The Bare Soul - February 26, 2012
Love Lost

The following is the message text and audio recording of a sermon titled "Love Lost" delivered to the homeless
at the Kansas City Rescue Mission Chapel on February 23, 2012.

Love Lost - February 23, 2012

Revelation 2:4 - But I have this against you, that you have left your first love.

In his poem, In Memoriam, Alfred Lord Tennyson stated, "'Tis better to have loved and lost / Than never to have loved at all." Queen Victoria took great solace in this work of Tennyson's, so much so that she stated next to the Bible this poem was her great comfort after the loss of her beloved husband, Prince Albert. Unquestionably, this poem has been a source of consolation to many who have lost a loved one before their time. I especially think about children and their untimely deaths, how it must grieve the hearts of their parents and their loved ones. How tragic lost love of this sort must be for those who are left behind to bear this sorrow! I have often considered how our Lord feels when we grieve. Since sorrow is a God-given emotion, we must understand that He does grief in a perfect manner. We can only imagine the amount of colossal mourning God the Father allows Himself to be subjected to on a daily basis. However, His hope as well as ours is a coming day when He will wipe every tear from our eyes and we will experience eternal joy in His presence (Revelation 21:4).

Until that glorious day, we are still subjected to the results of sin and mankind's fall from grace. We are products of Adam's great calamity which usurped God's ultimate plan for the human race. Ah, but then that glorious event of the cross and the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ occurred which allowed us once again to be restored to the Father through His shed blood! I hope many of us reading this have accepted this wonderful restoration through Christ's sacrifice. If we have, we know and understand how Jesus' love fills our hearts like nothing the world has ever known. However, the tragedy, not unlike losing a loved one to sudden death, is when we leave our first love as our lead verse depicts in Jesus' words to the Laodicean church. How it must grieve the heart of God when we allow other things to captivate our hearts rather than His love! We may still do things in the same way as before, such as go to church and sing in the choir or even help out the poor. Yet, something is different. Our lives pull us in one direction toward these outward acts of religious business. However, we see a different dynamic happening throughout our day that does not coincide with our religious activities. Instead, we find ourselves fascinated by that new TV program and we cannot take our eyes off of it all evening. We justify it and say, "I deserve a little relaxation. After all, I work hard all day and I just need to unwind in the evenings." This may be true, to some extent. But have we considered how we used to "unwind" in the presence of God in prayer? Or, how we enjoyed worshipping God in the car on the way home from work and now we listen to secular radio stations instead? Beloved, time is the only thing we can give back to God. It is part of our worship, offering up a sacrifice of praise. There is no other way to please the heart of God then to give Him ourselves through the 24 hours He has given us every day.

Jesus Christ is a patient, wise God and will not demand time from us. He will only point out when we have lost our intimacy with Him. It is our responsibility to return to Him, humbling ourselves and admitting that we do not desire Him like we used to. He already knows it anyway. Once we admit that we have lost our passion for Him, He can then once again grant us the grace to want Him by changing our will to do so. There will always be a struggle in the will (or our "wanter") to humbly submit itself to Christ and His grace and power, or to rely foolishly upon our own power to "do" religious things for Him. Our sin nature will always seek the easier, softer way of resisting humility because it is foreign and distasteful to surrender to anyone or anything. The joy comes when we die to self and once again live to Christ as He then takes our intentions and empowers them with His life. As previously stated, this takes ... time! We must commit ourselves to keep coming, keep seeking, and keep knocking until He once again restores that lost love that He is so desirous to restore (Matthew 7:7). Remember, many of us who have left our first love did not do it in an immediate fashion. God may restore our love with Him immediately and then He may require us to seek Him out through a period of time. Either way, His promise is He will restore us to that place of intimacy if we will but give him our time to do so.

So, what are some of the red flags we have lost our first love? We might ask ourselves, "Do I feel a sense of loss that my Savior is not as dear to me as in previous months or years?" No matter how much we are "doing" for God, it doesn't matter if we are not "being" with God. As Tennyson implied through his poem, it is better to have loved because then we understand the significance of the loss involved. Otherwise, we would not have anything to gauge what we might gain by reacquiring this tragic misplacement of affection. God desires each of us to be passionately in love with His Son. Until we give Him our hearts to reaffirm what was once lost, He will never be content nor will we. May we all find and cherish the love of Christ within, once again, and hold passionately to it until He calls us home.

Heavenly Father, thank you for the love of Your Son for His beloved church. May we reaffirm our love for Him this day, promising never to stray. But if we do, may He bring us back to Him through His word to our hearts, understanding that we are simple sheep who need the loving wooing of the Great Shepherd. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Your Barefoot Servant,

Rick

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