The Letter to the Ephesians Message Twelve
VII. Perception. Ephesians 3:14-21
A. We learned of Paul’s reliance upon God and –
B. Paul’s Request from God –
Paul began his request from God that believers will be –
Ephesians 3:16 That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;
Paul also requested of God that believers, through this strength, would be –
2. Stable – nothing wavering, every day enjoying the presence of God in us –
Ephesians 3:17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,
a. Christ is in us – “…dwell in your hearts by faith…”
Colossians 1:27 To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:
We learned last week that Paul is writing – “That Christ might dwell in your hearts by faith…” The truth he is expressing is understood by the meaning of the word “dwell” that he used as led by the Lord. He is helping us understand that Jesus Christ has moved in permanently, He has settled His place in our hearts and our faith can be sure of this.
We should be confident that Christ is in us and that –
b. We are in Christ –
1 Corinthians 15:58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.
How can I be steadfast? How can I be unmovable? By remembering that I am in Christ!
Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
1 Timothy 1:12 And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry;
We are vitally connected to the Lord, He in us and we in Him –
John 15:5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
Is your life an example of Godly strength and Godly stability –
Paul bowed his knee in prayer for them that they would be –
3. Saturated – ‘…filled…’
a. Filled with understanding –
Ephesians 3:18 May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;
“May be able….” to have the strength to do this thing
“…to comprehend…” to apprehend, to understand, “I’ve got it”!!
“…with all saints…” every saint can have this strength and understanding.
“…what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height.”
Filled with the understanding of God’s will in which we live.
In the 1960’s a phrase was coined which defined thinking that is common to man from the time of Adam and Eve – “think outside of the box”. This is the thought process of breaking through laws, whether natural or societal, or accepted practices, in order to introduce or invent something new. This thinking is encouraged when, let’s say, a current product has become ordinary and people want more. For example – the clothes washing machine. Some of you remember, others have seen pictures of the wash tub and the scrub board. A man in New York was thinking outside of the box and invented the wash scrub board, make life easy of the woman – but not easy enough. More thinking was done, a barrel with a paddle took the place of the tub and wash board – but while easier, it was still very difficult, time-consuming work. With the addition of gears and crank handles, the washing machine was introduced – an invention which revolutionized washing clothes, bringing the woman from the river and rocks into the comfort of her own house.
Can a new thing be good? Of course these things are wonderful, helpful. But we must always remember that God has set bounds, laws, that we are not to venture beyond, to break through the laws of God. This as we are full aware of led to destruction, the introduction of sin into the world.
God has given us a box to live in and we should seek to comprehend – to know and live within its “…breadth, and length, and depth, and height…”
The ultimate purpose of washing clothes is to make them clean.
The method is of no concern if the purpose is accomplished.
The ultimate purpose of God is His glory.
The method is intrinsic to accomplishing His purpose.
We must understand that God did not –
establish 10:00 am as the church meeting time.
Nor establish Wednesday night as mid-week prayer meeting and Bible study.
Nor establish three congregational songs and a Bible recitation before the message
But we must also understand that He did establish –
The primacy of His Word being preached and taught.
The church is an assembly of saved, baptized people covenanting together to carry out His Will according to His Word.
The church is to take His Word into all the world, preaching the gospel to every creature.
The church is to baptize those that believe and call upon Him for salvation.
The church is to teach these believers to know and do His will.
The believers are to love the world as Jesus loves the world.
The believers are to pray for those in authority, to pray for one another, to pray for the lost to be saved.
Living within the breadth, and length, and depth, and height, living within the box will bring glory to God and accomplish His purpose.
Thinking outside of the box in the Biblical context has led to such ungodly practices as infant baptism, unsaved church membership, replacement of the assembly of believers – the church – with informal Bible study groups, outreach ministries working outside of church authority, building coffee shops or other similar businesses to remove the hesitancy of ‘attending church’, online, cable, television, and radio ministries taking the place of the church.
Those who claim to be churches, the people of God, had better be warned against thinking outside of the box that God has established.
We should be living inside the box!
We cannot add anything to God’s Word and make it better!
We cannot add anything to God’s will and make it better!
We cannot change God’s plan and make it better!
b. Filled with God.
Ephesians 3:19 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.
It is not a matter of seeking to have more of God, it is a matter of surrender to Him – “Lord, all that I am, all that I will be, all that I have is yours.
Look at the example of the Macedonians –
2 Corinthians 8:1-5 Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia; How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality. For to their power, I bear record, yea, and beyond their power they were willing of themselves; Praying us with much intreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints. And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God.
They were filled with faith, with trust of God that He would care for them and they expressed their faith and trust through that which can be known by those around us –
Galatians 5:22-25 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
Are you steadfast, trusting the strength of the Lord? Or is your life just a show, like a beautiful tree without a stable root system?
Are you satisfied, knowing that God’s word holds all the answers in practice and principle for you to accomplish His purpose?
Are you submitted to Him in everything? Philippians 4:19 But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.