Our First Love
By Pastor Mark Downey
March 18, 2012
Scripture Reading: Revelation 2:1-4
What’s eating you? We’ll answer that question shortly. The exact phrase “our first love” is not found in the Bible, but it is generally recognized to be from Rev. 2:4, “Nevertheless I have somewhat against you, because you have left your first love.” In other words, when God called His people and said I want you for My bride and at first they were ecstatic, but later became less than excited, there was a problem. One has only to look at so many variants of re-formed churches, of splintering and denominationalism, whose original zeal had long departed and among whom so much declined, that an attempt to reinvent the warmth and excitement they once enjoyed can be typified with the church at Ephesus and for the last 2000 years can rear its ugly head anywhere and at anytime. We constantly hear of revival, but more often than not it is nothing more than changing their reformation from the hands of the Divine Potter to the hands of spiritual paramedics with good intentions forming the clay in their own image of a revived vessel. I recently listened to a sermon online titled ‘Returning to Our First Love,’ which means whatever they first loved, they had moved away from it. When I got married, people said I had a smile on my face from cheek to cheek… for the whole day! And in typical fashion we had a beautiful honeymoon in Hawaii. To this day, I have the same feelings I had on my wedding day, but after our first year of marriage, I would sometimes be remiss in opening a door for my bride or lapse in giving her a bouquet of flowers and she would say, “Oh, is the honeymoon over?” And I would say, “Nooo, our love grows with each passing day; it just keeps getting better and better.”
Matthew Henry had this commentary on today’s Scripture reading from Rev. 2:4; he said,
“The church of Ephesus is commended for diligence in duty. Christ keeps an account of every hour's work his servants do for him, and their labour shall not be in vain in the Lord. But it is not enough that we are diligent; there must be bearing patience, and there must be waiting patience. And though we must show all meekness to all men, yet we must show just zeal against their sins. The sin Christ charged this church with, is not the having left and forsaken the object of love, but having lost the fervent degree of it that at first appeared. Christ is displeased with his people, when he sees them grow remiss and cold toward him. Surely this mention in Scripture, of Christians forsaking their first love, reproves those who speak of it with carelessness, and thus try to excuse indifference and sloth in themselves and others; our Saviour considers this indifference as sinful. They must repent: they must be grieved and ashamed for their sinful declining, and humbly confess it in the sight of God. They must endeavour to recover their first zeal, tenderness, and seriousness, and must pray as earnestly, and watch as diligently, as when they first set out in the ways of God. If the presence of Christ's grace and Spirit is slighted, we may expect the presence of his displeasure. Encouraging mention is made of what was good among them. Indifference as to truth and error, good and evil, may be called charity and meekness, but it is not so; and it is displeasing to Christ. The Christian life is a warfare against sin.”
I might add that the number of people in a church or the name of a church is not the point; it never is. What is important here is the quality of each church member’s relationship with Christ. Pastor Elmore started this church with the solemn vow that he would keep the doors open as long as one person showed up; not that he would close the doors if he didn’t get a packed house. We’re here for that one lost sheep that has strayed from the fold and we don’t have to proselytize goats, thinking we’re ‘fishers on men,’ because God will find the lost and put them where they need to be. O ye men of little faith, it is God who scatters and gathers, not us. If people are leaving the modern church, it’s because the Law that God has put in their heart cannot find our first love.
Over the years I have posed a few critical questions and the first one was: how well do you know God? The second one came a few years later and I asked: how well does God know you? But the most recent epiphany is: how does one know the will of God? The last one is the most easily answered and is the rudiment of our first love. It’s one of the most basic questions a Christian can ask of themselves. The answer is found in prayer and study. These two things enhance our relationship with God to receive the Word directly from Him. Studying tells us the Word revealed from the body of Christ from history and gives us the context of revelation, which is a check and balance for being on the right path. Although God does not change, He does not do precisely the same thing with any two people; that’s how special you are to Him. This allows us to find our place within the greater context of the Kingdom of God. Those who are too lazy to open the Bible and read it, lack this balance and focus. Those who don’t pray lack personal revelation and can’t be expected to know how to be led by the Holy Spirit in their own special way.
This begs the question: what is our first love? The most common reply would be God or Jesus, but with thousands of denominations and some not so godly or Christlike, we have to ask which God, which Christ? This may come as a surprise to some, but our first love is Christian Identity, which is the closest thing to pure unadulterated Christianity that you will find in the world today and therefore our love of God’s will through the mission and message of Jesus Christ. Our movement is not a denomination, but it is made up of churches or more accurately ‘ecclesias,’ which means the called out one’s of God. The context of this dynamic declaration is exclusively racial in nature. Let’s allow the Word of God to explain itself, as far as the people being called and permanently fixed upon by God; none are called, but whom God purposed to call; those who are called can assign no other reason of it than the will of God; and no other reason can be given why others are not called; the time when, the place where, the means whereby our people are called, are all settled and determined by the will, and according to the purpose of God. In Romans 8:28-34 we read,
“But we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose. Because whom he has foreknown, he has also predestinated to be conformed to the image of his Son, so that he should be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how will He not freely gives us all things with Him? Who shall bring an accusation against the chosen of God? God declares them free from guilt. Who is condemning? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.”
We just wouldn’t love any god that loves everybody would we? Well, some do, but we don’t. Regrettably, that is the first love of many in Christendom today. It boggles the mind how some White people can discover the Christian Identity truth, which truly reveals a love like no other, they embrace it for a season and then return to their previous church in Ephesus. The majority of brethren that I’ve had the pleasure of knowing, that came to Christ through Christian identity, had an intense awakening that was the most profound experience they’ve ever had in their life, whether they had any previous notions of Christianity or not. The most common inclination, as happened to me also, was to spread the Good News to friends and family. And then comes the rude awakening that no matter how spectacular the Gospel revelation is, these other people aren’t interested. Their ‘ho hum’ nonchalance is a fire extinguisher and it can be disappointing and disheartening, but I realized over time that all we have to do is plant the seed and set the example and God would do the rest. There’s no amount of preaching or teaching that will bring someone to Christ. It is Christ alone who calls and chooses. An extreme example of this is Paul on the road to Damascus. Why would any minister think they can do what only God does? John 15:16 is quite clear, “You have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you.”
It’s been my observation that the parable of the sower is keenly identified with the four types of believers whose first love is tested. We see some seeds fell by the wayside and fowls came and devoured them up; some fell upon stony places, couldn’t take root and withered; some fell among thorns and were choked; and some fell into fertile ground and brought forth a bounty of fruit. Some people become discouraged because their expectations are not the same as God’s will and their first love of our movement orchestrated by God waxes cold. “And many false prophets [teachers] shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity [lawlessness] shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure to the end, the same shall be saved” Mt. 24:11-13.
Paul wrote about the young widows who had been condemned in I Tim. 5:12, because they had cast off their first faith or the love they initially had as Christians. This epistle was written under Domitian, when thirty years had elapsed since Paul had written his Epistle to them. Their warmth of love had given place to a lifeless orthodoxy. Paul knew that even if he had the gift to speak with men and angels, to prophesy, to understand the mysteries and have all knowledge, and faith that moved mountains, if he gave all his goods to feed the poor, if he was burned at the stake… it was all for nothing if he didn’t have his first love (I Cor. 13:1-3).
The Bible is a lot of things to a lot of people, but perhaps one of the most understated aspects of the Living Word is that it is a love story. In fact, to the White race it is the greatest love story ever told. Unfortunately, it is not told often enough or to the right people in the right way. “This is the book of the generations of Adam” Gen. 5:1. Many of us have come to the saving knowledge of the truth of our Kinsman Redeemer, Jesus Christ, through the Christian Identity message, whether it was through history, archaeology, heraldry, law or other studies. Jesus directs our paths as He did the Disciples, “And He said to them, Therefore every scribe who has become a disciple of the kingdom of heaven is like a head of a household, who brings forth out of his treasure things new and old” Mt. 13:52. So when God reveals something brand new to us that we’ve never heard before, we should think of it as something priceless, a treasure to behold. By omission, the churches have lost sight of this Bible love story. Oh, the churches preach about love alright, the congregations feel warm and fuzzy, but it’s far removed from what God has to say about it. If you do not know the kind of love that conquers, that Paul spoke of whereby the depth, height and width of anything could not separate us from the love of God, then you will never know the overwhelming racial focus from whence every word that proceeds from the mouth of God may be in your life. Every believer in Christ can parrot the line that, “While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8), but if you do not know who the “us” is, you do not know the full measure of God’s love, which Paul spoke of.
