God is Love
By Moses Marji
Key Verse 3:17b-18
“And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ”
I thank God for receiving the inspired words in the book of Ephesians through his servant the apostle Paul, who deeply loved all people by revealing to them the mystery of God and bringing them to Christ Jesus our Lord. We discussed in the first part of this chapter the mystery of God. To remind you, we learned that the mystery of God is “that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body , and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus” What is the gospel? The word is derived from the Anglo-Saxon word “godspel” which means the good news. The good news is the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in a form of a human being and dying on the cross and rising back to retake his spiritual form only after abandoning that human form he took to carry our sins. The gospel is salvation. Through that salvation the Gentiles became heirs together with Israel. This also meant that they became one body, meaning they were untied together with Israel, working together as a body of Christ with the hope of the promise in Jesus Christ.
The title of today’s message is “God is Love.” God is defined as Love. Who is God? God is love. What is God? God is love. Through this passage we will get to know God a little bit more as love. The last part of this chapter is talking about Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians. Before we explore the verses. I really wanted to stop at prayer. The most important gift and tool that God gave his children is prayer. Prayer is everything in the believer’s life. I am not talking about taking prayer seriously or lightly. I hope we are beyond that. I am talking about the power God has given you as a believer, Prayer. Sometimes we face serious issues in our lives, and we reveal them to our brothers and sisters in Christ. We hear often “I will pray for you.” In many instances we do not take that reply seriously for two reasons, either we don’t believe in the power of prayer to God or we don’t trust the word that come from our brother or sister that they will pray for us. For me when I hear someone tell me I will pray for you, I take his or her promise very seriously and I expect them to pray for my issue before God. One thing that you can tell that someone is very genuine about praying for you is to see them fully involved on your issue. Meaning, they will take your problem as their own and try to help you in any way they are able to. Nothing tops prayer. Prayer is so powerful, and God always listen to our prayers. I approach prayer with so much delight because I know how much powerful it is and I am delighted that God gave us this powerful tool.
Read verse 14 “For this reason I kneel before the Father.” Paul told the Ephesians that because God gave him a mission to reach the Gentiles with the gospel and they believed and were saved by the blood of Christ Jesus on the cross, he is praying for them. We can see that the work is not done here. Yes, they were saved, but now is the growing part in their spirit. What does “growing” mean? The Ephesian believers once had only a human body without the spirit. They had their flesh and their souls that reflected the image of God in them, but they did not have the Spirit. When we come to this world, we have flesh and soul, but we do not have a spirit. We need a spirit to enter the Kingdom of God. The believers in Ephesus were born in the spirit once they received the salvation of Jesus Christ through the gospel. That infant spirit that was just born in each one of them needs to grow and mature. How does this look like? When we are born in the spirit our spiritual body is weak, so it struggles to survive. We start struggling against our body “flesh” desires. This is a raging war between our body and our spirit. Satan is a cheer leader and advocate for our body’s desires and the holy Spirit is the supporter, guide and comforter to our spirit’s growth. During infancy we struggle so much to even overcome the simplest of desires in our body, because we are still infant spiritually and we are facing a giant Satan kingdom that wants to control us. We sin and we act on our sins. We fall many times and we grieve in our spirit. We repent, we get up again and we try again. We overcome and we grow in our spirit a bit stronger until the next war comes. Our Father Abraham used to give names to his spiritual victories as he overcame his struggles and to find a place to build an alter thanking God for that victory. The Ephesian believers were growing well in their spirit. They were well in their way to defeat the action sins. It seemed to me that they moved a good distance in their fighting against their desires to overcome acting these desires. While the believers in Corinth were still struggling with what I call “ action sins” and were still so young spiritually and not set in their faith, the Ephesians showed clear signs of their faith of what they overcome so far. We can see that clearly in Paul’s letter if we go back to the first chapter verse 15 and 16 which say “For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all God’s people, I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers.” Then, What is Paul addressing in our passage today?
Let us look at verse 14 and 15 together “For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name.” I noted that Paul used his given power of prayer to kneel before the Father. He addressed God as his Father because God is love and loves him unconditionally. He explained that the family of God is one family under God. This is enormously powerful. We need to be part of this powerful family. Being counted under God is not a small thing, in fact it is everything. And the Family of God extend to all realms in heaven and on earth. The believers in Ephesus are part of this family. Paul is revealing what was his prayer about, and what was his prayer topic which he approached his Father God with it.
