Sunday, April 21, 2013

What Are the First Works?

Have you ever wondered what Jesus meant when He told the Ephesian believers to "...Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else..." (Rev.2:5a) I used to think He was telling them they better get to work doing what they once had done or else they were in big trouble, mister! Actually, when we take a brief look at what other Scriptures, and especially what Jesus Himself says about this very thing elsewhere, we get a clear meaning of His words that will bless our hearts and make us love Him even more. The key I believe is when He tells them to remember from where they have fallen. They were once on a much higher plane, but they have fallen. We know first of all before we go any further that these were no doubt true believers, and we know that genuine believers can never fall out of salvation, again due to Jesus' own perfect Person and work for us. But that is for another day, for now, we know that this falling to a lower plane results in some fearful and sad consequences for a believer, and let me tell you, i have been there. I remember as a new believer, no longer sensing the joyous, precious nearness of my beautiful Savior, and sitting in my parents' living room and crying like a baby. I didn't understand. I was trying hard and working for my Savior, why did I feel so far from Him? I know feelings are not always accurate, but in this case, it was a genuine sense of something just not being right. I won't go into it all right now of what happened, but it's enough to say that God taught me a great lesson through it all. Paul told his Galatians that they had fallen from grace even though they were doing all kinds of works thinking that they somehow had to now finish in their own strength what Christ had done for them on the cross! No wonder Paul got so hot under the collar dealing with the false teachers that had put that wicked notion in their heads! He had tried that himself as recorded in Romans 7 and he ended up a wretched man! (v.24) 
So, after all this, what did Jesus mean by the first works from which these Ephesians had fallen? He gives us the answer when He spoke to the folks who asked Him what works they should work in order to do the works of God back in John 6, and His answer is so simple yet so beautiful in verse 29! "Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him whom He hath sent." Ah! No wonder the Ephesians had to repent! They had a completely convoluted mindset, they thought they were to work themselves into a frenzy before God would bless them, but Paul and Jesus as well as all Scripture says they have it totally backward! Believe on Him, as Jesus says, Come to Me you who are weary, you who are worn out, worked to a frazzle, worn out trying to earn what only I can give you as my love gift of grace! Go back to realizing that we receive His wondrous grace by simple faith and then His power can and will flow through us out to others! " I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without Me ye can do nothing." (Jn.15:5) God Bless you all, I just had to share that with you!