1. Our main idea for the past 8 weeks is to look at the Bible as one big Letter from Home.
a. It’s that deep emotion you feel when you go to the mailbox and there, with all the bills and junk mail, is a hand addressed envelope with a personal letter inside from someone you are close to.
The Bible is chock full of these messages,
coming in lots of shapes and sizes, in the style of the major section of the Bible it came from.
b. So we’ve also taken some time to learn the 8 major divisions of the Bible.
4 in the OT: Torah, History, Wisdom and Prophecy
4 in the NT: Gospel, Letters of Paul, Letters of others besides Paul, and, today’s section: Revelation.
2. Before we get to that, let’s go back to the mailbox. Imagine the letter waiting for you there has the name of your “first love” in the return address. Your first love or first best friend. Maybe you haven’t heard or thought of that person in years. And inside is a letter asking you to return to the way it was back then.
a. That may be an exciting or terrifying proposition. But one thing you may think is that there is just too much water under the bridge to go back and hope things could be the same again.
b. I’m here to tell you this situation isn’t hypothetical. One could say the whole Bible is a letter from God to you asking for exactly the same thing.
3. Rev. 2:4-5 is an example of this. Read
a. 1stPres has a mission summed up in the word LOVE1st, based on the passage 1 John 4:19 Read
b. The Greek words love and first,
agape and proton, are exactly the same in both verses.
c. Agape is the first-place love because it is unconditional and absolutely relational. It needs nothing more than its own existence to make the strongest connection.
But the people described in this letter have abandoned God’s love, and the word for ‘abandon’ is a strong one – an intentional giving up, breaking up, cutting off.
d. They decided something or someone else was better and went for that instead.
Like an undefeated baseball team drawing no fans to the stadium because they’re cheering for the 2nd place team 20 games back; or going into the shoe store and finding everything has been bought but the most flawless and beautiful pair, priced at $0.
It defies logic, but that’s what has happened.
4. But if God is beckoning you to return, how do you do that when there’s a lot of water under the bridge? Reread Rev. 2:4-5 (above)
a. 2:5 gives three answers: remember, repent, remain.
Rather than go into detailed descriptions of all 3, I’ll let you do the work.
Watch this dramatic video of a ‘dance story’ and see if you can see all 3: remember, repent and remain.
Watch this powerful video. https://youtu.be/byheJ480LYA
b. Jesus told a story about a young adult son who abandoned his family by demanding his inheritance while his father was still alive and then blew it all by living it up for awhile.
He wound up living with pigs, eating their food. And he remembered what it was like
to be under the care and protection of his father.
He returned, completely humbled and ready for whatever path his father had for him, as long as it wasn’t the old one.
When he returned, his father’s welcome and love was so unconditional and overwhelming he found no reason to leave ever again.
5. I’m not a huge Harry Potter fan, but I remember that in the first book Harry’s uncle and aunt hid the letters of acceptance he was to receive from Hogwarts School. So by magic they came relentlessly, from all directions and by every means until he finally got one and read it.
a. My friends, God is pouring letters out into world, into your life, detailing His readiness to let the first love be reborn, what lengths he has gone to make it so, and the full extent of what that love can do every day when it is your first love.
b. I can point you to no better example than his best letter from home – Jesus himself.
c. How will you respond?