Key scripture: Rev. 2.1
The church of Ephesus was diligent in doing business, they had a zeal against that which was evil. But they had lost their fervent love for God. He was no longer a priority to them.
The word First meaning in Hebrew ‘protos’ meaning first in place or rank. They had forgotten the place of God; they have substituted their love for their things and business and not God. GOD is not at the centre of whatever they were doing.
The issue here
God said I know your works, labour and diligence but you have fallen in that you have forgotten your 1st love for me. We too must search ourselves to see how far we have fallen or backslidden.
Who is a backslider?
One who has received Christ as their personal saviour and Lord but has no relationship, no intimate relationship with God. One who has walked away from fellowship with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. A backslider is a born-again believer who walked in the spirit and ends up in the flesh.
Gal 3:1 – having begun in the Spirit are you now being made perfect in the flesh? Surrendered in the Spirit but has now due to cares are walking in the flesh.
Prov 14:14 – The backslider in his heart will be filled with his own ways. Backsliding has something to do with the heart that has outward manifestations.
Let’s reflect on the children of Israel as recorded in Deut 8:8; where God kept on warning his covenant people about his relationship with him. God is telling them that the land he is taking them has good things, lacks nothing and no scarcity but they went and eat and got satisfied and they forgot the Lord.
There is a possibility that many became contented with not coming to church over the period of Covid. And many say they are watching service online but mainly get distracted.
In-person services means: Beware, take heed that you don’t forget the Lord your God.
Indicators of a backsliden Church
- 1 Kings 11…Solomon begun so well and then backslid, married many foreign wives and worshipped other Gods
- Their focus changes from the things of God but are caught up by the cares of these life. Making more money, we justify our backsliden heart and call it divine opportunities. E.g. Dymus…loved the world.
- Lose for the passion and hunger for prayer and the word of God. We see God only when we are in need of another intercession and we want another job etc…
- Focusing on what we need from God: Matt 6:33; Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness …. the word first here talks of prioritizing God
- No more passion or passionate love for the work of God…your relationship with people is wanting, you are no longer faithful even in tithing.
- Coming to church becomes less important it’s a requirement. Heb 10:25 not forgetting the assembling of us together Psalm 122:1, Psalm 84:10
- You no longer respond to God with conviction and repentance.
- You prefer staying away from the fellowship of the brethren. This is high class deception. The heart that withdraws itself is vulnerable.
- Love that wants to impress the Pastor
- You prefer spending time with ungodly instead of believers.
- They are alert to listening to worldly music and watching movies
- They don’t see anything wrong and no longer are givers
- You find it hard to mend broken relationships with others in the house of God
- Spiritual pride: everything is centred on him and egocentric Prov 16:4
- No longer broken in the heart. 1 Tim 4:1-5
What must we do?
- Keep the fire of prayer burning every day
- Purpose to live a spirit led and controlled life
- Make it a life style of self-examination
- Turn back to the Lord when you discover you have fallen
- Love the fellowship of the brethren
- Stand firm in the faith
- Purpose to run the race and win
- Focus on what God has done for you