very beginning of this message, the only way to love Jesus right is to love Jesus best. Someone has said an estimate, I don't know they get these things, but I guess they're right. Someone has estimated that there are over 400 human emotions. Think about that. 400 human emotions.

I was watching that lousy excuse for a football game in Georgia yesterday, and I exercised 399 of them. Somebody said over 400 human emotions. I don't know if they're right or wrong. But I'll tell you this. We are called to love Jesus the most and the best with every single one of them. He ought to be the number one love of our life. And that's what it means to love God with all of your heart. So I'm gonna give you an encouraging word. I want all of you listen to me. I'm talking to kids, I'm talking to teenagers, I'm talking to people who are retired. I'm talking to people on fixed incomes. I'm talking to people who make a lot of money, people who don't make a lot of money. There are people in this church that can give more money than you can give to this church. And there are people in this church that can teach the Bible better than you can teach the Bible. And there are people in this church that can serve in certain places far better than you can.

Now, let me tell you one thing that's true about you. You can see to it that nobody in this church loves Jesus more than you do. You can do that. You're nine years old, 10 years old, you're a teenager. Doesn't matter. You can see to it that nobody loves Jesus more than you do. You're retired, you're on a fixed income. Maybe you're physically debilitated. Not a lot you can do. That's all right. You can still see to it that nobody is going to love Jesus more than you do. And I'm just gonna get real, real down and dirty. If you love Jesus the most and you love Jesus the best, nobody will have to beg you to go to church. If you love Jesus the most and you love Jesus the best, nobody will have to guilt you into giving to God's work financially.

If you love Jesus the most and you love Jesus the best, nobody will have to nag you about telling other people about Jesus. If you love Jesus the most and you love Jesus the best, you don't need your pastor telling you you need to worship, disciple, get involved in a small group, serve and be sent and tell people about Christ. Lemme tell you something, your lips can lie. Your life won't lie. Your life will not lie. Your calendar and your checkbook will tell you exactly where Jesus really is in your life and how much you truly love Jesus. The biggest problem with every Christian I ever met that is not where they ought to be with God is very simple.

Here's the biggest problem. They got saved, but they got over it. I got saved as a nine year old boy. I'm just telling you, I've never gotten over it. Some of you've gotten over it, it's kind of... Oh, yeah, I did that. I prayed that prayer, signed that card, got in that, you got over it. And I'm just asking you an honest question. Do you need today in this building where you're sitting? Do you need to honesty in your heart say, Lord, I need to fall back in love with you passionately. I need to fall back in love with you madly like I used to be at one time in my life. Jesus commends the church. Jesus constructs the church. Now, if some of you're being honest and you're saying, Pastor, you're right. I don't love Jesus the way I ought to love Jesus. I want you to see how Jesus counsels the church.

Now, Jesus doesn't just condemn the darkness, He lights a candle. Jesus would've been the perfect marriage counselor 'cause He tells this church, "Look, here's exactly what you need to do. If you don't love Jesus, like you all to, if you've lost that loving feeling, I'm gonna tell you what to do". He tells them to do three things basically. He says, "Number one, remember. First thing you need to do, remember". Verse five, "Remember therefore from where you have fallen". He says, "If you don't love Jesus the way you ought to love Jesus, why don't you take a trip down memory lane. Why don't you go back to that time in your life for those times in your life when you were hitting on all eight cylinders".

When I mean Jesus was absolutely the burning love of your life. Because if you've lost something, the best thing to do is go back remember the last time you had it, the last place you had it, and go back and retrieve it. So one of the things I do every day of my life, you could ask Teresa, one of the things I do every day of my life, I don't know when I started to start. I know decades ago, I've done it for a long time. I've talked to Teresa about it every day. This is no joke. Every day I go back to that day when I first met Teresa. You've heard my story many times. I won't bore you with, but it was for me it was over. She didn't have to say hello. She had me before hello. When she got up outta that chair and smiled. I mean, I was done. And I talk to her every day about the miracle that God brought us together, the miracle that we met.

And you know what happens when I tell that story to her? I fall in love with her all over again every single day. So again, I'm gonna ask you a very penetrating honest question. Has there ever been a time in your life when you love Jesus more than you love Him today? And listen, please don't lie to yourself. Be honest. Do you have a blazing, burning, passionate, all-consuming love for Jesus? Because if you do, you'll show it by worshiping, discipling, serving, sending, and others will see it. Jesus said, first of all remember then Jesus says something you probably wouldn't expect Him to say. He says, "Now repent". He says again in verse five, "Repent and do the works you did at first". So that may sound strange. You say, "Repent of what"? Well, the only thing in the Bible you're repenting of is sin. Well, what's my sin? Well, sin is disobeying God's commandment.

Well, what's the first commandment? Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. So think about this. If the first commandment and the greatest commandment is to love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, then what's the greatest sin? It is not to love God with all of your heart, all of your soul, all of your mind, and all of your strength. And the only remedy for that is to repent. So let's just take a minute. Just look at what you think about all day long. Look at where you spend your money. Look at how you spend your time. What are the things that you obsess over? What are the things that are most important to you? If there's anything or anybody that you love more that's more important than Jesus. If there's anything that gives you more passion, more fire, more interest than loving Jesus, you need to repent.

