For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love to all the saints…
To Paul the christians in Ephesus are legends! Paul has heard of them in other places, particularly in Rome where he is in prison. Hundred of kilometres away, people are bringing him reports of the faith and love of the christians in Ephesus.
They didn’t seek fame, but were just doing what God was leading them into. Perhaps this was rare enough even in the early days of the church to be noteworthy.
I have been on the receiving end of this kind of praise. A few times our church has been wonderfully generous in projects which have come to the attention of agencies and even of governments overseas. We just did what the Lord laid on our hearts, expecting that this is just normal.
Paul hears great reports about the church in Ephesus. Yet in Revelation they are warned to return to their first love or they would have the lamp removed from its lamp stand. Ephesians was written about 62 AD while Revelation was probably written late in that same decade.
It is so easy to lose the edge, the joy of our salvation, the first love for Jesus. We must protect our hearts lest we grow cold in our love for the Lord.
The Ephesian saints were famous for their faith in the Lord Jesus. There was something that st apart this faith from normal every day faith. They knew that they knew that Jesus was their Lord. They had committed their lives into His hands. They were “All in”, holding nothing back.
Jesus was their focal point, their heart’s desire, their first love. They trusted Jesus, were faithful to Jesus, believed in Him-- as the true Lord, the true Redeemer, the true friend.
The Ephesians were also famous for their love for all the saints. The word for love here is agape which is the God- shaped love that knows no discouragement or refusal, but insists on only wanting what is good for the other person. This church was invested in the whole church.
They loved one another first of all. They made sure that nobody was in need. They shared all that they had with those who had nothing. They gave themselves to each other, being Christ for one another.
The Ephesians loved all the saints. This suggests that they looked beyond their own organisation, beyond their own city. We know that Paul helped to organise appeals among the churches to help those who were going through hardship such as famine. Perhaps the Ephesians were the first to step up, being an example to “all the saints” of how to show love to “all the saints.”
Key points from this verse:
The Ephesian christians were legendary across the Roman Empire
They had extraordinary faith in Jesus and love for the saints.