Shaped by the Limitless Love of Christ Ephesians 3:14-21(p. 1080-1081) July 7, 2013
Introduction Bishop Moule: “Who has not read and re-read the closing verses of the third chapter of Ephesians with the feeling one is permitted to look through the parted curtains into the Holiest Place of the Christian Life?” Today: • Teaching • Praying
Request #1 – Christ Dwell in Us 3:16 “I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.” • Prayer for increased ministry of the Holy Spirit • Snodgrass: The Spirit “is the revealer, the one who makes known to us the ‘deep things of God’…” (cf 1 Cor 2:10-12) • Prayer for power from the Holy Spirit • In our inner being not in the external world • So that Christ may dwell in our hearts • A prayer for sanctification – the process by which Christians become increasingly holy and mature in faith • Illustration: buying an old house
Prayer Exercise: Christ Dwell in Us “I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.” • Thank God for his glorious riches. • Ask the Holy Spirit to strengthen you with power in your inner being. • Pray that God would give you faith in Christ. • Ask the Holy Spirit to show you what parts of you need to be cleaned up, renovated, repaired, and transformed. • Ask God to make you a suitable dwelling place for Jesus.
Request #2 – Know the Limitless Love of Christ 3:17b-19 “I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” • Prayer for love and maturity • Goal: to be “filled… with all the fullness of God” • Cf. 1 Peter 1:15-16 and Matthew 5:48
Request #2 – Know the Limitless Love of Christ We don’t seek Christian maturity alone… • The Holy Spirit gives us power • We need God’s power to understand true love: the self-sacrificial agape love of Christ • Then we grow in maturity and holiness • V18a “together with all the Lord’s people” • Snodgrass: “Christianity is a corporate religion, and only as people comprehend together will they experience what God has for them.” • Stott: “The isolated Christian can indeed know something of the love of Jesus. But his grasp of it is bound to be limited by his limited experience. It needs the whole people of God…”
Request #2 – Know the Limitless Love of Christ Limitless Love • To understand the magnitude of God’s love, we must use our imaginations and dream, the depths of our souls • Theological description (Stott): • Broad enough to encompass all humankind • Long enough to last eternity • Deep enough to reach the most degraded sinner • High enough to exalt him to heaven
Request #2 – Know the Limitless Love of Christ • Psalm 103:11-12 For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. • Hymn: “The Love of God” • Could we with ink the oceans fill and were the skies of parchment made, • Were every stalk on earth a quill and everyone a scribe by trade; • To write the love of God above would drain the oceans dry, • Nor could the scroll contain the whole though stretched from sky to sky.
Prayer Exercise: Limitless Love of Christ I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. • Thank God that He has rooted and established us in love. • Thank God for the community of faith. • Ask God to give you some images or words to help you grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ.
Prayer Exercise: Limitless Love of Christ Continued… • Ask God to show you evidence of his limitless love, both in your own life and in the lives of those around you. • Ask God to help you know and experience his love which surpasses knowledge. • Ask God to mature your faith. Pray that He would fill you to measure of all the fullness of Himself.
Conclusion – God is Able! 3:20-21 “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we can ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations for ever and ever! Amen.” God is able to answer our prayers! • Make this your prayer for the week: • Pray it for yourself and those around you • Use the prayer card as a reminder • Remember: He is capable of doing “immeasurably more than all we can ask or imagine!”