Do you know the glorious possibilities of the ordinary Christian life? The unlimited possibilities that we have with Christ? God has given us all encouragement in the Bible that we can grow in our knowledge and fellowship with Him. We need to believe that this isn’t just for preachers, missionaries, and famous Christians who have had biographies written about them. We need to believe that this is possible for us.
Outline / Timestamps
0:00 – Opening prayer.
3:33 – Start of the sermon, Ephesians 3.14-21
7:17 – Remember your zeal when you were first saved?
9:10 – Have you lost the initial romance of being a Christian?
12:09 – The treasure chest is available for you; just ask.
18:30 – What is inside the treasure chest?
19:14 – Step 1 – We need to be strengthened on the inside.
22:46 – Step 2 – We need Christ to dwell in our hearts by faith.
25:40 – How does this richer experience of fellowship come about?
27:13 – Step 3 – We need to be loving other people.
31:04 – Step 4 – Christ loves us; do you comprehend this?
36:09 – Step 5 – Be filled up to the fullness of God.
42:15 – Why would God do all of these glorious things in us?
44:47 – This is for us now, in our generation.
Well, I think we should pray. Lord, we thank you for the glorious things. We just heard from this man of God. Thank you for the way our hearts have been pointed toward that which is most on the heart of Christ. The building of his church, the purifying of his bride. And that which is happening across the world as, as this Great Commission is being carried out. And Lord, we we would we would bring ourselves to you. We would put ourselves upon the altar as living sacrifices. And say, Lord, what would you have me to do? What is my part in this? What am I? What am I? What is my role? The brother spoke of the housewife and her role in this. But Lord each of us have a role. And we want to be faithful to go and make disciples. Baptizing them and then teaching them to observe all that our Lord commanded. We pray that your Kingdom would come and your will would be done on Earth as it is in heaven. Lord, we pray for glorious things to happen by your Spirit. We pray that the power of God might be poured out in our needy generation in a wonderful way. We pray for the Spirit to move in places that seem so hard, that seems so impossible, humanly speaking. That the power of the gospel accompanied by the mighty spirit of God would do glorious things in those places to your glory, that no man would get credit, as our brother said, but it be so clear it’s the hand of God at work. We pray for such things, even in our generation Lord that we might we might hear the reports of glorious things from distant lands, and perhaps some in this room would go to those distant lands and see it first hand and be part of caring for your church all over the world. Lord, I too would want to give you thanks for for those that have been serving us all this weekend and thanks for the staff here at the campground and all their work and and for so many Saints in the Church here at Denton and other churches that that behind the scenes are taking care of a myriad of details so that the rest of us might be refreshed and blessed and we remember the words of our Lord Jesus that’s more blessed to give than to receive and so we pray that their blessing would be greater that when they go home tired and tomorrow they would, they would go home full of the blessings of God. These that have labored and served and loved us so much. And now we pray you’d help. As we look into your word again, Lord, that. We would each gain what we should from this very special passage. We’re about to talk about. We ask it in Jesus name, Amen.