Christian Identity is not only an ecclesia, but it is also evangelism i.e. we go outside the four walls of a church. We plant the seeds of love and hope. I recently came across a story that touched my heart that really captures the persistence of our affections towards our Savior: Every Sunday afternoon, after the morning service at the church, the Pastor and his eleven year old son would go out into their town and hand out gospel tracts. This particular Sunday afternoon, as it came time for the Pastor and his son to go to the streets with their tracts, it was very cold outside, as well as pouring rain. The boy bundled up in his warmest and driest clothes and said, 'OK, dad, I'm ready.' His Pastor dad asked, 'Ready for what?' 'Dad, it's time we gather our tracts together and go out.' Dad responds, 'Son, it's very cold outside and it's pouring rain.' The boy gives his dad a surprised look, asking, 'But Dad, aren't people still going to be lost, even though it's raining?' Dad answers, 'Son, I am not going out in this weather.' Despondently, the boy asks, 'Dad, can I go? Please?' His father hesitated for a moment then said, 'Son, you can go. Here are the tracts, but be careful son.' 'Thanks Dad!'
And with that, he was off and out into the rain. This eleven year old boy walked the streets of the town going door to door and handing everybody he met in the street a gospel tract. After two hours of walking in the rain, he was soaked from the bone-chilling wetness and down to his very last tract. He stopped on a corner and looked for someone to hand a tract to, but the streets were totally deserted. Then he turned toward the first home he saw and started up the sidewalk to the front door and rang the doorbell. He rang the bell, but nobody answered. He rang it again and again, but still no one answered. He waited but still no answer. Finally, this eleven year old trooper turned to leave, but something stopped him. Again, he turned to the door and rang the bell and knocked loudly on the door with his fist. He waited, something holding him there on the front porch! He rang again and this time the door slowly opened. Standing in the doorway was a very sad-looking elderly lady. She softly asked, 'What can I do for you, son?' With radiant eyes and a smile that lit up her world, this little boy said, 'Ma'am, I'm sorry if I disturbed you, but I just want to tell you that ‘Jesus really does love you’ and I came to give you my very last gospel tract, which will tell you all about Jesus and His great love.' With that, he handed her his last tract and turned to leave. She called to him as he departed. 'Thank you son! And God bless you!'
Well, the following Sunday morning in church the Pastor Dad was in the pulpit. As the service began, he asked, 'Does anybody have testimony or want to say anything?' Slowly, in the back row of the church, an elderly lady stood to her feet. As she began to speak, a look of glorious radiance came from her face, 'No one in this church knows me. I've never been here before. You see, before last Sunday I was not a Christian. My husband passed on some time ago, leaving me totally alone in this world. Last Sunday, being a particularly cold and rainy day, it was even more so in my heart that I came to the end of the line where I no longer had any hope or will to live. So I took a rope and a chair and ascended the stairway into the attic of my home. I fastened the rope securely to a rafter in the roof, then stood on the chair and fastened the other end of the rope around my neck. Standing on that chair, so lonely and broken-hearted I was about to leap off, when suddenly the loud ringing of my doorbell downstairs startled me. I thought, 'I'll wait a minute, and whoever it is will go away.' I waited and waited, but the ringing doorbell seemed to get louder and more insistent, and then the person ringing also started knocking loudly. I thought to myself again, 'Who on earth could this be? Nobody ever rings my bell or comes to see me.' I loosened the rope from my neck and started for the front door, all the while the bell rang louder and louder.
When I opened the door and looked I could hardly believe my eyes, for there on my front porch was the most radiant and angelic little boy I had ever seen in my life. His smile, oh, I could never describe it to you! The words that came from his mouth caused my heart that had long been dead, to leap to life as he exclaimed with a cherub-like voice, 'Ma'am, I just came to tell you that ‘Jesus really does love you .' Then he gave me this gospel tract that I now hold in my hand. As the little angel disappeared back out into the cold and rain, I closed my door and read slowly every word of this gospel tract. Then I went up to my attic to get my rope and chair. I wouldn't be needing them anymore. You see, I am now a happy child of the King. Since the address of your church was on the back of this gospel tract, I have come here to personally say thank you to God's little angel who came just in the nick of time and by so doing, spared my soul from being lost forever.'
There was not a dry eye in the church. And as shouts of praise and honor to the King resounded off the very rafters of the building, the Pastor Dad descended from the pulpit to the front pew where the little angel was seated. He took his son in his arms and sobbed uncontrollably. Probably no church has had a more glorious moment, and probably the heavens have never seen a papa that was more filled with love & honor for his son.... well, except maybe for One.
