Summary: The fruit we bear will be determined by the soil we’re rooted in (#4 in The Unfathomable Love of Christ series)
“...so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love...”
I feel it is very important to remind you first of all today, that this is a prayer, and it is a prayer for you.
But that does not say it all. Keep in mind who it is who is praying for you. It is the great Apostle Paul. He is in prison now. Most of his life in the flesh is now in the past. And what a past it is.
He has been on missionary journeys. In the service of His Lord he has suffered beatings, scourging, imprisonment, stoning, deprivation, near drowning, rejection from his own beloved nation; but he has also seen great things. New churches filled with dedicated Christians who gladly suffer persecution for their Lord, the generous giving of the saints for the suffering believers in Jerusalem during a time of famine.
He has seen many healings and miracles, and most wondrous of all ~ he has seen the risen Christ with his own eyes.
He is a man of prayer. Jesus has given him a tender heart, longing for the salvation of the lost and for the restoration of Israel; and for these things he prays constantly, with tears.
And this man prayed for you, Christian. Yes, he specifically addresses the recipients of this letter, and mentions in some places their specific situations. But it is a prayer for us also in several respects.
One is, that he talks about this age and the age to come. He talks about those who were near, the Jews, and those who were far off, the gentiles. He talks about every family on earth and in heaven deriving its name from the Father of glory. So we can see that Paul puts no space or time restrictions on the plan and purpose of God, and we can derive from this, that his prayers extend to all who believe ~ in his time and the time to come.
The other thing that assures us we are on solid ground in claiming these prayers of Paul for ourselves, is our understanding that the scriptures are inspired by the Holy Spirit, to whom time means nothing. The scriptures are, we believe, “...inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.”
And if we can rightfully apply that claim to our benefit, then we must also believe that in His inspiration of both, Paul’s prayers, and the inclusion of them in scripture, the Holy Spirit meant them for all of us; not just for the Ephesian church, and not just for the Christians of Paul’s day.
I have to say to you that when someone tells me they are praying for me, that knowledge alone gives me encouragement to go on. Someone I have a great deal of respect for as a faithful servant of the Lord, said very recently that they pray for me and for this church daily. And I thought to myself, ‘Wow, with this person in my corner, I can look forward to big things from the Lord through this congregation‘.
But something else happens too. Hearing this person and others like this person saying they’re praying for me gives me a sense of responsibility to live up to that great privilege of being prayed for, and stay faithful to the work and not grow tired.
Paul prayed for you and me, fellow believers. This should give us a sense of great encouragement, but also responsibility; to learn and grow and seek by the Holy Spirit of God to better understand these things Paul wanted us to see.
So let’s go on to look at this phrase from verse 17 today, remembering that this is a prayer God most certainly wants to answer in the affirmative, in your heart and mine.
“...that you, being rooted and grounded in love,...”
ROOTS & FOUNDATIONS
Paul has been ‘building’, (no pun intended) on an analogy of structures. Christ has broken down the dividing wall. We are of God’s household. We have been built upon the foundation of the Apostles and the Prophets. Christ is the cornerstone of this holy temple in the Lord. And now, we are a dwelling of God in the Spirit.
We’ve discussed our foundation at length, so it is only necessary for me, at this point, to tell you that this word, ‘grounded’ in our text refers to a foundation.
Literally, it means to lay the foundation of, or, ‘to establish’.
But Paul, like any good teacher, uses different analogies to make his point. Since no one analogy can fully explain a spiritual truth, he approaches his theme from various directions for clarity’s sake.