FIRST LOVE LOVERS: AN END TIME THEME

Jesus said that His Word would judge everyone who rejects Him and fails to receive His words (John 12:48). Conversely, His Spirit is like a fire that burns the present hour speaking of His Word into our hearts.

Rev 2:1-5 is such a word. This message of returning to your first love is an end-time theme and one the Church so desperately needs.

The church at Ephesus possessed some noble characteristics. Jesus commended this church for many things. By today’s standards this church would be thought of as a strong and even dynamic church. They had doctrinal and moral purity, labored without growing weary, the people were active in the affairs of the church, had exercised patience and perseverance etc., but there was one thing Jesus had against them; they had forsaken their first love. Jesus called this position a fallen place or in today’s terminology, a backslidden state. What a lesson to learn that Jesus, the Head of the Church, does not see as man sees.

What does the Lord of glory see in today’s churches? What of those who boast in great attendance, occupy large buildings, and have dynamic programs for their members? Jesus does not esteem things as a man esteems them. He so often regards as least that which men esteem highly. On the other hand, those things that men often esteem lowly are so highly regarded by the Master. You see, it doesn’t matter what size building, attendance, or organizational powers and abilities a church possesses. If first love has passed, then it is a fallen church, and one in danger of having its lamp-stand removed from its place (Rev 2:5).

The lamp-stand represents the church, and the stars are the angels (Rev 1:20). Every church ordained by God has an angelic covering that symbolizes the power and anointing for that church to operate. The lamp-stand being put out represents the angel leaving and being assigned elsewhere. There are churches that still exist today whose angel left 100 years ago. Sad, but true. There is no longer a covering or an anointing for that church to operate. They lost their love for Jesus. Over a period of time religion had hardened their human spirits and left the hidden places of their hearts untouched. Thus, intimacy with Jesus was lost, and by failing to make the adjustment the church lost her power.

Religion is the crowning work of Satan. He works to extinguish the intimacy of the Lord from our lives so that everything we produce comes out of works not born of love, but of duty. These are dead works. The spirit of religion always causes us to produce outside of the new nature, which is love. This results in a form without the power. Falling in love with Jesus and staying in love with Jesus is your sure foundation for protection against the deception of having a form without the power.

The apostle Paul’s heart cry to know Jesus (Phil 3:10) was like the loaded gun he carried in life and ministry. He called it a prize to be won. Here is a man who had come to visions and revelations, some not to be uttered…he had come to a place of great power in ministry where handkerchiefs were taken from his body and placed on the sick and demon possessed, and the diseases and demons left them…angels had visited him…mighty churches were raised up by him…and nearly two-thirds of the New Testament was written by him. Yet, Paul’s chief aim was for the prize of knowing Christ, and having a privileged seat next to Jesus for all of eternity (Rev 3:21). Do you want that seat?

Not all saints will sit on thrones in the holy city (Rev 20:4). That beloved city is the Bride of Christ, called the New Jerusalem (Rev 21:2). It is the wise virgins, the first love lovers, who will receive that privilege. No wonder Paul was so passionately consumed with being a first love lover of Jesus. Within the realms of that love is an eternal glory, position, and ranking which shall never be taken away.

First love lovers are those who have stayed close to the heart of Jesus thereby keeping their vessels full of oil and their lamps burning bright (Mat 25:1-13). Their first love produced first works that translate into gold, silver and precious stones, which are in turn, used as building materials for our eternal home. The New Jerusalem is an ongoing construction project being built from the works of those who lived surrendered and consecrated lives to Jesus. Thus the reason for the call to the church of Ephesus to repent and return to her first love so that she might do her first works (Rev 2:5). Are these words burning in your heart yet?

There will be sorrow and regret among many saints for the wood, hay, and stubble that will be burned up at the judgment. Their works, when tested by fire, will be found wanting. What would Jesus find today in many of our prominent churches and ministries across the globe if all our works were exposed? With fear and trembling we must serve the Lord. Jesus is at the door.

The mountaintop Christian life is one of first love. Anything short of that is a fallen state (Rev 2:5). From that heightened place of first love flow all first works. This is a great position of power. It is a place of sometimes almost silly but such pure delight. This is such a lovely place to be, a place of continually beholding the face of Jesus, of seeing His glory with the eyes of your understanding, of blessed rest where nothing un-nerves you.

