If you’d like to join us in our journey reading all the way through the Bible this year, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I’ll be glad to email back a copy of the reading plan we are using.
“Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.” I learned to sing it, and in some measure to believe it from very early in life. But there are some things we cannot know in the deepest sense, until something else is in place. Theologian W.G.T. Shedd compared the way most of us know God’s love to a blind man’s knowledge of color. He has the vocabulary. He can know all the physics and mechanics of it. But to really see it, is something else altogether. And so it is with the love of God. That’s our focus today on Through the Word in 2020. I’m Reid Ferguson.
2 Kings 15:13-16:20; Luke 1:1-25 and Ephesians 3:14-4:16 make up our reading list today. But it is Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians in 3:14-21 that just stuns me afresh.
Pay close attention to the words “so that”, “that” and “that you”: as we cover it. Maybe underline them in your Bible. Those are purpose words. They show us that this prayer is not some abstract wish for a mere better understanding of God’s love – but for a transformative revelation of it that can only be wrought by the Holy Spirit and all that for some profound ends.
Look at it just nakedly first:
14 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, i.e. this is why I pray as I do – and to whom I do – 16 that:
(A) according to the riches of his glory he may grant you
(B) to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that
(C) Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you,
(D) being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have
(E) strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the
(F) breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to
(G) know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you
(H) 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.
1. The first thing needed is a supernatural bestowal, of the Spirit’s strengthening power…
2. Power, on a level which is no less than commensurate with the limitless, inscrutable riches of God’s personal, divine glory…
And these are the 4 things he intends to come out of that supernatural work by the Spirit:
3. So that Christ may have His full inhabiting of our hearts – through our believing Him – really, truly, fully, to the highest degree. For all of our failure is ultimately a failure to believe Him. And most particularly – to believe the greatness of His love…
4. So that we come to the place that our full conviction of His love for us forms the absolute root from which we draw all of our nourishment, and the foundation upon which we stand in all things and under all circumstances…
5. So that we may begin to comprehend still more – the height, depth, length and breadth of His love – to KNOW the love of Christ that in fact surpasses all human knowledge…
6. So that at last we might be filled with all the fullness of God.
Supernatural strength in regard to Christ dwelling in our hearts. Strength to live in it – to retain it in our hearts and minds as static, present reality. We float in and out of consciousness of this truth. We know it theologically and intellectually, but not as a constant, living reality shaping the whole of our being. We have momentary experiences of what God desires to grant us a remaining, perpetual, experiential knowledge of.
And that is my prayer for you today as well.
God willing, we’ll be back Monday.