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Posts tagged ‘First love’

Why Did Jesus Come?

Growing up in a Christian home, spending countless hours in church services and Sunday school classes, I listened to many sermons and lessons on why Jesus came to earth and died on a cross. Pretty much the central theme to them all was that my sin was the reason Jesus came. It was man’s sin that was the focus or driving force that incited Jesus to come; our sin was what forced Him to the cross. Now that sounds legit, Jesus did come and He did voluntarily lay down His life and died on a cross for our sins. It is also true that if man had not sinned Jesus wouldn’t have had to come as a man and He definitely wouldn’t have had to lay down His life. Even though it is the truth, was it His motivating factor? Was sin the reason Jesus made the decision to come?

The latter part of 1998 and early 1999 I began having encounters with God where He began teaching me who He was. I began to understand His true nature. One of the earliest and most significant aspects of His nature He began to teach me was that He is love and that everything He does is done through and motivated by love. That is why John 3:16 says:

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

Many who quote John 3:16 or use it in a sermon tend to put the emphasis on believing in Christ and having everlasting life. Again, although that is true, that is not the central point of the verse. The central point is that God so loved. It was love that motivated Jesus to come not sin, and it’s this motivational love, or first love, that Jesus and speaks of in scripture. In Revelation 2:4 Jesus, speaking to the church in Ephesus, says:

 Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love.


I can remember the countless sermons and lessons that I listened to about how the church of Ephesus had lost their first love; how they no longer loved Jesus the way they had in the beginning. These teachings often left me wondering if I too had lost my first love. I would ask myself, “Do I still love Jesus enough”? And after a time of quite introspection, focusing more and more on my shortcomings, my answer would always be a resounding “NO”, followed by a time of fear and condemnation. This is the way I believed, this is the cycle of my relationship with Jesus until the day I felt Holy Spirit ask me a question. Now I say felt because I did not hear the words but felt the question rise up from deep within me. He said, “Demanding a level of love and devotion, is that really love?”

I had to think about it for a while. As I pondered the question I began to wonder what kind of person would require you to love them at a certain level or you would be punished. To me, that sounds like a person who has some real self-esteem issues. Someone who isn’t sure people would love them if given the choice not to. So they put stringent regulations demanding love in order to be sure He would be loved. The truth is, any love that is demonstrated out of requirement is not love at all. So if Jesus isn’t talking about a level of emotion or love in Revelation 2:4 then what is this “first love” He mentions? What if the “first love” He mentioned is more description of when the love was than a level of love.

So I began to seeking, trying to find the earliest point in history where scripture mentions love. If I could find the first time in history where love is mentioned and see what was going on then I’d know what first love is, and I could then make sure I’d never loose it like the church in Ephesus. Then one day I found it, in John 17 Jesus talks about a love He and the Father shared before the foundation of the earth. That is a love that was even before the fall, before man was created, even before the earth was created. That has to be first love. So starting in verse 23 it says:

 I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.

24 “Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.

So Jesus is praying for all those who will believe throughout history will believe; that’s you and me! He then goes on and mentions that He desires that the world knows that God the Father loves us just like He loves Jesus. Then in verse 25 He goes even further and prays that we would understand that the same love that Father God has for Jesus is in us! That’s right, IN us!

Now I knew that we have the love of God, the love He had for Jesus before the foundation of the earth, in us; so what does that look like and what does that mean? What was it like before the foundation of the earth?


In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.

In John 1 we are given a picture of Jesus, the Word, with God. Now that word with in Greek is the word “pros” which means:

properly, motion towards to “interface with presumed contact and reaction

A few years ago I had the honor to go minister in New Zealand. During that time a Maori, one of the indigenous people of New Zealand, came to a meeting and as I went to shake his hand to greet him he replied, “no, I want to greet you the traditional way.” He instantly put his hand behind my head and drew me close until our foreheads were touching. There we stood face to face when he stated that his people believed that when you stood there face to face you partook of each others spirit and you became part of the other individual. It was during that experience that I immediately knew that this was what first love looked like before the foundation of the earth. The Father and Jesus face to face with Holy Spirit between, separate but apart of both. They were all individuals yet they were one. It is in this environment, in this first love that you and I were created.

John 1:3

All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.

Colossians 1:16

For it was in Him that all things were created, in heaven and on earth, things seen and things unseen, whether thrones, dominions, rulers, or authorities; all things were created and exist through Him [by His service, intervention] and in and for Him.

Jesus did not only create you and me but we were created in Him and through Him. When you created something from a substance, then the thing you create has similar, if not the same properties as the substance you created it from.

Genesis 1:20

And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly and swarm with living creatures, and let birds fly over the earth in the open expanse of the heavens

Genesis 1:24

And God said, Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds: livestock, creeping things, and [wild] beasts of the earth according to their kinds. And it was so.

When God wanted to create the creatures that were in the water He spoke to the water commanding it to bring them forth. When He wanted to create creatures on land He commanded the earth to bring them forth. He always spoke to the substance from which the creature was made, but in Genesis 1:26 when He wanted to create you and I He didn’t speak to the sea or speak to the land, He spoke to Himself.

God said, Let Us [Father, Son, and Holy Spirit] make mankind in Our image, after Our likeness, and let them have complete authority over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, the [tame] beasts, and over all of the earth, and over everything that creeps upon the earth.

He spoke to Himself because it was out of His essence that you and I were created. Now I realize some of you are thinking, “Hold on! God created man from the dust of the earth.” Well, yes and no. He created our earthly bodies from the earth, but it wasn’t until He breathed into that shell that it became a living soul. He had to breath into the body in order to place Adam into it. Adam was in Him, the place of his origin and the substance from which he was made.

You and I were created in Christ in the place of that first love. It is in that place of “face to face”, that place of intimacy between the Father, Jesus, and Holy Spirit that Daddy said let us make man. You were created in love and by love in that place of intimacy; that is first love.

First love is not a level to obtain or even something to acquire. First love is acknowledging the love, that unconditional, overwhelming, intimacy that we were created in and the position God has placed us.

What Jesus was admonishing the Church of Ephesus for wasn’t because they had let their love for Him to diminish, it was because they forgotten what first love was. The Church in Ephesus were diligently doing the things for God, patiently enduring, and hating anything that appeared to be evil. That may sound good but they had gotten to the point where they were starting to look at all their deeds and believe that is where their righteousness came from. That is self-righteousness, and Jesus came to tell them that they had forgotten that it is by the grace of God alone and not their deeds that allows them to do what they can do and be who they were created to be.

As Holy Spirit led me down this path, teaching me about love and especially first love, He was developing in me the realization that it is love and always has been love that motivated the relationship between God and man. You see, it wasn’t sin that cause Jesus to come to earth and lay down His life through the death on a cross. Sin was never the issue; it always has been and always will be love.

Hound of Heaven

Late one evening a few years ago, probably around midnight, I was sitting in my office talking with a good friend of mine. This friend had been staying with me for a while and we had developed a routine of spending our late evenings discussing God’s nature and explaining to each other the revelations Holy Spirit had spoken to us that day and what He was teaching us. This particular evening we were discussing God’s unconditional love when suddenly Holy Spirit took me into a vision. All of a sudden I was looking at a dog, a bloodhound, and he was running straight towards me. His lips and ears were flapping up and down as he ran, flapping as if they were trying to get him airborne, and there was a look of determination in his eyes that a bloodhound gets when he is hot on the scent of the very thing he is tracking. As I watched this hound come closer and closer towards me, ignoring every obstacle and distraction placed in its way, I asked the Lord, “What is this?” Immediately I knew that the bloodhound represented Him and I represented all men. Now truthfully, I had a problem with God being represented as a bloodhound, not sure exactly why but I did until God reaffirmed to me that my interpretation was right. He then explained to me that ever since the fall of man in the Garden in Eden, He has been single in vision with His eyes set on one point in time and for one purpose. That purpose was to bring back as many of His children as possible into the intimate union with Him they were created in. It was never man’s fall or mans frailty that held God’s attention. It was man’s beauty; that image of God’s fullness that caused Him to declare man as “very good” that captured His heart, and drove Him like a bloodhound hot on the trail of it’s prey. Man was his prey and bringing man back into union with Him was God’s goal, a goal in which nothing would distract Him and nothing would keep Him from accomplishing everything His heart set out to do.

 Hound of Heaven1

There is a misconception out there among many Christians circles of belief that God’s sole purpose for sending Jesus was because man sinned and so He sent Jesus to pay the price for our sins and thereby making a way for man to one day, when he dies, go be with God in Heaven. Giving the impression that God is somewhere far away from earth, sitting on His throne and waiting while Holy Spirit is on earth frantically recruiting people to go live with God in His paradise sometime after they die. That’s all fine and dandy but unfortunately, if that belief is true, then you have to wait in eager anticipation of your death as you muddle and plod your way through life; left here by God to suffer and endure until your appointed time of death. This may sound like an exaggeration but unfortunately its not. It is exactly what many either directly or indirectly teaches from behind their pulpits every week. When you teach that God is in total control of everything and that the manifestations of the gifts of Holy Spirit have been done away with, that is exactly what you are saying. You are declaring that God chose to leave you here under the oppressive plans of the enemy until your Heavenly Father chooses to give you some rest or you die. All along indirectly declaring that God’s love for His children is on a lesser scale than that of a good earthly father. What good father would choose to leave his children in harms way without giving them the ability to overcome. A good father would so stack the deck in the favor of their children as to guarantee victory. But by declaring that God’s provision is less than a good earthly father you cause mistrust and enmity to come between God and His children. Not only is that teaching contrary to everything Holy Spirit was showing me through that vision it is also completely contrary to the very nature of God.