Well I am excited. I’ve been excited for awhile now ’cause I’m going to talk about the passage of Scripture that has ministered the most to my own poor soul over the last year. And I was just I was just preaching through the book of Ephesians, which is not an all that unusual thing to do. I had been reading the book of Ephesians for my whole Christian life pretty pretty regularly. Reading the book of Ephesians. So I kind of thought I knew what was in there. But I got to the end of chapter three. I did not realize that I was about to stumble into an absolute goldmine that was just hiding there in plain sight. And the I mean, I just I preached on it because is the next thing you know. But those verses those verses have got a hold of me and and they haven’t let loose. It’s like it’s like I still think of those verses like almost every day and and the Lord has used this truth to change me. He is changed the through these truths changed the way I pray he’s changed the way I open my Bible he’s changed the way I preach he’s changed the way I pastor; he’s changed the way I think about God. Often I think and he’s changed my emotions he’s given me joy, like I’ve never had. And so my goal today is just give you a little tour of some really rich precious treasure and just maybe, maybe, maybe everybody already knows all this but but for me, this was so new and it got ahold of me and maybe it can help somebody here and and so I want us to read the last 8 verses of Ephesians Chapter 3 beginning at verse 14. So on Thursday night, brother Jesse. He preached mainly about Paul’s first prayer in Ephesians. In God’s Providence he sent me to the conference to kind of give the book end to that sermon and talk about the other prayer in Ephesians. Here in Chapter 3. So Ephesians 3, verse 14. For this reason, I bow my knees before the father from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, that he would grant you according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with power through his Spirit, in the inner man. So that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the Saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ, which surpasses knowledge that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think according to the power that works within us to him be the glory in the Church, an in Christ Jesus, to all generations, forever and ever. Amen. We are given here a glimpse into how glorious how thrilling, how expansive the ordinary daily walk with the Lord Jesus is really supposed to be. You guys, I want you to remember back to when the Lord first saved you when you first had assurance of Salvation and you knew you belong to Christ and you knew your sins were forgiven. What were those first weeks like back when you were new believer? I mean, I think for many of us we’d say that was a time of great joy and great wonder and great zeal and the Lord feels so close and he eternity feels near and and you’re feeling the stirrings of the spirit inside you in new ways that you haven’t had before. The Bible is so fresh and alive and real and you’re wanting to write down half the Bible verses you read. ’cause there are so good and so encouraging and and you want to sing in the car and you want to witness to everybody and you can’t wait for the next church meeting to happen right? And then you start praying and and of course you’re a new Christians. You don’t know any better and you just take all the prayer promises, like literally an you just believe God is going to do things that I ask him to do. ’cause the Bible says he will. And sure enough, the Lord honors that simple faith and he’s answering your prayers and wonderful ways. And you’re you’re seeing God working and you’re feeling so loved by him and so clean and holy. And and and just blessed in every way. And was it just me or that stuff happened to you guys too? That happened to you? And so what changed? So what changed from then to now? Not how you feel the conference, but the way you’ve been living as a Christian last few weeks, you know what changed? Some of you are still living that way, some of you are living in the joy and wonder of knowing the Lord, but I think many of us more mature believers say, “We’ve lost something of that of that wonder that adventure, that romance.” As Lloyd-Jones uses the word of the wide open possibilities. Of being a Christian and it’s like our daily life just feels so mundane. I mean whatever we’re doing. I mean, if whether you’re the House, why, whether you’re the missionary in the jungle? I mean, large aspects of our life is mundane and just routine, kind of not very exciting stuff we’ve done many times, disappointments, disappointments have piled up over the years, haven’t they? I mean, you know we had we had those lofty hopes and expectations and a lot of those lofty things ain’t happening. And so that kind of weighs down on us and and all those, all those dreams and things and and of course trials weigh heavily. We’ve had some trials, we have some trials over the last year, haven’t we? And in all kinds of ways that’s weighing on. So we’ve got trials in our churches and our families and stuff. And and we feel that I’ve heard stories from a bunch of you just really painful. Hard things were going through and and our souls so often just feel dry. As Christians and of course, we’re still doing this stuff. I mean, we’re still reading our Bibles were still praying. We’re still going to church. We’re doing the spiritual disciplines and we should. We should, whether you feel like it or not. You should, but but often we do those things with more of a check. The box kind of mentality rather than living communion with the Lord, you know and and. And you’re not expecting to encounter much of God’s glory in those activities. Our fellowship with each other. This is is often reflected as well. You know where we talk about many things with other Christians, but we seldom talk about the best things of all right. These these things that I just read about in these verses about the riches of God’s glory, the massive size of Christ, love for us and and and all that God does in his power within a succeeding abundantly beyond all we could ask or think, you know. The devil has convinced us, I think at the Christian life rather than being this expansive, glorious adventure is actually really narrow. It’s really narrow. It’s kind of small, kind of trite, even trivial, or something. And just like this is no, this is really all there is. Sorry, and it’s not really big and amazing an our expectations for spiritual growth should be small. Basically, we just kind of tread the water, tread water and hold the Fort and and eventually we’ll get to heaven and things will get better. But I just read you a paragraph of Scripture that proves the Devils lying about all that, because this prayer describes a step by step process of spectacular spiritual growth that’s available for any believer. Just for the asking. I mean, that’s what it says, right? You can be strengthened with power by the spirit in the inner man. You can have Christ dwelling in your heart. Now through faith you can have love saturating everything that you do. You can be delighting in the multi faceted love of the Lord Jesus. For you you can be filled up to all God’s fullness. You can be experiencing his mighty working within you beyond. Or that you can ask or think that’s what it says. I mean, that’s what’s printed in our Bible, no question. “It does not say that in your Bible.” Did you look it up? If he says that in your Bible too. Good well, see, so the devil, the devil’s already in trouble, right? ’cause, ’cause now we’re seeing it that? Well, that’s in the Bible with the depth but the net. The Devils next tactic is this. He’s going to convince you this is not for you somehow. Somehow, someway it’s like, OK, yeah, it’s in the Bible. But this is just for other people. This is is for pastors, missionaries. It’s for those biography books, over on the table. I mean those people had all this, but not for just ordinary Christians. And so the thing I’ve got to convince you of right now is that this is for every one of us, and that’s that God intends this for any believer, and that’s why it’s in your Bible. Now. Imagine the Apostle Paul in Rome. He says in verse 14 that he gets down on his knees. He is a prisoner. He’s a prisoner in Rome, writing this letter to this church in Ephesus, a church that he helped start a church that he knows well. He says he gets down on his knees on that cold, hard, filthy prison floor and he says guys, this is how I’m praying for you. These are the prayers I am praying for you Christians for your church there in Ephesus. He says in verse 16 I am praying that God would grant you these specific things in your your walk with the Lord and that he would do it according to the riches. Of his glory, I mean, that is how confident Paul was that God was really willing to do this really big stuff. Paul was praying for that God would do it, not just a little bit, but according to the riches of God’s glory. How big is those riches? Those riches are pretty big, the riches of God’s gloriousness that God would actually do this stuff for this church in Ephesus. Paul is praying for God to do this spectacular stuff for ordinary believers in an ordinary church. And actually you know what if we knew the church in Ephesus, we’d probably think they’re a little below ordinary, because you know what? In the next chapter Paul has to exhort them about some really basic sin issues, he has to tell them. Tell them guys you should stop lying to each other. You should stop stealing from each other. You should stop getting drunk. You should stop telling dirty jokes. They surely they had those kind of needs in the church. Or Paul probably wouldn’t be talking about all that stuff. And yet when he gets down on the floor of his prison cell and prays for the church in Ephesus, he’s praying for these absolutely spectacular spiritual blessings for them. This was what Paul prayed for this church and when you follow the logic you’ll see that has to mean that this is for us. Why would the Holy Spirit? Why would the Holy Spirit lead the Apostle Paul to pray for a whole bunch of stuff? That’s not really God’s will to do for the Ephesians, right? Why would why would Paul even pray for a bunch of a bunch of stuff that was just a pipe dream? Why would the Holy Spirit further cause Paul to write it in this letter to them? Say, hey, this is how I am praying for you guys. A letter to the Ephesians that would be preserved for all time in Holy Scripture. I mean the fact that this is in your Bible that you read it here proves that we are meant to see it. As God’s will for us, for ordinary Christians as a matter of certainty, this is for us. It’s proof these are valid petitions for us to pray for ourselves and all the Saints. Now it’s true many times when we pray we’re not sure is this God’s will or not. He’s going to do this thing and I’m not sure God’s plans and then. But this is something, this list of request we can be absolutely certain this is God’s will. Well, that’s why it’s in the Bible so will know that we can pray the same way for ourselves and for others. So so this is the crucial thing to be convinced. This really is God’s will for all Christians. Are you convinced, by convention, could see this is the crowbar. This is the crowbar that opens up the treasure chest of these verses. But you gotta be convinced really is God’s will for all Christians that we can pray these things. We can pray with faith that God will do these specific things for us. Of course we won’t have unless we ask. We’ve gotta ask, we gotta pray. We’ve got to ask with faith, expecting God will do it. That’s crucial. But then he will do exactly what his word describes in our lives. So what does it say? What are the specific things we’re going to find in the treasure chest? What’s in this prayer? That we can so definitely ask for ourselves and expect God to do, well. All we have time for is obviously just a very broad survey of these things, but that’ll be enough. That’ll be enough to get you get you excited about it I hope.
