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Your First Love ( 32 )
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Quotations from the writings of Ellen G. White with the phrase . . .
 
your  first  love
 
God's people are called to aggressive warfare, not against one another, but against the armies of the enemy. Never are they to relax their vigilance. Never are those who claim to be Christ's disciples to feel at ease in their church capacity, content to do nothing to rescue fallen human beings, and win them back to their loyalty. Heavenly angels are constantly ascending and descending between heaven and earth, engaged in unselfish service for humanity. Where are the men and women who will unite with these heavenly messengers? Think of what God has done for you! When you were perishing out of Christ, did not the warning message come to you, convincing you of sin, and arousing you to repentance? Did not Christ reveal himself to you as a sin-pardoning Saviour? And in the light and warmth of your first love, were you not filled with a longing to impart to others the grace that gave you newness of life?  {RH, May 13, 1902 par. 1}
 
 
The True Witness speaks to us today, and says, "I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent." The Lord wants you to set things in order in your families, and to come back to your first love. He says, "Except thou repent, I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place." The candlestick was removed out of its place when Solomon forgot God. He lost the light of God, he lost the wisdom of God, he confounded idolatry with religion. The Saviour declares, "Ye cannot serve God and mammon," and every one of you who persists in sinning against God when you have had such great light, will be lost, "except thou repent." Do you imagine that you can give the third angel's message to the world while you are still carnal and corrupt, while your characters are still sinful? "No man putteth a piece of new cloth unto an old garment; for that which is put in to fill it up taketh from the garment, and the rent is made worse." Unless your hearts are emptied of sin every day, unless you are sanctified through the truth, you would better not touch the message of God. You cannot cleanse yourselves, but by coming to Jesus in humility, in contrition, surrendering yourselves to God, through the merits of Christ's righteousness you may have an experience in the things of God, and taste of the powers of the world to come. You then will have fruit unto life eternal.  {RH, March 29, 1892 par. 10}  {1888 960.10}
 
 
Are you a follower of Christ? Then all that is written concerning the spiritual life is written for you, and may be attained through uniting yourself to Jesus. Is your zeal languishing? has your first love grown cold? Accept again of the proffered love of Christ. Eat of His flesh, drink of His blood, and you will become one with the Father and with the Son.  {DA 389.5}
 
Think of what God has done for you. When you were perishing out of Christ, did not the warning message come to you, convincing you of sin and arousing you to repentance? Did not Christ reveal Himself to you as a sin-pardoning Saviour? And in the light and glory of your first love, were you not full of unselfish love to impart to others the grace which gave you newness of life in Christ?  {UL 71.4}
 
If, after prayerful consideration of this matter, you are not moved to prompt and zealous action, we shall know that you have forgotten your first love, that you have lost sight of the sacrifice Jesus has made for you that you might be blessed with the gift of eternal life. Said Christ, "If any man will be my disciple, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me." Self-denial is a mark of Christianity. To offer to God gifts that have cost us something, a sacrifice that we shall ask him to use to advance his cause in the earth, will be pleasing to him. The Saviour will accept the free-will offerings of every one, from the oldest to the youngest. Even small children may participate in this work, and enjoy the privilege of bringing their little offerings. While we have been mindful of our earthly friends from year to year, have we not neglected our heavenly Friend? In bestowing our gifts liberally upon our friends, have we not forgotten God and passed him by?  {RH, November 21, 1878 par. 5}
 
It is the duty of the people of God to have their lamps trimmed and burning, to be as men that wait for the Bridegroom, when he shall return from the wedding. You have not a moment to lose in neglect of the great salvation that has been provided for you. The time of the probation of souls is coming to an end. From day to day the destiny of men is being sealed, and even from this congregation we know not how soon many shall close their eyes in death and be habited for the tomb. We should now consider that our life is swiftly passing away, that we are not safe one moment unless our life is hid with Christ in God. Our duty is not to be looking forward to some special time for some special work to be done for us, but to go forward in our work of warning the world; for we are to be witnesses of Christ to the uttermost parts of the world. All around us are the young, the impenitent, the unconverted, and what are we doing for them? Parents, in the ardor of your first love, are you seeking for the conversion of your children, or are you engrossed with the things of this life to such an extent that you are not making earnest efforts to be laborers together with God? Do you have an appreciation of the work and mission of the Holy Spirit? Do you realize that the Holy Spirit is the agency whereby we are to reach the souls of those around us? When this meeting shall close, will you go from here and forget the earnest appeals that have been made to you? will the messages of warning be left unheeded, and the truth you have heard leak out of your heart as water leaks out of a broken vessel?  {1888 959.4}
 
It is a perilous thing for the minister to become careless in his thoughts and actions; as surely as he does, he will become inefficient. I appeal to those who minister in the sacred desk to put into practice that which you already know from the messages which God has given you to warn, to instruct, and to encourage you. Confess your coldness, and let the warmth of the love of Christ, the precious beams of the Son of Righteousness, into the heart. If your hearts are filled with the message of God, if mercy and peace and righteousness are yours, if you feel that eternal vigilance is the price of your safety, your influence will be of the character of your experience, and others will follow in your footsteps; eternal things will be to them a divine reality. They will do as you do. It is your privilege to experience the completeness of salvation in Christ. Jesus is your only hope. You are to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus. You are to follow on to know the Lord, that you may know that his goings forth are prepared as the morning. You are to be raised up to sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. All that is written concerning the spiritual life, is written for you, and may be attained through uniting yourself to Jesus. If you will leave the world, and abandon your former ignorance, pressing on for more and more of the grace of Christ, you may have his guidance continually, and at every step diminish the distance between your soul and God, and be found in him, not having your own righteousness, but the righteousness of God which is by faith in Jesus Christ. If you love Jesus, you will show this by your love to those for whom he has died. If your zeal is languishing, your first love grown cold, accept again of the proffered love of Christ. Eat of Christ's flesh, drink of his blood, and you will become one with the Father and with the Son.  {BEcho, April 1, 1892 par. 5}
 
