Summary: We must long for a deeper love and a deeper understanding and experience of Christ’s love.
FIRST PETITION: "That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man" (v.16).
1. EVERY CHRISTIAN HAS AN "INNER MAN."
2. OUR INNER MAN NEEDS TO BE "STRENGTHENED WITH MIGHT."
3. GOD WILL "GRANT" US INNER STRENGTH IF WE ASK HIM FOR IT.
4. GOD WILL GIVE US INNER STRENGTH "ACCORDING TO THE RICHES OF HIS GLORY."
5. GOD WILL GIVE US INNER STRENGTH "BY HIS SPIRIT."
SECOND PETITION: "That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith" (v. 17a).
1. EVERY CHRISTIAN HAS CHRIST LIVING WITHIN HIS HEART.
2. NOT EVERY CHRISTIAN HAS CHRIST DWELLING WITHIN HIS HEART.
3. FAITH IS THE KEY TO HAVING CHRIST DWELL WITHIN OUR HEARTS.
THIRD PETITION: "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" (vv. 17b-19a).
I. WE MUST LONG FOR A DEEPER LOVE.
"THAT YE, BEING ROOTED AND GROUNDED IN LOVE" (v. 17b)
"ROOTED" gives us the picture of a tree with deep roots. "GROUNDED" ["established" (NIV)] gives us the picture of a building with a strong foundation. We know that roots and foundations depend greatly on the soil. Paul prays that the Ephesians will be "rooted and grounded IN LOVE." What soil is to a tree and a building, love is to the Christian life. If a tree is not deeply rooted in good soil, it may die. If a building is not grounded in good soil, it may collapse. If the Christian life is not "rooted and grounded in love," it will be a failure.
A. We must long for a deeper love for God.
A man once asked Jesus, "Master, which is the greatest commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, THOU SHALT LOVE THE LORD THY GOD WITH ALL THY HEART, AND WITH ALL THY SOUL, AND WITH ALL THY MIND" (Matt. 22:36-37).
"To whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little" (v. 47). In other words, "He who has been forgiven little loves little" (NIV). We could turn that statement around and say, "He who has been forgiven much loves much." Every Christian has been forgiven much; therefore we should all long for a deeper love for God.
B. We must long for a deeper love for others.
Jesus declared that the second great commandment is "THOU SHALT LOVE THY NEIGHBOUR AS THYSELF" (Matt. 22:39).
Our Lord also went a step further and said, "Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, LOVE YOUR ENEMIES, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you" (Matt. 7:43-44).
C. We must long for a deeper love for the Christian life.
The Christian life is a life of obedience to God, a life of keeping His commandments. "THIS IS THE LOVE OF [for] GOD, THAT WE KEEP HIS COMMANDMENTS: AND HIS COMMANDMENTS ARE NOT GRIEVOUS" (1 John 5:3). There is a connection between loving God and keeping His commandments. If we love God, we will keep His commandments. If we keep His commandments, we show that we love God. "YE THAT LOVE THE LORD, HATE EVIL" (Ps. 97:10).
"Jacob served seven years for Rachel; and THEY SEEMED UNTO HIM BUT A FEW DAYS, FOR THE LOVE HE HAD TO HER" (Gen. 29:20). Is that how the Christian life seems to you, or not? Is it a pleasure to obey God because you love Him?
II. WE MUST LONG FOR A DEEPER UNDERSTAND OF CHRIST’S LOVE.
"MAY BE ABLE TO COMPREHEND WITH ALL SAINTS WHAT IS THE BREADTH, AND LENGTH, AND DEPTH, AND HEIGHT" (v. 18)
Paul is no longer dealing with OUR love but with CHRIST’S love.
Why does Paul pray that Christians may comprehend the love of Christ? Certainly every Christian knows about the love of Christ. IT’S A MATTER OF DEGREE. We must never fall into the error of imagining that because we are Christians we therefore know everything about Christ’s love.
Paul stated that his great desire was "That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death" (Phil. 3:10). Obviously Paul knew Christ; he knew about His resurrection; he knew about His sufferings. What he longed for was a deeper knowledge of Christ.
THE COMPREHENSION OF CHRIST’S LOVE IS POSSIBLE FOR ALL SAINTS.
"May be able to comprehend with ALL saints"
There are some who believe that only certain Christians are saints. But Paul wrote this epistle to "the saints which are at Ephesus" (1:1).