The prayer is 5 petitions, 5 requests versus 16 through 19, followed by this grand conclusion that Paul puts on top in verses 20 and 21. And so I think of this as a sequence of stair steps moving upward. These five requests with a big capstone of promise. On top of it, so it starts in verse 16 with step number one. To be strengthened with power by the spirit in the inner man. That’s the first step that’s kind of the ground floor of this. We all have weaknesses. On the inside. Talking about being strengthened with power by the spirit in the inner man. We have weaknesses. In the inner man, we are weak in courage, were weak in faith, were weak in our suffering, were weak in understanding things. We are weak in handling difficult relationships. We are weak in resisting temptation. We are plenty discouraged, depressed and anxious. And I know we don’t talk about it a lot at lunch. At a Bible conference. But that’s real. I mean, a lot of us. A lot of us are very aware of inner weakness, substantial issues. There are all different kinds, and whatever your inner weaknesses are, I guarantee you they’re holding you back big time and and you need help in those things. And you’re not going to get up the rest of the stairs until you get help on this first level of being strengthened with power by the spirit in the inner man and the encouraging thing is that there is massive help for us in our inner weakness that help is near at hand. The Holy Spirit, who indwells you He knows the problem, and he knows the solution. And he’s right there. He’s right there to reach in and help and fix and apply God’s grace and healing and it’s and he says with power it’s the power of God. God’s power applied to my inner weakness. But we gotta ask him, right? We gotta be asked, asked to be strengthened with power by the spirit in the inner man. Do you actually pray this? I pray this now pretty much every day, ’cause I feel my weakness. Pretty much every day in so many ways, but I can pray this. I can pray that the Holy Spirit would strengthen me in those things that he does and he does. He gives me great help in in my weakness, and he can give us such breakthroughs that the area which today you think of as your inner weakness can actually be a strength down the road. He can. He can strengthen you with such power in the inner man. And but I’ll add, I’ll add this caution that when the spirit is dealing with you in the problems of your inner man, very often he’s going to bring to light. Things that are not just weaknesses, they’re outright sin. There’s all rights in issues in our inner man and an it is. It is so imperative that that we respond to those things that the Spirit brings to light, and we respond rightly to them, with true repentance and change, and and address those things. And it could be all kinds of stuff. I mean, wrong attitudes in their discontentment in there. Idolatry in there, unforgiveness in there. In their unbelief, in there, and so. And so you gotta respond to what the Spirit shows you, or the healing won’t. Really happen and you won’t get up the rest of the stairs either. But that’s where you start. We got to be strengthened with power by the Spirit in the inner man. If you just get that you’ve got a lot of help right there, ’cause that applies it a lot of our needs. Well, we don’t stop there.
We go up to step number two. What is that? So so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. So if we gotta get the weakness problems addressed before we move on. To this next thing of Christ dwelling in our hearts through faith. So what is this about? What’s this about? I mean, we’re used to the expression of, you know, ask Jesus into your heart as a way of describing conversion. But that is not what this is about. This is not talking about conversion, it’s not talking about someone becoming a Christian. Paul is writing to people that have been Christians for five or ten years. OK, so it’s not that it is also not about a person receiving the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. I mean these these are Christians who’ve had the spirit all along. Paul talks and chapter one about them being sealed with. The spirit, and so it’s not that. What is it then? It’s not conversion, it’s not receiving the indwelling spirit. No, Paul is praying that these Christians would experience something very special in their daily lives. They would experience the closeness of the person of the Lord Jesus Christ dwelling in their hearts. He’s praying for them to enjoy that experience of his nearness as in an ongoing abiding communion with Christ himself. Every Christian has occasional special times with the Lord and praise God that we do for every every occasional experience or Jesus draws near to your soul. But the keyword in this petition is that word, well, it’s the idea is not occasional but Christ is just always this close to you and you know that he is that he’s in your heart that you can, brothers and sisters. You can wake up morning after morning and no Christ is this close to you. The Lord Jesus is this close. These dwelling in your hearts and and it it not just that you think of Jesus is back there and ancient history. Or that you just think of Jesus is up there in heaven, which is of course true, He’s reigningin heaven. But