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Ephesians 3:14-19

July 18, 2012 Weve covered the first three chapters of Ephesians, but were backtracking just a little; now were going to look at Pauls prayer for them again: I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, family in heaven and earth is named,

whom the whole

This deserves a lot of thoughtits not a light thing to be named of the Father. I mean, Hes called the terrible God (Neh. 9:32) and its said to be a dreadful thing to fall into His hands (Heb. 10:31). Its said that He has power to throw mens souls into hell (Lk. 12:5), His enemies have a certain fearful expectation of judgment and fiery indignation which will devour them (Heb. 10:27), and He Himself is a consuming fire (Heb. 3:12). And yet its said of us that He will not always chide nor keep His anger forever. Instead He pities us as a father pities his childrenHe does not reward us according to our iniquities (Ps. 103:8-14). And so, were instructed to come boldly before His throne of grace that we may obtain mercy and find grace in time of need (Heb. 6:16). And why is that? Were of His family. Were called His sons and His children. Were the heirs of His promise to Christ, and He loves us. Recently I found a book of sermons written around the 1800s by a man named Samuel Eyles Pierce. Listen to what he writes about this verse: There is but one Father: all the saints in heaven and earth, belong to the same Father, even God. They are all born of the same Spirit: are all united into the same Head: they are all equally beloved of the Father: all equally accepted in the Beloved: all built upon the same foundation, which is an eternal one, even Christ Jesus. They are all perfectly alike justified from all things, and clothed with the everlasting garment of Christs righteousness. They are all washed in the blood of the Lamb; and are all freely pardoned, through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus. They are heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ Jesus, and they will all one day partake of the same eternal glory. They are all the objects of JEHOVAHS delight, the purchase of His Sons blood; and God the Father has put on all the bowels of a Fathers love and mercy, and will exercise them towards, and upon His beloved children in Christ Jesus. The apostle would have us to consider the relation, to the end that we may see that the Fathers love towards us is in Christ, that He loved us in Him, and upon His account; and that as He loved Christ as Mediator before the foundation of the world, so as early did He love His people. Thou hast loved them, says Jesus unto His Father, as Thou hast loved Me. God, the Father, looks upon His people with the same delight, and views them with the same complacency as He does Christ Himself; for He views them in Him, and in Him

He is well pleased with them. He rests in His love towards them, and joys over them with singing. Were going to come back to the theme of Gods love for us in a couple verses, but for now I want you to pay special attention to the fact that we are called Gods family and we share His name. So Paul prays to this Father,

he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; How rich is Gods glory? O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! 34For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor? 35Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again? 36For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen (Rom. 11:33-36). Just think of what it means to be strengthened according to that! Also, this strengthening is with might by His Spirit to the inner man. What does this mean? Well, these bodies of ours are under a curse and theyre falling apart. All of the people who originally read this this letter have already diedthats not strength. But the strength were talking about here isnt for victory over sickness or deaththis is a spiritual strength given to the inner man: the one that by grace is being renewed every day (II Cor. 4:16). This is the part of us that lives even now and has a heart to love the Lord. Paul tells us in Romans (8:23) that were waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. But were already in Gods family! What Im getting at is that theres an expectation and a hope that one day these corruptible bodies will be raised incorruptible; we will be redeemed and receive adoption, but even right now we have an inner man which is already redeemed and alive and tied to Christ. And so Paul prays that this man will receive strength from the Spirit according to the riches of Gods glory.

Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith;

Now dont get confused here. Hes talking to people who are already saved. What can he mean by asking that Christ may dwell in their hearts by faith? First, I think wed do well to remember that the heart is wicked and deceitful above all things and beyond cure (Jer. 17:9). Now picture Christ cleansing us and giving us a new heart. As the King He sets up His throne therethis is the place which controls our actions and causes us to bear fruit. He reins and rules in our hearts and everything in our lives is affected by it.

The fact that He dwells there is also significant. The body without the spirit is dead (Jas. 2:26), and the inner man without the indwelling of Christ is dead. I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. (Gal. 2:20) that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, The Bible says that of faith, hope and love, love is the greatest (I Cor. 13:13). And why is that? Is not Gods mercy rooted in His love for us? Is it not those whom He foreknew which He did predestinate (Rom. 8:28)? I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee (Jer. 31:3). Gods love is everlasting and without merit. Its rooted in His love for Christthe Beloved (Mt. 3:17)! It doesnt vary or waver based on our actions or faith for while we were yet sinners Christ died for us (Rom. 5:8). The Scriptures tell us that God has loved us so deeply that He sent His Son to die for us (Jn. 3:16). And Paul argues that if He would die for us then how will He not with Him also freely give us all things (Rom. 8:32)? This love of Gods is so unchanging and so reliable that Paul asks, Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? (Rom. 8:35) and answers with a resounding Nothing! And here his prayer is that these Ephesians will be rooted (think about a plant with strong roots) and grounded (this is the same word used to describe the house founded upon a rock, Mt. 7:25). Settle firm and dont be shaken: God loves you! You need to start there so that you,

be able to comprehend with all saints

His love is impartial towards all His saints, what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; 19And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. His prayer is that they might comprehend something that passes knowledge. I do better when I can picture something in my mind, and I think God has given us that for a reason. How broad is Gods love? Well, I picture a shoreline which goes on for miles and miles, or maybe a desert with no end in sightbut these arent even a faint glimpse into Gods everlasting love. Its better to zoom way out and see the entire universe and to say again that its not even the start. Theres nothing by which we can compare the length nor the depth nor the height of His love for us. Its like

trying to measure from one end of the universe to the otherwhere do you even start? There is no end to the universe! It passes knowledge. And the purpose for this comprehension is so that you might be filled with all the fullness of God. What does that mean? It obviously doesnt mean that we understand everything about God or that we become God. I think maybe the best explanation I can offer is that when we understand Gods love for us then were filled with all the peace and contentment that comes with grace. We know were sinners, and we know life is hard, but we also know that the One who promised is faithful and His love for us is such that Hell never take away what He said Hell do. He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love. (Song of Solomon 2:4) You get this picture of an elegant room filled with all kinds of wonderful food. Its not just sustenance; its a banquet because of love. Pauls prayer is that well be filled with all the fullness of God as we know His love. Thou art all fair, my love; there is no spot in thee. (Song of Solomon 4:7) Gods love for us covers a multitude of sins and what confidence we gain from it. We, who are the chief of all sinners, have confident access to His throne of grace. We are spotless before Him. His mouth is most sweet: yea, he is altogether lovely. This is my beloved, and this is my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem. (Song of Solomon 5:16) Who can say this about the awful and terrible God who rumbles in the heavens and brings down judgment on the wicked? We are His bride, and His love for us is without measure! I am my beloveds, and his desire is toward me. (Song of Solomon 7:10) Are you starting to see Gods love towards us? This is Pauls prayer and mine. Open our eyes and give us understanding that we may rejoice in You!