Following Jesus 88

In what way(s) may a church fail in its divine mission? It is within the fourth verse of Revelation 2 that Jesus gives a solemn indictment to any and all churches as He speaks to one particular church. 
“But I have this against you that you have abandoned the love you had at first.” A church which is failing is the church which has divorced itself, rejected, dismissed and departed from its first and foremost priority. Notice that the church freely abandoned itself from this preeminent object of their love. No one took or stole this from them. 
What is the church’s first and foremost love, which it must never abandon? The Scriptures are clear: not only in the Old Testament (Deuteronomy 6:1-6), but also in the New Testament (Matthew 22:34-40; Mark 12:28-34). Matthew 22:34-40 says, “But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
This is the love for which the Ephesian left: its love for God. Why would a church leave their love for God? For what would they leave their love for God? Scripture gives us four reasons. While Revelation 2 does not reveal the reason or object the Ephesian church left its love for God, we can biblically speculate. 
Churches in general, and followers of Jesus in particular, may leave their love for God for one of the following: 
  • Silver. Money. 1 Timothy 6:6-10; Hebrews 13:5; Psalm 37:7, 17; Proverbs 23:4-5. 
  • Sloth; A love and longing to be entertained. Proverbs 13:4; Colossians 3:23; 2 Thessalonians 3:10. Perhaps through drugs, alcohol, the media, games, etc. 
  • Sexual Immorality. 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8; 1 Corinthians 6:15-20. 
  • Selfishness. A love of self. Philippians 2:3; James 3:14-18. 
How should the church respond to such an incitement? 

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