the Bible also speaks of Christ in you, the hope of glory, and you experience that reality of Jesus being this close. And that’s what Paul is praying for the Ephesians. He says. You guys, you know the theology, but you need to experience Jesus being this close in your hearts day after day and dwelling, dwelling in that. In that I you all sing that song, he walks with me and he talks with me and he tells me I am his own. It’s that idea. He’s with me. And so how does this? How does this richer experience of fellowship with Christ come about? And here we go. Here we can get in, get a little bit of trouble. ’cause here’s our tendency is to think. Well, this is some kind of experience thing. So so I guess I’m supposed to kind of squint my eyes and try to imagine things and maybe made kind of jump into kind of a generally mystical direction maybe, and try to try to get something, some kind of things, some feelings or something. But the verse helps us. It says that Christ might dwell in your heart how? What does it say at the end? Through faith right through faith, and so, so that’s that’s a really good clue, isn’t it that this happens as you believe stuff as you believe. All the amazing truth that the Bible tells us about our union with the Lord Jesus, right? There’s all these verses talking about being in Christ and Christ in you and our connection with it. We’re like we’re like branches abiding in the Vine, right? This reality and it’s it’s through believing those things and meditating on those things. That that stuff that that you know that right now might be. You know 2 pages in a systematic theology book that those truths can become really practical and felt. So Christ really is dwelling in me. I really feel like a branch in the Vine and his life. The life of Jesus is coursing through my soul every day. What a glorious thing Paul is. Praying that they would experience that reality. That’s what this is about.
All right step three. As we move up, move up the stair steps is that you being rooted and grounded in love. Verse 17 says. So this is talking about you loving other people and and or loving God is loving, loving others anyway. And the imagery Paul uses is that of roots like the roots of a tree. Or, or the foundation of the building. I think that’s what the ground it means. It means connected to the ground, like through the foundation of a structure. The roots of your life must be love. The foundation of your life must be love. Love is not just a paint job. You smear on the outside. But love has to be at the heart of the whole thing. Love has to be the driving motivating force and whatever you do, love has to be the big thing in your marriage. Love has to be the big thing in your parenting. Love has to be the big thing if you’re trying to witness to somebody, love has to be the big thing in whatever ministry work you’re doing. Love has to be the big thing. Whatever service you’re doing to the Saints, we’ve got to have a lot of love to do any of this. We all know first Corinthians 13, right? Where it starts out about it about it. It doesn’t matter how gifted you are and what you do. It doesn’t matter how sacrificial you are and what you do. But if it’s not saturated with love that just is worthless, it’s just it’s just banging, clanging. Nothing. And so we’ve got to have just massive amounts of love to live the Christian life. You know what the Lord Jesus told us he talked to? They ask him what’s the greatest commandment? He says, I’ll give you 2 and they’re both about love aren’t they? About loving God with our whole person loving our neighbor as ourselves, on both things required just just absolutely radical comprehensive. Kind of love that we’re not capable of naturally, are we? I mean, this is gotta be some supernatural inner fountain of love. Before I mean this, any of this even makes sense. How is that going to work? How’s that even possible? And where are you going to get that? I mean, where are you going to really do love like the Bible describes what Jesus calls us to you? Think you think you think you’re just going to try extra hard and you’re going to? You’re just going to be. You’re just going to be loving like that. Well, good luck. I’ve got a better idea. How about how about along with our best efforts to be loving how that along with our best efforts, we pray this prayer. We say, oh Lord, I want to be rooted and grounded in love. I would love to be that that will be the central driving motivating thing in my whole Christian life. I need there so bad but and I you’ve got to do it for me. But your word tells me I can just ask you that it’s your will to give this to me. That I can be rooted and grounded in love, that love can be like the roots of these trees that surround us here at the Lake, that what are those roots doing. You know all day long, 24 hours a day? What are those roots doing way down in the ground? They’re constantly doing the same job, right? There there, taking in, taking in moisture and nutrients, and carrying up and constantly renewing that tree with the supplies that it needs. And so that’s the imagery of love that the Apostle gives us here, and that’s that we just so desperately need. Love has got to be the key ingredient of everything we ever attempt, or it’ll be worthless.
