Summary: A sermon on Ephesians 3:18 on the 4 dimensions of the love of Christ.
Sermon for 5/31/2009
The great theologian of the last century, Karl Barth, wrote a 10 volume theological work titled "Ethics." When traveling and lecturing throughout the United States at all the important universities and theological schools, it is reported that one young man asked him, "Dr. Barth, you have written multiple volumes on theology. But, if you had to boil down all your theological knowledge into just a sentence or two, what would you say is the essence of your theological understanding?"
Dr. Barth didn’t hesitate. He replied, "It is really quite simple.’Jesus loves me, this I know - for the Bible tells me so.’"
A. The Bible tells us of the love of God. If we didn’t have the Bible we would know about God’s power and greatness, but we would know little about His love for us.
B. Vs. 19 says that this love surpasses knowledge. No matter how much we learn about the love of God, the time comes when the greatest intellect will have to admit that God’s love goes beyond our understanding.
C. Vs. 18 talks about the 4 dimensions of Christ’s love. Every carpenter, every architect, and every person involved with construction must have these 4 dimensions in his mind.
Thesis: This morning we are talking about the 4 dimensions of Christ’s love.
1. Long or length
A. Must look back to Vs. 9 to understand this one. (Eph 3:9 NIV) and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things.
B. The love of Christ stretches from Genesis 3, where God promised that the seed of the woman would bruise the head of the serpent and He would bruise His heel. Adam and Eve covered themselves with fig leaves after they sinned. But the Lord saw that was not enough, so He slew an animal to make clothing for Adam and Eve showing that there had to be the shedding of blood to cover their nakedness.
C. There are many today who think the fig leaves of good works is sufficient to cover the nakedness of their sin, but it will not be enough on Judgment Day.
D. Jesus told a parable in Matthew 22 about a man who tried to get into the king’s son’s wedding feast and that man was not wearing the wedding garment that had been provided. (Mat 22:12 NIV) ’Friend,’ the king asked, ’how did you get in here without wedding clothes?’ The man was speechless. (Mat 22:13 NIV) "Then the king told the attendants, ’Tie him hand and foot, and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
E. The wedding garment of the blood of the Lamb of God is the only acceptable garment of righteousness that the King will accept. (Gal 3:27 NIV) for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.
F. Another thought as to the length of God’s love is the length of time He will wait for anyone to become a Christian. He will wait until the end of our lives. I would not recommend that. Many in nursing homes cannot respond to the message. However, Ed Bousman tells the story of a man who listened to his preaching program and at the age of 100, believed on the Lord Jesus Christ and was baptized in the creek.
G. The love of God stretches from Genesis to Revelation. Two of the last verses of the last chapter, (Rev 22:14 NIV) Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city.(Rev 22:17 NIV) The Spirit and the bride say, "Come!" And let him who hears say, "Come!" Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.
H. Jesus laid down his life for everybody. He tasted of death once for every man. Not just for those here but for everybody. Charles Spurgeon- “You would think from hearing some preach that Christ came into the world to save half a dozen, and that 5 of them are in their hearing. There will be more in heaven than we expect to see there by a long way; and there will be some there with whom we had very little comfortable fellowship on earth.” Just those here! No way! What about those who worship differently than we do. What about those who don’t have an instrument. What about those who don’t have pews or don’t have a pulpit, etc.
2. Wide (Width) or breadth
A. Go back to Ephesians 2 for this. At the end of Ephesians 2 we have Paul talking about the Gentiles and the Jews. The Jews hated the Gentiles. Called them “Dogs.” Christ loves both of them. Look at what Christ did in (Eph 2:14 NIV) For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, (Eph 2:15 NIV) by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, (Eph 2:16 NIV) and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility.