Ephesians 3:18-21

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We have been blessed with “every spiritual blessing in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3).  God has given us everything we need in our spiritual life to be able to live life to the fullest for Him while on Earth.  Paul, from here in verse 3 in chapter 1, takes us on a journey telling us about these blessings.

1.  God chose us before the creation of the world.

2.  God adopted us as his sons

3.  God redeemed us through Christ’s blood

4.  God forgave us our sins

5.  God made known to us the mystery of his will

6.  God has made us heirs (given us a share) of all he has

7.  God has sealed us with the Holy Spirit

8.  God has taken us out of the realm of the dead and made us alive

9.  God has removed us from his wrath.

10.  God has unified us in one salvation making all people who are in Christ, one family.

It some of these things that we need to be reminded of that God has done for us.  It is these things that we need to take from our head and move them into our living for Him.  The reality of all God has done for us should motivate us to give Him all the glory in serving Him the way He prescribes in His Word.

Paul prays for enlightenment in chapter 1 and in chapter 3 he is praying that we would be enabled to allow all this knowledge to go from our heads to our feet–we would walk for God.  Paul begins in verse 14 of chapter 3 by kneeling showing the intensity he has for us.  It also shows the reverence he has for God who has done all things for us.  Paul prays that out of God’s riches he may strengthen us deep within so that Christ may dwell (be at home) in our hearts so that we would be rooted and established in love.  Not with just any love, but the love that God has had for us by sending Christ to die for us. 

This sacrificial love does not boast; it does not stop because it is offended; it keeps going showing itself no matter the situation.  This is how we ought to love our wives and husbands.  The world loves only as long as there is an attraction, or until there is some offense, worldly love, loves for what it can get.  In stark contrast, Christ’s love lasts forever, Christ’s love does  not end at some dispute or offense, and Christ’s love, loves for what it can give. 

When sin is present love is not.  When love is present, sin is not.  Sin and love are enemies because God and sin are enemies.  Love is the greatest commandment:

Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’  This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’  All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”  (Matthew 22:34-39)

Love is the fulfillment of the law:

Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law.  The commandments, “Do not commit adultery,” “Do not murder,” “Do not steal,” “Do not covet,” and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”  Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. (Romans 13:8-10)

Take a look at 1John 4:20-21

If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.

One cannot say he has Christ, yet not love, for love is God and God is love.  When you have the Holy Spirit, a Christian cannot avoid loving because we have been loved. Back up one verse in 1John 4 to verse 19

We love because he first loved us.

This is the quality of Christians: love.  We may not always perform love, but we should see this selfless, caring, tenderhearted love at some point in our walk with God.  The loveless life is an ungodly life.  When our relationships are strained with family, friends, wives, husbands, it is always a direct result of sin.  Our choice of not loving should not be since that is the type of love the world gives (not loving due to circumstances), but the true “agape” love here in this passage is the same love that Christ gave.  He did not say, that since we hurt His feelings, sinned against Him, he would not die for us, but died anyway as an expression of the love He truly felt for us.  If Christ’s circumstances determined His choice of loving, would we have salvation?  Wouldn’t we be condemned?   

When we sit back and ponder the meaning of love, we can’t help be see how short we fall when it comes to living out this self-sacrificing attitude, this determination to continue loving despite our circumstances.  Our divided selves can’t help but shake our heads at the sheer amount of…well…deep consideration it takes to never stop.

 


A POINT TO PONDER:  Is love and forgiveness linked to one another?  Does it take love to forgive?  How does one forgive without love?


 

I.  may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp…(Ephesians 3:18) 

Once we are rooted and established in love, we will have the “power to grasp” or the ability to comprehend (to take hold of something making it your own) ”with all the saints“.

We can’t fully comprehend love unless we are rooted and grounded in it.  It must become the very fiber of our being.  It should exude our lives.  I mean this should so become a part of us that one could not tell where God’s love starts and where we start.  Our love should be so bright that when one looks at us they see the love of God.  For this to happen we must be “rooted and grounded” in God.  God’s Spirit should be working in our lives. 

