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Ephesians 3 - 'THE LOVE OF CHRIST" Print E-mail

“THE LOVE OF CHRIST”

 (Ephesians 3)

Preached by: Pastor Carolyn Sissom

Sunday, March 6, 2011

 

Eph. 3:19:  And to know the love of Christ, which passes knowledge, that you might be filled with the fullness of God.”

 

Paul states in Verse 17b, “I pray that from this amazing love match in which you have rooted your new life and founded your new character, you and all the saints jointly may attain to the even larger experience of comprehending the breadth and length and depth and height---“.

 

These dimensions look back over the eons to when He first loved us, another to the endless future, still another to the depths He reached to rescue us, with the last pointing to the heights to which His love has raised us---full partners in His Glory!  But mere dimensions are not enough to express the inexpressible.  So he stops, stating that more than mere intelligence is needed.

 

19a “and to know by experience and exploration the love of Christ, which is something that can never be known by mere intellectual acquaintance.”

 

There is no way to explain love.  Great writers have tried.  One must fall in love for oneself and actually experience love.  For love is strong as death; jealousy is cruel as the grave; the coals thereof are coals of fire, which has a most vehement flame.  Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it; if a man would give all the substance of his house for love, it would utterly be condemned.” (Song 8:6-7).

 

To love and be loved is the greatest gift life can give us.  This Gift of Unsearchable Love is available to every human on the face of the earth through Jesus Christ.  I have preached a lot of sermons on love.  I do not have an adequate command of language to express this love.  I, like you,  am still on the journey of exploring and experiencing the love of Christ.

 

So it is with experiencing Jesus, one must meet Him, fall in love and “marry” Him.  After that comes years of exploring the oceans of His gentleness, mercy, kindness and generosity.  Jesus is so wonderful; it takes time to discover what a truly marvelous Person He is.

 

As we become more and more aware of the astounding love Jesus has for us, Paul then adds in 19b “That you might be filled with all the fullness of God.” 

 

The fullness of God!!!

 

 The Greek Word #4138 (Pieroma) from 4137 (Pieroo):

  A filling of filling up:

1. A fullness of being full.

2. Something put in to fill up.

3. A fullness complete number.

 4. The expression “the fullness of the earth” means all the good things with which the earth is filled or plentifully stored.

 5. The fullness of time denotes the completion of a particular period of time before ordained and appointed.

6.  Completion.  The church is called the Pieroma of Christ who fill all in all.  It indicates that Christ has filled it with all kinds of gifts and dwells in it and walks in it.

7.  A fullness of the Godhead in Christ in Col. 1:19; 2:9 means that in the body of Christ as it was constituted,  God was in His fullness and not simply in His manifestation.  Jesus was fully God and fully man with a body.

 

#4137 Pieroo:  “To fill, as a net with fish, as a house with a perfumed smell (Jn. 12:3); to fill up, as a valley (Lk. 3:5) or measure; to complete; finish; end; to fulfill;  accomplish;  perform; to preach or explain fully; to accomplish or perform what was foretold or prefigured in the O.T.; to fully satisfy.  When Jesus said that He came not to destroy the law or the prophets but to fulfill, He meant that He came not only to fulfill the types and prophecies by His actions and sufferings, but also to perform perfect obedience to the law of God in His own person and full to enforce and explain it by His doctrine.  Thus He has fully satisfied the requirements of the law”.

 

“That you might be filled with all the fullness of God.”

 

What a prayer request Paul made for us.  It is a promise with a condition attached.  We can experience this fullness of God if we know the love of Christ.   The Greek means to be full as God is full!  Through the Holy spirit Christians learn they are joined in spiritual wedlock to the Creator!  Beyond that they find He is “desperately” in love living only to see that they are completely satisfied!  Talk of self-realization!   Why we are involved with the Godhead Himself---growing and reaching for the very likeness of the Most High!  We know who we are, how we came to be and our eternal destiny.  That’s enough to make any man let go of this world and cling only to Jesus!  The Christian who does, experiences a rapture of soul this world cannot match.

 

3:20:  Now to Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us.”

 

He who exerts His power within us is not only able to do things like this, but so much more and in such measure that it goes beyond anything we can picture in our minds or dream of asking Him!

 

Consider that the One who is the lover of our soul is also the amazing Genius behind the physical creation that has scientists and investigators gasping.  Think what He can prepare for those whom He adores!  It is no wonder that, “eye has not seen nor ear heard…” the things that are in store for us”.  The God of the snowflake, of which no two are alike in a bucketful, a mountain range or the glaciers of the ages---never runs out of ideas.  It is into fellowship with a Person like that that we have been invited to spend eternity, participating as marriage-partners and equals!  Yes, He has the power to fill us with Himself and raise us to full adulthood…and then some. 

 

If the sea were filled with empty containers, the containers would be filled with the fullness of the sea.  That God should have such an incredible purpose for man calls for a doxology indeed.  In it Paul stresses again the limitless power at work in the saints to achieve this goal, which is infinitely more than man could ask for himself or even imagine.  There will then be endless glory for God through the Church, inasmuch as it will be a vehicle for the display of all the glories of Christ.

 

3:21:  “To Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen

 

Oh what glory is due Him! And may He receive it all through His church in Christ Jesus---forever and ever! Amen

 

I will now back up to verse 1 of chapter 3.  In chapter two, Paul told them they were built together for a habitation of God through the Spirit.  In subsequent revelations, he received insight into the mysteries of Christ.  Here he speaks of the particular mystery of the body of Christ, the church.  He is about to pray for their understanding as to their role in that Body.

 

We need prayer for the churches today that they have an understanding of their role in His Body.  If the ministries of the churches come into this understanding, there will be no more competition; people coveting others’ ministries; strange greed over financial provision; jealousy of others’ gifts, callings, and commissions.

