Temple Baptist Church - 1-18-2012
A. Paul ends the Ephesian Epistle in a very familiar way. He pronounces his desire for the Ephesians believers: peace, love, and grace! Peace to live together; love to fellowship with each other; and grace to endure steadfastly. We need all three of these things in our churches!
1. A blessed peacefulness when we enter these doors to worship.
2. A pure, fervent love for one another as we worship the Lord together.
3. An abundant, multi-faceted, all-sufficient grace that will see us through the valleys of life.
B. As we end this great epistle, called by many “The Highlands of Faith,” I want to home in on a phrase in verse 24: “love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity.” If there is a sincere love, then there has to be the reality of an insincere love. To so many in our day, love for the Lord is “lip service.” An empty, hollow, shallow word uttered from a heart fully set upon the things of the world.
C. The world’s love is normally based upon physical attraction instead of inner beauty. The Laodicean believer loves the same way. They love the Lord for what He does for them instead of for who He is. As the outer beauty of a person soon fades into old age, the Laodicean believer’s appreciation for the goodness of God soon wanes. If not careful, appreciation always turns into expectancy!
D. In John 21, as our Lord restored Peter, he asked Peter three times if he loved Him.
John 21:15-17 So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs. (16) He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep. (17) He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep. (The question to be answered is not “lovest thou me” for each of us would answer that in the affirmative. The question to be asked is “lovest thou me MORE THAN THESE!” Our Lord did not rebuke Peter for going fishing as there is nothing wrong with doing so. I love fish as much as anyone. Peter gave up his ministry for the Lord to go back to fishing for a living. “Peter, do you love me more than the old life?”)
E. A sincere love is so much more than a casual love. In today’s economy, young and old couples have pre-nuptial agreements or simply live together because the trust and commitment are not there. Their love is not a sincere love because its foundation is flawed from its inception. A sincere love is a love that changes our lives and desires. A sincere love should be:
1. A Sincere Love Is A Full Love - Mark 12:30 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. (A full love is from the heart.)
Colossians 3:4 When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.
Philippians 1:20-21 According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death. (21) For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. (A full love is with all the heart. A full love is without reservation. A full love is without hypocrisy. A full love is in deed and truth.)
2. A Sincere Love Is A Fervent Love - John 21:17 He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep. (Peter was grieved with the questions of the Lord because it was a rebuke that brought about conviction. Peter no doubt loved the Lord. I do not think that there was a man in the Bible who loved Jesus more. But, because of failure and disappointment, Peter took his hand off the plow and looked back to the old life. Ephesus left their first love and so did Peter.)
3. A Sincere Love Is A Faithful Love - 2 Thessalonians 3:5 And the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ. (How can I stop loving Christ? I cannot but I can let my love cool off to the point of unfaithfulness. All of God’s children love Him but it another thing all together to love him with “all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength”