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The 4 "Books" of Ephesians & Love

You are probably aware of the Book of Ephesians, one of the House-Confinement Epistles (often called Prison Epistles). But did you know that there are in fact in the Bible 4 Books of Ephesians? Well, you could almost say that.

One might almost say that there are 4 books of Ephesians in the Bible.
The first is in Acts 20, where Paul addresses the Ephesian elders shortly before he would go up to Jerusalem and be beaten & imprisoned.
The 2nd is our Book of Ephesians.
The 3rd probably is 1 Timothy.
The 4th is in Revelation 2, where John wrote a letter to the Church of Ephesus.

In 3 of these writings, love is an issue. And as we know, love is the fruit of the Holy Spirit. To fail to love is to have a problem relative to the Holy Spirit of God.
When we love our neighbor, we seek another's good unselfishly, without a view to our own profit: "Love seeks not its own."

In Ephesians 3, Paul (moved by the Holy Spirit) prays an intercessory prayer for the Ephesians that they would be rooted and grounded ln love.

Later, In 1 Tim it is indicated that some persons at Ephesus would-be teachers had neglected the central importance of love. "the end of the charge is love -- love which is out of a pure heart, a good conscience, and faith unfeigned.

The primary exhortation is that we must love, not that we must do right -- though the latter is also true.

Then probably a generation or so later, in Rev 2, the general congregation is rebuked for having left their first love by John.

In 1 Timothy 1 we read:

"As I exhorted thee to tarry at Ephesus, when I was going into Macedonia, that thou mightest charge certain men not to teach a different doctrine, neither to give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questionings, rather than a dispensation of God which is in faith; so do I now. But the end of the charge is love out of a pure heart and [out of] a good conscience and [out of] faith unfeigned: from which things some having swerved have turned aside to vain talking; desiring to be teachers of the law, though they understand neither what they say, nor whereof they confidently affirm.

In Revelation 2 Ephesus has a big problem for which Ephesus is rebuked: "You have left your first love." If we date Revelation at approximately AD 100, that means that some 40 years earlier Paul had prayed for the Ephesians that they would be rooted and grounded in love, yet some 40 years later, they are not rooted and grounded in love. Does that mean that a prayer prayed for the Ephesians by a prophet (Paul) at the leading of the Holy Spirit, was a failure?

Who would say such a thing. Yet the fact that the Ephesians left their first love exposes the limitations of prayer. There is absolutely no prayer that you can pray, nor that anyone can pray for you at 8 AM in the morning, which will guarantee that you will not sin by 8:05 AM. The Christian life is a walk in which the flesh lusts vs the Spirit and it is possible to stumble into sin at any time. It is never necessary to sin. The Lord never lets us be tempted above our ability to withstand it; there is always a way of escape from sin. But nonetheless, as James tells us, in many ways we all stumble. Peter had faith to get out of the boat and walk on the water to the Lord Jesus. But soon he took his eyes off the Lord Jesus, looked at the waves, & began to sink. In Morrisville, PA, back in 1962, a young man of 18 years of age, knelt by his bed and asked the Lord to take over & run his life, praying as to the potter controlling his clay. The Lord has never left nor forsaken that young man to this day, but that man went on to sin plenty in his life. The Lord did not take over & run his life covering every moment of every day.

Nonetheless, that man has found himself able to love even his enemies.