Lesson 2

How to Keep Your First Love

Intro.   When you first got saved, the Spirit bore witness within you.

Romans 8:16  The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:

Remember the excitement you felt - the intense love for God, the intense gratitude, the great hunger
for spiritual things?

Do you still feel that?  Do you feel it as intensely?  Do you feel it as often?

Rev 2:2-5   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 out of his place, except thou repent.

I. How do we lose our first love?
Is it a result of not working for God as we should?
   You can work for God and still lose your first love.

Is it for lack of Bible study?
   You can even read the Word and still lose it.

Is is a lack of prayer? Or from not witnessing?
   No. Even these activities may not make you feel any
   closer to God at times.

These reasons would seem sure and simple, but are not always foolproof.

To lose your first love is to lose your daily awareness of your need for God.

Rev 3:17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and
knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:

Times of blessing often bring an ignorance of God.

When our needs are met and things are going well, we tend to feel we need nothing.  

Israel in the wilderness daily depended on God for guidance and food.  But when they got into the
Promised Land and their needs were met, they forgot God.

And God had already warned them -

Deuteronomy 8:
11  Beware that thou forget not the LORD thy God, in not keeping his commandments, and his
judgments, and his statutes, which I command thee this day:
12  Lest when thou hast eaten and art full, and hast built goodly houses, and dwelt therein;
13  And when thy herds and thy flocks multiply, and thy silver and thy gold is multiplied, and all that
thou hast is multiplied;
14  Then thine heart be lifted up, and thou forget the LORD thy God, which brought thee forth out of
the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage;

Over and over God would send troubles to bring them back to Him, but as soon as they got
comfortable again, they strayed.

The danger here is not so much backsliding, but simply losing the enthusiasm of the Christian life - the
zeal for spiritual things.  The danger is to become too satisfied.

The more we are aware of our needs, the more intense our prayer life.
The more aware we are of God's meeting those needs, the more genuine our thanksgiving.

But when we are secure and well taken care of, we begin to lose our appreciation and fear of the
Lord.  We begin to lose our fear of the Lord and start thinking we can go it alone.

Prov 30:8-9  Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food
convenient for me:
9  Lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is the LORD? or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the
name of my God in vain.

Paul had mastered this dilemma:
Phil 4:12-13  I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I
am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.
13  I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

The heart of the problem is that we fail to maintain our continual dependence upon God - we become
independent.  We begin to depend upon our own abilities, wisdom, strength, and resources.
It is often not until we come against a setback or difficulty that we reach out in dependence upon God.  
That is idolatry; whatever we depend on becomes our God.

i.e. If money meets our need, then money can easily become the thing we look to for future
deliverance and thus, becomes our God as we depend upon it.  We tend to build our lives around what
makes us secure.

When something threatens our security, we experience fear.  That is a good signal that our
dependence has transferred from God to something or someone else.  

God sometimes has to remove things from us in order to make us again realize our need for Him.

List 5 things that are very important to you.

Have you committed each of these things to God?  Could you live a contented life without these
things?

Personal Evaluation

Twelve evidences that I have left my "first love".

1.        When my delight in the Lord is no longer greater than my delight in someone or something else.  
(Mark 12:13)
2.        When my soul does not long for times of rich fellowship in God's Word or in prayer.  (Mark 12:30)
3.        When my thoughts during leisure moments do not reflect upon the Lord. (Mark 12:30)
4.        When I claim to be 'only human' and when I easily give in to those things which I know displease
the Lord.  (Mark 12:30; John 15:10)
5.        When I do not willingly and cheerfully give to God's work of to the needs of others.  (1 John 3:17)
6.        When I cease to treat every Christian as I would the Lord.  Matthew 25:40; John 13:34)
7.        When I view the commands of Christ as restrictions to my happiness rather than expressions of
His love.  (John 14:21)
8.        When I inwardly strive for the acclaim of this world rather than the approval of the Lord.  (1 John
2:15)
9.        When I fail to make Christ or His Words known because I fear rejection.  (John 15:20)
10.        When I refuse to give up and activity which I know is offending a weaker brother.  (Romans
14:15)
11.        When I become complacent to sinful conditions around me.  (Matthew 24:12)
12.        When I am unable to forgive another for offending me.  1 John 4:20)

III. Doing the "First Works".

1.        Prayer  
a.        Petitions reveal your motives
b.        Confession reminds us of our shame
c.        Thanksgiving measures our sense of need
d.        Intercession shares the needs of others

2. Bible Study - reveals God and His will to us

3. Giving
a.        The tithe is a weekly reminder that all belongs to God.
b.        Giving rather than storing keeps us dependent on Him.
c.        Giving decreases the 'need' for riches.

4. Fasting - dims the things of the world and opens a deeper awareness of the spiritual.

5. Christian Service - forces us out of ourselves


STUDENT QUESTIONS

Memorize Revelation 2:5, Deuteronomy 8:11, Mark 12:30, and Psalms 51:12

Do you remember when you first were saved?  Read Romans 8:16.

Do you still feel the excitement of salvation?             Do you feel it with the same intensity?            Do
you feel it as often?

How do you think we lose our first love?

Do you have a daily awareness of the presence of God in your life?
    When was the last time you felt His presence?

List five things that are very important to you.  Have you committed these things to God?           
Could you live a contented life without these things?