Never Forget Your First Love

by David Buffaloe

"I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love" (Rev. 2:4).

One of the saddest things that can happen is to lose our love. When the passion of love dies in a family, the family begins to disintegrate. When love "waxes cold" in any relationship, iniquity abounds (Matt. 24:12). When the church stops loving Jesus it becomes an automaton, a machine that makes toast for her Husband but who does not care whether He eats it or not. A loveless church hurts her loving Bridegroom!

Several years ago a steam engine called "The Peavine" ran through our West Tennessee community. The Peavine went as far as Parsons in one direction, and beyond Lexington in the other. The Peavine bound communities together, allowing all to share supplies and people with one another. The Peavine was a steam engine. The fireman kept the pressure up by constantly shoveling coal into the belly of the beast. The coal burned hot, making steam that turned the wheels of this mighty engine. If the engine lost its fire, the engineer might as well go home. An engine without steam was no more than several thousand pounds of useless steel and iron. Even so the church at Ephesus.

The Ephesian church followed all of the rituals of the faith. Its pastor preached, its members served, but Jesus said "I have somewhat against thee-you have lost your first love." Jesus Christ wants us to be "zealous of good works" (Titus 2:14). But He expects more than mere works from His Bride! We must love Him, because He first loved us. Just as fire had to be in the belly of the Peavine, love must be in the belly of the church.

The Spirit of God, like the Peavine fireman, continually reminds us what Jesus did on that old rugged cross. We were due to enter hell, but Christ loved us enough to take our punishment. We had no right to an inheritance, but by His blood we have been adopted into the family of God and given an inheritance. He has gone to prepare a place for us who believethough we did nothing to earn or deserve this future glory.

Condemned by the Law, Jesus not only pardoned us, but He married us to Himself (Rom. 7:4). The ring He wore on our wedding day was that crown of thorns that so pierced His brow! His "best man" was a tree, and the vows He gave were three rusty nails. Oh beloved, will you not love Him?

As Jesus drew many different types of people together under His banner of love, He proved the supernatural state of His church by saying, "By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another" (John 13:35). How will others-our co-workers, our wives, our husbands, our children-know the Christian faith is true?

Will our faith be proved by the number of people who attend our local church? No, for great masses of people followed Jesus in the first part of His ministry. These same masses later cried out "crucify Him," while a murderer was released in His stead. Will our faith be proved by the size of our building? Absolutely not! The early church had no building at all, and usually met on Solomon's Porch in the Jewish Temple, or in caverns or private homes. Will our faith be proved by the amount of money we give, or by the prosperity of our members? No, for riches often draw people away from Christ (Matt. 19:24). Will our faith be proved by the easy life, by our lack of suffering? No, for God calls us to suffer for His sake (Matt. 5:11), calling us blessed when we are persecuted and hated.

How then shall our faith be proved? It is proved by the love we have for one another, by the unity we have in worshiping our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The Ephesian Church had lost that love, that passion for Christ-and this we must not do!

We have often stood on the seashore and watched waves roll in from the sea. The waves are temporary, quickly dying, but the sea is eternal. If we are saved, we are saved by faith in God. This is our Source of power, the love of God shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us (Rom. 5:5). The Ephesians forgot where they came from, forgot the Source of their life. Take care, Beloved, lest you forget to Whom you are wed, and at what price you were purchased. May God touch your hearts with these words.

David Buffaloe pastors Rock Hill Baptist Church in Lexington, Tennessee.

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