What is it that the churches aren’t telling White people? Paul told us in his letter to the British royalty held captive in Rome, who were Christians, “What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, has found?” (Romans 4:1). Paul wasn’t spiritualizing Abraham so that later generations could include other races. Paul was speaking about our literal racial descendant, Abraham. Stop and think about this for a moment: where did we get this capacity to love? Is it not from our Creator? And haven’t we been created in His image? Our ability to love comes from the source of love. Let us ponder the fact that God choose a particular race of people as His own possession exclusively apart from all other races in the world. Ask yourself: why did God make all of His covenants with the same race of people and in the New Testament made a New Covenant again with the same race of people? The first reason is that God loved Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Deut. 4:37 says, “Because He loved thy fathers, therefore He chose their seed [race] after them.” There was no other race on the planet at that time or now that God loved. “Only the Lord had a delight in thy fathers to love them, and He chose their seed after them, even you above all people, as it is this day” Deut. 10:15. We are the descendants and only recipients of God’s love. This is not just a romantic sentiment, this is the Law of God and if anybody dares to change or transgress this Law and include others, it is sin. “Sin is the transgression of the law” (I John 3:4) and “This is the love of God, that we keep His commandments” (I John 5:3). If you depart from this Law, you have left your first love. You’ve fallen away from the Christian Identity Truth and instead of heeding God’s admonition to “Come out of her, My people” (Rev. 18:4), meaning the race of Israel coming out of that great whore of Babylon; and that just about covers any institution of man whether it’s atheism or the almighty Roman Catholic Church that promotes whoring after the strange gods of universalism, you are heeding or leaning unto thine own understanding.
The second reason God chose us is because He gave us His oath:
“For you are a holy people unto the Lord your God: the Lord your God has chosen you to be a special people unto Himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth. The Lord did not set His love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people: But because the Lord loved you, and because He would keep the oath which He had sworn unto your fathers, hath the Lord brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondmen, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt” Deut. 7:6-8.
The Lord will likewise deliver us out of the house of Rothschild, from the hand of Obama king of Kenya, if we were to be God’s wife again, who hath made herself ready for the marriage supper of the Lamb. But, there are pulpit pimps who will not put away their strange wives, arrayed in the filthy garments of universalism; for the soiled and dark garments are the unrighteousness of false saints.
Here’s the warning, if we disobey, if we forsake the love of God: a surety of despair, a troubled soul and the curses of a jealous lover.
“And it shall come to pass, that as the Lord rejoiced over you to do you good, and to multiply you; so the Lord will rejoice over you to destroy you, and to bring you to nothing; and you shall be plucked from off the land where you go to possess it. And the Lord shall scatter you among all people, from the one end of the earth even unto the other; and there you shall serve other gods, which neither you nor your fathers have known, even wood and stone. And among these nations shall you find no ease, neither shall the sole of your foot have rest; but the Lord shall give you there a trembling heart, and failing of eyes, and sorrow of mind; And your life shall hang in doubt before you; and you shall fear day and night, and shall have no assurance of your life” Deut. 28:63-66.
Something to look forward to if you don’t believe every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.
However, God’s love for the White race gave the promise of restoration between God and Israel through the New Covenant. What the physical descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob could not do to justify themselves before God or be reconciled back to Him as His people, because of their sins and rebellion, the New Covenant would remedy. What a fantastic hope the 12 tribes must have had from Jeremiah’s prophecy, that one day in the future, God would not only take away their sin, but put His Law within them and write it on their heart (Jer. 31:33). In place of the written Law of God through Moses on tablets of stone, God would write His Law on their heart.
We’re talking about a supernatural application here, whether you believe in that sort of thing or not. Most churches don’t, because our natural racism would not be politically correct. But, the proof is in the history of Christianity. When Mary was pregnant with the Messiah, the angel Gabriel explained to her the significance of the child she was bearing, who He would be and what He would do. Luke 1:32-33 informs us that, “He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever; and His kingdom will have no end.” The “house of Jacob” meant all of Israel, the whole of the White race. Mary, who had yet to give birth, spoke by the Holy Spirit as to why this miracle of God was happening, the first advent of Jesus. She said, "He has given help to Israel His servant, In remembrance of His mercy, As He spoke to our fathers, To Abraham and his descendants forever" Luke 1:54-55. Was the reason Christ came to the earth to help the whole world? No, it was to help Israel then and now. Christ has helped the White race for the last 2000 years because of His covenant with Abraham, affirmed by oath.
