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Have You Left Your First Love?

April 4th, 2014 | 4 Comments | Posted in Miscellaneous
Kenneth Berding

Dr. Kenneth Berding

Yesterday I watched a challenging message given by Kenneth Berding–a professor at Talbot School of Theology–at a “Day of Prayer” service held at Biola University back in Fall 2010.

Though Dr. Berding’s message is now a few years old, its challenge is still relevant. And it is especially relevant for those of us Christians whose ministry is in the area of discerning false teaching.

Dr. Berding opens his message by reading the following passage from the book of Revelation. In this passage, Jesus is telling the members of the first-century church in Ephesus what they are doing right and what they are doing wrong. Think of Jesus’ words like a performance review, when an employer tells an employee what she is doing well and in which areas she needs to improve. Except this performance review is for a church.

‘I know your deeds and your toil and perseverance, and that you cannot tolerate 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 perseverance and have endured for My name’s sake, and have not grown weary. But I have this against you, 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 its place—unless you repent. (Revelation 2:2-5).

Dr. Berding points out the things the church in Ephesus was doing well. One thing was they knew correct doctrine so well that they could discern if an apostle was a true apostle or an imposter. Yet–despite their diligence to detect false apostles–they were falling short.

How were they falling short?

They had left their first love. In other words, they had lost the passionate love for Jesus they had earlier in their relationship with him.

Dr. Berding asks the students to assess their own walk with God by answering four questions.

1. Is a passionate love for God something that God wants from you?

2. Is it enough that you do the right stuff? In other words, is it enough to be faithful to God, work for Him, and know sound doctrine?

3. What is the direction of your affections? In other words, does your heart gravitate toward God or something else?

4. If your love for God is growing cold and you want to renew a passion for God, what do you do?

Dr. Berding’s message is a good reminder. As we assess the teachings of others, we must always be careful to assess ourselves. And, as we assess ourselves, we must remember that having correct doctrine–though important–is not enough. God wants to be our first love.

— Holly Pivec

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4 Responses to “Have You Left Your First Love?”

  1. J.waddell Says:

    This is a good reminder indeed. I would suggest that in order for us to love him, we must first recognise that he first loved us (This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us… 1 John 4:10). If we try to love him, without first receiving his extraordinary love, then we will simply be giving out of emptiness Which will lead to striving and burn out. The essence of loving God comes from our understanding and experience of hIs love. But it is certainly more important than sound doctrine; the greatest commandment makes this very clear.

  2. Theresa Says:

    Thank you for this great message. SUCH a great reminder. God bless, love your ministry! Theresa

  3. Lindsay Smail Says:

    Proper love of God is impossible without sound doctrine, and sound doctrine is not possible without our love for God.  The Bible never puts these two in opposition with each other.

  4. Theresa Says:


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