Love is Important
Jul 18, 2021 // By:Dave // No Comment
last week we brought out the fact that Ephesians was perhaps the most theologically rich book in the new testament.
we looked at the fact that the Ephesian believers received three warnings:
Paul warned the Ephesians about wolves and false teachers coming in after he would leave
29 “I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock;
30 and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things to draw away the disciples after them.
31 “Therefore, be on the alert, remembering that night and day for a period of three years I did not cease to admonish each one with tears.
32 “And now I entrust you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified.
the Lord gives a warning for John to relay to the Ephesian church
1 “To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: ¶ The One who holds the seven stars in His right hand, the One who walks among the seven golden lampstands, says this:
2 ¶ ‘I know your deeds and your labor and perseverance, and that you cannot tolerate evil people, and you have put those who call themselves apostles to the test, and they are not, and you found them to be false;
3 and you have perseverance and have endured on account of My name, and have not become weary.
4 ‘But I have this against you, that you have left your first love.
5 ‘Therefore, remember from where you have fallen, and repent, and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you and I will remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent.
first love ?
love of Jesus = love for one another
acts 20:35 exhortation to the Ephesian elders to “help the weak”
Eph. 1:15 ¶ For this reason I too, ahaving heard of the faith in the Lord Jesus which exists among you, and 1your love for ball the 2saints,
John 13:34 “I am giving you a anew commandment, bthat you love one another; cjust as I have loved you, that you also love one another.
John 13:35 “aBy this all people will know that you are My disciples: if you have love for one another.”
John 14:21 “aThe one who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me…
John 14:24 “The one who does not love Me adoes not follow My words
somewhere around 100 AD, the Apostle John would settle at Ephesus and write his 3 epistles and the book of revelation. He would write about how to discern false teacher by their ethics and by their love.
(very similar warning that Paul gave on his third missionary journey there and his epistle to remind them approx 60 AD)
John gives a warning to the Ephesian church about the source and need for love
1John 2:4 The one who says, “aI have come to bknow Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a cliar, and dthe truth is not in him;
1John 2:5 but whoever afollows His word, in him the blove of God has truly been perfected. cBy this we know that we are in Him:
1John 2:6 the one who says that he aremains in Him bought, himself also, walk just as He walked.
1John 2:9 The one who says that he is in the Light and yet ahates his bbrother or sister is in the darkness until now.
1John 2:10 aThe one who loves his brother and sister remains in the Light, and there is nothing in him to cause stumbling.
1John 2:11 But the one who ahates his brother or sister is in the darkness and bwalks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going because the darkness has cblinded his eyes.
1John 4:20 aIf someone says, “I love God,” and yet he bhates his brother or sister, he is a cliar; for dthe one who does not love his brother and sister whom he has seen, ecannot love God, whom he has not seen.
1John 4:21 And athis commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God bmust also love his brother and sister.
The body of believers in Ephesus were in a place of great potential for influence and testimony
- epicenter of commerce and culture
- population of roughly half a million people in the first century AD
- the amphitheater where they cried out “great is artemis of the ephesians while wanting to tear Paul apart seated over 25,000 people
their position for impact was incredible (that’s one of the reasons Paul spent three years there teaching out of a hall rented from Tyrannus to disciple the believers there)
It is recorded historically, that the church in Ephesus ceased to be by 300 AD
their lamp stand was removed less than 200 years after their warning by God Himself.
they were great at detecting false teaching, but forgot to love.
(Jesus first, others second … since loving others is not only evidence of loving God but is the fruit of it)
loving others is commanded by the Lord Himself (and to do so just as He did, in the same way that He did)
to refuse to do so comes with consequences
it betrays not being in the way, not trusting in the truth, and not living in the life.
It reveals not being in Christ.
Love, agape love, is one of the most powerful items in our inheritance,
the most powerful weapon in our spiritual arsenal of weaponry
dont use it , and you lose
use it and you win (no matter what the outcome was, you won because God’s mystery was proclaimed
Does anyone remember why I spent so much time talking about love when there is so much theology to iron out and teach on ?
