Ephesians – How Great a Love

Peninsula Community Church

November 16, 2014

Ephesians – How Great A Love

Ephesians 3:14-19 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, 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 breadth 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.

This week we will pick up where we left off last week. In that message, we discovered that this prayer is one that can be prayed when we do not know what else to pray. Not that would be the only case for its usage but we have a powerful example of a prayer that is to be emulated. We began last week by discussing the fact that we can pray for others that their inner man would be strengthened by the Holy Spirit so that God would find a place to dwell in them and in us.

So now let us move to the second part of this prayer Paul prays that they will be rooted and grounded in love. The first point here is that we are to be rooted in love. Pastor Morris said during the conference we attended that too we often we pay attention so much to the fruit but what we need is to deal with the root. The reason we need to deal with the root is that the kind of soil we are planted in will determine the kind of plant we will be and the kind of fruit we will produce. Why does this matter? It matters because we must understand there are three purposes for roots. First, roots provide nourishment to the plant as the roots absorb water and minerals from the soil where the roots are planted. If the soil is bad the tree will be unsustainable and will produce unhealthy fruit. Secondly, roots provide support and stability. Roots anchor the plant in the soil so that the plant is not easily blown over or destroyed by the winds, rains, or animals. And lastly, roots store water and nutrients for the future. I did not realize this until I prepared this message. The root structure not only provides nourishment but the roots also store nutrients for a future time.

Let us take a moment and apply this to our lives. First, if we want to be healthy and to bear good fruit, we must be planted in the soil of Christ’s love. If we are planted in the soil of anger, bitterness, unforgiveness, hatred, and so forth that is the kind of fruit we will bear. But, if we are planted in the soil of love we will bear healthy fruit that bears fruit in others lives as well. The fruit that is borne will be multiplied beyond what is conceivable in our lives.

Secondly, roots provide support and stability from what may come our way. It could be a storm, a wind, an outside influence that seeks to destroy. We will remain strong. No matter what comes will not be able to destroy us. Paul in Romans makes this incredible proclamation. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword. No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:35, 37). When we are planted in Christ’s love, there is nothing that separate us from His love. When we are planted in the soil of Christ’s love we will have great stability and security for there is nothing that can destroy us.

Thirdly, roots store water and nutrients for the future. When we are rooted in love we will be continually feeding off of the soil. The roots store up nutrients for the days of drought or lack of rain. I love what David said in Psalm 119:11 I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. You see, the roots do not just work as a conduit but they are storing up the word for those days we feel we are in a drought. When we store the nutrients of God’s word in our hearts we are able to make it into the future with strength and hope. Once again listen to the words of  David in Psalms 1:3-4. David proclaims that the believer is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away.

Jeremiah adds to this discussion in Jeremiah 17:5-8. While Jeremiah uses the word “trust” we can only trust what we love. Thus says the Lord: “Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart turns away from the Lord. He is like a shrub in the desert, and shall not see any good come. He shall dwell in the parched places of the wilderness, in an uninhabited salt land. “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit. 

Not only are we to be rooted in love but we are also to be grounded in love. The foundation of our understanding must be grounded in love. True love brings true stability. We are to be grounded in love which is Christ. When we are grounded in God’s love, we become unshakable and unmovable like that tree planted by the streams of water.

Have you ever known someone that seems to be all over the place emotionally? One day they are up and then they are down. One day they are on fire for God and then they are cold as ice. One day they are ready to storm the gates of hell and the next they are cowering in fear and shame. Perhaps, the problem is that they are not grounded in Christ’s love because when we are grounded and rooted in love our life will be more stable and secure.

You see when you experience Christ’s awesome love, we can trust Him. We are assured that He will not leave us. We are assured that all He does, is for our good. He is willing to open the banks of His riches to touch our life and to meet every need we have in the way He chooses.

Third, Paul prays that they would have strength to comprehend the love of God that surpasses knowledge. The two words used here are interested. The word strengthen used here is defined as “to be fully able.” The second word “comprehend” is defined as “to know or to understand.” It has also been defined as “to eagerly seize or lay hold of.” So what does that mean? Paul is praying that they would be fully able to know and understand the love of God. He is praying that they will have the capacity to know God’s love.

In the second phrase Paul prays that their understanding of love would surpass knowledge. The fact is the love of God is to be understood intellectually but intellectual love falls short of a full understanding. True love must be experienced. The only way to truly know His love is to experience His love. It seems to me that when we fully comprehend the love of God, we will not be able to contain it. We will be effected emotionally, mentally, and physically. What we find on the cross is that Christ demonstrated His love to us by giving Himself wholeheartedly for all of mankind. He left heaven to come to earth to live as a man. He was tempted as a man. He was rejected as a man. He was deceived. He was cursed. He was lied to. All for the purpose of demonstrating His love toward us. Romans 5:8 reminds us that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. That is the ultimate demonstration of His love.

True love is a demonstrated love. It is a love that is felt, touched, received. It is a love that responds with love, nurturing, and kindness. As a married man, I must not love my wife intellectually but I must also demonstrate that love to her. Can you imagine our relationship if I never greeted her. I never kissed her. I never helped to provide for her. She would not feel loved even though intellectually I have a knowledge of that love. She can have a knowledge of my love but it is enhanced by my demonstration of that love.

And finally, Paul prays that they would be filled with the fullness of God. This fullness of God is the completeness of God in us. This is an interesting proposition since we were filled with all that God has for us and filled us with Himself when we came to know Christ. In John 1:14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.  And in John 1:16  For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.

The problem is that we leak and use up what God has given us. We can become broken cisterns that struggle to maintain a spiritually healthy life. But God is calling us to be filled. Later in Ephesians Paul says that we are to be filled with the spirit. The idea expressed here is that we are to be filled but we are to continue to be filled with the spirit. Just this week we had to add water to our pond. Why? The water was leaking out and it was evaporating. We must be filled over and over again. In Ephesians 5:18, Paul challenges us to be filled with the Spirit. The verbiage here in the Greek is to be filled and keep on being filled. The verb filled carries the idea of something that has begun must be continued.

For an audio of this message go to http://pccministry.org/media.php?pageID=14

Copyright © 2014 All Rights Reserved Robert W. Odom

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