Thy first love

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Jesus offers us a feast of benefits through love through charity if we will accept Him in our hearts and come together in His name
"Nevertheless I have [somewhat] against thee, because thou hast left thy first love." Revelation 2:4

Many people take this verse out of context and try to prove that it justifies Faith without works. It is absolutely true that Faith without works is dead[1] because if you love Christ you will be compelled to good works for they are the Fruit of true Faith.

There are people who creep into people's houses and thinking themselves wise, spread false teachings. They come in many forms described in 2 Timothy 3 but ultimately they are despisers of those that are good works because they do not want to do good works nor want people who do good works make them look bad.

To understand what is meant by thy first love we need to look at more than Revelation 2:4.

1 ¶ 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;
2 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:
3 And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name’s sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted.
4 Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.
5 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[2] out of his place, except thou repent.
6 But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitan, which I also hate.
7 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.

This was the first of seven exhortations to various churches in the Roman Empire. Ephesus as the seat of the World bank of the Pax Romana was the home of the Imperial Cult of Rome. The Temple at Ephesus had been built by 127 countries and operated as a world bank and underwriter of many of the social welfare systems of that day. Many of what we call Temples back then provided government services and were supported by taxation.

People interpret the reference to thy first love as a reference to Christ Jesus and in a certain way it is. It is a reference to the name or character of Jesus which was the spirit of service and sacrifice to and for others, to save others rather than himself.

"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." John 15:13

It was a passion to be the Good Samaritan through charity. Christ came to serve out of a love for us. We were to love one another as he loved us.[3]

So as we see in the verse that follows "first love" he reminds them that they also need to "do the first works". The word love in verse 4 is translated charity 27 times.[4] The constant theme of love and charity one to another was a common theme[5] and the first work assigned to us by Jesus Christ.

John the Baptist and Jesus pointed out that that the Corban of the Pharisees that relied on Benefactors who exercised authority who were the Fathers of the earth made the word of God to none effect. They were to share their coat and meat,[6] be a Good Samaritan and love one another.

It is not enough to hate the deeds and ways of the Nicolaitan which are the false doctrines and Covetous Practices of people who want to take a bite out of one another with social welfare schemes.

It was essential that the people of Ephesus not only do the good works of "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." But the first love is to seek the kingdom of God and his righteousness.

Were they sharing their coat and their meat as John said? Were they seeking the kingdom or government of God and His righteousness by caring and serving one another in faith, hope and charity and according to the Perfect law of liberty?

Where was their Daily ministration? Where was their Fervent Charity? Where was their Communion of the saints that shows us the love of Christ in our hearts?

It was not enough to point out the wrong of being a Nicolaitan. We must "Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen and repent" when we were following the ways of the Nicolaitan under the Baptism of Herod and the ways of Balaam under the Nimrods of the world systems. We should be doing "the first works" of loving one another in righteousness as God has commanded and Christ did with his service and sacrifice.

To love is to be moved to action and the love of Christ should produce the Fruit of "the first works" which was to love God by loving our neighbor as ourselves in real ways that bless one another.

Paul said in 1 Corinthians 13:2 "And though I have [the gift of] prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing."

The same word he uses for charity is used by Jesus all the time but translated Love.

1 Corinthians 13:3 "And though I bestow all my goods to feed [the poor], and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing."

If you really loved Christ you would attend to that first love and would have a Daily ministrationsupported by Fervent Charity where a network of Communion would show the fruit of your love of Christ in our hearts.

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Footnotes

  1. James 2:20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? 22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? 23 And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. 24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. 25 Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way? 26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.
  2. In Hebrew the word was 04501 הרונמ^ mᵉnowrah from manowr which was the beam carrying the heddles in a loom; n f; translated candlestick
  3. : John 13:34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.
    John 15:12 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.
    1 Thessalonians 3:12 And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you:
    1 Thessalonians 4:9 But as touching brotherly love ye need not that I write unto you: for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another.
    1 Peter 3:8 Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous:
    1 John 3:23 And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment.
    2 John 1:5 And now I beseech thee, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment unto thee, but that which we had from the beginning, that we love one another.
  4. 26 ~ἀγάπη~ agape \@ag-ah’-pay\@ from 25; n f AV-love 86, charity 27, dear 1, charitably+ 2596 1, feast of charity 1; 116
    1) {Singular} brotherly love, affection, good will, love, benevolence {#Joh 15:13 Ro 13:10 1Jo 4:18}
    2) {plural} love feasts expressing and fostering mutual love which used to be held by Christians before the celebration of the Lord’s supper, and at which the poorer Christians mingled with the wealthier and partook in common with the rest of the food provided at the expense of the wealthy. {#Jude 12 2Pe 2:13 Ac 2:42,46 1Co 11:17-34}
  5. : Psalms 119:165 Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.
    Romans 13:8 Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.
    Romans 13:10 Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.
    Galatians 5:14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
    James 2:8 If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well:
  6. Luke 3:11 He answereth and saith unto them, He that hath two coats, let him impart to him that hath none; and he that hath meat, let him do likewise.


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