Summary: How about a sermon for the New Year or new church year. There is before us a challenge, an opportunity, an open door. Are we up to the task?

The Challenge – The Potential

Ephesians 3:14-21

Introduction: How about a sermon for the New Year or new church year. There is before us a challenge, an opportunity, an open door. Are we up to the task?

In 2:19-22, Paul gives a glorious description of the church. When he comes to 3:1 “for this reason” Paul recognized the challenge before them and the potential within them. What does he do? He burst into prayer! Paul wanted them to see the challenge and reach their potential. He wanted God to enable, empower and make them equal to the task.

As Paul starts to pray, he gets sidetracked (interlude – 3:2-13). He picks up his prayer again in v.14. How does this speak to us today? We need to recognize our challenge, realize our capability and respond to God’s call.

If we are going to get the job done we will need:

I. Strength (v.16)

A. The Power: They needed power. They needed courage and fearlessness. This only comes from God.

B. The Person: What we need is not “worked-up” but “sent down”. The Holy Spirit is the person with the power.

C. The Place: “The inner being.” This is the spiritual part of man where God dwells. (See 2 Cor. 4:16)

II. Faith (v.17)

Not only do we need fortitude but also faith. Note the words Paul uses here.

A. Dwell: This means to settle down and feel at home. Paul already called them “saints”. He is praying for a deeper experience. He wants Christ to settle down and feel at home in their hearts. Does he feel at home in your life and mine?

B. Rooted: This is from the plant world. The tree must get its roots deep in the soil if it is to have nourishment and stability. See Psalm 1. To have power you must have depth.

C. Grounded: This refers to the foundation on which we build. If you don’t go deep, you don’t go high.

III. Understanding (v.18-19)

As all of the above happens we begin to apprehend and understand more. We begin to lay hold of (to some degree) the vastness of God’s love. So many of us misunderstand God. We need a proper understanding of God and his love. What is it we need to understand about God’s love?

A. It’s Dimensions: It reaches up, down and all around! Paul is speaking of its unlimited reach. No one is outside the love of God. Get your hands on it!

B. Its Degree (v.19): “Surpasses knowledge” means to throw over or beyond, to transcend or exceed. All of God’s love cannot be known! Oceans of love are yet uncharted. If we could understand every ounce of his love there would still be an ocean of love that we have not experienced.

IV. Fullness (v.19-21)

“Be filled to all the fullness of God.”

A. The Cause (v.20): God gives it. He is capable and adequate. He is able to go beyond what we ask for or think of. His resources exceed our ability to comprehend. His resources are available to us! He can help us accomplish what he calls us to do. He can make our dreams a reality.

B. The Consequences (v.21): Why does God do this? To glorify himself! See Ps. 50:23; Matt. 5:16; Acts 11:18; II Cor. 9:13.

Conclusion: To get the job done we need sovereign strength, sincere faith, solid understanding and spiritual fullness. He’s more than willing to supply. “You have not because you ask not.” What are you waiting for?

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