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Rooted in Christ’s Deep Love Preached by: Matthew S. Black Text: Ephesians 3:17b-21 Series: Rooted in Christ Date: March 11, 2012, 10:30am Living Hope Bible Church of Roselle, IL Introduction: Open your Bibles to Ephesians. We are continuing our series: “Rooted in Christ”. The title of the message is: “Rooted in Christ’s Deep Love”. The Secret: Knowing God Loves You The power of Christ is so radical and explosive that it out to be coming out of us in every area of our life. But what is the secret to the power? How can I get it? How can I turn it on? What good is it if I have a sophisticated automobile but I don’t know how to turn it on? I’m going to show you how to turn it on today. It has to do with God’s love. I want to show you the secret of God’s power, which knowing very simply that God loves you. God loves you. God loves you. What’s the Secret? We all like secrets. Do you remember the Rubik’s Cube? I grew up in the 1980s. Rubik's Cube is a 3-D mechanical puzzle invented in 1974 by Hungarian sculptor and professor of architecture Ernő Rubik. In 1980, when I was six years old, the Ideal Toy Company purchased the patent and began mass producing them. The craze of the Rubik’s Cube took off. It is widely considered to be the world's best-selling toy. As of January 2009, 350 million cubes had been sold worldwide. There’s a secret to the Rubik’s Cube. I’m sure you’re expecting me to solve it right here. Well, I don’t want to show off. But when I was a kid with all of six years under my belt my brothers would give me the Rubik’s Cube all mixed up, and I would go away or a while and when I returned, I had solved the Cube! All the sides matched perfectly. It looked like I was a child prodigy – a genius! Everyone wanted to know – “What’s your secret?” I can tell you I wasn’t a genius. I was still in my depraved state, and I was very good at deception. I realized that it was much, much easier to take the Cube apart to solve it than to spend hours figuring out which way to turn the confounded little cubes. Look I don’t have any secrets for the Rubik’s Cube, but I do have one for the power of God to be unleashed in your life. So many people are trying to get a short cut to the power of God. It’s not going to happen. Jesus said, “Without Me, you can do NOTHING”. Now the secret to God’s power being unleashed in your life is simply this: you need to have a deep sense of God’s love for you. You need to seize upon the love of Christ. Jesus Weeps Over Jerusalem, and Over You If you have never been regenerated, if you have not yet surrendered your life to the Lord, I want you to know God weeps over you. The clearest understanding of God is through His Son. Spurgeon said that we know that God loves the world and everyone it it – Just as Christ wept over Jerusalem when he walked on this earth – and in that city were both his chosen ones and the lost. So today He weeps over you! God has no pleasure in the death of the wicked. He is not willing that any should perish. His loving heart calls you to come to Him. I want to show you the love of Christ today! What is it that gives us power to serve God? What is it that shapes us as instruments of God whereby God will use and save people? How can I have power? It is as we will see today, by knowing the love of Christ. We saw last week that we need to be… · Empowered in the inner man (by a total surrender to the Spirit) · Empowered by the indwelling Christ (“down home” in my heart) And today we are going to consider: · God’s incomprehensible love for me. · God’s infinite fullness in me. · God’s incredible power in me. Let’s read about it in Ephesians 3:14-21… Ephesians 3:14–21 (ESV), “For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, 16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. 20 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” I. Be empowered with Inner Strength (vs. 15-16). II. Be empowered by the Indwelling Christ (vs. 15-16). III. Be empowered with Christ’s Incomprehensible Love (vs. 17-19a). Ephesians 3:17–19a (ESV), “so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth [width] and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge” God says we ought to be “rooted and grounded” in love. The soil and foundation of our life ought to be that Christ loves me. The Cross: the place of God’s Love It is at the Cross where we see the ocean of God’s love poured out for us. Jesus cried out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken Me?” And the answer is: for you! He did it all for you! Good Roots: the TRUTH To have strong roots is to know the TRUTH. Jesus said, “You will know the truth and the truth shall set you free.” Are you glad to know the truth this morning? But I want to challenge you, that if your roots are not swimming in the good soil of Christ’s love for you, your knowledge is worthless. A Math Equation Let’s do a math equation. My Great Uncles were math teachers in Oak Lawn, Illinois. They used to ask me: “What is one sand pile plus one sand pile?” Your five year old will like this one. “One big sandpile!” Well let me give you another equation. What is Something minus love? It is always nothing. No matter what you have – a great personality, a lot of Bible knowledge, 500 Bible degrees – it’s all worthless without love. You can have all faith and all spiritual gifts, be a great orator, but if you don’t have love you are nothing. My Mother-in-Law I asked my godly mother-in-law what she thought after seeing 10 generation serve God with many pastors that she knows and many she’s heard of through the years. I asked her what is the secret to effective ministry? What is it that really makes the Pastor effective? She said, “Love your people.” “Lay your life down for them.” Be on fire for the truth, but be on fire in applying it to your life and theirs in LOVE. When