Summary: Most of this sermon was ripped off from the pamplet "My Heart, Christ’s Home."
This morning’s sermon is going to be dramatically different from what I’ve presented so far. In just a few minutes I’m going to get you to use your imagination and go on a tour with Jesus Christ. I think you’ll be convicted, challenged, and encouraged, but to get there you’ll need to put aside your expectations.
As we wind up chapter three in Ephesians we also conclude Paul’s prayer on behalf of these first-century Christians. He doesn’t ask for the things the average American Christian would present to God in prayer. Not once will you hear Paul say, “Bless ‘em” or “Be with ‘em.” He’d already told them that they had every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms: they were chosen, adopted, brought from death to life, on their way complete holiness and love by the riches of God’s grace through Jesus Christ. What more could they possibly need to be blessed with. They had access to God in the present and would stand before the Father face to face through that same generous grace. Clearly, God was already with them for all eternity. What else is there to pray for?
Paul has three petitions for the Ephesians which are really a request for the same thing. We find the first petition starting with verse 16:
I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. Ephesians 3:16-17a
Here he prays, as some translations put it, that Christ would settle down in their hearts. It’s a request that the Lord, who already lives in the inner being of the believer, stretch out and make Himself at home in the interior of each believer.
The second petition sounds different, but is really just a different angel on the same request. Look at the last part of verse 17:
And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge Ephesians 3:17b-19a
The heart and the inner being are one and the same. Christ and the love of Christ are one and the same. To know Jesus Christ is to know love.
The end of verse 19 is a repeat in extremely general language:
…that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:19b
So what’s Paul getting at here? He’s praying that just as Jesus Christ opened full access of the believer to God, the believer should offer the full access of their heart to Jesus. The more Christ settles down and expands in our hearts, the more we know and practice His love. The more we have of Him dwelling in us, the more we reflect the image of God. This is a prayer about spiritual growth. How do you know if you’re growing spiritually? You love God and people more. The way to get there, according to Paul, is by progressively allowing Jesus more access to your interior world – the inner self, the heart. This is primarily how we should pray for one another.
But as an individual Christian, what do you do with this? What’s the application? How do you grow spiritually? It means constantly inviting Jesus Christ to settle down. The receiving end of this prayer is that the believer is to more fully make their heart Christ’s home.
“My Heart, Christ’s Home”
One evening I invited Jesus Christ into my heart. What an entrance He made! It was not a spectacular, emotional thing, but very real. Something happened at the very center of my life. He came into the darkness of my heart and turned on the light. He built a fire on the hearth and banished the chill. He started music where there had been stillness, and He filled the emptiness with His own loving, wonderful fellowship. I have never regretted opening the door to Christ and I never will.
In the joy of this new relationship I said to Jesus Christ, "Lord, I want this heart of mine to be Yours. I want to have You settle down here and be perfectly at home. Everything I have belongs to You. Let me show You around."
The first room was the study - the library. In my home this room of the mind is a very small room with very thick walls. But it is a very important room. In a sense, it is the control room of the house. He entered with me and looked around at the books in the bookcase, the magazines upon the table, the pictures on the walls. As I followed His gaze I became uncomfortable.