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Knowing God: Experience & Love Him

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Seeking the Fullness of God's Love

Ephesians 3:14-21

If you were to be given one request, what would you ask?

We remember this was the challenge Solomon was given. His answer was noble. He asked not for himself but for the sake of his people.

"In that night God appeared to Solomon and said to him, "Ask what I shall give you." And Solomon said to God, "Thou hast dealt with my father David with great lovingkindness, and hast made me king in his place. "Now, O LORD God, Thy promise to my father David is fulfilled; for Thou hast made me king over a people as numerous as the dust of the earth. "Give me now wisdom and knowledge, that I may go out and come in before this people; for who can rule this great people of Thine?" And God said to Solomon, "Because you had this in mind, and did not ask for riches, wealth, or honor, or the life of those who hate you, nor have you even asked for long life, but you have asked for yourself wisdom and knowledge, that you may rule My people, over whom I have made you king, wisdom and knowledge have been granted to you. And I will give you riches and wealth and honor, such as none of the kings who were before you has possessed, nor those who will come after you." (2 Chronicles 1:7-12)

14-16 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;

17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love,

18-19 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.

20-21 Now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.
(Ephesians 3:14-21).

The New Testament seems to point to one greater thing He might have asked if He had only known. We often think that wisdom and knowledge lead to the full and abundant life, but in Ephesians 4 we find something greater enfolds this most splendid and desirable wisdom. This is the love of God in Christ. Wisdom flows out of this love. Knowledge exudes from this love. If we seek wisdom and knowledge, we are only gaining a part. Solomon went astray with his wisdom; knowledge easily leads to pride. But the love of Christ surpasses these things.
We might use many things to bring full meaning in life, but only one thing will suffice. These other things, life partners, good jobs, wealth, relationships, activity, spiritual experiences, will always peter out. But not so with the love of Christ. For this purpose of being filled with God's love were we made and only His love can fill that deepest longing.

We acknowledge that we do not fully understand it. Our quest for it comes only from the promises spread before us in the pages of God's Holy Word. We are not told that this is a promise merely for the distant future but for now so that He might be glorified all the more in the church. However, with a quick examination of our church's activities, surely we have missed this goal. We seek everything but the love of God to utterly fulfill us. We are too easily contented with human love and the things around us.

The Godly Man: When God Touches a Man's LifeThis passage of Ephesians 3:14-21 refers to two important stages in reaching such heights of love. The second step is to experience this love of God. That leaves only one step to prepare one for this ultimate goal of life. Paul seems to treat them as prayer goals.

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Prayer Goal #1 Rooted and Grounded in Love

Ephesians 3:16-17 says,

"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; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love."

We must be rooted and grounded in love. In other words, to seek God's love in its fullness, we must in some way know and experience that love already in our lives. Just as in real life, we must have a solid base to jump from. We do not jump from nothing to everything. We need a sure foundation before we go on. I don't particularly teach a two step salvation, but this passage would affirm it if we believed it. The grounding in God's love comes from salvation faith in which Christ dwells in our hearts. If this passage is saying anything, it says we are not to be merely content with loving one another. This of course is good and desirable. It is the foundation.

Ephesians 3.14-21 Prayer Goals

Prayer Goal #2 Comprehend and know the love of Christ

But we must go on then focusing on loving one another. We are to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. We are to comprehend the breadth and length and height and depth and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge that we as His people might be filled up to all the fullness of God. There are two main points.

  • To Comprehend the love of Christ
    This very clearly speaks about the largeness of knowing Christ's love. Evidently, it speaks of a revealed love greater than we encounter during our time of salvation. It is this point it seems a second experience. The breadth, length, height and depth are the dimensions of Christ's love. No matter the largeness of Christ's love, we should note that we can by God's grace reach a fair comprehension of this love.

  • To Know the love of Christ
    Knowing Christ is not a mere intellectual knowledge of Christ's love. It is the ultimate experience of experiencing His love. It is as if our eyes are opened, the flood gates of our hearts are totally down, and our heart is surrounded with the very love of Christ.
The goal is to be so filled up with Christ that there is no room for anything besides Him. There is no other object or person that would catch our heart's attention. We would be so enraptured with His love that we would be "filled up to all the fullness of God."

A Prayer

Today, I ask you to reveal to me and your church that which is exceedingly abundant beyond all that I could ask or think, according to the power that works within me. I seek the love of God in Christ to be revealed to us so that God would be greater glorified by a wholly loved church. That which I do not know, I seek. That which my being doesn't recognize, I ask to understand. With a firm grounding in the love of the brethren, I now seek to comprehend and know the fullness of Christ's love. I ask for that which was destined to be mine.

"Oh, that Thou wouldst rend the heavens and come down, That the mountains might quake at Thy presence-- As fire kindles the brushwood, as fire causes water to boil--To make Thy name known to Thine adversaries, That the nations may tremble at Thy presence!" (Isaiah 64:1-2).

Break forth O God, in your power, and show forth your love which is greater than knowledge that I with the saints might be filled up to all the fullness of God.

My heart is empty and void. It longs for your fullness. Please strip clean my heart from all impurities by the blood of Christ. Let me be like a bride perfectly desirous for the coming of her bridegroom. I have no way to bring this about. I am empty but desirous. I have no power to do what I ask, but only to ask and to wait for your glorious filling of that which I long intensely for. Without this filling, You will not be glorified as Your great Name deserves to be praised.

My mouth stumbles in its speech; my language poor in its grammar; my education greatly lacking. But you are the One who does exceedingly abundant things. My request is given in ignorance, but, it asks that it might receive what You know as best, divine and most needful in this frail body for the greater purpose of obtaining great glory for Your own Name. I am your vessel; use me. I am your clay pot; mold me. I am your servant; send me.

I wait now for you. I anticipate Your work in my feeble life. Fill me with Christ's love. Amen.

Summary Application

The church is seeking for greater glory for itself. Bigger buildings, programs that surpass that of the governments, nicer budgets, friendlier staff, more eloquent speakers, more comfortable settings, but we are missing what is at the heart of God's purpose. We are to step aggressively ahead by seeking the love of Christ. This is man meeting God. This is where God's love is revealed to man. Once revealed, man is forever changed.

Have you sought this love of Christ? Has your church together sought out to be filled with Christ's love? Dare we live without a full knowledge of God's healing love?! Next >

 
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