Does Jesus have something against you?
If you’ve ever sinned, and not repented of that sin, then yes, Jesus has something against you. But it doesn’t need to remain that way. As long as you have the breath of life in your body, you can repent. Jesus said, in Luke 15, verse 7; “..There will be joy in heaven over one sinner who repents.”
But think about this; If there’s joy in heaven, over one person who repents, wouldn’t there have to be disappointment, over each and every person who doesn’t repent? Disappointment, over our lack of faith, and our lack of repentance. But even more than disappointment, there’s guilt. Guilt that’s held against us.
When the disciples of Jesus exhibited a lack of faith, He responded, on more than one occasion, with these words; “O ye of little faith.” He said it in Mathew 8, verse 26, and again in Mathew 14:31, and in chapter 16, verse 8, and again in chapter 17, verse 20. I guess you could say that Jesus “lamented”; “O ye of little faith, why did you doubt?”
Here’s an occasion when Jesus lamented over the nation of Israel. He said, in Luke 13:34 & 35; “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets, and stones those sent to her. How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not! Behold, your house is left to you.. (in other words, you are left alone, without God) ..you shall not see Me until the time comes when you say; Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
Most of the nation of Israel refused to believe that Jesus is the Christ, and there was sorrow and disappointment. But the saddest part is, there was guilt, held against them! In Luke 14, verses 16 thru 23, Jesus told a parable about a man who gave a big dinner. But all those who were invited, made excuses, and refused to attend. Of course, what Jesus was really talking about, was how Israel refused to accept Jesus as the messiah, and come to Him in faith. And so Jesus said in verse 24; “For I tell you, none of these men who were invited, shall taste of My dinner.”
Their unbelief, was held against them, just like our unbelief will be held against us, if we refuse to obey what Jesus tells us to do. We’re told in John 3:36; “He who believes in the Son, has eternal life, but he who does NOT obey the Son, shall never see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” Do you see the connection between believing and obeying? God will hold our disobedience, and our un-belief, “against us”.
You can believe in Jesus, and still display a lack of faith though. The disciples did, and so do we. Every time that we fail to conduct ourselves as God desires, we’re displaying our lack of faith. And I’m sure that God is disappointed. When we act, out of a lack of faith, we are sinning! Romans 14:23 tells us; “Whatever is not of faith, is sin.”
Therefore, when we sin, because of our lack of faith, God is not only disappointed in us, but our guilt is held against us. And if we should die, without repenting of our sin, then God will hold that guilt against us, for eternity. “And these will pay, the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of His power.” 2 Thessalonians 1, verse 9.
If you’ve read the bible, you’ve heard the phrase, “But I have this against you”. It’s found in Revelation 2, verse 4. And in verse 14, Jesus said; “But I have a few things against you.” And again in verse 20; “But I have this against you.”
Listen to what Jesus said to the congregation at Ephesus, in Revelation 2, verses 2 & 3; “I know your deeds, and your toil and steadfastness. And that you cannot endure evil men, and you put to the test, those who call themselves apostles, and they are not, and you found them to be false! And you have steadfastness, and have endured for My name’s sake, and have not grown weary.”
Jesus commends them here, doesn’t He? It sounds to me like Jesus was commending them for two different things. First, He commends them for the good works that they had done. He says; “I know your deeds, and your toil, and your steadfastness.” They were at one time, steadfast, in toiling and doing good deeds.
Next, He commends them for what sounds like their adherence to sound doctrine. Listen again to what He said; “And that you cannot endure evil men, and you put them to the test, those who call themselves apostles, and are NOT, and you found them to be false!” They wouldn’t tolerate false teaching! Period! They put people’s teachings to the test. And that’s exactly what we should always do. Every teaching needs to be tested, against the word of God. And if something doesn’t measure up to that word, then we can’t accept it as truth.
And concerning that, Jesus said; “And you have steadfastness, and have endured for My name’s sake, and have not grown weary.” Never grow weary, of upholding the truth. It’s a constant battle, but we’ve got to hold fast to it! That’s a great lesson in and by itself, but Jesus had more to say.
But listen to what Jesus says next, in verses 4 & 5; “But I have this against you..” Jesus was about to tell them about their sin. And here’s what their sin was; “That you have left your first love. Therefore, remember from where you have fallen, and repent, and do the deeds you did at first. Or else I am coming to you, and will remove your lampstand out of it’s place, unless you repent.”
The members of the congregation at Ephesus, had left their first love, and they were in sin. And Jesus held that against them. And He exhorted them to repent, and to once again, “DO the deeds you did at first”. And then Jesus warns them, that if they don’t repent, and if they don’t do those first deeds, He was going to “remove your lampstand out of it’s place”.