 
You  have  left  your  first  love
 
My brethren and sisters, humble your hearts before the Lord. Seek him earnestly. I have an intense desire to see you walking in the light as Christ is in the light. I pray most earnestly for you. But I can not fail to see that the light which God has given me is not favorable to our ministers or our churches. You have left your first love. Self-righteousness is not the wedding-garment. A failure to follow the clear light of truth is our fearful danger. The message to the Laodicean church reveals our condition as a people.  {RH, December 15, 1904 par. 9}
 
 
God bids me say to this people, "You have left your first love. You have left many fields unworked, and yet you appear to feel perfectly at ease." Will you heed the instruction that God is sending you? and will you work upon it? God desires his work to be carried forward on solid lines. He does not want one part of his vineyard to be left destitute of facilities, while to another part many facilities are gathered.  {RH, April 14, 1903 par. 16}
 
 
The Saviour is grieved by the dissension, the lack of love, seen among his people. He says to them, You have left your first love, and unless you repent, unless you humble yourselves as a little child, and seek my guidance, I will come unto you quickly, and will remove your candlestick out of its place.  {RH, February 24, 1903 par. 8}
 
How many complain of the straitness of the way, of the trials and conflicts of the Christian life, and say it is hard to leave sin, and practice righteousness. They talk of the power of Satan, instead of magnifying the grace of Christ. This is the baleful fruit of unbelief. It places Satan before Christ, and we dishonor God by glorifying the evil one. When you talk of your trials and conflicts, and feel that they are unbearable, you are giving evidence that you have left your first love. Christ no longer appears to you as the chief among ten thousand and the one altogether lovely. To you are the words of my text addressed, "Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent."  {RH, February 10, 1891 par. 6}
 
My brethren, if you stand before God as true Christians, you will do in the year before us a work different from that which has been done in years past. Your wicked criticism is a sin in the sight of God. By it you are weakening the hands of God's servants. This criticism is as a root of bitterness, whereby many are defiled. Let us come to the Lord in penitence, and ask Him to forgive us for not keeping His law, for not obeying the command to love one another as Christ has loved us. He says to us, "You have left your first love, and, unless you repent, I will remove your candlestick out of his place." "Be watchful," He pleads, "and strengthen the things that remain, that are ready to die; for I have not found thy works perfect before God."  {GCB, April 1, 1903 par. 33}
 
 
lost  your  first  love 
 
Many of you have lost your first love, and you are not preparing yourselves by gaining an experience in true devotion and service to God, to stand in the great day of God. It is essential that you become so rooted and grounded in the faith that you will be able to stand when deception and error as a thick cloud will cover the inhabitants of the earth. While good works will not buy your salvation, yet good works are essential for salvation; for they are an evidence of genuine faith which works by love and purifies the soul.  {PH149 54.3}
 
 
Last June I saw that your only hope of breaking the chain of your bondage was a removal from your associates. You had yielded to Satan's temptations until you were a weak man. You were a lover of pleasure more than a lover of God, and were fast traveling the downward path. I have been disappointed that you have continued in the same indifferent state in which you have been for years. You have known and experienced the love of God; and it has been your delight to do His will. You have delighted in the study of the word of God. You have been punctual at the prayer meetings. Your testimony has been from a heart which felt the quickening influences of the love of Christ. But you have lost your first love.  {2T 293.2}
 
 
You have kept to your own ideas irrespective of right or righteousness. Does it pay, Laura? Can you afford to spend the few moments of probation in the kind of life you have chosen? Certainly had you consented to live with Walter, you would not have been any more unhappy than you have been. You have set up your will, but is it God's will? But I wish you to see yourself as God sees you. You once loved God, but you have lost your first love. You do not love God; you do not love holy things. Your influence is not to others a savor of life unto life, but of death unto death. In the place of growing in grace and the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, you are separating farther and farther from the Lord.  {TSB 64.2}
 
Many of you have lost your first love, and you are not preparing yourselves by gaining an experience in true devotion and service to God, to stand in the great day of God. It is essential that you become so rooted and grounded in the faith that you will be able to stand when deception and error as a thick cloud will cover the inhabitants of the earth. While good works will not buy your salvation, yet good works are essential for salvation; for they are an evidence of genuine faith which works by love and purifies the soul.  {PH152 31.1}
 
Do  not  lose  your  first  love
My brethren, do not cut a man to pieces before you do anything to help him. God wants us to have hearts of pity. He wants us to have reason and judgment and the sanctification of His Spirit. He is in earnest with us. We are but His little children, and we should ever be learning of Him. Do not stand in the way of others. Do not lose your first love. You may have much knowledge and much intelligence, but if the love of God is lacking, you are not prepared to enter heaven.  {GCB, April 7, 1903 par. 26}  {RH, April 14, 1903 par. 24}
 
 
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