Well, the 4th step of this prayer. This is also about love, isn’t it? But this is about love flowing in the other direction. It says to comprehend with this verse to comprehend with all the Saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge. So the previous one was about my love for others. This is about Christ’s love. For me Christ love for me. Now everybody in the Ephesian Church, knew Jesus loves me right. Every one of us in this room knows Jesus loves me. There’s no controversy there. There’s no surprise there Jesus loves people. Jesus loves Christians. Yeah, we all agree with that concept. So again, you gotta ask what’s Paul praying for exactly here? He’s praying that they would comprehend that they would perceive that they would. They would somehow grasp with their minds the vastness of this love. The the multifaceted nature of this love. The dimensions of this love all Christian. Listen to me all of our thoughts about the love of Jesus for us are just way too small, just pathetic little small thoughts about about Jesus love they just they just don’t do it justice at all. And it’s like we just see his love and just kind of little slivers here and there it’s like. It’s like you can see. Well, here’s this need. Yeah, well, Jesus really loves me here. I can see that love there. Or you see, here’s this problem. Here’s a look at how mercifully he’s dealt with me here. Oh yeah, that’s that’s his love there. It’s like we see these little bits and pieces of his love and certain areas. And pause praying for this Ephesian church. And he thinks if those guys, and emphasis if they could just realize how big the love of Jesus is for them, that it’s it goes off in all dimensions. Length, width, height, and breath. It’s just massive in every way. If they could get. A hold of that it would help them so much in everything. They’re just seeing the love of Jesus is too small, too limited, and they should be thinking of it as absolutely vast. Oh the the love of Jesus, it just applies. It applies to everything. It it really, it literally applies to everything in your Christian life. Everything that affects you, the love of the Lord Jesus applies to that thing. I mean the love of Jesus is coming at you from all angles all the time. That’s the idea here. Length, width, height and breath. It’s just all over and at every problem, every danger, every crushing trial you go through some of your going through, crushing, trial right today. Back home, you’ve got trouble waiting for you, whatever. If you could only comprehend. Comprehend this: comprehend the glorified Christ on his throne and how much love he’s pouring down upon you all the time. In that it would totally change the game. And how you how you view these needs and problems, you would feel instant comfort and peace and safety. If Jesus loves me like this, if I’m swimming in an ocean of divine love surrounding me in every direction, love the Romans convinces us we can never be separated from no matter what bad things could possibly happen. If that’s true and it is true. Then what could possibly go wrong? I mean, we’re in an absolutely safe position if we’re loved by one so much. Who has infinite wisdom and infinite power. To do good to us. And the subject is so big he served as it surpasses knowledge. So that’s that’s like Paul Washer was talking about that last night. That for all of eternity why is heaven not going to get boring? Because we’re experiencing more and more the love of Jesus were knowing God better and better as the eons unfold. A billion years from now, you still won’t comprehend it. All of his love. But right now we can comprehend a lot more of how much Jesus loves us and it would help us in everything. When we do, that’s what this prayer is about. That’s why Paul prays for him like this. We can ask God for that specific thing to see more of the love of Jesus for me, and it will change your world.
And then onto the fifth step. And it says that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God. So back home I preached a whole sermon on this one line being filled up to all the fullness of God. And I still don’t know what it means. I mean, it’s it’s just so big it’s so extreme. I talked about a lot of things that it probably means, and this is probably included and whatever but, but I mean this is. To be filled up to all the fullness of God while full is God. How big is God? To be filled up to that level. Well, what I mean we we would never say this right if this wasn’t printed in our Bibles we would never say this. This is like something that one of those wild eyed prosperity preachers might say an we and we would point at that and say that’s going too far there. That’s irreverent or something. But here it is printed in our Bibles and we’re still afraid to say it. I mean, how many of you have said to your wife, “You know, you know, sweetheart I think I’m finally filled up to all the fullness of God today.” I mean, it just sounds it’s not, but that’s what’s in the Bible, right? This is for us, that’s why I tried to convince you of in the 1st 10 minutes. This is really for us. That’s why it’s in your Bible that you’re supposed to be filled up to all the fullness of God. Paul actually prays these things for ordinary Christians. Therefore they apply to us. Here he’s praying for this old Church of believers that they grow so much in these different ways that someday they really could say that without it being wrong. That I do feel like I’m about is full of God as I can be right now I don’t know like it handle anymore. People do speak that way in terms of revival, at least, the Spirit is poured out. It probably means something along these lines that there’s you can definitely say it means. There’s no kind of shadowy, shameful places left that that God is excluded from. There’s no rooms that are closed off in there. We say I’m not going to deal with that God, God isn’t. Going to speak to me there, no God fills everything. It means that we are totally satisfied in God if we’re filled up to always full and we’re satisfied with him, he fulfills you totally were totally submitted to his control. Surely means that the Lord Jesus did that perfectly, right? He always did the father’s will. He’s doing the thing God wants you to do all the time that. That would be filled up to all of his fullness. We’re just experiencing him with as much of your person as you can. Here on earth. And of course, there’s lots of limitations because we are still on Earth and in the flesh, and so, but we’re experiencing all we can. Now probably for most of us we read, read these verses, especially this this. This filled with all the fullness of God. I mean, you just assume this has got to be hyperbole, right? I mean, Apostle Paul, bless his heart I mean, he’s kind of gotten carried away with some exaggeration here. And of course he can’t possibly expect this church full of ordinary Christians that sometimes struggles with things like like losing their temper or getting drunk even. That a church like that could actually expect they could grow into this kind of spiritual life. Surely this is just like I said hyperbole, you know, I mean, I mean, let’s be practical. Let’s be practical, right? Well, well, that attitude right. There is exactly why Paul has to adverse 20 to all of this, you see? Because because he’s trying to convince are pathetically weak faith that God really will do all this kind of stuff for for people like us. Now to him, who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think according to the power that works within us. These words keep building upon themselves, don’t they? It’s amazing it. It starts with sort of so that the kernel of thought there is that God answers prayer. He does what we ask him to do so so you say, great God answers prayer, but then he says, well, he goes beyond what we ask an it’s actually beyond what we ask or beyond what we think or even beyond what we imagine. And no, it’s it’s actually, it’s actually abundantly beyond all that we ask or think. No, it’s actually far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think. It just keeps building up. It’s just like this cascade of words to get across the idea that God do absolutely, absolutely massive, unbelievably wonderful things for his people and we. We memorize that part of the verse but the end of the verse is super important. It says according to the power that works, where? “Within us.” Is that what your Bible says within us, right? So it’s not just God’s power out there. Well, God’s really powerful out there. He does big stuff out there. Put the promise. I mean, we remember eyes verse 20 because it’s just this, you know, stupendous promise in regard to prayer in general. But the context we just went through the context. Context is all about what God does in our lives. It’s it’s God, God enabling us to have these five steps of spectacular spiritual growth in the culminating and being filled up with all of his fullness. It’s about God’s power working and you to that extent God giving you that kind of that kind of life as a believer in response to our prayers for these specific things. So why would God do all these glorious things within us? Why would he do this? Is it just so we have good feelings and stuff? Well, there are a lot of good feelings that go along with it, but actually verse 21 explains the bigger perspective on where this is all heading to, right? It says, “To him be glory in the church” to him, be glory in the church. These things are all moving in the direction of Christ Church being glorious. So think about your church back home. I mean all of our churches have have various problems. But what if? What if all the leaders in your church, all the elders and deacons and what every you call them, pastors. What if they were all filled up to all the fullness of God and living in that reality? Don’t you think that maybe the church should be a little more glorious? If that was the