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Scripture: Revelation 2:1-7

“For the churches in Ephesus and Laodicea, the problem was the problem of spiritual passion…What began as a wholehearted commitment to Christ and His work gradually cooled. We don’t have any of the details, only these fragments of history from Revelation, but we can picture it from our own experience.

I remember the first time I saw Ruth. With me, it was love at first sight. I can still remember the excitement I felt. I remember the first time I held her hand. I remember the thrill of the first kiss, our eyes shining with love for each other. I remember my stomach churning, heart pumping, blood boiling during our honeymoon and for years afterward. First love is wonderful. But the first flames of physical passion inevitably change.

Our love has been one of commitment. The word ‘love’ is an active, not passive, verb. It should not be confined to the physical. It is a lifetime of commitment. Ruth and I can sit on our front porch on a summer’s evening and hardly say a word, but we are communing with each other. Their love was only physical. The first flames of the honeymoon inevitably went cool, then the day-to-day routine settled in. The passion of first love died, and with the passion died the practices associated with it.

Remember that moment you first heard of Christ and believed in Him as Lord and Savior of your life? Remember kneeling at a parent’s bedside, at a local church altar or in the quiet of a redwood retreat, or coming forward in an evangelistic crusade? Remember joining the church and feeling the loving arms of a Christian community reach out to receive you? Remember your baptism and the joy you felt in
this act of faith…

Christ was calling the Ephesians and the Laodiceans away from respectable, comfortable, passionless, lukewarm religion. He wanted them totally committed to Him, wholeheartedly available. He called them back to the holy passion and the joy of the first love. They had settled instead for mere theological respectability and material comfort. He wanted them alive, depending, risking, passionate again. For it is in the ‘first love’ commitment that they would find the strength to face the horsemen.”

Billy Graham – “Approaching Hoofbeats of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse” 1983, Word, Inc.

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