Summary: Expounding on the differences between knowing about Christ and knowing Him.
Text: Ephesians 3:14-21
By: Ken McKinley
Before we get started I want you all to stop for a moment and think of a film that you truly enjoy… Did you think of one? I did, I thought of the movie Raiders of the Lost Ark. I really like that movie. But I was thinking about this the other day, and you know what, Raiders of the Lost Ark just wouldn’t be the same without the musical score. I would even go on to say that most memorable films also have a memorable score. What would the movie Jaws be without the menacing “ba-dum, ba-dum, ba-dum, dum, dum, dum?” Or the Wizard of Oz without its musical score? What the score does for a film is create a sensation, a feeling, or an expectation. I once heard how a theater manager in South Korea felt that The Sound of Music was too long, so he shortened it by cutting out all the songs. The point of the movie was still there, and all the needed information was given, but without the musical score it was missing that special something.
In kind of the same way, we sometimes do the same thing in our Christian lives. We learn the truth of the Gospel and we get all the right information, but none of the sensation.
What I mean by that is that we might know the Bible from cover to cover, but if we’re not living it, then how much good is it doing us? Paul’s prayer here is kind of a turning point in the book of Ephesians. He makes the transition from the foundation of doctrine to the idea and structure of Christian ethics, he moves from what we should believe to how we should live. So the first half of the letter tells us who we are in Christ, and we need to know that or else we would be hopelessly lost, but the next step is: Knowing what we now know, how are we to live this out? So this prayer that Paul prays is a prayer for us; that we would move from knowledge to practice.
This is Paul’s 2nd prayer in Ephesians. The first one was in chapter 1 verses 15-23 and it was for enlightenment, the emphasis here in this 2nd prayer is for enablement. The first prayer was for our understanding; this prayer is for our applying that understanding. So it’s Paul’s prayer that we would master the truth, but then the truth would also master us.
I recently looked at a list of the top ten largest churches in the United States. Out of those 10, only one was listed as a Baptist Church, Pastor Ed Young’s 2nd Baptist in Houston Texas, several of the top 10 were Charismatic Churches, and most of the top ten used contemporary praise and worship in the service. One of the top ten wasn’t even what I would call a real church, but was online church – LifeChurch out of Edmond Oklahoma. If you were to attend most of these churches it would be more like attending a rock concert than what most of us think church is. And when I looked at these churches websites I had to really search them to find their doctrinal statements or statements of faith. In other words they didn’t post what they believed right out in the open. Now I don’t know about you all, but this makes me uneasy. But as a pastor I had to ask myself why these churches were so successful when it came to drawing in the crowds. What were they doing in order to get 20 to 40 thousand people attending their churches? And what I believe is the answer is that they touch an emotional chord with their congregations.
Let’s face it, Southern Baptists are not always the most emotional people when it comes to a church service. I mean our youth services are pretty emotional, we have things like Falls Creek where there is an emotional fervor, but here at home, in our services, we just don’t get that emotional. And what I see is that we tend to split theology from experience. We tend to stifle our feelings in favor of memorizing facts. I’m probably one of the worst when it comes to this, having been in certain churches where congregations are worked up to an emotional frenzy and sound doctrine is tossed aside. And so we are cautious, but Scripture tells us that we are to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. We should use our intellect; in-fact, historically Christians have been some of the most brilliant thinkers of the western world. If you don’t believe me try reading John Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion sometime. And yes, we shouldn’t be so open minded our brains fall out, but on the other hand we should also realize that Christianity is a relationship with the living God, and therefore we must not only know Him, and about Him, but also respond to Him with God – given emotions.