case? But but please don’t stop there. ’cause my big point at the beginning was this is not just for like pastors and stuff. But what if? What if you and you know 2/3 of the other members we’re filled up to all the fullness of God. You’re experiencing. the five things we just walked through like that. If that was real for you and most of the members of your church. Would that make your church more glorious? Would there be more glory to Christ in your church? I mean, I, I think I think there would be so much life. And and power and reality in your in your congregation. You guys, you guys would turn your city upside down. I mean there there would there would be results from that. It wouldn’t just be you feeling some cool feelings or whatever, but but no, it would. It would redound to the glory of Christ in just a multitude of ways. The church would be what the church should be in fellowship with the Lord Jesus. That’s what this is about functioning as his body here on earth. There would be glory in the church and just in case you’re thinking, well, maybe this just applies back in Bible times or something. Paul helpfully adds in the same verse 21. this phrase. “to all generations forever and ever.” So this is for us, we love it. It is for us now. It is for us in our generation, not just not just 1700s. Great Awakening. Now just for the Reformation, not just for some special time in history. For all generations, Christ is worthy of a glorious church in all generations, right? He’s worthy of a glorious church in our generation and and we look out there. All of us have probably done a lot of looking out at things going on in the world, an moaning and groaning about about this is all really bad generation. We’re living. Things are getting worse and worse. And all this kind of feeling. But let’s think of it this way. Let’s think of how this is a generation in which the Church of Christ can be glorious and in the church is going to be glorious as we walk in this kind of life, that God that God says we can ask him for. That we. Can live like this. It’s the way we should. The way the way we should pray for ourselves and for our church is that these things would be real in our lives and they absolutely can be. They actually can be real. He has given us a road map right here and what these verses we walk. He’s given us a road map of how to be a glorious church an in this generation right now.
So so brothers and sisters, my final question to you is is what are you going to do with this? What are you going to do with with this Scripture, not with the sermon, but with the Scripture. Here these these verses I mean, are you convinced? Are you convinced that this spectacular description of Christian experience is really meant for you? It is! Meant for any Christian, but especially for you that that it’s really there for the asking. You can ask God for these things. You can seek God for these specific things with all confidence that it is his will. That that’s why it’s in the Bible for us to encourage us to do just that. God desires us to have exactly these things we’ve just talked about today. And it is His will for us to be strengthened with power by the spirit in the inner man, it is his will for us for us to experience the nearness of the person of Christ right in our hearts all the time. Christ dwelling there it is his will for our lives to be so saturated with love that it’s like it’s like the roots of a tree just just constantly drawing up into us. And then we operate out of that reservoir, that fountain of love within us it is his will for us to perceive much more of how much Jesus loves us and be comforted and rejoicing in that. And it is his will for us to be filled up to all the fullness of God Himself. Are we convinced of of those things, and so and so I? My question again, is what you’re going to do with this? I realize at a conference like this, we do not remember most of what happens from the pulpits after dinner time. It’s just kind of gone an it’s forgotten and we move on but but my prayer my prayer has been that there might be might be five of you might be 50 of you might be some number of you that were these verses get ahold of you like they’ve got ahold of me over the last year. And maybe you want to study these verses some more. You could find lots of sermons on these verses. Maybe you know it’s really easy to memorize these verses. It’s really easy to make these verses a part of your own prayers. Your own expectation. You begin praying about these things. You start looking. Start looking for how that, how you’re growing in these specific areas and all, and you will grow. And maybe there would be be some of you that that the Lord would lead to to really lay hold of this truth in a wonderful way And that you would be responding to the Spirit. You’d be you’d be repenting from anything that is hindering this process of spectacular growth that is possible here and who knows, maybe maybe in a year, maybe a year we’d all be back here and somebody would tell me, “You know the truth you preached about that really got ahold of me. Those verses have become a part of me and the Lord by his Grace is helped me to grow and all those things that are described there. And my life has been transformed and it’s it’s I feel like I’ve grown more as a Christian in the last year that I’ve ever grown before as a believer.” So some of you could come back and say that anywhere. I’m absolutely certain because that’s what’s happened to me, the Lord. The Lord has used his Word to help me to grow maybe more than I ever have as a Christian. And it’s a sense that, oh, OK, like I started out talking about when you’re first Christian, you know, and it’s the sense of just wonder and adventure. And unlimited possibilities with Christ. And if you’ve lost that, that could be restored in a way you couldn’t believe what is there. It’s not. It’s not a narrow little boring life with Christ, but it’s absolutely expansive and delightful and thrilling. To be one of his people and to walk with him every day, Amen.