You Know God Loves You Listen the short and simple point of this passage, is you can do anything for God if you know He loves you. Paul says, “Be rooted and grounded” in that fact. Not just love, but he clarifies it later in the passage. Discouraged Because We don’t Love Like We OUGHT We can get all discouraged because we don’t love enough. That’s so self-centered. If you are loving like God wants you to love you are not even thinking of yourself. You are not worried whether you are loving enough. You forget yourself! Look at what Paul says: Let the soil of God’s life be God’s love for you! Let your life be FILLED with God’s love for you! A. Swimming and Set on Christ’s love for you! “Rooted and grounded in love”. It comes out of us. It is the soil. The soil and the foundation is love. What good is the root if there is no good soil? Love Not An Emotion Love has little to do with emotion. · John 3:16, “God so loved the world that he…” had a tingly feeling down His spine. No, he made an infinite sacrifice that had nothing to do with the fitness of the object of love, namely us! Love is a commitment of self-sacrifice for God and to others. It is based not on the worthiness of others. You were not worthy to be loved, yet God loved you. This is the standard of love. · John 15:13, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man…” feel oceans of emotion for his friends? No! That a man “… lay down his life for his friends.” My First Car: Leaky! Cutlass Supreme My First Car was a 1995 Oldmobile Cutlass Supreme, and it was a diesel. It lasted me all of three months. One day I cranked up the car, and white smoke poured out of the exhaust. Everywhere I went, you knew where I was. Apparently there was a crack in the engine mount and oil and antifreeze mixed. My car was cracked! It leaked. We are broken because God wants us to leak God’s love! We are All Cracked Pots! Paul says in 2 Corinthians 4:7 (ESV), “we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.” What is that treasure? It is Christ, and His love for us. We are just cracked pots! Broken! And we are to be leaking the love of Christ to us and to others every where we go! B. Seized with Christ’s love. Ephesians 3:18 (ESV), “may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth”. Comprehend – katalambano – to seize upon, kata – down; lambano – to take. To leep and take hold of – to dive for the ball. You can rigorously grasp something. To do whatever it takes to grasp it. To be greedy for it! The word “comprehend” means to be seized with. It is God’s will for “all saints” to experience this. It is not you for the elite. It is for you. The simplest Christian ought to be seized with the love of God! Oh how wide, how long, how high, and how deep is the love of Christ! Does it seize you? Not INCOMPATIBILITY but INIQUITY If your home and your relationship at home, husband and wife, is not a relationship of love it isn't the fact that you can't get along because you have a problem of incompatibility, it's a problem of iniquity, selfishness. People say - Well, I just don't love them anymore. Well, then you're in an act of disobedience. Believe me; you could get along fine if God’s love gets ahold of you with that AGAPE love. You don't even need much romance. Believe me, you start loving the way God loves and you'll find romance. Hard Time Loving the Saints Now, Christians, we fight that a lot. You know, we just think of love as sort of an emotional thing and we say - I can't stand that person but I love him in the Lord. It’s awful. We have a hard time.  We need to learn to love the way God loves. We are called to love all the saints. To truly desire to lay down our lives for each one. But some saints are harder to love. How can we love like that? C. Look at the Size of Christ’s love. Jonathan Edwards Resolution on God’s Love Jonathan Edwards wrote at age 19 a set of 70 resolutions to go over each day. He had one concerning God’s Love for him. Listen to it: "Resolved, to examine carefully, and constantly, what that one thing in me is, which causes me in the least to doubt of the love of God; and to direct all my forces against it” (Resolution 25). Ephesians 3:18 (ESV), “may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth [WIDTH] and length and height and depth”. We are going to need strength to sieze upon and comprehend with ALL the SAINTS what the magnitude of God’s love is! God-sized LOVE – Four Magnitudes – Charles Simeon We ought to have a God sized love! Charles Simeon, the old Puritan, called these four measurements of the love of God “the Four Magnitudes” He said we ought to have a love… 1. It is a love wide enough to embrace the world! John 3:16 (ESV), “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” There is no limit to WHO God will reach. God is in the business of taking those far from Him and bringing them NEAR! What a wide love that God has! It encompasses people you would never dream of being brought into the Kingdom! Christ’s love is not NARROW, but WIDE! It extends to all families of the earth. It is upon every continent and in every culture. The hymns of Christ are sung in Zulu and in Chineese, in Swahili and in English. Those of every culture sings of Christ’s love. The poor sing of Christ as well as the rich. The poor have been exalted and the rich are brought low in the church! The love of Christ extends not only for His elect, but even for those who would be damned. He cries over Jerusalem and He says, “How often would I have gathered you as a hen gathers her chickens, but you would not!” Spurgeon said it best: “God has honest tears of grief” for those who are not His chosen Bride. 