EPHESIANS 3:8-21

 

In verse 14 Paul says, "for this cause" he prays, that the Ephesians may be strengthened with might by God's Spirit, or "MIGHTY INNER STRENGTHENING" as the Living Bible puts it.

 

INTRODUCTION

I was in someone’s house yesterday, and wrestling was on the television. I saw the guy, lift the other one above his head – and he must have weighed at least twenty stone. And he appeared to do it without any effort whatsoever! What strength!

 

THE REASON! That Christ may dwell in their hearts by faith! But he is speaking to the CONVERTED, so what does he mean? The Living Bi b1e says, " that Christ may be more and more at home in your hearts. " In other words that He may be able to take over more and more within...... Do we want to draw closer to the Lord ?

At the time when slaves were set free in America, large numbers of them migrated to the area around Washington. This was because they wanted to be as close as possible to Abraham Lincoln, whom they felt was instrumental in bringing about their freedom.

DO WE DAILY WANT TO BE CLOSER TO THE ONE WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR SETTING US FREE? It will not happen without a lot of effort on our part!

 

THE PROGRESSION! Only then, (17) can we be truly “rooted and grounded in love!” And through that to be able to understand something of the greatness of the love of Christ!

The more we know and experience Him, the more we experience His love,  and are able to let it flow from our lives to touch the needy souls of others with whom we are in contact!

A gentleman called Robert Frost once said, “There was never a heart truly great and generous, that was not also tender and compassionate.”

Someone, who knew all about that tenderness and compassion, was  Harold St. John. He spent more than 40 years of his life struggling over mountain pathways and through jungle trails to reach the villages of Bolivia, Paraguay, Uruguay and Brazil, to tell them about Jesus.

    Returning home late one evening, he found himself in a long queue waiting for a bus. When the bus arrived there was room for all in the queue except a well-dressed gentleman whom the conductor tried to prevent from boarding the bus, saying there was no seat available and standing was forbidden. The
gentleman refused to alight, saying that his wife and children were on top and he had the
money for their fares. The driver was called; a heated argument ensued; and driver and
conductor announced that the bus would not proceed till the passenger had alighted.

         Seeing that there might be considerable delay, Harold St John rose and addressed the
people on the bus. 'Ladies and gentlemen,' he said, 'it looks as if we shall not get home
very soon. The conductor is Perfectly in order, for he is supporting the bye laws which forbid
passengers standing on the bus. The passenger is equally right, for he is defending an older
law, the law of humanity which forbids separating a man from his wife and children.

I can see no way out except that I should give this gentleman my seat, then alight and wait
for another bus. If I do this, the driver and conductor will be satisfied, the passenger will
be content, and you will all get home in due time. Let me add one thing more. This is
exactly what the Lord Jesus, my blessed Saviour has done for me, giving me His place in light
and salvation, and taking the place due to me in death and darkness on the Cross.' As he
alighted, the conductor was heard to say, 'Ain't he a kind bloke?'

(1 Pet. 3. 18)   [Quote 1033 in 1200 more Notes, Quotes & Anecdotes]

 

If he had only known just how kind and compassionate!

 

How often, when people have commented on the Salvation Army’s social work, I have said, “Yes, but you must realise the motivation behind it. It is the love of God flowing through His people!”

 

THE OUTCOME! Notice, it is only then, that we can be filled with all the fullness of God. Literally filled to overflowing - the experience which we often speak  about as the BAPTISM IN THE HOLY SPIRIT, THE SECOND BLESSING, THE EXPERIENCE OF SANCTIFICATION. Whatever we call it, it is the experience of God filling our being to such an extent that there is an overflow! WE ARE TALKING ABOUT RADICAL CHRISTIANITY!

All sorts of odd-balls call themselves Christians today – we’ve got to show them, we don’t just hold a strange doctrine – and we don’t just belong to some sort of cult!

Did you hear, that there have been some occasions recently, in another European country, where there were efforts to have Bible believing evangelical Christians like ourselves – banned, as a CULT! Why? Because people were being saved – their lives were being changed – and they were leaving their spiritually dead respectable churches, that didn’t preach the Gospel!

Jesus spoke of it as rivers of living water flowing from the very centre of our being!

I’m sure we all want those rivers of living waters to flow out to others from us.

The great preacher C.H. Spurgeon, said, (Sermons for Special Occasions p139)

“O my brother in Christ, if you would be useful, begin with yourself. It is out of your very soul, that a blessing must come! It cannot come out of you if it is not in you: and it cannot be in you unless God the Holy Ghost places it there.”


OUR EXPECTATIONS!  In the next verse, (20) Paul tells us how small our expectations are in relation to what God is able to give - how true this is in  the life of so many Christians, especially concerning their experience of the Holy Spirit of God. It is often a case of, "Well with my experience of the Lord, if I haven' t already got it, it 's not worth having!" or "It doesn't exist!"

Let us remember, Ephesians 3:20 speaks about  Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think.

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We must never under-estimate the Lord or what, with our permission He can do in our 1ives !

Mr Spock, in one of the Star Trek films (Star Trek the Motion Picture), when speaking about an intelligent space probe says, “It knows, only that it needs, Commander, but like so many of us, it does not know what!”

How like people the world over! They know they have a need, and try drink, drugs, perversion, transcendental meditation, the occult, cheap surface relationships and a host of other things! But with all of them, they discover, with the words of the songwriter,  “I tried the broken cisterns, but ah the waters failed, e’en as I stooped to drink they fled, and mocked me as I wailed.”

Yes, They know they have a need, but they are blinded by the darkness of the devil, from seeing where, and only where their deepest need can be met – in the Lord Jesus Christ

 

The job of the Christian, is to bring light into their darkness, that they may see. Didn’t Jesus say, “Ye are the light of the world” to His followers?

Around the time we were in Bible College, one of the sessional names was “THE LIGHTBRINGERS”.

A good name, not only for a session of cadets, but for every Christian – for it is our responsibility to bring the Light of Christ into this dark world of sin.

We must keep our lamps well lit with the Oil of the Spirit, to be effective in the work the Lord has entrusted to us.

O that we might have that “MIGHTY INNER STRENGTHENING” which was mentioned at the beginning.

Songs:  37 (544),  Chorus 53, 4 in Happiness & Harmony, and Colours of Day dawn into the mind.