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DNA of a Dangerous Church Week 1: First things first

MESSAGE TITLE

First things first

sermon guide

This week we look at the letters Jesus Christ himself sent to churches in Asia Minor. We can learn a lot about what we’re calling “the DNA of a Dangerous Church” from the successes, failures, victories, and defeats of these early churches.

Have someone read Revelation 2:1-3.

The first letter was to Ephesus, a robust and influential church that had enjoyed having amazing pastors and leaders.

Have someone read Acts 19:1-9 and Ephesians 1:15.

What are some of the things we know about the city of Ephesus and the church there?

What good things did Jesus say characterized the church at Ephesus in his letter? Why is it necessary for a church to model each of these traits?

It easy to slip into a routine of serving Jesus without truly seeking Jesus. We can live for Jesus, and yet forget our love for Jesus.

How does your relationship with Christ now compare with what it was like when you first became a Christian?

What are the key differences, and what are some of the reasons you can think of for those changes?

Take turns reading Luke 14:15-23.

People made excuses at the last minute and did not attend. Drifting starts with one small step that leads to another. Sometimes we forget about those who have yet to experience the love of Jesus and focus on whether or not the church is meeting our needs. When we love Jesus, we will love what Jesus loves, and with Jesus it’s always about PEOPLE. Here are three signs that might point to someone losing their first love:

I drift into annoyance with the mission of Jesus’ church, rather than a passion for the mission of Jesus’ church.

I see Jesus as a concept to be studied rather than a personal relationship to nurture.

I talk myself into sitting on the bench.

Share with your group: would you say you are sitting the bench or actively engaged?

In Revelation 2:5, Jesus explained the remedy needed to recapture that first love: remember, repent, and return.

Remember how it felt when you were first saved, forgiven, set free, and you gained a new hope, new identity, new life.

Ask yourself, “Is Jesus still all the world to me?” If not, follow His instructions to remember the height from which you’ve fallen and repent.

Jesus instructed the Ephesian believers to go back and do the things they did at first. It’s more than remembering how you felt when you first came to love Jesus, but it’s doing the things that brought closeness between you and Him.

What are the consequences of not recapturing that first love if it has diminished? What’s hanging in the balance if we don’t fall back in love with Jesus? What’s wrong with just going through the motions?

Revelation 2:5b says, “If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.”

Jesus said, “If you don’t do this, I’ll put your light right out. I’ll stop working here.

That is what happened to the church in Ephesus. There is no church there today. The light of this once great church with godly leaders and rich history has been extinguished.

Application

Think about how you can guard against becoming complacent.

What changes are needed in your life to help you better love Christ and others?

prayer

Break into groups of 2-3 and pray that God would reveal to each of us where we are in danger of losing that first love. Pray for discernment and that we would remember, guard our hearts, and each be an active participant in God’s work.

Here are ways to pray this week, both personally and as a small group.

May our #1 passion at Eastside always been to love Jesus Christ.

May we always be known as a church that is first and foremost, head-over-heels in love with Jesus.

May we always be people who have our identity firmly established in Him. May our roots go deeply into Him, and may we grasp how high, how long, how wide, and how deep the love of God is for us.

May we be people who love to worship Him, give to Him, serve Him, obey Him, because we genuinely love HIM and are forever grateful to Him!!!

May we be men and women who stand firm, stand strong, who refuse to go with the flow, who refuse to quit or throw in the towel when life gets tough. We are motivated by nothing less than an unbridled passion and love for Jesus.

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