That’s a figurative expression, isn’t it? It basically means the same thing as another figurative expression that’s found in Psalm 69, verse 28 which says; “Let them be blotted out of the book of life, and not be written with the righteous.”
The congregation at Ephesus was in danger of losing it’s place among the saved. Jesus only had one thing against them, but that was enough, that they could lose their salvation over it. Sometimes I think we don’t appreciate the significance, of what we DON’T do. What Jesus had “against” the Ephesians, was what they were NOT doing. And so Jesus exhorted them saying; “Remember from where you have fallen..” They were enduring sound doctrine, but yet they were a fallen church! They were not doing, what that sound doctrine, told them to do. So Jesus said; “..Repent and do the deeds you did at first.”
We, as individuals, or as a congregation, if we’re diligent, will be sure to never add to, nor take away from God’s word. (Deut 4:2) And we can be diligent to exhort with sound doctrine, and to refute false doctrine. (Titus 1:9) But if we stop doing, what the bible tells us to DO, then we are a fallen church! It won’t matter how well we KNOW the doctrine, or how strongly we preach the doctrine, if we don’t LIVE the doctrine!
Do you know what your “first love” is? Your first love, is your willingness, and your eagerness, and your love, for doing whatever God has told you to do, when you first became a Christian. Your first love, is your zeal, and your desire to do God’s will. Have you left your first love?
There’s a song about love, and I’d like to read just a couple short verses from that song. The first verse says; “Love is certain, love is kind, love is yours and love is mine. But it isn’t something that we find, it’s something that we do.”
And the other verse says this; “It’s a little, and, a lot to ask, an endless and a welcome task. Love isn’t something that we have, it’s something that we do.”
And there’s a verse in the bible, that says; “If you love Me, you will KEEP My commandments.” (John 14, verse 15)
There’s another verse that says; “I pray that your love may abound more and more, in real knowledge, and in all discernment.” (Philippians 1:9) Instead of leaving our first love, our love should be abounding more and more!
1 Thessalonians 3, verse 12 says; “And may the Lord cause you to increase and abound, in love for one another! And for all men, just as we also do for you.”
Jesus made a sad and disappointing prediction in Mathew 24, verse 12. He said; “And because of lawlessness, the love of many will grow cold.” He said that in reference to a specific period of time, but the truth is, that holds true for ANY period of time.
Lawlessness is sin. It’s a failure to KEEP God’s commands, and to DO what He says. And you look around, and you see all this lawlessness, this “lack of love”, and then your love grows cold. And without hardly even noticing it, you’re lost, just like the congregation at Ephesus. You’ve left your FIRST love, that zealous, and eager willingness, to DO whatever God says to do.
We learn from Acts chapters 18 & 19, that the apostle Paul, along with the help of Aquila and Priscilla, established the congregation at Ephesus. And we learn that Paul left for a spell, but then he returned, and spent two years there, teaching the word, and strengthening the congregation. And then about ten years later, he wrote his letter to the Ephesians. And he kept on encouraging them. He reminded them of their salvation, and he taught them how to LIVE, as Christians should live.
For example, he told them, in Ephesians 5:1 & 2; “Therefore, be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, just as Christ also loved you..” And he said in verse 15 & 16; “Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise, but as wise. Making the most of your time, because the days are evil.”
And he told them about how to conduct themselves as husbands and wives, and as children and parents. And He said in chapter 6, verse 10; “Finally, be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might.” He taught them how to be strong individual Christians, and how to have strong Christian families. That’s what it takes to have a strong congregation. It takes Christianity in the home, in the family; And it takes Christianity in our daily lives. And then, when we come together, then we can have a strong congregation. Because a congregation, is only as strong as it’s members.
Something happened though, to the members of the congregation at Ephesus. They left their first love. We don’t know exactly why, but we know it comes from a lack of faith. Maybe it was because of the lawlessness that was all around them, that their love grew cold. Whatever it was, we don’t want it to happen to us. And so we heed the warning that Jesus gave to them, when He said; “Repent, and do the deeds you did at first.”
Jesus said in Mathew 24:13; “But the one who endures to the end, HE shall be saved!”
Galatians 6:9 tells us; “And do not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we shall reap, if we do not grow weary.” In other words; Don’t leave your first love, but rather, increase and abound in love!
I wonder if we couldn’t all learn to appreciate the words from that song; “It’s a little and a lot to ask. An endless and a welcome task. Love isn’t something that we find, it’s something that we do.”
God pleads with us all, to hear His word and believe, that Jesus is the Christ (Mat 16:16). To repent of our sins (Acts 17:30). To confess the authority of Christ, openly (Mat 10:32). And to be buried in baptism, for the forgiveness of our sins (Acts 2:38, Rom 6:4). And then, to not only endure to the end, but to increase and abound, in love for one another, and in love for God.