We should be allowing God’s Spirit to tell us what God’s Son has done for us.  At salvation, “God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us” (Romans 5:5), and we should also be pouring out God’s love into those around us by exercising the same type of selfless love.

Once this happens we will be able to grasp:

how wide…long…high…deep is the love of Christ

  • God’s love is so wide that it reaches to all mankind:  Jew, Gentile, making us one in Christ (Ephesians 2:11-18)
  • God’s love is so long that it started before the foundation of the world continues to eternity (Ephesians 1:4-5)
  • God’s love is so high that it reaches to the heavenlies (Ephesians 1:3)
  • Gods’ love is so deep that is reaches to the depths of sin (death) and makes us alive (Ephesians 2:1-3)

God’s love reaches from the past, to the present, to the future.

 

II.  and to know this love that surpasses knowledge…(Ephesians 3:19)

This true love does surpass knowledge of any kind.  “Knowing” God takes us beyond anything we could think of or imagine.  Knowledge and experience are two different things.  One can never know love until one experiences it for themselves.  Before we can love God or anyone else we must have “the love of Christ” in our heart.  We then are commanded to love because he gave us love. 

We are not to love as the world loves because that love is temporary and fleeting, but Christ’s nature is love which lasts forever and that is what we received at salvation.  Therefore we are to do the same: love as Christ loved.

that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God

 ”filled”: Greek: pleroo means to make full, fill to capacity, completely to all that can be held.  Speaks of totally taking over something or in this case, you and I. 

An example I can think of, would be a bucket, we take water and fill it up to the limit or to the top and the water fills every space inside the bucket completely taking over the space.  A person filled with love would seem to be dominated by love in all they do.  This can also be the same with sin.  We can be so filled with anger, bitterness, rage, hatred, sexual immorality, ect (for a list of sins: Galatians 5:19-21) that it dominates our whole life.  If we are so filled with God, we “will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature” (Galatians 5:16). 

This is the natural progression of what Paul is praying for.

1.  Strengthened in our inner being

2.  Christ dwells in us uninhibited

3.  Love is exuded

4.  We experience a complete fullness which dominates us

Then to be filled with God means to be so dominated that we are no longer operating from the “old self”.  Once we have been strengthened in our inner being, Christ is able to indwell us and when love then has mastered us, and we have become full of God, then God is “able to do immeasurable more than all we ask or imagine” (Ephesians 3:20).

III.  Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine…(Ephesians 3:20-21)

These last two verses bring the whole prayer together.  If everything has been taken care of in the natural progression: empowerment, indwelling, love, filling, then God is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask

With all these things completed, God’s working in us is unlimited.  “We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us” (Philippians 4:13).  Too few Christians can see God’s power…at work within us because we don’t follow this pattern given in this prayer.

We all need to learn from Paul.  We can ask for God to come and strengthen us from the inside so that we can stand in the midst of trials and temptations.  In this way Christ will “feel at home” and settle in.  Love then will take over us and God’s filling will master our lives.  If there is a break, the system falls apart.   God cannot have control when sin is in control.

 When we are fully yielded to God, He is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, then God deserves the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

 

Now that we are at the end of this prayer, let us not forget that Paul first prayed in chapter one for our enlightenment, then here he is praying for our enablement.  We first need to know the truth and then have that truth so saturate us that we live it out in our daily lives.

One of the areas that I personally need to focus upon is marriage.  This is where the full length mirror is shown upon us from our spouses.  We can see ourselves clearly.  I have the breakdown sometimes when I let pride get in the way, ect. 

 


Bringing it Home:  Let me ask you this question:  Where is your breakdown in your life?  What problem do you have? 

 


In the next section Paul exhorts us to live correctly since now we have the knowledge and the enablement, but we must not let sin enter into our lives so we can continually be filled to the fullness of God.

 

 

About Ernest Grogg

First and foremost I am married to Olesya and looking forward to the rest of our lives together. Marriage is a journey and it is interesting and fun. Saved at the age of 25 and while salvation has been a challenge, God has always been faithful.

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