Look at verse 16 “I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner body” God is everything and he is offering so much to his children. I told you earlier that once a person is born in the spirit, he or she need support and help to overcome their struggles and grow. Their Spirit is their inner body and their flesh and it’s desires is their outer body. Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians is to overcome what I call their “thoughts sins.” Let me explain this. You know that we think many sinful thoughts in our minds. These are sins as you know, I hope. So, it is not just a sin when you convert your thoughts into action. We are here dealing with a higher struggle than just our sins which resulted from our actions, or as we say we act on it. We are dealing to overcome the sins in our thoughts which is much harder. Paul is praying for the believers to work on their inner body to be sanctified as they deal with their sinful thoughts in their hearts. Let me take you back a bit, there are four types of people. The wicked person, this is the person who came saying to him or herself there is no God. There is no God in their minds, that person try to suppress their soul and their hearts that is telling them there is God, so their body struggle with their souls. This is the definition of wickedness. The second type is those who admit there is God but are not giving their lives to God because the busyness in their lives and their attachment to the world that they miss out on heaven all together. They give their soul a sleeping pill and go the route of being a “good person.” The third type is those who are saved and are born in their spirit, but they are still struggling against their simple body desires and fall in sin by action again and again. The fourth type of person is the believer who is starting to struggle against his or her sinful thoughts to be sanctified in their inner being. Paul was addressing this type of believers here. Let us see what Paul is praying for them.
Look at verse 17a “so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.” Paul prayed for them to prepare their hearts soil so that Christ can dwell in their hearts through faith. Faith is a prerequisite for any person who want to start his or her spiritual journey. Without putting our faith in Christ, we are not being born in the spirit. So, we need faith to be born in the spirit and faith continues throughout our journey with God. Faith is ignited by hope in the promises of God, So, there is faith that continue with the hope in the promises of God. Both faith and hope are nurtured by God who is love. This means that Love engulf both faith and hope. Then that growth which we have been talking about is growth in God or growth in Love. Paul said in 1st Corinthians 3:13 “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”
Let us look at our key verses to understand more, verses 17b and 18 “And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ” When the holy spirit helps us to be sanctified in the spirit, in the process we start to understand how much God loves us. The more God opens our eyes the more we realize the depth of the love of God. This is a very humbling experience. The more God opens our eyes, the more we realize our inner sinfulness and our need for God’s love. The more God opens our eyes the more we grasp that we don’t know as much as a mustard seed of God’s love. God is love and that love has a 4D dimension. It has length, width, height and depth. Here we are only grasping the dimension of God’s love. When we just received the spirit, we think we know the love of God because the love of God is so small in our eyes and we think we grasped that love itself. Let me tell you, in our infant spirit, we become full of joy and we think we conquered the whole spiritual world to the point that we are very opinionated about every spiritual subject and reasonably become very judgmental of how the work of God should look like. This is cute spiritually speaking. The more we grow in the spirit the more we start to grasp the dimensions of God’s love that we cannot seem to understand or grasp. We really understand a glimpse of that love. I really want you to hear apostle Paul words clearly from Philippians 3:10 “ I want to know Christ- yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me” Paul was still grasping the depth of the love of Christ.
God is love and he is very vast. His dimension goes to what point? Look at verse 19 “And to know this love that surpasses knowledge- that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” The love of Christ surpasses knowledge. Paul knows that well and he still pray for the believers to be filled to the measure of all fullness of God. What a beautiful prayer. I prayer that each one of you be filled with the measure of all fullness of God. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 “If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.” Wow, I gain nothing, meaning no spiritual growth.
Look at verse 20 “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.” Let the Spirit of God work in you and help you. Receive the support and guidance of the holy spirit. You know that God can offer everything. We even cannot fathom how much is everything. It is immeasurable and beyond our understanding. Work to receive what you need to serve God and pray that God open your eyes every day to see new heights, length, width and depth of God’s love. First grasp these dimensions that surpasses your knowledge. Thank God that his power work in our inner person to help our spirit grow. Every day you are stagnant in your spirit, you lose growth that can help you here on earth and up in heaven once you are fully in his kingdom having only your spiritual body. Do not go to heaven an infant or a child. Go to heaven a mature grown person. Work to reach that goal. God is giving you time here on earth. Do not waste it and use it to grow. Let God work in you with his power.
The last point I wanted to share with you is the church of God, the body of Christ. The same way we are social beings and we cannot live alone in this world; it applies to the body of Christ. When Elijah thought that he was the only believer left, he told God, Lord I am tired, take me. But God replied that he reserved a remnant. Take courage the body of Christ is alive and there are many like minded people is this world. Verse 21 reads “to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen” The church of Christ, the body of Christ also has dimension that passes through generations and throughout the land. Take courage and take your rightful place in the body of Christ. Imagine after Jesus Christ died on the cross and was raised no one is saved! This makes Jesus’ sacrifice and God’s plan meaningless. So, God intended to save people in every generation and increase the body of Christ in its dimension in length, height, depth and width and that is through love. Amen