 

3:1-5:  “For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, If you have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward: How that by revelations He made known to me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, Whereby, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men, as it is now revealed to His Holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit;”

 

Having shown in chapter 2 what is the greatness of God’s power in raising Christ, and in constituting the Church His Body, he now begins to expound on the riches of the glory of this inheritance.  He starts to express it in prayer, but is deflected by his own words (or prophetic declarations) and returns to his prayer in verse 15.

 

Paul was not Caesar’s prisoner, it was the will of Christ which held him captive (4:1).  It was because of his battle for Gentile liberty from the law that he got enmeshed with Rome.  This was his stewardship; to reveal and explain God’s arrangements for the incorporation of the Gentiles in the Church without law or circumcision.  This had brought him into conflict with the Judaizers (who were zealous for the law) and ultimately with Rome. 

 

This put him in cross-hairs with politics and religion.  If Gentile believers were stated to be non-Jewish then they came under Roman laws about illegal religions.  So long as they were regarded as a Jewish sect, (Act. 28:22) they were immune from this law and its death penalty.  We can see a parallel in the spirit of Islam trying to impose Sharia law into the laws of the United States of America which is based on the Judaea-Christian culture.  The devil always has a counterfeit. 

 

The truth of the Gentiles being admitted to salvation was never hidden and neither was the fact that they would one day receive a call (Isa. 56:6-7).  But that they would someday be admitted without circumcision and made equal to the Jews, by means of an entirely new institution, was never once hinted.  The truth of the Body of Christ, in which God would live, was reserved for Christ’s Church where it was  to become a startling dimension of Christ’s glory.

 

I do not believe that the Church as established in the New Testament will cease to exist until Jesus comes.  There are those who preach a new church order.  Well, Paul sure got in the middle of a big religious/political battle when He preached and was one of the Lord’s primary instruments to establish the Lord’s  church.  While Peter was the first to win Gentiles, Paul was the one appointed to head up the new program for non-Jews.

 

The other apostles were still worshiping over at the Temple in Jerusalem.

 

3: 6-8:  that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ by the gospel; Whereof I was made a minister according to the gift of the grace of God given to  me by the effectual working of His Power.  To me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;”

 

Oh that Ministers of the gospel today would cry out for this gift of Grace!!!!  Many have taken on an entitlement mentality and wonder why there is no effectual working of His Power in their ministries.  People of God, I know that in whatever measure the Lord uses me in the ministry, it is only through the gift of Grace.  I cry out for more this Grace.  I surely do not desire to be another Apostle Paul and suffer what he suffered that the church might be birthed in Power to make God’s purpose clear before all men and the entire cosmos.   Paul beseeches us in chapter 4, to walk worthy of the vocations wherewith you are called, with all lowliness, meekness, longsuffering, forbearing with one another in love, endeavoring to the keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

 

God who planned these things in His primal counsels and kept this secret hidden for ages had given Paul the task of bringing to light the details of this mystery and putting them into operation.  How many ministers seek greatness in the Kingdom?  Has God used you to inform the whole supernatural world of His Hidden Mysteries?  There are many mysteries still to unfold.  I am still studying and seeking the Lord for the ones He has already revealed.

 

Paul’s task is enlightment of the plan, secret in all previous ages (Col. 1: 25-27), but inherent in the creation of the universe.  The information is laid out in the church, where all heavenly intelligences may view the many-hued wisdom of God.  Angels baffled by the amazing liberties allowed to satan and men can now justify God, as they behold the clear deliberate purpose of God in the ages now unfolded in the Messiah.

 

Now this my friends is what I would call an apostleship!!!!!!  I think the rest of us might eat a little humble pie when we view the effectual working of our ministries compared to the power of the Grace of God on Paul’s life.  The best we can do is teach and preach what the Lord revealed through him.   Ninety percent of Christendom still doesn’t get it.

 

3:10: “ to the intent that now to the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God.  According to the eternal purpose which He purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord; In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of Him.”

 

That all the angelic powers with their rulers and authorities, should behold the fantastic wisdom of God as it unfolded in the development of the church.    The Greek indicates that God’s church is like a theatre where His wisdom is being acted out to educate the spirit-world as to the size of His heart and Genius.

 

It was always His purpose to do this, but the timing had to wait until the accomplishment of Christ Jesus our Lord.

 

Paul speaks of God’s “hidden wisdom”, a wisdom kept from the rulers of this age (satan’s gang); for if they had understood it, they would not have crucified the Lord of Glory.”  

 

I believe there is more “hidden wisdom” kept from satan that has to do with the fulfillment of the fullness of God being manifest in His Church.  I see a lot from my vista.  I can tell you that those who have become puffed up and full of themselves rather than the fullness of God are going to miss these unsearchable riches according to His power that works in us.

 

It is in Christ and that by virtue of our faith in Him, that we not only have free access to God, but can feel perfectly at ease in His presence. 

 

3:13-18:  Wherefore I desire that you faint not at my tribulations for you, which is your glory.  For this cause I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named.  That He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man;  that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;”

 

He prays that the power which has altered their whole status before God might now work increasingly in them until God’s full intention is realized.

 

In deepest reverence Paul offers this particular prayer to the Father from whom all fatherhood descended.  The Church is a family with One Father.  The word instructs us to pray to the Father, in the Name of the Son, in and through the Holy Spirit.

 

Preached by:  Pastor Carolyn Sissom

Scripture from K.J.V.; Text from C.S. Lovett’s Lights on Ephesians and F.F. Bruce Bible Commentary, George E. Harpur.  Comments and Conclusions are my own and not meant to reflect the views of those from whom I have gleaned.  We video our Sunday morning service and audio all other services.  www.eastgateministries.com

 
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