Thrust: Gaining God's power and strength in my inner life by regaining my first love for God.
Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Thes 5:23)
And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground and breathe into his nostrils the breath of life and man became a living being. (Gen 2:7)
Why do we need to develop the inner man?
- 1. It is given by God
- 2. The spirit gives us life.
For the body without the spirit is dead… (Jas 2:26)
- 3. It is the place where we are conscious of God. His presence, His love, His voice, knowing His purpose, His desire, His destiny for us and also to be conscious of our enemy Satan who wants to destroy and corrupt our spirit.
A merry heart doeth good like medicine, But a broken spirit dries the bones. (Pro 17:22)
The spirit of a man will sustain him in sickness, But who can bear a broken spirit. (Pro 18:14)
That according to the riches of His glory He may grant you to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in your inner being. (Eph 3:16)
I. Receiving and Loving God
Father, I desire that they also whom you gave Me, maybe with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me, for You love Me before the creation of the world. O righteous Father! The world has not known You, but I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me. And I have declared to them Your name, and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me maybe in them and I in them. (Jn 17:24-26)
A. God's First Love
We love, because He first loved us. (1 Jn 4:19)
- A love full of fervency
- A love that gives top priority
- A love which demonstrates a life given wholeheartedly
- A love filled with passion and enthusiasm
See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! (1 Jn 3:1)
God carries your picture in His wallet. - Tony Campolo
But God demonstrates His own love towards us that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Rom 5:8)
B. Our First Love for God
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind. (Mt 22:37)
Spiritual Health Checklist
- 1. Am I closer to God than last year?
- 2. Do I sense a growing eternal perspective reminding me that this life is not all there is?
- 3. Do I view my life as an investment that is accompanied by an eagerness to please God?
- 4. Do I find hope and encouragement with God’s Word? Is God speaking to me through His Word everyday?
- 5. Am I more of a taker then a contributor?
- 6. Am I able to turn to God in times of pain and suffering?
- 7. Does my worship go beyond singing songs at a weekend service?
- 8. Have I learnt to feed myself spiritually?
- 9. Have I made progress over sinful habits or my greatest personal spiritual struggles?
- 10. As I follow God with my life, am I becoming a different person?
- 11. Am I following the leading of the Holy Spirit in my work, family and life in general?
- 12. How am I doing right now spiritually, really?
II. Regaining Our First Love
Nevertheless I have this against you, you have left your first love. (Rev 2:7)
- "Love" is agapē, the self-giving love that Jesus and the apostles taught. This love is expressed in two ways: first, towards God, then, towards fellow human beings (Mark 12:28-31). They are linked, but love for God takes priority.
- "Abandoned" (ESV, NRSV), "forsaken" (NIV), "left" (KJV) is aphiēmi, "to move away, with implication of causing a separation, leave, depart from," to "give up, abandon."
Remember therefore from whence you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place – unless you repent. (Rev 2:5)
3 Ways We Can Respond