You can buy this place with no money. You can pursue it without any earthly craft or ability. It is not a place exclusive to anyone above another. It is purchased with your heart only. It is purchased with a spiritual hunger for living bread, and thirst like a deer that pants for the water. It is a place available to the lowest status human being on the earth as well as the rich who will encounter difficulty in pursuit of this prize. Can you count the cost as Paul did? Count all things dung for this holy knowledge? Cast aside all other pursuits? How much is it worth to follow the Lamb wherever He goes throughout eternity (Rev 14:4)? Do you want that seat (Mat 20:21)? Will you enter into that holy city (Rev 21:2)?

Behold the Bridegroom cometh!!! Are you His bride in patient waiting? Do you long for His face? Is He your first love? If not, remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the first works. If true repentance works its course, in the end the glory revealed shall be so much greater than any of your present sufferings.

All the love of our glorious Bridegroom is backing the pen of this ready writer. May He bless these words to your ears, and multiply His grace in your life to love Him.

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Our books are forerunners to personal holiness, the move of God, and the return of the Lord. They also combat the departure from the faith and the turning away from the truth we are seeing in our day. 

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INTIMACY WITH GOD: KEEPING YOURSELF FROM IDOLS

There are many things that will rob, steal and plunder our love and affection for the Lord Jesus. It is not just obvious sins and acts of carnality and disobedience which spoil us of the nearness of His presence, but it is also the good and acceptable things, which while having their proper place in the Christian life, have a tendency to make one devoid of the real mind of Christ. Such things as meetings, communions, baptisms, buildings, programs, doctrines, finances or other things that concern the church and ministry system, apart from the mind of Christ, will dry up the real heart of the Christian life. Often it’s these very things that rob us of the hallowing intimacy which we are to experience with God’s throne of grace and seat of mercy.

Here is the question we must ask ourselves in evaluating our love and devotion to God: What are we doing on the inside? Where, or toward what, are we directing our will and desire? That is what marks our life in relation to God. This Scripture gives us a sober warning:

“Dear children, keep away from anything that might take God’s place in your hearts.” (John 5:21, TLB)

We are admonished in Scripture to guard our hearts (Prov. 4:23), to seek God with our whole heart (Ps. 119:2), to sanctify the Lord in our hearts (1 Pet. 3:15), to return to our first love (Rev. 2:4-5), and to beware of being cheated in our relationship to Christ (Col. 2:8). There are a lot of things we can do in this life to gain success, wealth, prestige, a name and reputation, a church and a ministry, but there’s nothing more fulfilling to the human heart than having an intimate, personal and growing relationship with the Lord Jesus.

INTIMACY, THE CURE FOR THE IMITATION OF MEN

“Therefore, knowing that they would come and take Him by force to make Him king, Jesus departed to a mountain by Himself alone” (John 6:15, MEV).

The world had no influence whatsoever on our high priest. He didn’t need men to give Him authority. Publicity and popularity were never His goal.

More than once, Jesus warned others not to make Him known (Matt. 12:16). The moonlight, not the spotlight, was the highlight in Jesus’ ministry. He spent many nights and early mornings alone in prayer.

The mountain was His preference. It was there that He secured the Father’s presence. It was there that He made His choices while blocking out other voices. It was there where He was given new manna for each new day.

This is where Jesus received His authority.

Priests (ministers and saints), hearken! If you do not spend time with God alone, you will always be a clone. You will clone ministry ideas, visions and strategies from others. You will copy and imitate the gifts and graces of others. Your authority will only come from man. You will drink from someone else’s well (anointing). You will steal someone else’s word. You will be a spiritual schizophrenic.

Fresh manna every day will result in doing things God’s way. Fresh bread bakes in the oven of fresh fellowship. You will always have hot bread (messages) for yourself and to serve the people.

Many of God’s priests have not worn their garments well. They have neglected the lot and portion of their lives and ministries, who is the Lord Himself. Instead of the Spirit’s incubation giving them fresh revelation, they allow insecurity and intimidation to produce a soulish imitation void of God’s power. In making their own plans and choosing their own course, they invite a spirit of divorce to come between themselves and the Lord.

A glad reunion awaits them, if they would only turn to the Lord with all their hearts. Intimacy with God is the cure for the imitation of men.

Be a support to us and follow our blog and help spread these messages. Also, consider subscribing to our ministry YouTube channel for weekly 15 minute Face to Face video impartations on the Spirit-filled life from my wife and I.  

Our books are forerunners to personal holiness, the move of God, and the return of the Lord. They also combat the departure from the faith and the turning away from the truth we are seeing in our day. 

Also, this ministry is sustained by the freewill offerings of those who believe in the mandate and message of revival and restoration that this ministry carries. Again, if this article has been a blessing to you, would you prayerfully consider making a tax-deductible contribution through our Paypal button to help? 

