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3:16.4 Pray for Each Other~ Ephesians 3:16, part 4
And so this inner strength that comes from the Holy Spirit, is where Paul prays we will start. But that’s just the beginning friends. Ephesians 3:17 says, “Then Christ will make His home in your hearts as you trust in Him.” The very next thing that Paul prays for in our lives, is Christ’s Presence. Sometimes we think this is a “give-me.” That when we become a Christian that Christ’s presence is with us all time. And it is.
This verse is talking about more than that, it is about a control issue, a commitment issue. The heart was seen as the central part of a person’s life. You know the entire “I love you with all of my heart, to the moon and back thing.”
When we invite Christ to be a part of our life, do we mean every part of our life? Not just the Sunday morning part. Do we include in that, the, “What we do for a living part?” and the, “How we do what we do for a living part?” The, “What we do for entertainment part?” The, “What we watch on TV and our Computer part?” The, “How we treat our spouse and our kids part?” The, “What we do with our money part?”
This is more about, Christ controlling our lives, than it is about, Christ simply being a part of our lives. Have you ever heard of a REMORA? Sometimes it’s called a shark sucker fish. They attach themselves to a shark and they go along for the ride. Sharks don’t eat them, in part, because they get rid of parasites on the shark’s skin. Sometimes I think there are some folks who are quite happy to have Jesus as a “Spiritual Remora.” He offers us some benefits, and isn’t real annoying, so we allow Him to come along for the ride.
This is not what is meant by Christ making His home in your heart. This is more than Jesus as Savior, this is Jesus as Lord. This is Jesus having full control. And that cannot happen without the Holy Spirit providing you with the inner strength that you need.
Ephesians 3:17 “Then Christ will make His home in your hearts as you trust in Him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong.” The next thing that Paul prays for in the life of the believers was Deep Roots.
This was something that Jesus talked about in the parable of the seeds and the soils. You might remember that in that parable Jesus spoke of how seeds grew in different soils, and then He compared them to how people respond to the Word of God. Sounding familiar? A little bit maybe? Here’s a refresher. That part of the parable was told in Mark 4:5-6“Other seed fell on shallow soil with underlying rock. The seed sprouted quickly because the soil was shallow. But the plant soon wilted under the hot sun, and since it didn’t have deep roots, it died.”
Then later in the story He gave the application for responding to God’s invitation in our lives. Mark 4:16-17 “The seed on the rocky soil represents those who hear the message and immediately receive it with joy. But since they don’t have deep roots, they don’t last long. They fall away as soon as they have problems or are persecuted for believing God’s Word.”
So Paul prays that the roots of the believer will grow deep and strong. We do that by talking to God, that’s called prayer and by hearing from God, that’s reading His Word – the Bible.
Ephesians 3:18“And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is.” The next step that Paul prays for is that people would Understand God’s Love which goes right along with the next step which is Ephesians 3:19“May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully.” Not only is Paul praying that people will understand God’s love; but also that they would Experience Christ’s Love.
Friends, this goes back to the first 3:16, John 3:16“For God loved the world so much that He gave His One and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.” Maybe you are thinking that this should be the first on the list. However, it is usually only after we’ve been serving God for a time, that we begin to really understand the depths of God’s love.
Think about how much it cost God for you to have eternal life and what that means for you; I’m just saying it generally takes a while for us to begin to grasp the enormity of God’s Grace. And then you need to accept it, to experience it, to believe that it is for you and me. The reality that the love of God is much better experienced than it is explained. And the marvelous thing is, you can experience it even when you can’t understand it.
Paul tells us in Ephesians 2:8 “God saved you by His grace when you believed.” God saved you by His grace… when? “…when you believed.” It’s not enough to just understand the love of God, until you experience the love of Christ.
And it’s only when we truly begin to understand and experience God’s grace in our lives that we can: I started to say, forgive ourselves, but it’s not that, it is really a matter of trusting that God has forgiven us – as an aside her, and it is really another message – but to say we have to forgive our self is saying that our forgiveness of our self is more important or valuable or significant that God forgiving us. Then the second piece of this is when we understand and experience God’s grace is when we can begin to forgive other. And I’m not sure which is tougher, but they both need to be done if we are going to mature in our Christian faith.
Medication: A Merry Heart
It was 6 p.m., and I was about to leave the coin laundry where I was employed. My boss called me over and asked if I would mind dropping off someone's laundry on my way home. “It’s for my cousin,” she apologized, “who’s eight months pregnant and can’t get out much anymore.”
I cheerfully agreed and, driving to the address, knocked at the door. A little girl, the sister-to-be, answered.
“Hi, there,” I said with a big smile. “Is your mommy home?” Holding up the white bundle of clothes, I explained, “I have a delivery for her.”
The child’s mouth dropped, and her eyes went wide. “Mom!” She shrieked, “come quick! It’s the stork!”
St Mark’s Community Church, Janesville
New Beginnings Church, New Ulm
Verse of the Week: Luke 4:18-19
Today’s readings: Psalms 50, 53, 60 & 75