I spent nearly three decades in a fellowship that reduced from a membership high of close to 600 people to around 50 people when I left. Arrogance and legalism was at the heart of its demise. I was in leadership at the fellowship for nearly two of those three decades. For nearly all of the time I was instrumental as a teaching elder, worship leader, Sunday school teacher, outreach leader, and managed a trio of Christian radio stations. What began as Maranatha Christian Fellowship, morphed into Calvary Christian Fellowship as the leadership, including me, fell headlong into the Hebrew Roots, Law of Moses movement.

In February of 2007 we ditched meeting on Sunday morning for a weekly Sabbath gathering, soon changing the name to Messiah Fellowship. Sadly, as we went dove deeper into the Torah of Moses, and became law-centric, we began to focus less attention on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. By then, a more apt name for the fellowship would have been Moses Fellowship! While not outright rejecting Jesus, we placed Him in a position in which we perceived Him as coming to bring us all under the Mosaic Law instead of setting us free from the “curse of the law,” as is written in Galatians 3:13-14.

There are situations from my past, especially my dysfunctional family and messed up childhood that left me vulnerable to the deception that was visited upon me and those who called Messiah Fellowship home. I have more to say about that, and I will. But this space doesn’t allow the time to do so.

I walked completely away from that Torah Perspective mindset when I took my family and left Messiah Fellowship in the summer of 2020, after being there for 27 years. I once had a website and blog called Torah Perspective that held to the belief. I tried valiantly to find a way to make Jesus into a Moses, not understanding the difference between Moses as a temporary mediator until Jesus, the True Mediator came.  Despite the effort, it didn’t work. The two are not meant to coincide. Some who know me from before, and those who are still in the old law lifestyle will take great umbrage at that statement. I can explain how, now that faith in Christ has come, that we are no longer under the law. 

Don’t get me wrong. We live in a country with laws that govern society. That’s because those who are in submission to the Kingdom of God within need the constraints of the law of the land. We don’t, by our new nature, supernaturally within us through belief in and submission to Christ, the Spirit who is God, we don’t need constraints. The fruit born in us by the Spirit will be that which is defined in Galatians 5:22-23. Of the fruit of love by the Spirit of God who is Love, Spirit Paul is clear, “Against such there is no law.” 

To be able to walk pleasingly before God, to be freed from addictions and all of the flesh driven lusts that we’ve suffered with for most of life, faith in Christ Jesus is the only answer. The plain Scriptural truth is that the law that tells you “no, don’t do that,” doesn’t work. The remedies for pleasing God contained in Moses’ judgements handed down, beginning in Exodus Chapter Twenty-One, are invalid for a believer, disciple of Jesus Christ and a blood bought child of the King. Our frail attempts to keep the law of Moses are not, nor have they ever been a righteous act on our part. Our righteousness is in Jesus Christ, the Righteous. There is no room for a betrothed relationship with Jesus while maintaining a tryst with Moses!

So, why the name First Love? I was in a Bible Study in the Book of Revelation at Messiah Fellowship just a year or so before I took my wife and son and left. It was a Wednesday evening men’s study and we were beginning Revelation Chapter Two when the Spirit hit me right where it counts with Truth that would not let me continue in where I was very long.

“I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars; and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary. Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent. But this you have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.” – Revelation 2:2-7

I take heart that I didn’t have everything wrong. I knew Jesus as my Savior and my Bridegroom, but I had left Him while I pursued Moses. I was in spiritual adultery and Jesus finally awakened me to that very fact and I chose to return. 

First Love Assembly is about leading men, women and children to a relationship with Jesus. Man’s religion nor the Mosaic Law are not and will not be taught as something to be kept by a believer in Christ Jesus. I believe that the Spirit who is God, is the Spirit  is the Father of Jesus, and by the same power He resurrected Jesus from the dead. When Jesus ascended to the Father He sent God the Spirit back to reign in us. He is our teacher, our King, our protector and our only love.

Jesus is our First Love. We need not and must not look to a man to give us the prescription for how we are to live our lives in faith in Christ. Faith in Christ alone illuminates our journey step after step to walk pleasingly before Him. First Love Assembly wants only to introduce people to the Lover of our souls, and nurture the relationship in worship to Him and always deferring to His Headship. We don’t want to get in the way of what God the Spirit is doing. He never misuses the Bible like men and women sometimes do.

Maybe you are a seeker. Down deep you know there is more than the life you’ve been living. There’s real hope that you can grasp that will lead you into a better life. Maybe you’ve been enmeshed in a legalistic traditional church and the many rules aren’t doing anything except increasing your bondage. Possibly you may have been hurt in a church setting by men or women who rule over you like the Nicolaitans Jesus referred to earlier in Revelation Chapter Two, or like the Pharisees who sit in the Seat of Moses and lay heavy burdens upon you that they aren’t willing to lift off you. Or maybe you’re like I was and the cords of Messianic Judaism are bound around you tightly and you are looking for what is really Truth.

Jesus burdens are light and being yoked with Him as a loving and merciful Savior and King is easy (Matthew 11:29-30). You may have tried religion and organized church and have been hurt or disillusioned. May I suggest you try Jesus. His love for you is boundless and He will never let you down. We are open to those who are simply seeking Jesus and want to live confidently in the Promises of God, loving their wife, husband, children, family and neighborhood, expectantly awaiting Him while living for Him. If this is you, contact us and let’s seek Him together.

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