Summary: The key to Christian living
THREE PROMISES OF CHRIST CONCERNING THE PRESENCE OF GOD WITHIN US:
1. CHRIST PROMISED THAT THE HOLY SPIRIT WOULD DWELL IN THE BELIEVER: "He dwelleth with you, and SHALL BE IN YOU" (v. 17b).
2. CHRIST PROMISED THAT HE WOULD DWELL IN THE BELIEVER: "At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I IN YOU" (v. 20).
3. CHRIST PROMISED THAT THE FATHER WOULD DWELL IN THE BELIEVER: "We will come unto him, and MAKE OUR ABODE WITH HIM" (v. 23).
PAUL DECLARES THAT WHAT JESUS PROMISED IS POSSIBLE NOW:
1. THE PRESENCE OF THE SPIRIT: "That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be STRENGTHENED WITH MIGHT BY HIS SPIRIT IN THE INNER MAN" (Eph. 3:16).
2. THE PRESENCE OF CHRIST: "That CHRIST MAY DWELL IN YOUR HEARTS by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge" (Eph. 3:17-19a).
3. THE PRESENCE OF THE FATHER: "That ye might BE FILLED WITH ALL THE FULNESS OF GOD" (Eph. 3:19b).
Martyn Lloyd-Jones writes, "There is no more staggering statement in the whole range of Scripture than this. We are here face to face with the ultimate in experience. . . ." (The Unsearchable Riches of Christ: An Exposition of Ephesians 3, p. 278).
Paul was not satisfied with the Ephesians believers as they were. We should never be satisfied with the way we are.
1. THE PERSON WHO IS "FILLED WITH ALL THE FULNESS OF GOD" IS A PERSON WHO IS COMPLETELY CONTROLLED BY GOD.
"BE NOT DRUNK WITH WINE, WHEREIN IS EXCESS, BUT BE FILLED WITH THE SPIRIT" (Eph. 5:18). Being filled with wine results in being controlled by wine. Being filled with the Spirit means being controlled by the Spirit.
To be "filled with all the fulness of God" speaks more about the QUALITY of God’s presence in us than the QUANTITY of His presence.
We could say that to be "filled with all the fulness of God" is to be EMPTIED OF SELF.
When you are "filled with all the fulness of God" you will say,
Take my life and let it be
Consecrated, Lord, to Thee;
Take my moments and my days—
Let them flow in ceaseless praise,
Let them flow in ceaseless praise.
Take my silver and my gold—
Not a mite would I withhold;
Take my intellect and use
Every pow’r as Thou shalt choose,
Every pow’r as Thou shalt choose.
Take my love—my Lord, I pour
At Thy feet its treasure store;
Take myself—and I will be
Ever, only, all for Thee,
Ever, only, all for Thee.
Take my will and make it Thine—
It shall be no longer mine;
Take my heart—it is Thine own,
It shall be Thy royal throne,
It shall be Thy royal throne.
When you are "filled with all the fulness of God," He takes control of your MIND, HEART, and WILL. He controls your THOUGHTS, FEELINGS, and ACTIONS.
1.1 God controls our thoughts.
"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the RENEWING OF YOUR MIND, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God" (Rom. 12:1-2).
1.2 God controls our feelings.
THE EXAMPLE OF STEPHEN: "[Stephen] kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, LORD, LAY NOT THIS SIN TO THEIR CHARGE. And when he had said this, he fell asleep" (Acts 7:60). In verse 55 we read that Stephen was "full of the Holy Ghost."
1.3 God controls our actions.
THE EXAMPLE OF PAUL: "And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there: save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and affliction abide me. BUT NONE OF THESE THINGS MOVE ME, NEITHER COUNT I MY LIFE DEAR UNTO MYSELF, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify of the grace of God" (Acts 20:22-24). Paul’s will was not his own; it belonged to God.
CONNECTING THE PETITIONS OF PAUL’S PRAYER
We are IN CHRIST and Christ is IN US.
"WE ARE MEMBERS OF HIS BODY, OF HIS FLESH, AND OF HIS BONES" (Eph. 5:30).
Romans 8:29 tells us that God’s purpose in our salvation is that we become "CONFORMED TO THE IMAGE OF HIS SON." In other words, He wants us to be like Christ. What was Christ like when He lived on this earth?