Paul prays #1 for STRENGTH. Tonight we will look at some additional requests in this prayer that ends the first half of the book of Ephesians
Years ago there was a song that went, ‘My love is higher than the highest mountain, softer than a sigh, my love is deeper than the deepest ocean, wider than the sky, my love is brighter than the brightest star that shines every night above, and there is nothing in the world that can ever change my love’.
We would all agree that this person has a highly exaggerated expression of human love but if you change the words from My love is to God’s love is then you suddenly have a song that reflects truth instead of exaggeration.
PAUL SECOND REQUEST IS THAT OF LOVE
REQUEST #2: LOVE (17) …and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, (18) may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, (19) and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge,..
· Three things necessary for Paul’s kind of love
1. FIRST: It is something we are to be rooted & grounded in
a. This means to be established/stabilized in the
Superior love that comes from God.
b. The world has it’s own brand of love which is very
self -centered. Paul prays that we will be
established by God’s definition of what love really is.
Two words: One is agricultural while the other is architectural. One means to get our roots solid into the soil. The other means to be stable so as to not be collapsible. Our love is firmly rooted in our relationship with Jesus and the storms of the world cannot make our love fall apart.
c. It is one thing to be rooted and grounded in doctrine or
even in service in the church but being grounded in
God’s kind of love is an even deeper walk with God.
Parallel verse to this would be Romans 5:5 ‘the love of God has been shed abroad/poured out in hearts through the Holy Spirit’.
Thought of swabbing the decks, pouring water everywhere, or for us today ‘laying carpet’. Covers every area, ‘wall to wall’. Missing 6 inches on one side would look odd.
We are to be so rooted/grounded in love that it effects every part of our life. Every relationship, ministry, attitude, action.
SOMETHING WE ARE TO BE ROOTED AND GROUND IN
2. SECOND: Something we strive to know the extent of.
Able to comprehend what is the breadth, length, height,
a. ABLE – idea of being a full strength, full capacity.
When we are spiritually at optimum place then we
begin to understand some tremendous things about
b. Comprehend means more than just to know something
but it literally means to lay hold of something so as to
make it your own, to know and to feel.
To understand it to the point that it has a deep impact
upon who you are as a person.
You might tell somebody a joke and ask, ‘Do you get it?’
Louis Armstrong said about JAZZ, ‘Man, if I’ve got to explain it, you ain’t got it’.
We get our word for a monkey’s tail from this word.
b. Comprehend(grasp 4 things)
The Breadth of Love: wide enough to encompass all mankind
The Length of Love: long enough to last for eternity
The Heighth of Love: high enough to take us to heaven
The Depth of Love: deep enough to reach the most
CAN YOU EVEN BEGIN TO UNDERSTAND THAT KIND OF LOVE
AND TO MAKE IT YOUR OWN.
AND TO LOVE LIKE THAT YOURSELF.
Paul prays that you do. Imagine a church like that.
Comprehend with all the saints..
SOMETHING TO BE ROOTED AND GROUNDED IN SOMETHING TO KNOW THE FULL EXTENT OF
3. THIRD: It is something we see the fullest expression in
Jesus. (19) and to know the love of Christ which
a. This is actually a pretty funny statement by Paul.
He is praying that we will know what is unknowable.
The love that is in Christ is beyond human knowledge.
Lit. ‘to throw beyond’. I am playing shortstop but God’s thought keep going over the center field fence. I will never catch them, they are too far beyond my position.
b. KNOW is an intimate word like the love between a
husband and a wife. Paul prays that we will have an
intimate knowledge of the love of Christ.
Don’t ask me to explain the love of Christ but if you ask me if I know what it is then I can say I do, I have experienced it.
REQUEST #3: FULLNESS (19) …that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God. (20) Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us,
1. Paul prays that we might be filled with God’s fullness.
This word for filled means to be filled over the top, a full
a. Paul is praying that we will be overwhelmed the
presence of God. Think that sounds like an inviting
b. To pray this prayer means that we want God to so fill
us with Himself that there is nothing left of me.
Demonstrate this kind of attitude by some men who were called the Cambridge Seven.
In 1884 they were seven of the finest cricket players in England and were each students at Cambridge University.
They each gave up wealth, privilege, and comfort to bring the gospel to the people of China.
This would be equivalent to a Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa or Ken Griffey Jr. quitting baseball in their prime to go to the mission field.
The most notable was a man named C.T. Studd who also gave up a sizable inheritance to serve as a missionary in China, India, and Africa for 45 years.
Verse 20 is a wonderful verse that opens up the truth
about the heart of God towards us. If we can just get
self out of the way then look what God is waiting to give
when we embrace His fullness. Illustrates Paul’s fourth
REQUEST #4: Glory (20) Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, (21) to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. AMEN
1. This great prayer of Paul that we would have God’s
strength in our service, have God’s love in our hearts, and
have God’s fullness in our lives is all for a purpose.
That purpose is to bring glory to God.
a. It is all meant to draw attention to the one behind the
curtain who makes the kind of life we live possible.
2. When we live DYNAMITE CHRISTIAN lives then verse 20
describes the kind of God the world will begin to see.
a. HIM WHO IS ABLE – That will be the testimony our life
teaches. God is able in all of life’s struggles, He is
more than sufficient
b. ABLE TO DO EXCEEDING ABUNDANTLY BEYOND:
1) TO DO: create, perform, bring forth. No matter
what the challenge God can bring forth lemonade
out of lemons, healing out of hurts,
2) EXCEEDINGLY ABUNDANTLY BEYOND: three
straight superlatives. Beyond was used to describe
a river above capacity or at flood stage.
Exceedingly beyond capacity. God can do more
than our life could ever contain.
Like the little boy asked by his grandparents about how big the grand canyon was, ‘Way big, way way way way big’
c. BEYOND ALL THAT WE ASK OR THINK: More than our
life could contain and more than our minds could
imagine. I don’t know about you but I can think of a
lot of things but God is able to do more than that.
CONCLUSION: The world knows God can do these things because He is doing them in the lives of His people. Those who:
1) Those who surrender through faith to His Spirit so that His power might strengthen our lives.
2) Those who experience the extend of His Amazing Love and so share it with the world
3) Those who are filled to overflowing with His presence as they lose themselves in Him.
All these things bring Him glory in the church…to all generations forever and ever.
Didn’t end with Paul or the Apostles. This prayer was not just for the Churches in that day but for every generation forever and ever. IT IS FOR US!
God alone deserves glory for He alone is glorious.