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Thank you, and may God’s richest and best be yours.

WE MUST FIND OUR WAY INTO THE HOLY OF HOLIES

We were in a missions prayer meeting recently and I heard these words:

“The Holy of Holies is the deepest part of My heart.”

As we were praying for unreached people groups I saw the faces representing all human beings that have ever lived on planet earth. I saw God’s great love for each one. I saw that He had made provision for all of them to live with Him forever. I saw the uttermost parts of the earth where many had not been reached or engaged with the gospel. I saw the great struggles of humanity. I saw them as if walking through a hot desert with a load of goods being carried on their backs. They were slumped over with weariness and heavy burdens of hardship. It broke my heart. I was seeing them the way God sees them.

Your own heart will break and melt, too when any aspect of the deepest part of God’s heart is unveiled to you. When His unfathomable love for humanity is revealed to you it turns you away from self-centeredness. You will take on more of the Lord’s nature as people start becoming the object of your love. You reach out to help them as meeting their needs becomes your joy. Your meat and drink is doing the will of the Father and finishing His work (John 4:34).

It is in those intimate moments in the Holy of Holies when the Lord speaks to you and teaches you His heart and ways that you are most alive. You are one with His heart. You burn with His fire when you hear His living word and the Scriptures are opened unto you.

“And they said one to another, did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?” (Lk. 24:32)

This is the greatest need of humanity. This is the greatest need of the Church—to know and actually feel God’s heart. In this way we are one with Him and we abide in Him. We are filled with His Spirit and the ministry of Jesus flows so naturally out of us, and His will is fulfilled in our lives. Once we receive God’s Spirit all of us have access into this secret place.

All of my life I’ve consciously or unconsciously been led to this place called the Holy of Holies. At times I didn’t know what it was that kept gnawing at me when I couldn’t find complete satisfaction and total fulfillment any other way. It was the Holy of Holies calling me in. It was the Holy Spirit wanting to get me in there. It is always our flesh that stands in the way and hinders us.

In the last several years of my life this has been my constant driving passion—to abide in the secret place. It is not necessarily a geographical place where you pray, but a place in your heart. It is there where you learn God’s ways and you become a friend of God. I am determined not to leave this earth until I learn to live as a friend of God every single day. It is my constant pressing as it was for Paul in his latter days.

“But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ” (Phil. 3:7-8).

The excellence of God’s holy intimate knowledge was Paul’s quest. This revelation led him to count all things loss and pursue a place of death to himself in order to gain Christ and His resurrection power.

“That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death…” (v. 10)

It also led him to this ongoing pressing attitude:

“…but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me…I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (v. 12, 14).

It is this pressing attitude that will lead you “to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God” (Eph. 3:19).

Oh beloved, to be filled with all the fullness of God is worth more than anything in this world. It is pure eternal ecstasy and heavenly bliss. Few of us have barely touched this realm.

Begin by praying in the Spirit quietly and reaching out in worship to God the Father of our spirits. Don’t be moved by the initial spiritual dryness. This is only evidence that the operation of your flesh has had ascendency over your spirit. It takes time to cultivate true spiritual fellowship and friendship with God where your spirit gains the ascendency.

Be assured that you can know the Father in a new dimension. His Son is the Bridegroom who is waiting for His Bride to awaken to this upward calling. And the Holy Spirit is always endeavoring to lead you into it.

May the cry of the Bride echo the desire of the Bridegroom to meet with us, ‘Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!’ (Mt. 25:1-13).

Beloved, it is the midnight hour. It is the last hour to purchase more oil and not be found wanting. It is the end of an age when many antichrists are in the world (1 Jn. 2:18). It is a day to read and ponder the last words of Scripture until our hearts resonate with the same cry as the Spirit—until all who hear and thirst for the water of life come and drink freely.

I believe it is then when our cry is heightened to meet the measure of His cry that He will come quickly.

Oh what a day that will be!

And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” “And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.” He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!” (Rev. 22:17, 20)

Our books are forerunners to personal holiness, the move of God, and the return of the Lord. They also combat the departure from the faith and the turning away from the truth we are seeing in our day. The Real Gospel, The Real Jesus, The Real Salvation, and  The Real Spirit Of Revivalare especially strategic in trumping the many falsehoods spreading in the modern day Church. If any of our books or articles on this blog are a blessing and encouragement to you please use the social media buttons below to share them.

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DONATE 

Thank you, and may God’s richest and best be yours.