We see how different Paulís attitudes were from the attitudes of many church leaders today. Todayís leaders often consider a successful church to be one where the number of people at the meetings is increasing. Another popular idea today is that a good church should have a large, impressive and beautiful building.
In Paulís many letters, he never even mentions these things. Of course he wanted more people to become Christians; but he never advises church leaders about how they can persuade more people to come to their church. Instead Paul cares about the people, and their relationship with God and with each other.
Paul cared about all people, whether they were Christians or not (1 Corinthians 9:19-22). However, God had given Paul a special responsibility for the people who had joined the churches (2 Corinthians 11:28-29). Paul was eager to hear reports about the Christians in each of the churches, so that he could pray for them.
In the original language (Greek), Paul uses an unusual expression when he writes about the faith (belief and trust in God) of the Christians in Ephesus. He thanks God for Ďthe faith that is amongí them. It seems that they did not all have strong faith; but some of them did. So Paul encouraged them all to believe and to trust God.
It was also good that Ephesusís Christians were showing genuine love towards all of Godís people. That love was not just a friendly attitude; true love shows itself in our actions. Perhaps Ephesusís Christians gave generously to help poorer Christians. Perhaps they shared their homes and their food with Christians who needed help. They lived as Christ himself had taught Christians to live (John 13:34).
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© 2018, Keith Simons.