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Rooted in Christ’s Amazing Power Preached by: Matthew S. Black Text: Ephesians 3:14-21 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 Amazing Power”. Powerless – the Huffy Have you ever felt powerless? I can remember as a child growing up in the winding roads of Louisiana that my most faithful transportation was a Huffy bicycle. I used to go everywhere on that bike. It never failed me… until I was going at top speed at about 15 miles an hour by Michael Barnes’ house. Here’s the thing – Mike had a big dog. I don’t even remember what kind of a dog it was. I just remember one thing about it. It had big teeth. Everything about this dog was big! I couldn’t go fast enough. I remember thinking I wanted to grow up. I didn’t want to be this dog’s meal. Terror raced through my veines as this dog started running next to me and gnawing at my twirling feet that couldn’t peddle fast enough! My Tuffy bike failed me. Obviously I survived. I don’t remember how I got out of that, but the fact that I’m here today proves I lived through it! The Moped – the Upgrade Then came 1987. I begged my mom for a used 1980 C-70 Honda passport moped! She vowed never to get me one of those. It went too fast. But we lived a mile deep into the woods in Louisiana and a moped could be quite helpful. She broke down and got it for me! It wasn’t in the greatest shape. It had a part missing from the carburetor, so any time I wanted it to go I had to actually place my hand over the carburetor so that the gas would get suctioned into the engine. I finally rigged the carburetor with a rubber band and a piece of cloth and a could go any where!! What’s my point? What good is the moped if it has no power? What good is it if it has a broken carburetor and you can’t get fuel to the engine? The Power of the Christian Life In the same way, the Christian life is like a car. What good does it do you if you have a beautiful sophisticated automobile if you don’t have the key. No key, no power. Well in the Christian life we have all we need! We’ve learned about the sufficiency of Jesus Christ, and the believer’s resources available in Christ. Ephesians 1-3 speak of who we are in Christ – all the resources we have in Christ, and 4-6 what we are to do – our vocation. The first three chapters explain our position. The last three, our vocation, or our calling. We cannot do what God intends for us to do, unless we be what God intends for us to be!! Well, sandwiched in the middle of these great chapters is the empowerment of it all. In other words, I know who I am in Christ. I know what He wants me to do. But HOW do I do it. If chapters 1-3 are enlightenment, then chapter 3:14-21 is empowerment! Now there are five elements to the progression. Five things to get you functioning spiritually, designated by five similar prepositions that designate a progression. · Empowered in the inner man · Empowered by the indwelling Christ · Empowered by incomprehensible love · Empowered by infinite fullness of God · Empowered by internal power 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.” Sometimes We Don’t Even Fizzle – Acts 1:8 I want to be empowered. We know all the promises of God. We know Acts 1:8. And I would read that – “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” - Power –it’s dunamis, like dynamite! I want to explode for God. You want to explode for God. But sometimes we don’t even fizzle! How do we turn on the power of God? Here’s the problem – sometimes we understand what the Bible means – we just don’t understand HOW IT WORKS! Well, this is a passage that tells us how the Christian life works. We know who we are in Christ. Now HOW do we turn the power on? Two things are necessary before we turn the power on: Allegiance and Affection! Paul was dedicated to helping these Christians turn on the power of their Christian lives. He says, in: · Ephesians 3:14–15 (ESV), “For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named…” that you might be strengthened. Kneeling not ordinary position: Allegiance Kneeling was not the ordinary position for the Jew. They were accustomed to standing and rocking back and forth like they do at the Wailing Wall today. Bowing the knees would be done at an extraordinary event, like Solomon did at the dedication of the Temple. And what it pointed to was allegiance and whole hearted commitment. P Paul says, “I am committed to God to praying for the most important work that can be done in you. I’m praying that you’ll not just understand your position. I pray you’ll turn on the power!” Not only did Paul have an allegiance to the Father, he had an affection for his fellow believers. He says, “… I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named…” (vs. 14-15). There are different families in heaven and earth – the family of redeemed saints in heaven, the family of redeemed saints on earth, families of angels – classes of cherubim and classes of seraphim. We all have one commonality – We have a loving relation with our precious Father in heaven. We are loved by Him and reflect His identity in our lives. The cherubim reflect Him as flames of fire, so glorious is He. We reflect Him with fire in our hearts. Now this is who we are, but how do we turn it on? There are five similar prepositions I. Be empowered with Inner Strength (vs. 15-16). Ephesians 3:14–16 (ESV), “For this reason I bow my knees before the Father … 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.” I need God’s strength. I need Him to grant it to me. Because Jesus says, “Without Christ, I am…” what? “NOTHING”. “Without me” Jesus says, “You can do nothing!” A. Surrender to God who grants the strength. We are told that we have immeasurable resources. None of us can “make ourselves Christians.” None here can conform ourselves to the image of Christ. It is “according to the riches of his glory” (vs. 16). He must “grant” it! So to start with, if you're going to really be effective, and want God’s power to be released, you need to have spiritual stamina to be victorious over temptation, to be victorious over the world, the flesh, and the devil. You have to have a strong inner man to resist temptation, a strong inner man to resist the flesh. And the only way you can ever have a strong inner man is when the Spirit of God strengthens you. B. Don’t check out, work it out. Paul’s desire is that we might “be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being.” 