Return and Renew

Christian ethics are Christ-centered. Our ethical outlook begins with Jesus and His view of life, and controls our ethical outlook. 

It is not based on the fact we are commanded to love, but on a love that commands.  When we hold Christ as our first love, that love commands, that is controls, our world view. The Ephesus syndrome results gradually and subtly.

“Remember” is an appeal to give your head over to Christ.

“Repent” is an appeal to give your heart over to Him.

The word “repent” used here in the Greek is in the aorist tense meaning to have a complete change of mental attitude and has no emotional reference at all.  

The biblical appeal to repent is as often applied to saints out of fellowship as to sinners out of grace. 

The Greek word translated “first” is “protos.” It is a word that suggests they still love, but with a quality and intensity unlike that of their initial love. Is that you? Then now is the expedient time to repent and return to your first love. These imperatives are all part of a single command based on an appeal to remember their first love and how much their enthusiasm for Christ has waned; how much their devotion has diminished.

Might your spiritual life be pictured as ashes on a rusty altar? Such indicates there once was warmth, light, and flame, but which reveals it has been a long time since there was an act of devotion performed there.

When the Holy Spirit is allowed to grip us with a true spirit of repentance we are willing to admit having let other lords besides Him have command over us. We will admit to having left our first love and appeal to Christ to recover us.

In 1632, the favorite wife of Shah Jahan of India died. Her title was Mumtaz-i-mahal, which means “Pride of the Palace.” He loved her so much he set 20,000 workmen to work building a tomb for her in the northern city of Agra. They labored for 21 years on the palace tomb.

As work was begun on the Taj Mahal, the coffin containing the body of his beloved was placed on the spot where the temple tomb was to be constructed. Time after time it had to be moved to allow construction. Soon it got shoved aside and ignored. Shortly thereafter, building materials were scattered around it. Lost in the clutter and pushed aside, it was at some time removed with other items considered trash. When the temple tomb was completed, the body of the one in whose name it was constructed could not be found. 

Spiritually, the same thing happens in the lives of some Christians. Gradually Christ gets moved aside until at last he is lost. Then we who are the temple of the Spirit are as devoid of Him as the Taj Mahal was of the Pride of the Palace. When it happens we must repent and return to our first love, Jesus.

Occasionally this happens collectively in a church. Christ gets pushed aside and is lost in the life of the fellowship. 

The first step away is the great sin of which to repent. However cold or carnal you might have become, it could never have happened without the first small step leading away from your first love. It may have been a small beginning which you can’t even recall that has led to a great departure. That departure may be so great you aren’t even sensitive to it. That makes it all the greater. That departure may even be hard for others to detect because you still wear the uniform, you still have the external performance, the right vocabulary with the right people, but inside you know and you know Jesus knows. 

Therefore, begin at the beginning again.

Go back to the fountainhead of your love — Jesus.

Go back to the fountain of thought about your Savior’s love for you. Return.