“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” (Ephesians 3:20–21).
Paul concluded his prayer, and the first half of his letter to the Ephesians, by predicting the result of a people who've been united to the love of Christ: glory for God would flow from the life of His church.
When the church drinks deeply of the love of Christ, it inevitably lives out the love of Christ, which moves the world, for selfless, Christlike love is attractive.
Conversely, when the church detaches from the love of God we lose our attractiveness, we lose our light.
The Ephesian church is a perfect case study for this truth.
Years later, when John wrote the book of Revelation, Jesus had a message for the churches in Asia Minor, Ephesus being the principal church. When He spoke to them, He commended them for their right doctrine and compelling history of work for His kingdom.
But He had a warning for them, for they had left their first love.
They needed to remember from where they’d fallen, repent, and do the first works. Jesus then said, “If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent” (Revelation 2:5).
The lampstand of the Ephesian church represented their ability to shine as the light of Christ into a dark and broken world.
Jesus is the light of the world, but so is His church, for we are to be an extension of Jesus (Matthew 5:14). However, like Ephesus, when we drift from the love of Christ, we stray from our ability to illuminate Jesus for our world. We become orthodox in our beliefs, but uncaring for the world around us. We become defenders of the faith, but condescending as we defend it. We become believers in a multi-racial, multi-generational church, but segregate. We become zealous for purity but have no compassion for those caught up in sin.
It is the love of Jesus which protects us from that hypocritical spirit. By remembering His love, our hearts are warmed. We then love.
The prayer of Paul for an expanded realization of the love of Christ in our hearts is possible, more abundantly than all you could ask or think.
We might think we have a vision for love between previously divided people groups, made possible by the blood of Christ, but God can do more than we envision. We might think we have a vision for how to preach this mysterious and glorious gospel throughout the world, but God can do more than we envision. We might think we have a vision for how far Christ's love for us goes, but it is more profound than we could imagine. O, that we might know the treasure that is the love of God.
During Fall 2017, I taught Calvary Monterey the book of Ephesians. During the series, I also wrote about Ephesians in sixty-plus short, devotionally styled posts. Each Thursday, through 2018, I will release a post. I hope you enjoy. For the entire series, please visit nateholdridge.com/united-for-unity-posts.