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First Love

Words of Faith Final

First Love

Words of Faith 11-10-2020

Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2020

Jeff.Hoy@faithfellowshipweb.com

Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL

www.faithfellowshipweb.com

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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: [2]  I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked men, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. [3]  You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary. [4]  Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love.

 

      The Lord Jesus revealed Himself to the Apostle John as the glorified Christ. John received seven dictated letters to the churches of Asia Minor. These were historic local churches in the first century. Each letter addresses issues similar to churches today.

       The letters are addressed to the “angel” of the church. This actually is best understood to be the messenger or primary speaker of that church. Each letter follows a similar pattern. He knows their works. There is a Promise to those who overcome. There is an Exhortation to those who will hear. Finally, he gives a commendation, except for the church at Laodicea.

      The letter read a little like an employee's Annual Review. I want you to know I have been watching your performance. I see some good things you have been doing. But some things are going to have to change. There will be a reward if you hear and respond. But there also will be a consequence if you choose not to respond.

       Ephesus was first on the list.  This was the capital of Asia Minor and one of the most influential cities in the eastern Roman Empire. It was an important port city and shipping center. Ephesus was most famous for the Temple of Artemis located there. Artemis was the Greek goddess of the hunt, protector of the wilderness, animals, and women. She also was a fertility goddess. The temple Artemis was a wonder of the ancient world and a major attraction.

        Religious tourism and selling of small idols were huge businesses in Ephesus. The Apostle Paul visited Ephesus twice and lived here for about three years. In         Acts 18 and 19, we see how Paul spoke boldly in the synagogue about the kingdom but was rejected. So, he began reasoning daily in the Hall of Tyrannus, a lecture hall (Acts 19:9). This was a little like renting out a Movie Theater. For two years, Paul preached in this lecture hall until all the residents of Asia had heard the Word of the Lord, both Jews, and Greeks (Acts 19:10).

       In Ephesus, God did extraordinary miracles at the hands of Paul so that even handkerchiefs or aprons that had touched his skin were carried away to the sick. Their diseases left them, and the evil spirits came out of them (Acts 19:11-12). People turned dramatically to God.

       Many of those new believers confessed their sins and divulged ungodly practices.  A number of those who had practiced magic arts brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. The occult books' value came to fifty thousand pieces of silver or about 50,000 days of wages. This would be about $3.6 million in today’s economy (Acts 19:18-20).

       This was the greatest outpouring of the Spirit since the Day of Pentecost. It disrupted the pagan economy of Ephesus. The silversmiths of Ephesus were going out of business. They stirred up a riot to shut down the Jesus movement in Ephesus.

        Revival can be costly. The truth is that the outpouring of God’s Spirit will shake a worldly economy.  Think about it in modern terms. Human trafficking is a $32 billion a year industry in the U.S.  Pornography is about a $15 billion a year industry. Americans spend about $100 billion on Illegal drugs. Alcohol sales are $253 billion a year. Those business enterprises would be certain to cry out if revival shut down the appetites that drive them.

         Abortion is a $1.5 billion a year industry. Last summer, 200 CEOs of American companies signed a letter opposing restrictions on abortion because it was seen as bad for business to remove or restrict abortion. Wow.

        Ephesus was shaken to the point of riots because of the widespread repentance that went on. This was the faith heritage from many years before, and it reflected a profound love for Jesus. The call of Jesus years later was to return to that first love.

        Do you remember when you first met Jesus? How you would have set aside anything that Lord declared to be a barrier to knowing Him more fully? This was the point that the Lord was calling for the Ephesians to recall and return to. 

 

        Father God, thank You for Your Word. Thank You for the calling of Jesus upon my life. Thank You for those early moments and days when I fell in love with You. Call me back to that place. Fill me with that same power. Renew me with that sense of wonder. In the Name of Jesus.

 

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© Jeffrey D. Hoy 2020

Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy - Faith Fellowship Church (EFCA)       

2820 Business Center Blvd.

Melbourne, Florida 32940 (321)-259-7200

Jeff.Hoy@faithfellowshipweb.com

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The Words of Faith devotion is published five days a week by E-mail excluding Federal holidays. Please feel free to forward this devotion to a friend who might be blessed by this devotion. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture is quoted from the New International Version (R) of The Holy Bible. Copyright (c) 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved. Words of Faith (c) 1997, 2010 Jeffrey D. Hoy. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to forward this copyrighted material or use portions of it with appropriate notation of the source for non-profit purposes.