Thought for the Week - 22nd OctoberPastor Gareth Watkins
…you have left your first love.
These words were spoken by Jesus. Christ Himself described how some people had left their first love. What is that first love? Why should it be the first love? Some might wonder that their first love in their life should be their child, their spouse, or something else.
If it’s the first love, then it’s the highest form of love. It’s a love that’s a different type of love to that we may have for our families, our homes, our jobs or possessions. It’s a love that comes from a saved and sanctified soul. It’s a love that springs out of a Christian’s life. It comes from the connection with Christ the saviour, who is the lover of their soul. Without that connection, we cannot know this first love. A person who becomes a Christian, finds this new realm of love that’s not ordinarily there for everyone else. It’s described in this passage above as the first love. A love like no other love.
This love underpins who we are. The ‘who am I’ is founded upon this love. This love is given into us by God Himself. It cannot be learnt. It’s a miracle; it’s God given.
We need to consider where we are in our zeal and love of Christ today. Do we recognise our first love? This love identifies us as a Christian – it’s the love that God puts into the depths of a person. It’s an inheritance that Christ has begotten for us. Without that love that he pours within us, we are selfish husks that live for self. When we become Christians, we are changed people. He pours this love into us. Love from heaven itself.
giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light.
He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love,
We read here of saints, those who are partakers, those who inherit and those who are qualified. That is our inheritance as those who love Christ. That is our inheritance for those who have got a love that has been given to them by God Himself. That is the position we find ourselves in as redeemed, sanctified, born again Christians. It’s important that we hold onto these words, because we’ve been bought into this place as saints, as those who inherit, and those who are qualified. And all of that has been given to us because of the death of Jesus Christ on the cross. He’s the one who took away our sins. Because of Him, God can look at us now and there’s no darkness, because we are “saints in the light”. He’s the one who’s brought us into a group of people that are called saints. We couldn’t be called saints in our own strength. But in God’s eyes, after the finished work of Christ, we can be called saints.
What a wonderful work Jesus Christ has done for us on the cross! We are in a privileged and blessed position! We can find ourselves today in a place called the saints, in the light of God because of Jesus God, and qualified to be partakers of an inheritance.
In the natural, who can inherit from a will? The beneficiaries. If you’re not in the will, you don’t inherit. Either you’re an inheritor or you’re not. And if you are in the will, you get the blessing from the person who died. We stand today as people who will inherit all the things that belong to Christ! We should appreciate that. We have been redeemed, we’ve been set free, we’ve been delivered, we’re now called sanctified and saints of the light! What a wonderful place to be.
And yet we read that the love of some has gone cold; that some have lost their first love.
The inheritance of the saints belongs to us. This is unconditional – if we believe in Christ as our saviour, we are put in this place because the work of Christ is a completed work. It’s unconditional love for us that drove Jesus Christ to cross for us, that we might be transferred from the kingdom of darkness into the darkness of light. Because either we’re an inheritor of one or the other.
We get so much from our position in God! I want to encourage us to love Him more. To be more zealous. To be more prayerful. To be more thoughtful of what He’s done for us. To feel and know and trust more in what He’s got for us.
We can find ourselves in many conditions, with circumstances we cannot change on our own. But He can. He can fill us with the Holy Spirit, and bring us into that place of the light. In that place, we qualify for all the inheritance that belongs to Christ!
People are kept in darkness. The enemy doesn’t like these things. He’s determined that we don’t get out of his grasp. The kingdom of darkness affects people far differently to the kingdom of light. The kingdom of darkness gets a person and holds them in that grip. On the other hand, Christ is a finished work. He doesn’t need to be crucified again – He defeated satan once and for all. He’s taken our punishment that’s due to us on the cross. He’s delivered us from the power of darkness. If we’ve lost that feeling of being delivered, then we’ve lost something crucial to our experience. We should know that we’ve been delivered from the power of darkness. Don’t be too proud of yourself in your circumstance, because without Christ you’d be back in that darkness. We need to appreciate this.
Satan doesn’t rest or leave us alone. He isn’t happy when we’re strong as children of the light. The enemy doesn’t leave us alone because we’re children of the light. He will, in turn, throw his little bombs and problems at us. We have to go on in God. In 1 Corinthians 16:9 we read:
The adversaries will oppose God, and will try to shut the door that God has opened. God has opened a door into our lives spiritually. Satan isn’t happy and is going to try and shut that door. Adversaries will come and they will be many. But God has opened the door! If God has opened a door, the completed work of Christ begins for us, and satan can’t shut it! He can tell us all manner of things, make us feel guilty, and can lie against you – but that door has been opened for you. The adversaries can come, but they won’t win if you stay strong in Christ.
There are two kingdoms – the kingdom of darkness, and the kingdom of light. The world doesn’t want us to talk like that, so it tries to shut us down. The world doesn’t like us to talk about two distinct kingdoms – it prefers things blurred. This kingdom of darkness brings with it pain, guilt and fear. The kingdom of light brings with it love, joy, peace, kindness; the things of God! Which kingdom do you want to be a part of?
Sometimes our sinful nature wants us to be part of the other side, because it likes a little bit of darkness. We need to be careful; we need to come under that kingdom of light. Part of us needs changing and doesn’t always get seen by the light of Christ, because we hold it back. These two kingdoms exist. There’s no middle ground and there’s no other option. But the reality of the cross is that the work of Jesus Christ is a completed work! We’re not bound by the lies of the enemy.
We read in Colossians 2: 13-15:
He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses,
having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us.
And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.
Having disarmed principalities and powers,
He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.
This person in the kingdom of light finds themselves forgiven of all their trespasses! The sins of the past and the sins of the future have been forgiven in the completed work of Christ. Would you love Him today? Would you love Him for what He’s done for you, what He gives to you, the light He pours into you, and the inheritance He’s given you?
If we are in Christ, He has fulfilled all the requests of God under the Law, that we can now be inheritors of Christ’s estate. In that inheritance we find all the liberty, victory and light that belongs to Christ! He’s wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against you and me. What a wonderful saviour we have! He’s disarmed the principalities and powers! All those adversaries that would normally crush us – He’s disarmed them. Christ makes us free!
Would you love Him more? Would you see Him more? Would you see the kingdom of darkness and kingdom of light? Would you see your place as a person who inherits these things? Would you turn to Him time and time again as the years go on? Would you turn to Him and ask Him to take and break those adversaries?
The completed work of Christ, completed for you. That work is there for you to stand in and go unto eternity with.