Sunday, March 1, 2009
You Are a Possibility
“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 breath 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” (Ephesians 3:16-20). Paul is saying as believers we must be rooted and grounded in love. In other words, to seek God's love in its fullness, we must in some way know and experience that love already in our lives. Just as in real life, we must have a solid base to jump from. We do not jump from nothing to everything. We need a sure foundation before we go on. Paul was most aware of this principle, as seen in the above passage, this is most evident as he is praying for the believers in Ephesus. This was no mere formal prayer but a prayer that would greatly impact their daily lives. Paul knew what a Christian needs for a productive, joy filled life in Christ, and his prayer reflects exactly that. First, the blessings that are possible. God tells us that we have spiritual power available to us (v. 16). The Holy Spirit must be relied on to furnish the power we need for victorious Christian living. Here are a couple of questions to meditate on. How much spiritual power do you need daily? How much are you using now? 1. Noteworthy is the fact that spiritual power is imparted to the inner man. In the New Birth we were given a new inner man (Christ). However we still have our old outer man, which consists of sin habituated flesh. That is why we are exhorted to "put off the old and put on the new". We tend to live out of the outer man more than we would like to admit. The outer man tries to keep the inner man in check. Christ, who is our life, wants to live through us, in order to do so He must break through the outer man. 2. Paul, when asking God to "strengthen us in our inner being", is speaking of the fullness of the Holy Spirit. “Where the Spirit is Lord there is liberty.” 3. This is the Holy Spirit power God desires to give to the meek and humble. We are warned often that “God resists the proud" on the other hand we can rejoice in the fact that "He gives more grace to the humble.” Paul is praying that we might understand the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit (v. 17). This is the result intended from the strengthening of v.16. 1. To "dwell" means to live in, to be at home. We, by the power of the Holy Spirit of God are to make our lives a place where the Lord Jesus can feel at home. Man is the dwelling place of God, we are His temple. 2. We are to invite Christ to be at home in our lives, this is accomplished by faith, as we appropriate the truth of God’s Word and present our lives to His control. Biblical living teaches us that we don’t give in order to get, that is simply an exchange. We are to give because “Christ is worthy.” God desires that we develop stability of character (v. 17). This takes place as we are rooted in love. Then we become securely settled and grounded in Him. This love comes from the Holy Spirit, He is the only one who can produce genuine love in our lives. In doing a quick study of the fruit of the Spirit, we will note that the first three "fruit" affect our emotions, they are love, joy and peace. Paul is praying that we will have an enlarged comprehension (v. 18), "with all Saints", that includes you and me. 1. We can lay hold on God’s love, I may not always be demonstrating the love of God but I always have His love available in me. 2. That love is my permanent possession. A look at God's love will change our lives, because it's Calvary love. We will experience complete and abiding satisfaction (v. 19). Paul wants us to know this is knowledge gained by experience. 1. To be filled with God requires us to be empty of self. The Lord calls us to “Deny self, take up our cross daily and follow Jesus.” 2. To be God filled is to be Master controlled. Our flesh will battle for control because that is the nature of flesh. Flesh will always yield to the cross. Second, the source of power (v. 20). God can do anything, His power is exhaustless. We can be anything that God wants us to be if we are willing to pay the price. The believer can make great requests when he knows he is coming to a Great God “He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things” (Romans 8:32)? This verse ought to effect our prayer life. The measure of our receiving is according to the power that works in us (v. 20). The power is unlimited, but we limit the working of God when we do not, by faith, comprehend all He has for us. "Without faith it is impossible to please Him." Third, the measure of God’s giving (v. 16). By the riches of His grace we know His salvation. By grace we can know an even larger measure of His eternal glory. This very clearly speaks about the largeness of knowing Christ's love. Evidently, it speaks of a revealed love greater than we encounter during our time of salvation. The breadth, length, height and depth are the dimensions of Christ's love. No matter the largeness of Christ's love, we should note that we can by God's grace reach a fair comprehension of this love. Knowing Christ is not a mere intellectual knowledge of Christ's love. It is the ultimate experience of experiencing His love. It is as if our eyes are opened, the flood gates of our hearts are totally down, and our heart is surrounded with the very love of Christ. The goal is to be so filled up with Christ that there is no room for anything besides Him. There is no other object or person that would catch our heart's attention. We would be so enraptured with His love that we would be "filled up to all the fullness of God." There is a mystical aspect of Christianity. This is called the deeper life, it is that which brings heaven to the soul. We learn about the deeper life as we abide in Christ and let Him live His life thought us by the Power of the Holy Spirit. As we grow in the Lord we learn that we can have all of Him we want. We get more of Him as we give Him more of ourselves. Dr. Ken Copley is available for counseling, conferences, and local church meetings.