Ephesians 3:14-21-14 For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom every family[a] in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
What Paul was essentially praying was that the Ephesians would live a life of fulfillment by being filled with the fullness of God. Fulfillment comes from being filled up by the things God has to offer and by God Himself. Let’s look at the things Paul enumerates.
In verse 16 Paul began by saying, “I pray that out of his glorious riches…”
There is an unlimited reservoir of resources that God has at His disposal, friends. Paul calls them God’s “glorious riches.” Do you realize God created all things and is the owner of all things? He maintains a treasury that is vast, so vast it is hard to comprehend. It contains what is needed to meet our spiritual, physical, financial, and emotional needs. Paul calls them “glorious” riches because they come from Heaven. They come from God Himself. When you realize that God has an endless supply of glorious riches, you know your time and turn will come, and you know you can trust Him to deliver what you need.
Maybe one of the glorious riches you need today is SPIRITUAL POWER. Our text goes on to say, “16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being.”
Strength to endure some trial, strength to overcome some challenge, strength to stay focused on the Kingdom of God rather than being consumed by your trial-this is the kind of strength God can give us. Paul is describing a power beyond ourselves. When we go through difficult times, it is OK to pray that the difficulties will resolve and that life will become easier, but in addition to praying that way, we need to pray for supernatural spiritual strength and power to walk through our trials with unbroken peace. The world knows how to pray for pain to stop and for difficulty to end. You see their requests on social media every day. We can certainly take our burdens to the Lord, but in addition to that, we can pray in a way that the world could never comprehend or apprehend; we can pray for a miracle in our inner man that comes because we are connected to the resurrection power of Jesus. When your inner man is strengthened by God you have what you need to go without something you need or want and to live in joyful anticipation of God’s supply.
Paul says he prays the Ephesians will be strengthened through God’s power in their inner man, verse 17, so that Christ may dwell in their hearts through faith. When I read this, I get the idea that Paul is praying in this section for the church to grow in SPIRITUAL PASSION. There is a sense that Paul is urging the Ephesian Church to allow God to fully reside, to take up residence, to dwell in their hearts by faith.
For the believer, every facet of life can be saturated by the presence of God. By faith, allow God to tell you how to handle adversity. By faith, give God control of your finances. By faith, ask God to help you parent your children. By faith, invite God to lead your next steps. By faith, pray for God’s will to be accomplished in your current circumstance. By faith, tackle that education or make that career change.
By faith, make room for Jesus to enter into your pain. Allow Jesus the room to settle in you, and you will live settled with Him. Everything you go through is an opportunity to be shaped by Jesus, to be helped by Jesus. The way to cultivate your spiritual passion is to invite Jesus into the middle of every situation.
So, we see Paul praying for spiritual power, for spiritual passion and then he moves on to pray for their SPIRITUAL PERCEPTION.
And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge
I love Paul’s word choice here. He talked about them being rooted and established in love. The idea of being rooted talks about depth and stability. That word “established” speaks about a firm foundation, something that is lasting. And just what is it that they are rooted in? They are rooted in the love of God. Do y’all have any idea how enduring, how strong, how unshakeable the love of God is? Have you taken time to contemplate what it means to be rooted in the love of God? Can you wrap your mind around the dimensions of God’s love?
God’s love is so difficult to fathom let alone try to describe that scholars have a hard time even translating the word that represents the love that is intrinsic to His character. The Hebrew word for it is “hesed.” It has multiple meanings, representing the multiple dimensions and qualities of God’s love. It is a covenant-kind of love, a covenant-keeping love. It is translated as “steadfast love.” It is also translated to be “goodness,” “kindness,” “faithfulness,” and “steadfast mercy.” It is like a diamond with many facets to it. It reflects God’s posture toward His people.
God’s “hesed” is never-failing. It is unrelenting. It is forgiving. It is faithful. There is a tenderness to His love and a mercy that the Bible describes as being new every morning. Imagine that. God renews His love or demonstrates His love fresh every day. There is a generous expression of kindness toward us even though we could do nothing to deserve any attention or tender expression from God. God’s “hesed” love is a love that is unending and always seeks our highest good. In love, God will always fight for us and come to our rescue. His is a love that pursues us over and over and over.
Can you see why scholars have had difficulty translating what “hesed” means? His love is so big for us that there isn’t an English word that can capture its meaning. The love of God is foundational to our salvation. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 Salvation is the byproduct of the love of God. It was God’s reason to give of Himself, to take on our sin, to give His life to redeem us from ourselves and from our sinful ways.
Just as we cannot fully realize the dimensions of God’s love for us, we can’t imagine the weight of the sacrifice that He made when He gave Jesus as our substitute. What did Jesus feel when the sins of the world were heaped upon Him on the cross? There isn’t an English word that comes close to describing the agony, the torture, the shame, the humiliation, the suffocation, the isolation, the degradation, the abuse that Jesus suffered for us, but we have to consider it because as we do, we gain insight about the depth of God’s love for us.
God’s love becomes our motivation for wanting to be with Him, for wanting a close relationship with Him. Once you experience God’s love, you become captivated by it, and it changes you. You become filled with the love of God, and it transforms you and gives your life a purpose you could never have imagined. God’s love begins to flow through you to those around you, and others then become changed by it. I John 4:19 says, “We love because He first loved us.” As we encounter the love of God, we become lovers of others. It was happening in the first century Church as the Gospel spread like wildfire, and Paul was telling the Ephesians in our passage for today, “We cannot let up on the Gospel message. We must continue to gain spiritual power, spiritual passion and spiritual perception so that God in us can overflow to those around us.”
Look at the end of our text: that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. Ephesians 3:19-21
The way to fullness is by receiving spiritual power, by fueling our spiritual passion and by desiring increased spiritual perception. What could happen if we turned to God for supernatural strength every day? What could happen if we exercised faith in every circumstance, thus growing our spiritual passion? What could happen if we lived with a desire for increasing spiritual perception and lived out of that revelation? Paul gives us the answer. He says God will do immeasurably more than all we can ask or imagine!
I want to join the Apostle Paul in his prayers for the Ephesians and ask God to do it in, for, and through the believers at Teays Valley Church of God. My God be glorified in this church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever!