Summary: How to find fulfillment in life through God’s presence in our lives.
Let me tell you the story of Norma Jean Mortenson. Because her mother became mentally ill, Norma went from one foster home to another. When she was eight years old, one of the boarders raped her. To add insult to injury, he gave her a nickel. Then he warned her not to tell anyone. Norma told her foster mother. But, Norma got beaten badly instead. She told Norma, “Our boarder pays good rent. Don’t you ever say anything bad about him!” Norma felt so used.
Norma grew up to be a very beautiful woman. She became an actress. She became an overnight success as a sex symbol. But she actually resented the label. People thought success got into her head for she would keep the director and the crew waiting two hours on the set for her. But she was only in the dressing room vomiting out of stage fright. Norma went through three marriages. She never felt loved at all. She felt people never took her seriously as a person. She felt so used.
Thus, August 5, 1962, at the age of 35, she took her own life. They found her naked on the bed, dead due to an overdose of sleeping pills.
Who was Norma? She was… Marilyn Monroe.
People long to have a taste of heaven on earth. But they look for it in all the wrong places. So they end up so hurt and used. Yet the Bible spells it out for us. So far we saw in our series in Ephesians that in Christ we can live a significant life. We can turn our upside down life right side up. Now let us see how we can have a taste of heaven on earth. Let’s read Ephesians 3:14-21…
14For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. 20Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
Note the phrase “For this reason…” (v. 14) Paul was about to pray in verse 1 of chapter three but in mid-sentence he stopped. He then explained the mystery of Christ, that is, the Jews and the Gentiles would form one body, one family and one church in Christ. He then took it up again in verse 14.
“For this reason I kneel before the Father…” Jews normally stand when they pray. It was unusual for them to kneel. Now the emphasis here is not the posture or that we should kneel whenever we would pray. The emphasis is on Paul’s passion in his prayer.
This is the second time he prayed in this letter. “In the first prayer [1:15-23], the emphasis is on enlightenment; but in this prayer, the emphasis is on enablement. It is not so much a matter of knowing as being—laying our hands on what God has for us and by faith making it a vital part of our lives.” He prayed so hard for us that we may not only know the blessings that we received from heaven but also that through these blessings we will experience heaven on earth.
However, these blessings are not for everyone. Yes, the things that Paul prayed for are the very things the Lord wants us to experience. But note this clause in verse 15: “from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name.” Take note also in verse 18: “together with all the saints”. And in verse 21: “to him glory in the church”. That means that you can only receive these blessings if you already accepted the Lord Jesus as your Savior. That very moment you trusted in Him, you became part of His family, that is, the church composed of all the saints or believers.
First, to have a taste of heaven on earth, we must EMPLOY THE POWER OF THE SPIRIT.
In verse 13, Paul asked the Ephesian believers “not to be discouraged because of [his] sufferings for [them]”. Instead of being discouraged, Paul prayed that God would “strengthen [them] with power through his Spirit” (v. 16). When I say that we will taste heaven on earth, I am not saying that we will be problem-free. But as we face trials and temptations here on earth, heaven’s resources are available in order for us to overcome. The Greek word for “power” is “dunamis,” which is used almost sixty times in the New Testament.