Try to Remember

Luther Blackmon
LaPorte, Texas

In Revelation two, there is a letter to the church at Ephesus, dictated by the Lord and written by the apostle John. In this letter the Lord commends this church for many things: their works, their labor and their patience; they could not bear those who were evil; they had tried those who posed as apostles and found them liars; they had borne and had patience, they had labored and for His name sake had not fainted. Moreover they hated the deeds of the Nicolaitans (advocates of free-love) which things also the Lord hates. Outwardly they were faithful. It is not likely that human perception could detect the spiritual condition of these people. But the Lord knew. And all their good works and outward manifestation of faithfulness were overshadowed by one sin. What might have been a good church was rendered unacceptable by one sin. The Lord said if you don't remember from whence you are fallen and repent and do your first works, I will come and remove your candlestick out of his place. They were on the verge of losing their identity as a New Testament church. What was the sin that threatened them? They had left their first love.

Many a marriage has failed or has become just a boresome arrangement for the same reason, and often the parties involved don't really know how it happened or when. They know that somewhere along the way their marriage lost its meaning, and now is a marriage only in name. In many cases these unhappy couples could restore life to their marriage if they were willing to try, but they are not. This would require that each party take an honest inventory of his life, assume his part of the blame and work at trying to correct it. Not many people are this honest. It is easier to blame someone else and offer excuses for our own failure.

There are people in every church, of any size, who are like the members of the church at Ephesus. They have lost their first love. Some never had much to lose. They were never really converted to Christ. They "joined the church" just about like they would join a club and for about the same reasons. But there are same who once were faithful; they could be depended on to carry their part of the load. They were interested in leading others to the Lord; their lives were an inspiration to those who knew them. But somewhere along the way they lost their first love. They have stripped their religion down to a bare minimum. They sit in the church building one hour and fifteen minutes a week, most weeks, to be served the Lord's supper. This, they think, is all that is absolutely necessary-this is the bare minimum -and they will do no more. No lost soul will ever be led to Christ by their example or effort; the worship is a dull routine, they share little or none of the financial responsibility of the congregation. If every member of the church were like them, the church would disappear from the earth in two generations. I could tell them why they have lost their first love, and how to find it again, but they don't want to be told. It is easier to find an excuse or to find some other sorry church member to measure themselves by. We lose our first lave by not working at the job of being Christians. Something gets in the way, a job or an unfaithful or unbelieving companion, and we begin to slack up. Like the wife who seems to think that being married to a man relieves her of any responsibility in regard to her personal appearance as far as he is concerned, or, the man who expects his wife to live the rest of her life on the memories of the flowers and presents he gave her and the words of love he spoke to her before the marriage, these members of the church expect to be saved because they have "been baptized" and "go to church" every Sunday.

A happy marriage is a wonderful thing. If you have one, then work to keep it that way, and don't ever let up. But infinitely more important is your marriage to Christ. When you quit working at it, you will begin to lose that enthusiasm you once knew, and the love that made your service to God a pleasure rather than a cold formality. If you find yourself losing interest in the church then do something about it before you reach the place where you don't want to do anything about it.

Truth Magazine, V:11, pp. 1-2
August 1961