2 Corinthians 4:16, “So we do not lose heart. Though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day.” Application: It’s easy to feed the flesh when things get hard. But instead, we need to apply God’s word when things get hard. Give attention to your inner being, your soul, who you are. Your inner man used to be addicted to sin. · When you feel the desolation of loneliness, don’t check out with a movie. Go to Christ and build up your inner man. Don’t ignore problems in your life. Don’t check out. Don’t feed your flesh. Work out spiritually. Feast on the word. Meditate on it and work on your inner form more than your outer form. “Bodily exercise profits” but it profits, “little” (1 Timothy 4:8). Illustration: We see the outer nature perishing away. One day if live long enough we’re all going to look like raisins! We are perishing outwardly. But inwardly, we ought to be being renewed and refreshed and renovated. We have everything we need in the Word of God and in surrender to the Spirit. Application: Work on your Inner Man! As Christians we cannot complain about defeats in sin if we are not working on our inner being. Are we being conformed to Jesus Christ in our character? According to His Riches / Apple Surplus God wants to give you the strength “according to His riches”. I hear Apple has a surplus of like 500 billion dollars. Now Apple CEO Tim Cook can give investors “from his riches”. But he runs out after 500 billion. God gives “according to His riches”. That is “on the scale and in proportion to the wealth that He owns”. How much does God own? Everything! When You Are Hurting – Don’t Check out, Work out! Let me challenge you, when you are hurting, rely on the riches of God’s Word and His power in the Spirit to be conformed to the image of Christ. Apply God’s Word to your life instead of checking out! Don’t check out! Work out (spiritually). · 2 Timothy 2:4, “No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him.” · Psalm 101:3 (NKJV), “I will set nothing wicked before my eyes; I hate the work of those who fall away; It shall not cling to me.” We need to work out spiritually. Get in the Word. Be filled with the Spirit. Daily Devotional Time-Moses Does your face shine like Moses? Moses had a time with God up on Mount Sinai. When he came down he needed a veil to cover his face. Do you shine with Christ? Do you have a prayer closet where there is a burning bush of God’s presence? Are you feeding on the Word and yielding to the Spirit? II. Be empowered by the Indwelling Christ (vs. 15-16). Ephesians 3:17 (ESV), “so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith”. Down Home The word “dwell” means to make oneself at home. The word is a compound “kata-oikeo” “Kata” means “down” and “oikeo” means home. Is Christ “down-home” in your heart? Is He comfortable? Is the Holy Spirit pleased or is He grieved? Progression Now remember, this is a progression. The “so that” means first start working out in the inner man. Be doing spiritual excercises. If not you will not sense the indwelling Christ. Some of you feel distant from God today. Of course this refers to the indwelling Christ – and the union that we have with Him! Control over your Control Center What Paul is praying is that Christ would have CONTROL over our heart. Is Christ at HOME, controlling your thoughts, controlling your life, communing intimately with you. My Heart Christ’s Home There is a book called My Heart, Christ's Home by Robert Boyd Munger – some of you may own it. This is a great book to read to your children. Munger likens the Christian's heart to a house. And the question is, “Is Christ comfortable there?” The heart like a home has a library and then a dining room and then a living room and then a workshop and finally a closet. · The Library – what do you think on, take in? The library is the control room, that's where all the data is stored. All the information is stored, and that's like your brain. And when the Lord comes into your house, what does He find in the library? What does He find in the control room? Today you might have a TV in that room. What does He find?  Is it Trash and triviality and pornography and materialism. What does He find? I mean, what occupies your mind? Whenever Christ comes in and is comfortable – He renews our mind! He clears off the garbage books and throw out the trash and replaces it with the WORD OF GOD. o Psalm 1:2 (ESV), “his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night.” · The Dining Room –  This is the room of appetites where your desires and appetites are satiated. And Christ wants to know what do you long for? What's on your menu? What do you order? What really satisfies you? He wants to replace all the illegitimate stuff with the will of God so that that alone would satisfy you. o Psalm 73:25 (ESV), “Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.” o Psalm 119:72 (ESV), “The law of your mouth is better to me than thousands of gold and silver pieces.” · The Living Room – The living room is a place of conversation and being together and cultivating relationship. And in this particular story and Munger gives it that Christ comes into the living room and sits there and sits there and sits there and sits there and nobody ever shows up. What ever happened to prayer? And what ever happened to communion? And what ever happened to fellowship? And what happened to relationship? Do you have a prayer closet? Do you get alone with God? · The Workshop – What are you making? What are you doing with your life? What’s your legacy? We’ve got all these gifts – what are we doing with them? And the answer is most are making toys. And Christ wants to fix it so that you're producing something that has eternal value. · The Closet – So in Muger’s book he gets through the whole house, but he says there's a terrible stench coming from somewhere. And it's a closet. So the Lord, picking up the scent, goes to the closet and in there is something foul, something dead and it's the place of hidden personal sins. And He throws the door open. And Munger says, "I was angry. I mean, give me a break. I gave You the library, the dining room, the living room and the workshop and everybody knows in every house if you find the right closet, God only knows what you'll discover in there. God wants your closet. He wants to clean out your personal sins. He wants to sanctify you completely. Scriptural Support John 14:21 (ESV), “Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.” John 14:23 (ESV), “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.” 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” A. Love is our foundation. “Rooted and grounded in love”. It comes out of us. It is the soil. Love Not An Emotion Love has nothing 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 to 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.” B. Love is our fountain. Ephesians 3:18 (ESV), “may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth”. 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? Love with ALL saints 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? It’s not in you. God grants it. God-sized LOVE 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! 2. It is a love long enough to last for ever. 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 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!! 4. 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! Christ’s love is an incomprehensible love. A. W. Tozer said it this way: “…because God is self-existent, His love had no beginning; because He is eternal, His love can have no end; because He is infinite, His love has no limit; Because He is holy it is the quintessence of all spotless purity; Because He is immense, His love is an incomprehensibly vast, bottomless, shoreless sea…” 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! 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. 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.” 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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