“I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, and for this reason I do not cease to give thanks for you as I remember you in my prayers.” vss. 15-16
The reputation of the congregation at Ephesus had spread among the little house churches that sprang up all over the eastern Mediterranean as apostles had proclaimed the good news of Jesus. According to the writer of this letter two things stood out: their faith in the Lord Jesus and their love for all the saints. Those two elements continue to be the marks of congregations that take seriously their call to be the presence of Christ in the world. Most everyone would agree that love is essential, there’s little doubt about its importance, especially in these divisive times. We even sing about it, “What the world needs now is love, sweet love, not just for some, but for everyone.” It’s a familiar refrain, and many try to practice loving in their daily living. But some question why faith in the Lord Jesus is necessary–can’t we love without trusting in him? Obviously many do–so why do Christians haul Jesus into the equation? And that answer is easy–Jesus is our definition of love. The two go together. Jesus love is self-giving and sacrificial–it’s love with power, a love that changes lives. We can even say that it’s the reason for the church’s existence. Thank God for those congregations that combine faith in the Lord Jesus with their loving! They’re changing the world!
Thought for the Day: What are loving congregations like?