But, it’s just not that. His love is symbiotic, which is to say a close relationship between Adamkind and God that is mutually benevolent. “We love him, because He first loved us” I John 4:19. However, it’s not just reciprocation for favors or even unmerited favors; that would just be selfishness; our genuine love comes from the infinite perfection of His divine character. He can rightly say, “I am the Lord, and there is none else, there is no God beside Me” Isaiah 45:5. The atheist will always be confused if they don’t know the difference between faith and opinion. We have our faith because of love and love is not an opinion. God’s love to us is prior to our love to Him, it is before the foundation of the world and beyond that, the promise of eternal life. The love of God in Christ, in the hearts of Christians from the Spirit of adoption, is the great proof of conviction and conversion that we are His children and as we grow in His love and grace we will become the sons of God. “In earnest anticipation the creation awaits the revelation of the sons of God” (Romans 8:19), whereby our first love becomes a permanent fixture in the Kingdom age to come. If you’ve gotten a taste of God’s love, this is the down payment of the Holy Spirit our people got at Pentecost, hungering for the fulfillment of being delivered from the bondage of corruption and given a mentality of separation from evil. I am in awe at the awesome power of God’s love for His people and words alone cannot express the gravity of my consciousness in communion with what He has done, what He is doing and what He will do.
Our first love was not when we first remember Sunday school as a child; not when we thought we were ‘born again’ and ‘saved’ in the judeo church; not when we participated in a Billy Graham styled ‘altar call’ and choose to be a Christian… NO! it wasn’t any of these! Our first love was when God choose to call us and we were made aware of our divine destiny; the scales fell from our eyes and our racial consciousness was unlocked. God gave us a key to walk through the door (Jesus said, “I am the door” John 10:9) into His marvelous Light. “The light shines in darkness, and the darkness comprehends it not” John 1:5. If our people knew that ‘born again’ does not mean any biped who chooses God and had John 3:3 been properly translated, it would have read, “…except a man be conceived from above…”, which meant that unless a person is begotten of the seedline or race that comes from the original Creation or to be even more specifically designated as, “Israel is My son, even My firstborn [Adam]” (Ex.4:22), then our people would have the faculties to perceive what the Kingdom of God is all about. Why is God’s love to the exclusion of other races? Because we are ‘begotten from above.’ When our people discover who they are and the disposition of the other races, our unity in Christ will be irresistible. And the enemy knows this better than our kindred and explains their antichrist unity of forced integration, of miscegenated churches and the placement of a negro in the White House.
The 1st century Christians were irresistibly attracted to the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, because the same Christian Identity message we preach today was given to them. Jesus said He only came for the lost sheep of the house of Israel and there they were, White people, being sought by the Disciples and Apostles. This sermon takes a look at the Ephesians in Ephesus, one of the seven churches in Asia Minor cited by John in his Book of Revelation. Ephesus was a densely populated and commercial city famous for its Temple of Diana (one of the Seven Wonders of the World) and was rife with paganism and immorality. Paul ministered and lived there for several years and he became embroiled in a dispute with artisans, whose livelihood depended on selling carved idols of the local gods. The Ephesians were the nations or gentiles who were dispersed from the Assyrian captivity and lost their Israelite identity. They didn’t know their race was important to a God or Messiah in the Middle East, but they were. And all of the sudden their lives were raised to a new level. They would hear the Gospel message just as Jesus said, “My sheep hear My voice.”
The church at Ephesus learned that the death of Christ on the Cross did not set men free to sin, but set them free from the power of sin, so that we may attain to the image of God and the fullness of the stature of Christ. Paul confirms this concept in Galatians 5:13-15, “For you, brethren, have been called to be free, only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh; but through love you serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one statement, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. But if you bite and eat one another up, watch lest by one another you are consumed.” The Ephesians’ ancestors and ours had a history of rebellion against God. They had been driven into captivity 700 years earlier because they rejected the Law of God. But now that these Israelites were discovering who they were and began to have faith in Christ, they were repudiating the lifestyle of their fathers and hearing the Word of God. Ancient Israel became spiritually blind and only repentance could heal that blindness. Ultimate blindness is when we don’t even know we’re blind. Whenever we discard the Law, a veil covers our eyes.