1John 4:20 If someone says, “I love God,” and yet he hates his brother or sister, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother and sister whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen.
21 And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God must also love his brother and sister.
5:1 Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves the child born of Him.
1Cor. 13:1 If I speak with the tongues of mankind and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.
2 If I have the gift of prophecy and know all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.
3 And if I give away all my possessions to charity, and if I surrender my body so that I may glory, but do not have love, it does me no good.
Our theology is worthless if we do not have love.
in fact, if anyone thinks that he can study theology without bothering with trivial matters such as love
here are the contextual verses just before the ones we read in 1 John 4
1John 4:15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God remains in him, and he in God.
16 We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who remains in love remains in God, and God remains in him.
17 By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, we also are in this world.
18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.
19 We love, because He first loved us.
agape love should be one of the primary focal points of our theology
and the primary expression of our faith
When any one of us encounter a verse in the bible or a point of doctrine (based upon sound interpretation of multiple verses) …
do we say to ourselves :
- “what is coming up next?” or “that’s cool ! now I am smarter”
- “what will change in my life to match this truth?” or “what do I need to surrender to let this truth work in me?”
why do I keep hammering at this point ? (some of you may be asking)
because I know two things:
- above all else, God loves us and wants us to love Him back
we show that we love Him by loving others
- we, people, humans, prefer the easy way out of things (after all, I have insider knowledge on this issue) and as such, we take the easy way out in matters of the bible as well (head knowledge is easier than love)
So if I do not find some way to engage each and every person here to understand why love ,
as difficult as it is compared to “theology”,
is a centerpiece of our relationship with God … I have failed
(as a pastor, a brother, and a representative of my best friend Jesus)
the very notion that love and theology are two different things shows how distorted
mainstream teaching has become in the christian arena.
(it would seem that that is exactly what happened to the Ephesian church according to Rev 2)
Jesus loved to teach in parables about the kingdom.
In Matt 25
31-46 sheep and goats separated by the Son of Man, the king
they are separated based upon how they did “something” that is very personal to this King:
Matt. 25:31 ¶ “But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne.
Matt. 25:32 “And all the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, just as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats;
Matt. 25:33 and He will put the sheep on His right, but the goats on the left.
who are the sheep and goats ?
Matt. 25:34 ¶ “Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
Matt. 25:35 ‘For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in;
Matt. 25:36 naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’
Matt. 25:37 “Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink?
Matt. 25:38 ‘And when did we see You as a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You?
Matt. 25:39 ‘And when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’
Matt. 25:40 “And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it for one of the least of these brothers or sisters of Mine, you did it for Me.’
Matt. 25:41 ¶ “Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, you accursed people, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels;
Matt. 25:42 for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink;
Matt. 25:43 I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.’
Matt. 25:44 “Then they themselves also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or as a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?’
Matt. 25:45 “Then He will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it for one of the least of these, you did not do it for Me, either.’
Matt. 25:46 “These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
do you get the impression that love for one another is important to Jesus ?
the King does not place sheep on His right based upon proper eschatology, or pre-trib doctrine vs. post-trib …
He does not sort them by how well they translate greek or hebrew …
He sorts sheep from goats by their love given to the least of these.
(and according to 1 John,
not loving others proves that you do not love God
and that His love is not in you)
right now, at this moment … what is your mental self thinking :
- “let’s move on already , I got it” or “that’s cool ! now I am smarter”
- or “what will change in my life to match this truth?” or “what do I need to surrender to let this truth work in me?”
if you caught yourself wishing I would move off this inconvenient point
they recognize a stronghold for what it is (2 Cor 10:3-5)
if you are responding correctly to this and wondering how your life needs to change to match this teaching of Jesus
GOOD , but do something with the conviction.
act on it
love a neighbor in His name
pray for courage and boldness to do even more
pray for wisdom and discernment to be a good steward without becoming cold (as in Matt 24:12)
did anyone take last weeks message to heart and look for ways to increase their love for others ?
why or why not ?