On Sunday we started walking through the book of Revelation. We began with the first letter written to Ephesus in Revelation 2:1-7. In it Jesus speaks highly about the orthodoxy and the beliefs of the church. Yet he holds one complaint against them, “you don’t love me or each other as you did”.
Love in Ephesus has cooled. Love is slowing, and their hearts are turning harder. While Jesus praises them for their right actions, he isn’t just looking for right actions he wants their heart.
Because the truth is that when love cools in any relationship doing our duty doesn’t last. Duty is depleted love. Duty is drowned love. Duty is dying love. And once the love dies there won’t be enough left to sustain the relationship.
So Jesus says to the church, and to us in any relationship where love is dying – start again! Start again! Go back to the things you did at first. Remember why you started this relationship in the first place. Stop doing things just out of duty, and start doing them out of gratitude, grace, and a desire to care in the relationship.
And as Lent starts on Wednesday I think this is a good time to reflect on our relationship with Jesus. Are there areas that have cooled? Are there areas of duty where love should abound? If so, how can you go back to the beginning and regain love? What actions can you start and what new attitudes can you bring to old actions?
Because one thing is clear: duty isn’t the same as love. And just as we all want deep love in our relationships so does Jesus…
Big Idea: Go back to the things you did at first…
- “Anyone who is willing to hear should listen to the Spirit and understand what the Spirit is saying to the churches”
- We are learning about dying.
- Its easy for love to slide from a passion, to a duty, to being absent totally.
- Our connection to Jesus Christ isn’t just based on having right beliefs, but having a right heart.
- “Our orthodoxy will not save us, our traditions will not save us, our soup kitchens and social programs will not save us; what will save the church is Christ” Joseph Magina
- Duty is depleted love. Duty is drowned love. Duty is dying love.
- Go back to the things you did a first
- “Lord, I don’t love you. I don’t even want to love you. But I do want to want to love you” – Mother Teresa
Adult / Group Discussion Questions: How have you ever experienced the “cooling” of love? What is it that keeps love strong and going? How is your relationship with Jesus? Is it cooling? What are some things you might be able to do to bring life back to the love? Who might be able to help in this?
Discussion Questions for Young Families: Talk about how important it is to put effort into things that matter. Talk about how if your family matters that means putting effort into it too – that if you love someone you show them. Ask them who matters to them and how they can show them love. Help them to carry it out!
Challenge for this Week
Focus on building up your love for Christ