A Christian's foremost responsibility is to love God wholeheartedly. A decline similar to the Ephesians' loss of their first love affected the first-century church.
Christ's reprimand of the Ephesian church, "You have left your first love," seems odd being said to a church that appeared so busy doing God's will.
We cannot become weary of well-doing, allowing our first love to deteriorate, looking to the world for satisfaction. Here are 8 tests of our love for Christ.
Works demonstrate our faith, our response to God's calling and His freely given grace. Reciprocity is always a part of our relationship with God.
Like the Ephesians, the weary veterans in Hebrews were becoming apathetic through outside pressures, losing their former zeal and devotion to Christ.
The Ephesians had a strong sense of duty and served as a vanguard in the battle against false doctrines. What was lacking was devotion to Christ.
We are called to take on the very nature of God, to put on the love of God. Surprisingly, We can rekindle our first love by ardently keeping God's Commandments.
Christ's first letter to the churches focuses on the Ephesians, a people who succeeded in trying the spirits, but in the interim left [their] first love.
The scattering of the church was an act of love by God to wake us from our lethargic, faithless condition. The feeding of the flock is the priority now.
Bob Dylan's lyrics in 'The Times They Are A-changin' seem prescient; within a few years of Herbert Armstrong's death, heresies were imported into the church.
In terms of spiritual insight, Hebrews is a pivotal book, whose function is to bridge the purposes and themes of the Old and New Testaments.
Just as fighting to escape its cocoon strengthens the butterfly, our calling requires effort above what the world has to endure to become free of Satan's cocoon.
The Ephesus church effectively battled various heresies, for which Christ commends it. However, the members lost sight of the reason, having left their first love.
The book of Hebrews provides reasons to recapture flagging zeal, focusing on the reason for our hope and faith, establishing Christ's credentials.
Unity has to come from the inside out, with God raising a leader which His people, having their minds opened by His Spirit, will voluntarily submit to.
God uses calamities as part of His creative process. Like Jacob, who initially succumbed to weak faith and fear, we must repent of our loss of devotion to God.
John Ritenbaugh warns that the narrow "pay and pray" mentality experienced by many in our previous fellowship took our attention away from the more important overcoming and growing aspect, preparing for the Kingdom of God. We desperately need to become immersed in a cause, yielding to God's creative power, personally …
Just as important as follow-through is in an athletic motion, its spiritual counterpart is vital to our life in Christ. We must have the will and commitment to carry our devotion to God through to the very end.
The easiest part of God's work is preaching the gospel to the world. Much more demanding is the feeding of the flock, producing life-changing faith.
Hebrews 11 provides examples to bolster faith. The faith described is not blind, but is carefully developed from systematic analysis of available evidence.
With godly hope, we need to envision the successful accomplishment of God's purpose for us, realizing that God has bound that promise with an oath.
Jesus blazed a trail, giving a pattern for qualifying (through suffering and resisting sin) for our responsibility as priests, reconnecting man and God.
Hebrews is addressed to a people living at the end of an era, who were drifting away, had lost their devotion, and were no longer motivated by zeal.
Jesus Christ warns us to hold fast to true doctrine. Secular historians help us discover the identity of the small flock repeatedly rescued from apostasy.
God personally handpicks individuals with whom He desires to form a reciprocal relationship. This relationship must be dressed, kept, tended, and maintained.
John Ritenbaugh focuses upon the intense power of music to stimulate the emotions, trigger the imagination, set the mood of the services, and serves as a teaching vehicle for godly instruction. God Almighty, as the inventor of the human voice and the capacity to make music, has repeatedly commanded that we must sing ' exalting …
Rather than having an apathetic relationship toward God, we must ardently, earnestly, and fervently seek God in order to imitate His behavior in our lives.