Los Alamos Church of Christ

Let the Word Dwell

#24 Ephesians 6:24

Love Incorruptible

 

This morning I want to share with you something I have been working on for the last couple weeks.  To me, it is a significant insight into power.  It is an insight into the kind of power we, in the kingdom of heaven, are supposed to use.   This insight comes from the very last verse in Ephesians.  After all that Paul has written, in the universal letter to the Ephesians, Paul wraps it all up in a single, short, powerful verse…

 

ESV Ephesians 6:24 Grace be with all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with love incorruptible.

 

This last verse in Ephesians, not only is Paul’s way of ending the letter, like we would sign a letter… sincerely yours, Tim Stidham, it also captures an insight into power… the power of love… incorruptible.  I think it may be Paul’s way of summing up all of Ephesians. 

 

--Grace/gifts/blessings – He has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in Christ Jesus

--Be - is given – continues to exists – is available – ready for use - constant

--with all – there are no tribes in the body of Christ

--who love - are willing to give it up – to put above ourselves

--our - he belongs to us and we belong to him in and with

--who sits on the throne; LORD – who became baby Jesus – and rose from the grave as the Messiah

--with love granting to us this

--incorruptible - imperishability, immortality; undying power

 

Putting all that together we get the TIM version of Ephesians 6:24

 

Tim Ephesians 6:24 May blessings of power continue to infuse all those who love the throne-sitting God, who became human and then rose again to majesty, with a powerful love that cannot be stopped in this world or the next! 

 

I think maybe the TIM is a bit too wordy.  Let’s be thankful we aren’t doing our memory work in the TIM. 

 

Speaking of memory work let’s do it…

 

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#24 Ephesians 6:24 Grace be with all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with love incorruptible.

 

Tree List

 

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Here is the insight that struck me from Ephesians 6:24…

 

Love drives out tribalness

Love drives out sin

Love drives out Satan

            …with love incorruptible

Love opens us up to power

Love opens us up to grace

Love transforms others

 

This morning I want to break this down.  I want us to experience the power of… incorruptible love.

 

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Last week we studied Paul’s prayer in Ephesians 3. 

 

ESV Ephesians 3:14-21 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father,  from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being,  so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith- that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth,  and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.  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.

 

We discovered…

--The Holy Spirit powers us from within.

--Christ dwells in our hearts through faith.

--By understanding the incomprehensible love of Christ we can be filled up with God.

--So that, we are empowered to love “others”; the ethna; the marginalized; the opposites; the not our tribe.

 

By all this power we are able to turn the love we have for our own little tribes and turn that love outward in love for other tribes.

 

#23 Ephesians 3:20 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.

 

This power at work within us can do far more than we can imagine in loving the “others”.  That is the power of love… incorruptible.

 

#24 Ephesians 6:24 Grace be with all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with love incorruptible.

 

These two verses work together.  From within we can “do” love with the power at work within us, this power of love incorruptible! 

 

Let me explain how this works…

 

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Love drives out tribalness

Love drives out sin

Love drives out Satan

            …with love incorruptible

Love opens us up to power

Love opens us up to grace

Love transforms others

 

The love we have for our own tribes we turn outward to others.  In order to drive out our tendency to be tribal, we fill ourselves with the love of Christ.  As we have our roots in Christ’s love it changes our view of others.  The love of Christ… contemplating what he did… filling ourselves with his love… allowing the love incorruptible to transform us we lose our tribalness.  Think… Jesus gave up heaven to die on the cross for all.  We begin to see as Jesus sees.  If I could see you as Jesus sees you… I would not be tribal.

 

Then actively this love we have coming outward from us toward the others, has the power to turn others.  There is an amazing power in loving another.  If I love you incorruptibly, there is a magnetism which draws you toward Christ.  Love has power to draw others to Christ.  It is the power we use to transform others.  It is the power we use to advance the kingdom of Heaven. 

 

But love incorruptible also drives out sin.

 

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Love drives out tribalness

Love drives out sin

Love drives out Satan

            …with love incorruptible

Love opens us up to power

Love opens us up to grace

Love transforms others

 

We learn not to sin by loving what is right.  Attempting to quit sinning by our own will-power is not very effective.  “Just say no”… is not, typically, effective.  Instead, we fill ourselves with love.  That love displaces sin.  For example…

--Loving your wife as Christ loved the church displaces sexual infidelity.

--Lying is replaced by love of your neighbor

--Crud is replaced with loving-thankfulness 

Sanctification happens when we are filled with the newness of Christ’s love… incorruptible.  Whenever we are tempted to sin, we should ask, “What should I love?”  Filling ourselves with love then drives out sin.

 

Then positively, as sin is displaced from our lives, new graces open up within us.  The fruit of the Spirit is love… which fills us with peace, patience, kindness, faithfulness, goodness, gentleness, self-control.  As the power love incorruptible fills us we become, positively, amazingly powerful spirit-filled people. 

 

And then…

 

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Love drives out tribalness

Love drives out sin

Love drives out Satan

            …with love incorruptible

Love opens us up to power

Love opens us up to grace

Love transforms others

 

We are able to invade the kingdom of air.  We are able to combat Satan.  It is with love that we drive Satan from this world.  Satan using people to do his will is countered with love for those people.  This holy, tribal-less love is untouchable by Satan.  In the vampire movies it is holy water that burns the vampires.  It is not holy water that fries evil… it is holy lives… full of love incorruptible!  This non-tribal love filled with purity becomes untouchable to evil. 

 

This love is not only untouchable, it has power to invade Satan’s strong-holds and release the captives, set free the blind, make the lame walk.  Love incorruptible has power.  The way we attack Satan is through love… incorruptible.

 

Let me read from a recent report from Tony’s in Mozambique.   It demonstrates how the whole process works.

 

 

In the bush outreaches this weekend, one of the pastors got to pray for a man who couldn’t walk without a wooden cane. It’s hard to communicate the hardship that this kind of ailment brings on a person in the bush.  This particular village was probably a hundred and fifty miles from any type of medical treatment.  Life is lived almost completely outdoors there with no bikes, wheelchairs, or motorized vehicles of any sort, which makes people entirely dependent on their legs to go anywhere.  Culturally, Mozambican people who have disabilities are social pariahs without much hope for help or relief even from people in their tribe.  This was a clear opportunity to demonstrate without words the love of Christ and the inherent value of a life.  The team prayed with this man one evening.  There was no immediate healing, but in the morning he came running into the village, cane-free.  This particular man was Muslim, and this opened the door for the team to share the love of Christ with thirty more people from the village. 

 

Non-tribal love, taken in purity, to those who are marginalized by the world, and held captive by evil, are transformed by the power of love… incorruptible! 

 

The most powerful weapon, I suspect our only effective weapon, to drive Satan from the world and inaugurate the kingdom of heaven on earth is the power of love… incorruptible. 

 

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As we work on memorizing this verse this week, let’s allow the power of Christ’s love to become real in our lives.  Stand and say it with me.

 

#24 Ephesians 6:24 Grace be with all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with love incorruptible.

 

 

Tim Stidham

June 28, 2015

Los Alamos Church of Christ