So lemme just say to a younger generation, are you more obsessed with social media and Twitter and Instagram and TikTok than you are into getting into God's word? You need to repent. Are you really more passionate and more concerned about building up your IRA and your retirement account than you are in getting into God's word and loving Jesus? You need to repent. If you're more interested in being entertained, going to the next party, the next movie, the next ballgame, the next trip, the next new experience, than you are in being involved in church and engaged in church and being in God's church, you need to repent. Now, the good news is not only should you repent, but you can. So He says, first of all, remember. Second He says repent. And then He says repeat. He says in verse five, "Do the works you did at first".

What does that mean? He says, go back to whatever you did the first time you really fell in love with Jesus. Because the first work of the church and the first work of the believer is to love Jesus. Because when you first came to Jesus, what did you do? When you came to Jesus here's what you decided. I'm gonna make you my first love. I'm gonna make you my number one priority. I'm going to accept you as my Lord. I'm going to surrender you as my master. He said, do it all over again. I'm gonna tell you why. This is not theory. This is not hypothetical. This is not spiritual psychological jargon. This is very practical. No church has a problem that cannot be solved. No church has a question that cannot be answered. No church has a need that cannot be met if they were just loved Jesus like Jesus ought to be loved. I've done more than my share of marriage counseling in my ministry.

And I'll tell you the number one reason why so many marriages fail is because somewhere along the line, either one spouse or both spouses quit doing what they did at first to win that spouse and to keep that spouse. I read this the other day and thought, boy, this is so good. Too many people date to marry when we ought to marry to date. That's good. Too many people date to marry when we ought to marry to date. He said, go back and do the first work. Now, let's just suppose you walk out here today and you say, nice try, no cigar, not gonna do what you say. Don't wanna pay the price. I'm not gonna put Jesus first. I love Jesus, I wanna go to heaven and I'm never gonna deny Jesus. But I'm telling you, there's just other things in my life right now just bigger and better and more important.

Here's sin. Now here's the danger. He says in verse five, "If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place". What did He mean by that? He said, "If you don't remember and you don't repeat and you don't repent, I'll remove". Remove what? Remember, Jesus is the light of the church and Jesus is the light of the Christian. Jesus said, we ought to be the light of the world. You know what light is? Light is influence. What does light influence? Light influences darkness. And here's what Jesus said. When your love goes out, your light will go out. And lemme tell you something. The reason why the average Christian, I'm talking about the average Christian, the reason why the average Christian has basically no influence on their neighbors, on the people they work with, on their family, on their relatives, on people without Jesus, is very simple. They just don't love Jesus the way they ought to love Jesus.

So they have no influence. The light of the world is Jesus, but the fuel of that light is love for Jesus. And a loveless church is a lifeless church and a loveless Christian is a lightless Christian. You say, "Man, don't end up negative". Oh, I'm not, I won't end up positive because Jesus said it doesn't have to be removal, it can be revival. So He closes with these words, "Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God".

When you get to heaven. The good news is we will love Jesus the way we ought to love Jesus. But for some of us it will be kind of a strange experience because what we do in heaven is what we should have been doing on earth just loving Jesus and putting Him first. You know what revival is? People, I'm going to preach in Tennessee in November at the Pastor's Conference. So they've asked me to preach on revival. And everybody talks about revival and I want revival too. But I think we make revival too complex. We make it too complicated. People think all kind of things about revival. Lemme tell you what revival is. Here's what revival is. It's just falling in love with Jesus all over again.

That's why I don't have to wait on you to have a revival in my heart. And you don't have to wait on me to have a revival in your heart because you can do that anytime you want to. And here's what Jesus is saying. Here's what God is saying. "If you'll put kerosene on the fire of your heart. And no matter what it is or how good it is, your family, your kids, your grandkids, your business, your money, your popularity, no matter what it is". If you'll put all of that in the garbage bin for just a moment and pull Jesus out, and if you'll say to Jesus, "Jesus, just for today, I'm not gonna say it. I'm going to show it. I'm gonna love you with all of my heart, all of my soul, all of my strength, and you will be my first love".

You will be victorious both in the fruits of an effective life on earth and in eternal life in heaven. Some of us have lost that loving feeling. You have forsaken your first love. I urge you with everything that's in my heart this moment, this minute, sitting in that chair, would you just make a promise to God? I will not get out of this seat. I will not walk out that door. I will not get into my car. I will not go home until you are the first love of my life.

Would you pray with me. With heads bowed, with eyes closed. I just want you to remember this from this one message. Remember, if you gotta love Jesus right, you gotta love Jesus best. And your life doesn't lie. Everything you do, you oughta do it because you love Jesus. Everything you say, you oughta say it because you love Jesus. Every thought you think you oughta think it because you love Jesus. Every act that you perform, you ought to perform it because you love Jesus. And for those of us who love Jesus, and especially for those of us who say, "I do but not like I should, I know I forsaken my first love". Would you just pray this prayer with me out loud right now, just together, just pray this with me, would you? Say:

Lord Jesus, this moment. Help me to fall in love with you all over again. I don't want our honeymoon to ever end. And I want people to look at my life, and know you are my first love. Lord Jesus, do not let me leave this building with anything or anyone before you as the love of my life.

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