Strength Through Love
In this passage in the third chapter of Ephesians, we get one of the weightiest and most glorious prayers recorded in Scripture. Paul has just expounded on the glorious truths of the Gospel, that in Christ God has chosen us, that though we were dead in sin Christ has made us alive, and that now Jews and Gentiles have this great reconciliation in Christ. Now he gives the Ephesian believers a view of what he has been praying for them.
Some of the words that are repeated over and over again in this prayer are "strength," "power," and "love." We quickly begin to see that Paul is asking for these believers to have strength through the power of the Spirit rooted in God's love for them. Paul especially begins to gush in verse 18: "...[that the Ephesians] may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge..."
I want to ask you a couple of serious questions, Machias Valley Baptist Church: Do we know the kind of love that Paul is gushing about here? Have we found ourselves walking in the love-soaked power that Paul is praying for here?
This prayer is very different from what we often hear in churches or prayer meetings. Paul recognizes that we need to be completely reliant upon the Spirit's power. When difficult moments inevitably come in our lives, where do we look for strength? Do we "look within" ourselves and pull out whatever strength we can muster? Do we look to some kind of 10-step plan to give us the strength we need? Or medicine? Or any other number of things this world offers? Too often we, as Christians, overlook the ultimate source of power that is available to us: God's Spirit and God's love at work within our hearts.
Now please don't misunderstand me. I am in no way saying that medicine, or help from others, or counseling, or determination, or many other things are sinful. In fact, these things can be quite helpful. But at the same time, the strength we need to face the darkness and brokenness of this world will only truly come if God's Spirit moves within us. And it would be sinful to neglect His power and run to these other things. This is a matter of priority within our hearts.
I know for some of us, maybe most of us, complete reliance upon the Holy Spirit is extremely frustrating. We want to think we add or contribute something. We want to think that we are in control of our lives, especially our spiritual lives. But we must recognize that we are completely reliant on God's strength alone.
For others, we have a difficult time grasping the depth of God's love toward us. How can an all-powerful Being truly love little me? Does Christ truly love me as much as He says He does? I could preach to you about it until I am blue in the face, but until you experience His love, you won't truly know.
Either way, I pray that you see Christ both as beautiful and bountiful. I pray that you see Christ as both good and powerful. I pray that you see Christ as both full of love and full of power. And I pray that we as a church would truly have God's strength that comes through His love.
Sermon Series: Ephesians: Church Alive In Christ