2. It is a love long enough to last for ever. As Ephesians 1:4 says, God’s love is so long that it extends to eternity past. From eternity past, God planned to send His Son to save you on that brutal cross. o ETERNITY PAST: He says in Jeremiah 31:3, “I have loved you with an everlasting love”. Before you were formed in your mother’s womb, God set His love upon you. o ETERNITY FUTURE: It’s so long, it goes into eternity future. Eph 2:7 “so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.” As Spurgeon said, “It is so long that your old age cannot wear it out, so long your continual tribulation cannot exhaust it, your successive temptations shall not drain it dry; like eternity itself it knows no bounds”. When long trillions of ages have passed, God’s love will be so fresh and powerful that you will feel like you’ve just come into the kingdom. So great is the JOY and the POWER of God’s love! 3. It is a love deep enough to take Christ to the very depths to reach the lowest sinner. Christ took hell for you. Look how low He reached to reach you! Ephesians 2:1-3 tells us when we were DEAD in our sins God loved us. Romans says, “when we were without strength” God love us and “Christ died for us”. How deep is God’s love? Tell the Story of John Newton. John Newton was the scum of the earth. He was a slave ship captain. In 1748 someone gave him a copy of Thomas aKempis’s “Imitation of Christ.” In May of that year there was a violent storm that made him consider as he called it “the uncertain continuance of life”. He put his trust in Christ! Such a murderer, liar, and blasphemer. So deep is the love of Christ that Christ would go to the depths of the Cross and take your sin upon Him – robed in the maggot infested garment of your iniquity. All your filth was put upon Him! He came so low! 4. It is a love high enough to take broken sinners like you and me to heaven. He loves you so much that what He has begun in you He promises to finish!! He gives us every spiritual blessing in Christ (1:3). He seats us in victory in the heavenlies! So high is the love of Christ that he makes us “heirs of God and joint – heirs with Christ”. You will reign with Him and you do reign with Him. Says Stott: "the love of Christ is broad enough to encompass all mankind (especially Jews and Gentiles, the theme of these chapters), 'long' enough to last for eternity, 'deep' enough to reach the most degraded sinner, and high enough to exalt him to heaven" (137). Look how Christ exchanged His crown of majesty for a crown of thorns. He exchanged His throne and His scepter for a Cross – and it was ALL FOR YOU! God wants you to soar. This is the secret to loving others. It is to be seized and to be taken by and grasping the love of Christ for you! Oh how wide, how long, how high, and how deep is the love of Christ! Does it seize you? IV. Be empowered with God’s Infinite Fullness (vs. 19b). Ephesians 3:19b (ESV), “that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” We are asking that God – the eternal God, the almighty God, the creator God, the sustainer God, the God of the universe, the God who made it all, the God who fills it all can fill me? That’s incredible.  We are told in Ephesians 1:23 (ESV) that we all are “his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.” Filled – What Does it Mean? The word πληρωμα (pleroma), fullness, is a word that is used many times in the New Testament to speak of total fullness. The Bible speaks of people being · filled with anger · filled with rage, or · filled with all goodness or · filled with the Spirit What it means that you are dominated and controlled by something or someone. Can you say you are “dominated with all the domination of God”? Psalm 16:11 (ESV), “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” Application: Some of you say “When I get that job or that relationship I’ll be happy!” The truth is you’ll not be happy till you are filled with all the fullness of God. God’s got to have complete control! V. Be empowered with God’s Incredible Plan (vs. 20-21). The explosion takes place. The engine is on. The blast is on.  And we have one of the greatest benedictions in the Bible. God is able. And Paul piles on superlative upon superlative. He is able! He is abundantly able. He is exceeding abundantly able. He is exceeding abundantly able to do far more than ALL we ask or imagine! “According to the power at work within us!” The power is unleashed by you appropriating God’s love for you! The CLOCK – Appropriating God’s Love: Where Do I Put it? The clock as the center piece! Jill painted. Rearranged furniture. I don’t recognize my house. But the clock has a prominent place! Rearrange your life and make God’s Love for you the centerpiece of your life. Ephesians 3:20–21 (ESV), “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” You Worship What You Are Impressed With · Are you impressed with God? What is it that carries you? · My mother carried my sister and I for six and a half months. · I had heart surgery · I showed everyone my scar – I was impressed with my surgery, and… · And I was also impressed Arthur Fonzarelli “Ay!” I had the leather jacket at three years old. Happy Days carried me. I was impressed. · When I was a kid I was impressed with John Rambo. I can’t recommend the films for obvious moral reasons, but for THREE years I wore camouflage. · Sept 15, 1989, I became impressed with the CROSS of Christ. o It carried me to Spain, o To marry my wife o To raise Godly children o To love others o I was impressed that night that Christ died for me PERSONALLY Are you impressed with God? Oh the power! Now the benediction: to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” Conclusion: God has a lasting work for you to do. He’s going to do it through you. Are you surrendered to it? Our problem is not that we think too big, we think too small. The world has yet to see what God can do with and for and through and in and by the man who is fully and wholly consecrated to Him. I will try my utmost to be that man. -D.L. Moody
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