Summary: This is message 33 in our journey through John's gospel. This is the last in an expanded exploration of true love. This message explores Paul's prayer for God's fullness in Ephesians 3:14-19. I call it the "Staircase to Fullness".
Pastor David Welch
“Walking in God’s Fullness”
"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.By this(mutual love) all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another." John 13:31-35
By observing the Biblical descriptions of genuine love, it is clear that God’s love is supernatural and impossible to live apart from a divine work in our lives. Don’t limit your understanding and experience just to what you now know but continue to review the characteristics of genuine love and pray for an even deeper understanding and a continually expanding demonstration of His love to others.
That divine work begins with God who is the source of love. We can only love because God loved us FIRST! Love is from God.
The Father loves, the Holy Spirit loves, love is found in Jesus.
God initially pours his love in us by the work of the Holy Spirit.
God continually teaches us how to love Him and others.
God causes the expression of His love to grow.
Our obedience to His truth purifies our heart to love supernaturally.
Our obedience to the truth continually perfects our love for one another.
God allows us to choose to wear his love or not.
God instructs us to pursue opportunities to love.
God instructs us to stimulate one another to love fervently and live righteously.
God encourages us to pray for increased demonstration of his love.
Love is the basis for everything we do in life and is able to change lives.
In one of Paul’s prayers, we have a staircase to the development of fervent love.
WE will briefly examine each step in the staircase found at the end of Ephesians 3.
The "Staircase to Fullness"
Paul bowed before the Father making petition behalf of the family that this new society of people, this family of God, this building, this temple who were created to display the character and presence of God (who is love) would actually perform the function according to design. He includes all the necessary elements or steps to experience this fullness. Each stair builds on the previous one.
Stair One -- Request for strengthening
that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man
Paul asks God that these believers be strengthened.
"strengthen" to make strong, to establish
We are incapable of living the Christian life in our own limited strength. To live as true temples of God on our own is not just difficult it is impossible.
"Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit says the Lord."
The sooner we recognize our inability to live this life in our own strength and realize how desperately we need the strengthening of God, the sooner we will discover what fullness of life is all about.
Paul touches at least five aspects to this strengthening.
• Strengthening is something God does to us
Not that they would strengthen each other. Not that they would exercise enough to become strong. But that God would grant that they be strengthened. We do have a part but Paul request something that God does to us.
• Strengthening is according to His riches in glory
The request is that God strengthen believers not “out of” His glorious riches, but according to the riches of His glory. “Out of” His riches would be portioned. “According to” His riches is proportional.
ILLUS Win the $10 million lottery and give you $10 is portioned -- "out of".
Win the $10 million lottery and give away 1 million is proportional -- "according to"
Paul prays for a strengthening that is proportional to the riches of God’s glory.
• Strengthening is by His power
It is the same power that God employed to raise Jesus from the dead. Paul asks that belivers be strengthened with enabling power equal to the power that raised Jesus from the dead.
• Strengthening is through the Holy Spirit
Luke 4:1 demonstrates the source of Jesus' power
"And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led about by the Spirit in the wilderness for forty days being tempted by the devil."
Jesus operated from the same resources available to us. Power of the indwelling Spirit, prayer, obedience by faith This power for life is granted by God through the Holy Spirit in answer to humble prayer of faith in the promises of God. God has not given a Spirit of fear but of love, power and a discipline mind. 2Tim 1 Paul prays for believers to be strengthened by the ever present all powerful strength of the Holy Spirit.