Listen To Awaz-e-Haq World Radio

To listen click on the "Play" button:

If you are in Afghanistan, Pakistan or India you may also listen via Medium-wave: Tune to 1467KHz at 14:30UTC. (That's 7:30pm Pakistan Time.)

Undying Love

In category:

One of the constant themes throughout the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Ephesians is that of love. This is entirely appropriate because love is the overriding theme of the entire Bible, especially the New Testament. The entire Bible, including Paul’s letter to the Ephesians is inspired by God. As the Apostle John reminds us, “...God is love...” (1 John 4:16) Since God is love, we would expect love to suffuse His Book.

It is God’s love which made it possible for sinners to be saved. In chapter 2, verses 4 and 5 Paul writes, “But God, being rich in mercy, for his great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),” The greatest expression of God’s love is Jesus Christ. It was only through His sacrifice that sin could be atoned for. In chapter 2, verse 13 Paul writes, “But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off are made near in the blood of Christ.”

God’s love for us, expressed through Christ, is so great that it is unfathomable even though it may be experienced. Paul writes in chapter 3, verses 17 through 19, “...that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; to the end that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be strengthened to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know Christ’s love which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”

But those who experience the love of God and of Christ also have an obligation. The recipients of love must also love. In chapter 5, verses 1 and 2 Paul writes, “Be therefore imitators of God, as beloved children. Walk in love, even as Christ also loved you, and gave himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling fragrance.” In this passage the followers of Christ are called upon to show the highest form of love possible, the sacrifice of self for the good of someone else. Since they are to imitate God, how could they not emulate the kind of love that He bestows?

Where should this love manifest itself? One place is certainly the home. As Paul writes in chapter 5, verse 25, “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the assembly [that is, the Church], and gave himself up for it;” If husbands would actually do this, there would be far fewer domestic problems.

But the love which the followers of Christ are to display is not limited to the home. It is to be extended to all of God’s people. Paul writes in chapter 4, verse 2, “with all lowliness and humility, with patience, bearing with one another in love;” In other words, the love which each follower of Christ should have is to extend to the whole church. Paul continues in verses 15 and 16, “but speaking truth in love, we may grow up in all things into him, who is the head, Christ; from whom all the body, being fitted and knit together through that which every joint supplies, according to the working in measure of each individual part, makes the body increase to the building up of itself in love.”

After exhorting the followers of Christ, throughout this letter, to love, Paul closes with a subtle warning. Chapter 6, verse 24 reads, “Grace be with all those who love our Lord Jesus Christ with incorruptible love. Amen.” This raises an important question. Is it possible for love to die? This verse would seem to indicate that it is possible. In fact, Jesus, when speaking of future events made this prophecy, “Because iniquity will be multiplied, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end, the same will be saved.” (Matthew 24:12-13) So, yes, it is possible for love to die.

Perhaps one of the most important lessons which can be learned from the church in Ephesus is the necessity to develop and maintain a Christlike love. We have already seen Paul’s exhortations to love. The question may be asked, did the people to whom Paul was writing ever have it? As we saw in a previous program, chapter 1, verse 15 indicates that the Ephesian Christians were once known for their love for God’s people. The exhortations in this letter are really an encouragement to the people to grow in the love they already had.

But though the Ephesian church was known for its love, it also had a problem. In a meeting with the elders of this church, Paul issued the following warning: “For I know that after my departure, vicious wolves will enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Men will arise from among your own selves, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them. Therefore watch...” (Acts 20:29-31)

Sadly, Paul’s warning proved correct. False teachers did arise in Ephesus. Paul sent Timothy there to correct the problem. He gave Timothy these instructions: “As I urged you when I was going into Macedonia, stay at Ephesus that you might command certain men not to teach a different doctrine, neither to pay attention to myths and endless genealogies, which cause disputes, rather than God’s stewardship, which is in faith— but the goal of this command is love, out of a pure heart and a good conscience and sincere faith;” (1 Timothy 1:3-5)

It is essential to understand that though Timothy was to put a stop to false teaching, the goal was love. Scripture says that the church is “...the pillar and ground of the truth.” (1 Timothy 3:15) Therefore, it is absolutely essential that falsehood be rooted out of the church. But it must never be forgotten that the goal of truth is to lead us into having a Christlike love.

To what extent did the church in Ephesus succeed in achieving this goal? Towards the end of the apostolic age, Christ spoke from heaven to several of the churches through the Apostle John. Part of the divine message to the church at Ephesus was this: “I know your works, and your toil and perseverance, and that you can’t tolerate evil men, and have tested those who call themselves apostles, and they are not, and found them false. You have perseverance and have endured for my name’s sake, and have not grown weary. But I have this against you, that you left your first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen, and repent and do the first works; or else I am coming to you swiftly, and will move your lampstand out of its place, unless you repent.” (Revelation 2:2-5)

The church in Ephesus was able to restore sound doctrine, but lost it’s love in the process. Today Ephesus is in ruins and there is no church there. This leaves us with some important questions. Is my faith based on truth? In my zeal for truth, have I lost my love? Am I growing in Christlike love? Let us all learn from what happened to the church at Ephesus.