JohnSWilson3 Blog


“…the love of Christ,…”
November 27, 2010, 3:02 pm
Filed under: P Letter to the Ephesians

While the first part of chapter 3 of Paul’s letter to the church in Ephesus describes in detail his thoughts reference his calling to build the church on the foundation of Jesus Christ, “to preach…the unsearchable riches of Christ,” the rest of Chapter 3 seems to describe Paul’s prayer for how the church is “joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord” and “in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.”

Because of the fact that “through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known” and this bringing a spiritual battle of much consequence, and knowing the struggle ahead Paul states: “For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name.” Using the literal version Paul prays that the Father “may give you according to the riches of the glory of him by power to become mighty through the Spirit of him in the inward man, that Christ may dwell through faith in the hearts of you, in love having been rooted and having been founded, in order that you may have strength to apprehend with all the saints what is the breath and length and height and depth, and to know the excelling knowledge love of Christ, in order that you may be filled to all the fullness of God.” We know that the church is “being fitted together” and grows “to become a holy temple in the Lord” and that it is in Christ that we “are being built together into a dwelling place of God in spirit” but Paul describes in his prayer that this fitting together, this growing, this building together is for a place the “God lives by his Spirit” and it is about experiencing Christ! This fitting together, this growing, this building together of one another is based on us being strengthened “with power through his Spirit” “in the inward man” and He is learned in community. That “inward man” is none other than Christ! We are called “to apprehend with all the saints” “Christ in us, the hope of glory”! To do so enables the family of God “to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.”

Christ wants to dwell in our hearts “through faith” and “love.” This can only happen through experiencing Christ together. How much by faith have you apprehended Christ in you, in the body of Christ together? Apprehension of Christ is “rooted and founded” in “love.” Jesus said “A new command I give you: Love one another. as I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Jesus also said “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him” and it is the Holy Spirit in us, Christ in us, who reminds us “of everything I have said to you.” Jesus’ command is “love each other.” We cannot even begin to apprehend Christ, to grasp Christ, unless as a body our relationships are rooted and founded in love, but what is amazing is that Christ has already done that! How much effort we make in the flesh to try and will to love others! That is not Christ’s love, that is not having Christ’s power in our “inner being,” that is not Christ dwelling in our hearts through faith. We love because He first loved us and gave himself up for us. How the family of God needs to be founded on the true foundation of Jesus Christ, to learn to live by His life in an inward way! We do not know or trust Christ who lives in us. Let us pray for one another like Paul “that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.”

This again seems to reflect back to Paul’s original prayer at the beginning of his letter “that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms.” Christ’s power is resurrection and ascension power! And, according to Paul, resurrection and ascension power, the incomparable great power of Jesus Christ our Lord, is for grasping the love of Christ together in the family of God. Christ is the power and wisdom of God! How we need to know Christ, to apprehend Christ’s great love for us together! How we need to learn Christ in an inward way together with all the saints! Only then will we begin to “grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge.” Christ and his great love is a dominant theme in all of Scripture, why is He and His love not the dominant theme when we gather? We may talk about Christ but do we really know Christ and express Him? Christ must be head of our gatherings if we expect to know Christ together. And because He is Head then the whole body must contribute, must function, must participate in order for all to apprehend Christ and His love together. When we contribute something of Christ with each other, we contribute something of the riches of His glory, the riches of God’s grace, in fact the indescribable gift of God, Christ Himself.

Paul immediately is moved into a prayer to God, and what an amazing prayer! “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, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” How could we settle for just gathering together to do some thing, to have someone else other than Christ as head? How could we settle for something less than Christ Himself?! The church is called to express “the manifold wisdom of God,” Christ Himself! In faith, in love, in freedom, in boldness, in confidence, not because of anything that we have done but because of everything Christ has done for us and is now living in us! Christ “is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine”! Why do we settle for a format or a formula when we gather together? Why does someone think they need to control what happens when the church gathers together?! All of these things “observing the law,” “works of the flesh,” “fine-sounding arguments,” and “human tradition and the basic principles of this world” do nothing for the church except rob it of the awesome power of God for us to love one another freely and joyfully! If “all things were created by him and for him” why do we settle for noncreativity in how we gather together? Our God is so creative! Perhaps we miss the fullness of God because we limit the creativity of His people when we gather together.

How we limit God by our own ingenuity and passivity. How we limit God by our focus on our extroverted and introverted personalities, the flesh. How we limit God by focusing on everything but Christ. Christ lives in us! Christ is our life! Let us live by His life together, in faith, in love, in an inward way, and let us know the love of Christ in His fullness as we contribute Christ to one another. What of Christ can you share with your brothers and sisters? What has He said to you, done in you, or done for you that you could share? How has His love overwhelmed you that could encourage the body of Christ? We will truly begin to know Christ and his great love for us in all His fullness when He is strong in the inward man of all the saints, gathered together with Christ as Head, each member contributing the riches of His glory to and through one another.

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Comment by John Wilson




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