Pastor Jim Hammond | July 10, 2022

Recap:
The next two chapters of Revelation (chapter 2–3) are seven letters written to seven churches. Pastor Jim is going to teach on each letter, one at a time. This weekend, he taught from the first letter, the letter to the church at Ephesus. This is the same church that the book of Ephesians was written to, but the church receiving the Revelation letter was probably one generation removed from the church who received the letter from Paul. Perhaps that is one reason why the church was caught up in all the works they were doing for the Lord that they lost sight of their first love! That was the critique they received, one that we can learn from today as well! What is the most important to us: doing the work of God or connecting with God and igniting our love for Him?

Dive Deeper:
The church at Ephesus wasn’t a good place. They did, however, have a church most likely founded by Aquila and Priscila that was doing much for the Lord. This church labored hard for the Lord. They knew about God’s grace and continued to follow Him, despite the opportunity to give up. They had knowledge of the truth, were studying the Scripture, and given good instructions in biblical doctrine.

Something was missing though. The admonishment in their letter in the book of Revelation was that they had left their first love. Their love for God was no longer priority in their life. Something else had replaced that love. Perhaps they were in love with doing the work of God; perhaps they were in love with something else. Whatever it was, they had set aside their affection for God and chosen something else instead.

This is something that is always a test for Christians. There is a tendency to set our faith in our works rather than in Jesus’ sacrifice. We can get caught up in all we are doing for the Lord and the perseverance we are walking out that we forget to kindle the flame of our relationship with God.

The good news is, we don’t have to live as a Christian in our own strength. We can choose to love God first and let Him help us live our lives our well. We don’t have to let our times of connecting with Him turn into a program. We can keep our heart soft to God and let our love for Him be our priority.

Read About It:
Revelation 2:1–7 KJV
Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks; I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars: and hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name’s sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted. Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent. But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitanes, which I also hate. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.

Luke 10:38–42 KJV
Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word. But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me. And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: but one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.

Galatians 6:15 Amp.
For neither is circumcision [now] of any importance, nor uncircumcision, but [only] a new creation [the result of a new birth and a new nature in Christ Jesus, the Messiah].

Discussion Questions:
1. Have you had that experience of truly knowing God’s love for you and letting His love be born in your heart?
2. Have you ever left your first love for God?
3. What are practical ways we can reignite our love for our Lord?

Rewatch or catch up on the full sermon with the link below!

Recent Sermon Notes

Grace Unveiled, #10: Credited to Your Account | Jim Hammond

Pastor Jim preached the 10th installment of his series entitled, “Grace Unveiled,” a study of the book of Romans. This message subtitled, “Credited to Your Account,” finishes up the study of the sin problem and then begins a study of the solution to man’s sin problem—which is Romans 3:21–22, “…faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe.” Pastor Jim said, “The reason why Paul spent so much time talking about the sin problem is because you can’t understand the solution if you don’t understand the problem.”

At Wit’s End | Jim Hammond

Have you ever been “at your wit’s end?” When you’ve exhausted all your emotional and physical resources and have nothing left to give, what do you do? When the Apostle Paul was at his wit’s end, the Lord gave him direction saying, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Pastor Jim went on to expound on when we are at our wit’s end, how we can lean on His grace.

Grace Unveiled, #9: Established in the Gift of Righteousness | Jim Hammond

This past weekend, Pastor Jim taught his 9th installment in his series on the book of Romans entitled, “Grace Unveiled.” The first three and a half chapters of Romans, Paul talked extensively, driving home the point, on how no one can make himself righteous in God’s eyes. The Apostle Paul didn’t leave anyone out. He listed the Pagans in the secular world, people just trying to do good, and the zealous disciplined Jews… he made sure they knew that none of them measured up in God’s eyes. No matter what they did, they would never be able to escape God’s wrath… unless there is something that appeases that judgment. That was Paul’s way of working up to a point. Paul then introduced the righteousness of God through Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection.

The Principle of Connection | Mac Hammond

Pastor Mac taught a message entitled, “The Principle of Connection.” Oftentimes, we struggle with obedience to the Word, where our obedience to the Word is not done in faith but out of legalism. We don’t do it from our heart, but we do it out of obligation. However, as Pastor Mac pointed out, if the Word is going to work for you, it has to come from our heart. There is a remedy that puts an end to legalistic obedience: once you understand the principle behind a particular mandate, obedience to the Word becomes exciting. Pastor Mac goes on to discuss the Principle of Connection.

A Faith-Building Weekend With Nancy Dufresne

What a weekend we had with guest minister Nancy Dufresne. She shared on the power of faith and reminded us that God and the Holy Spirit should always remain our focus. That means when we face difficulty, listening to the Holy Spirit, our guide on the inside, is the best thing that we can do. You can walk in faith toward your miracle!