Jesus complimented the many good deeds of the church at Ephesus; they worked very hard; they overcame many hardships by faith; they kept their church safe from false teachers. In the course of exposing and dealing with contentious elements, the growing divisions, perhaps a precursor to denominationalism, the fighting for the truth took its toll on their first burning love. To love God meant to love others as themselves. If they left their first love, it meant they loved something other than God and their own race. They lost their racial focus and mission in life. Rev. 2:5 says, “Be mindful, therefore, of the height from which you have fallen. Repent at once, and act as you did at first.” They forgot to love God on a daily basis to renew it and keep it as fresh as the first day they loved God with all their heart. My wife and I have a habit of asking each other every day, “Have I told you I love you yet today?” and it always sparks a countenance of joy.
The Ephesians left their first love. This was the charge against them and it’s the same challenge for us today. We can take the Lord for granted and abandon our agape love for our kindred. Every day we’re pulled in so many wrong directions and we feel the world seducing our affections. Our zeal for truth is not enough. We can do all of the right things for the right reasons, but if we don’t have the right heart - we don’t have the right Spirit. Why are men given up to strong delusion or negative influence? Because, “They received not the love of truth” II Thes. 2:11. And if I may apply Jesus’ own words in this regard, “I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” The seed in the parable of the sower is the Word and in several instances it had no root and fell away. Those who don’t have the love of God rooted in their heart will fall away in times of trial and distress. Seed also suggests the race of His followers, “He that soweth good seed is the Son of Man” (Mt. 13:37), which means He is the Creator of Adamkind. This good seed continues to grow in the world every time a White child is born.
This sermon started by asking ‘what’s eating you?’ And we just read Galatians 5:15 where brethren are biting and eating each other up… being consumed! What’s consuming your time, your thoughts, your desires? What’s devouring your inner soul? Where is your love for God and God’s love for you these days? When a church like Ephesus loses their first love, they have lost their taste, as salt that loses its savor; they find no sweetness in God’s promises. It is a sign of spiritual consumption. “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that you may grow; if you have tasted that the Lord is gracious” I Peter 2:2-3. The Ephesians lost their appetite. There was a time when Christians did “Hunger and thirst after righteousness” (Mt. 5:6); they had their mind focused on the grace of the Spirit, the blood of the Cross, the light of God’s countenance and they had a longing for the Divine Law as a hungry man coming to a feast.
Men and brethren what shall we do to keep the fire of our love explosive, so that it doesn’t fizzle out? Love, like a fireplace, is ready to go out if it’s neglected. The metaphor of a garden puts forth the idea that tender loving care will yield much fruit. The Kingdom of God is going to restore the Garden of Eden, the idea of Paradise. “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” Romans 10:17. Faith is the root and love is the flower that grows upon it; the seed with light and water are the Word of God to nourish its growth. How do we keep our love of life from withering and spoiling the garden? Galatians 5:6 declares that rites and ceremonies will avail you nothing; it is rather “Faith acting through love.” Make your earnest prayer to God, that He will give you a heart of faith to love Him. He will give it to you.
The strings of a Stradivarius being slack can never make the Cadillac of violins sound good. When men grow slack in their worship, they pray as if nothing has been said and God doesn’t want to hear dead music. Whether it’s a musical movement within a great symphony or a movement of God, such as the Christian Identity movement, there can be no harmony or divine resonance with God without a love for the purest motives to produce a joyful noise unto the Lord. You can hear love in music, you can see love in art, you can feel love in worship. Love makes us grieve for sin; it makes us cheerful in God; it’s like oil to the wheel; it quickens us in God’s service. Without the oil of happiness, we squeak and whine and languish in a prison of our own making. But love overcomes grief and failures. Be of good cheer for Jesus has shown us how to overcome the world.
It really comes back to the first instruction that James gave in 1:2, "Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials." One can hardly be joyful in the midst of trials unless one has some grasp of the sovereignty of God. Certainly James understood that all such trials would work out for their good, as Paul says in Romans 8:28. We are indeed blessed that the love of God is sovereign above all things, not so that He might be blamed in a negative manner, but so that we can have faith that nothing can happen to us that can take God by surprise or that is beyond His power to control. Our first love, therefore, gives us the gift that our trust and confidence in Him will be with us for eternity. Our love for God is not a job, it’s an adventure.