Summary: 25th in a series from Ephesians. How to allow God to fill us with all His fulness so we can be all that He wants us to be.
I’m convinced that too many people have way too much time on their hands. While doing some research for my sermon this week on the internet, I ran across this “Ad Slogan Tournament” by Slate magazine, which was posted on March 12 of this year. It’s an NCAA format bracket that asks readers to pick their favorite ad slogans in head-to-head battles that will eventually allow them to pick the winning slogan. For instance here are some of the first round matchups. Let’s see if you can help me finish these ad slogans:
• A diamond is [forever]
• It takes a licking and [keeps on ticking]
• Got [Milk]?
• Plop, plop, fizz, fizz, [oh what a relief it is]
• Have it [your way]
• You deserve a [break today]
• Reach out and [touch someone]
• Be all that [you can be]
That last slogan, which I’m sure all of you recognize was the slogan used by the Army in it’s recruiting for many years, is a pretty good summary of our passage from Ephesians this morning, so I’ve borrowed it for use as my sermon title today. By the way, can anyone guess which ad slogan won the contest? – Just do it (Nike)
Let’s begin this morning by reading our passage together:
And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge - that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Ephesians 3:17b-19 (NIV)
As I look at this passage this morning, it seems that Paul has laid out a very easy to follow roadmap for us to follow. He presents Biblical principles in a very logical order. But I’m actually going to start with the end of the passage and work our way toward the beginning. That’s because Paul reveals our destination at the end of the passage and before the roadmap is going to do us any good, we need to know where we’re headed. So let’s begin by identifying our destination:
OUR DESTINATION: TO BE SPIRITUALLY MATURE
…that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
God’s goal for the lives of His children is that they might experience a life that is filled to the very brim with the fullness of God. In fact, Jesus indicated that was the very purpose for which he came to earth:
…I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
John 10:10 (NIV)
But what exactly does that mean? In one of his other letters, Paul indicates that when we make the decision to be a follower of Jesus Christ, God imparts His fullness to us in Christ:
For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority.
Colossians 2:9, 10 (NIV)
Remember that Paul is writing to believers here in Ephesians. So if those believers already have the fullness of God in their lives as a result of their union with Jesus Christ, why would Paul pray that they might be filled to the very top with the fullness of God? It seems to me that what Paul is praying is for his readers to become what they already are in Christ – in other words he wants them to be all that they can be.
I know that may not make a whole lot of sense, so let me see if I can’t illustrate it for you. Let’s say that I want to become a doctor. Right now Mary is back there thinking “not another new career!” But believe me, this is just a hypothetical. If I wanted to do that I’d have to go back to school and take a whole bunch of science classes. Then I’d have to go to medical school and do my residency. And after a number of years of long days and hard work, I would officially be a doctor. And when I got to that point, let’s suppose that one of you here needed open heart surgery. So you came to me and I said, “I’ll be happy to do that for you. I’ve studied how to do that and even assisted on a few surgeries. When do you want to schedule it?”
Even with your bad heart, you’d probably run from my office and go find a doctor with a whole lot more experience wouldn’t you? Why? I would have those same two letters behind my name – M.D. – as any other doctor. I would be just as much of a doctor as any of them. But I certainly wouldn’t consider myself to be “filled to the measure with all the fullness of being a doctor.” It would take many years before I could be all that I could be as a doctor.