God has been the initiator with man from the very beginning and that didn’t stop just because of sin. God has always been the pursuer in the relationship between He and man and sin didn’t stop that, it actually intensified it because where sin abounds grace super abounds. It begins in Genesis where we see God showing up daily to walk and talk with Adam during the cool of the day. God established an appointed time for the two of them to spend together every day. Now Adam was in communion with God and could be in contact with God at all times, but even with that God set a time for them to spend one on one intimate time together on a daily basis. This was initiated by God and not Adam. Even after Adam sinned and that common union was severed God still kept His appointment with Adam to talk with him and Father him. Look at Genesis 3:9.

Then the Lord God called to Adam and said to him, “Where are you?


Years ago I was reading this passage and I began wondering why God had called out to Adam, asking him where he was. I mean, God is omniscient, He knows everything, He would have already know where Adam was and why he was hiding. So being the inquisitive person that I am I asked Holy Spirit why He asked Adam where he was. Then came a response I wasn’t expecting. Actually, I had to do some research before I completely sure that it was Holy Spirit that had responded. He said something like, “I didn’t’ say that” or “that’s not what I said”. I thought to myself, “but that’s what it says right here in the Bible”! So I looked up the verse in the original Hebrew and the word used for “where” is the word ay. Now ay can mean “where” as in where are you but can also mean “what” as in what are you. You see the difference? God was not asking Adam where he was but asking him what he had become. God was fathering Adam and trying to get him to understand exactly what had happened. Even in the midst of Adam’s betrayal God was the pursuer, He was fathering Adam beginning to counteract any false impressions Adam was beginning to form about what had happened and even more importantly, any false impressions Adam was beginning to form about God’s nature and intentions.

Next we read in Exodus God pursuing His children by sending Moses back to Egypt to bring His kids back to Him so they could once again be in relationship with Him. He was once again revealing to them who they were created to be by breaking down any false impressions they had formed about themselves and about God. Why do you think God commanded the Israelites not to create idols? Why was this so important that God made this command number 2 on the all important thou shalt / thou shalt not list? Was God really that worried about competition with a hunk of metal, wood, or stone? Was He offended that they would bow down to an object instead of bowing down to Him? Was He intent on not letting anything get the praise and worship that He alone desired? Of course not! A man made carving does not intimidate God. He does not get His feelings hurt. He does however know that our relationship with Him is directly related to how we perceive Him. The Israelites assumed that He was like all the other gods they had know in Egypt. And like the others, they assumed that the God of their fathers wanted them to build an image of Him and worship it. But it is God’s heart’s desire that the thoughts and images we form in our mind are based on real personal encounters with Him, which will be consistent with scripture. Not assumptions based on experience alone. It is only during these personal encounters with Him that His true nature is revealed to us, not through the ideas and teachings of another man. God is fully aware that when you create an image and worship it, then that very image you create will define the limits of your relationship with Him. Any image that we create is a representation of our hearts belief of who we think God is. It will be a constant physical reminder reinforcing those beliefs. God, being the good father that He is, was trying to destroy all false impressions they had concerning Him and by doing so re-establish the intimate relationship He longed for.

Now lets surge forward to John 3:16.

 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.


Here we see God pursuing man by giving or sending His Son.

In Luke 19:10 it states once again that God is the pursuer, the initiator, the one who is taking the responsibility for the success of this relationship on Himself, not leaving anything to chance. He is doing everything He can do to ensure we are united in union with Him.

for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”

In Luke 15:4 we catch a glimpse of just how obsessed God is about you.

“What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost until he finds it?


God’s not satisfied to have most of His children. He’s not even happy to just have the majority. He is obsessed to have all and it’s His hearts desire that none should perish but all come to the saving knowledge

2 Peter 3:9

The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.

Matthew 18:12-14

“What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them goes astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine and go to the mountains to seek the one that is straying? 13 And if he should find it, assuredly, I say to you, he rejoices more over that sheep than over the ninety-nine that did not go astray. 14 Even so it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.

God’s purpose was never to leave His children abandoned here on this earth to suffer until He finally calls them home. His purpose and His goal has always been to be in union with His children, to impart the fullness of His power and nature in them; allowing them to be partakers of His divine nature. To equip them not only to overcome any obstacle that may try to raise itself against them, but more importantly to impart in them the ability to intimately fellowship with Him. His desire is for his children to be like Him in every way, imitating our Father, and experiencing this union of Him with us, not sometime in the future or every now and again, but enjoying His presence, enjoying our unity with Him every second of every day.

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