• Jacquey Newton

Our First Love

Jesus           Is a real and living person                                                    Who can be                                                                         Known,                                                                         Loved                                                                         Experienced                                                                         Enthroned and                                                                         Embodied. Let us serve Him out of an enraptured heart that has been captivated by His irresistible, beauty and unfathomable love. “But I have this complaint against you. You don’t love me or each other as you did at first!”                                                                                               Rev 2:4 Jesus praised the church in Ephesus for resisting the lure of empire and for its vigilance in brandishing numerous causes. Yet in the midst of lavish praise for the church’s persistence and perseverance, the Ephesian Christians were rebuked for abandoning the love they had at first.  In their zeal for theological purity and social relevance, they lost the “first love” – the sovereign Jesus Christ and the supremacy of loving Him. Has the Church lost its “first love”? Has our church community lost its “first love”? Have you lost your “first love”? Maybe during this pandemic we, the Church, our church community and each one of us, have an opportunity to consider this question. Do you want a fresh glimpse of Jesus? Do you want to connect to Jesus? Get a fresh glimpse of your incomparable Jesus and you will be emboldened. Connect with Him who is Life, and you will be empowered to deny yourself, live beyond yourself and live outside yourself. Lay hold of Jesus. The “secret” is out. That which was hidden has now been revealed: “Christ in you the Hope of Glory”                                                           Col 1:27 The secret of the Secret is that to find your life, to live the best life you can live, you have to give your life away. Jesus said: “You want to find your life? Then lose it.” Paraphrased from Luke 9:24  "If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it."                                                                     Luke 9:24 "You love him even though you have never seen him. Though you do not see him now, you trust him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy."                                                                                                                       1 Peter 1:8 "So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image."                                        2 Cor 3:18

A Glimpse of Jesus Recently, a friend was curious to learn more about Jesus Christ and Christianity.  She knew a little, but not a lot.  She had grown up in a religious country, but not one in which you could freely explore Christianity or follow Christ.  We had begun a friendship and she began to ask me questions about Jesus. So we started reading the gospel of John together, just to see what we could learn about Jesus. As we met and read John, we observed two things. We observed what Jesus was like and how people responded to Him.  It was pretty simple. As we read John slowly, bit by bit, we saw how people, all types of people, came to Jesus. They drew near to Him and brought with them their burdens, their hardships and difficulties. We also noticed in story after story, how Jesus visited and cared for the outcast, the stranger, the forsaken, the sick, the discouraged, the hopeless, the lost, the curious, the uncertain, and the unclean. Jesus was this kind of person, one whom others were drawn to. Seeing this, made us want to discover more.

The impact of a “glimpse” In the beginning of John, a few stories about Jesus stood out to my friend. In one story, Jesus arrives alone at a well and a Samaritan woman is also there to draw water.  Many, of course, know this story in John 4. If you read it with “fresh” eyes, it is very intriguing. He speaks with her, even though in His religious world he should not be associating with her. She is an outsider (a Samaritan), a woman, and has had many “husbands.”  Jesus, of course knows all of this, and He still interacts with her.  Jesus, knowing her need, says this, “Everyone who drinks of this water (from the well) will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.”  Jesus tells her that He offers her water that is truly satisfying and gives true life. After interacting with Jesus, she is amazed that He knows everything about her and that He offers her this water.  This woman’s encounter with Him changes her and compels her to tell other Samaritans about this Jesus. Soon others begin to come, desiring to find out about Jesus, because of her story. Seeing, or catching just a glimpse of, what Jesus is like moves us, and even changes us.  One sip of this living water, one glimpse of Him, makes us want more. My friend, after seeing Jesus’ interaction with this woman at the well, and then with other outcasts (like the woman caught in adultery), was amazed.  She paused, and then looked at me and said, “I like Jesus.” That is what even a glimpse of Jesus, of who He really is, does in a life. A glimpse, makes me want more. Jesus gives us more. Jesus says in John 4:9,                                                   “He who has seen Me has seen the Father…” Jesus shows us what our Father in heaven is like.  I think, as we get even just a glimpse of what He is like, we want more.  I think if we could give others just a glimpse of what He is like, they also will want more.  I want my life to be this kind of life, that gives glimpses of Jesus to others.  How do we allow God’s ways to touch our lives and then our lives to pour out to others? Begin reading through the gospel of John, a little at a time. Think of it as a movie, divided into many scenes, and just read one scene at a time. Whether you have read it many times, studied it thoroughly on your own, or this is your first time, ask yourself these questions: What is Jesus like? How do people respond to Him? How can we overflow to others? Who is someone you could read through John with and look at these things questions together? What is Jesus like? How do people respond to Him?

Verse: John 4:13,14 “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.”

Let us pray Jesus, you want to be known, to be loved, To be experienced, To be worshipped, enthroned and Embodied in our lives. Refill each one of us afresh, as we read your word this week, with awe and wonder and who you are. Take our hearts captive, Captivate our hearts with Your irresistible, beauty and unfathomable love, so that we may serve You May we each choose to surrender to You and May You live in through and with us.  Amen

Based on "Jesus Manifesto" by Frank Viola and Leonard Sweet and This weeks YouTube link with songs for worship is available here Have a blessed week Jacquey

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Living Waters Lynton United Reformed Church
Lee Road, Lynton, Devon EX35 6BS