Rooted in the Fullness of God Preached by: Matthew S. Black Text: Ephesians 3:19-21 Series: Rooted in Christ Date: March 11, 2012, 10:30am Living Hope Bible Church of Roselle, IL Introduction: Open your Bibles to Ephesians. We are continuing our series: “Rooted in Christ”. The title of the message is: “Rooted in the Fullness of God”. The Fullness of God Paul tells us in Ephesians 3:19b (ESV), “that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” I wonder if we truly know the fullness of God. A W Tozer said this: “If the Holy Spirit was withdrawn from the church today, 95 percent of what we do would go on and no one would know the difference. If the Holy Spirit had been withdrawn from the New Testament church, 95 percent of what they did would stop, and everybody would know the difference” O that we might know the fullness of God! GREEK LEXICON - FILLED The word “filled” according to the Greek lexicon is “to fill a vessel or hollow place; to cause to swell; to satisfy; supply abundantly with something, impart richly; to complete, make perfect, accomplish an end”. Are you filled with all the fullness of God? Illustration – You don’t need to wait for this to happen. I had this immediately when I came to know Christ. You have it. Go to God and seek Him earnestly for His fullness. Balloons Balloons do not fly without the fullness of helium carrying them above the heavy air! Definition The fullness in the simplest description is the awareness of God’s presence and love for you. Hot Air Balloons – Glow Show A couple years ago I had the privilege of taking Jill and the kids to the Glow Show in Elgin. Basically there are all these larger than life hot air balloons. When I looked at those massive balloons it reminded me of the fullness of God. You know how it goes. · You’ve got to get into the basket · You’ve got to stoke the fire · You’ve got to take off the weights In order to fly in the balloon, you have to get into the basket. In the center of the basket above your head is a massive flame that creates the hot air that makes the balloon rise. Now there is no way you and I can fly on our own. But with the fire of the hot air balloon you can rise above the clouds. But you have to get into the basket, take off the weights, and turn on the fire. As you ascend into the atmosphere, the things on earth seem so small. You fill that vessel with the warmth that blazing fire, and you ascend to the heights. Do you have the fire of Pentecost in your belly? Do you feel the warmth of God’s cleansing. Can you say this morning, “It is well with my soul” not because of your efforts, but simply because of God’s love for you holding you up – carrying upward to heights and horizons you could never have dreamed of?! The last few weeks we have looked at God’s power in various ways. · Empowered in the inner man (by a total surrender to the Spirit) · Empowered by the indwelling Christ (“down home” in my heart) · Empowered by God’s incomprehensible love for me. And today we are going to consider: · God’s infinite fullness in me. · God’s incredible power in me. Let’s read about it in Ephesians 3:14-21… Ephesians 3:14–21 (ESV), “For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, 16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. 20 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” I. Be empowered with Inner Strength (vs. 15-16). II. Be empowered by the Indwelling Christ (vs. 15-16). III. Be empowered with Christ’s Incomprehensible Love (vs. 17-19a). Today we are considering another angle of God’s infinite power… IV. Be empowered with God’s Infinite Fullness (vs. 19b). Ephesians 3:19b (ESV), “that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” We are asking that God – the eternal God, the almighty God, the creator God, the sustainer God, the God of the universe, the God who made it all, the God who fills it all can fill me? That’s incredible. A. What the Fullness is NOT. Misconceptions of being Filled with God We are talking about being FILLED with God. 1. Not Containing God-Solomon This is not to say that we can contain God. Solomon realized this. 1 Kings 8:27 (ESV), “But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain you; how much less this house that I have built!” So said Solomon at the dedication of the Temple. Pacific Ocean When Jill and I were newly married we traveled to the Pacific Ocean. I had never seen the ocean before. How vast and wide and deep it was! I cusped my hands and filled them with the ocean water. In an instant I could say my hands were filled with the fullness of the Pacific Ocean. “Because Christ is infinite, he can hold all the fullness of Deity. But whenever one of us finite creatures dips the tiny vessel of our life into Him, we instantly become full of His fullness. We can always open to hold more and more of His fullness. And the more fullness of God we receive the more we can receive. This is why the Pslamist says, Psalm 16:11 (ESV), “…in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” 2. Not Emotion. To be filled with God does not mean to simply be filled with emotion, although that may feel deep emotion. Many people think they have been filled with God who don’t even know Him. Don’t confuse emotions with God. God is holy and pure. 3. Not simply Knowledge Spurgeon said: “Sometimes the more men know, the greater fools they become, for knowledge is not wisdom, though wisdom cannot be without knowledge. But if we would learn to know God, we would be satisfied and filled.” To be filled with God is to gaze on Him and to know Him! Paul said in Philippians 3:10 (ESV), “that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death.” It is to count all mere human knowledge as refuse “for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ”. B. What the Fullness of God IS. · We are told in Ephesians 1:23 (ESV) that we all are “his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.” · Colossians 2:9–10 (ESV), “in him [Christ] the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, 10 and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority.” Filled – What Does it Mean? The word πληρωμα (pleroma), fullness, is a word that is used many times in the New Testament to speak of total fullness. The Bible speaks of people being · Jesus being filled with grief · a vessel being filled with oil · a Christian being filled with the Spirit · a believer being filled with joy There are really at least three ways that we are “filled with all the fullness of God.” · Satisfaction · Surrender · Reflection 1. Be satisfied with God. Ephesians 3:19b (ESV), “that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” Colossians 2:10 (ESV), “and you have been filled [complete] in him, who is the head of all rule and authority.” Why do we leave all to follow Christ? Because He is everything! Any one who knows Christ would not want to “love father or mother more than Christ.” We would not want to love “son or daughter” “houses or lands” or even “our own life” more than Christ (Matthew 10:37). None of these things ought to compete with God’s fullness. In God you have everything you need! Matthew 6:33 (ESV), “…seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Jesus said Matthew 11:28 (ESV), “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Do you have soul satisfaction with God? Jesus said it this way, in Matthew 5:6 (ESV), “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” Are you satisfied in God? - Jill . . . Baby JILL: I can remember the moment I realized I truly loved Jill and I wanted to spend the rest of my life with her. Though we had met in high school it wasn’t until I was a Senior in college till I was convinced she was “the one”. We had a sweet friendship until that time. But now, I knew I love her. I began to dream of marriage. I bought her a ring. I asked her to marry me! But then I had to wait! I hate waiting! I remember the beauty of Jill’s engagement ring. She would hold it up to the light and all the ladies would gather around it and giggle! I longed to be married to Jill. We decided to read through the Psalms in reverse order 150 days from our wedding, so that on our wedding night we would read Psalm 1. I couldn’t ask for a better wife on planet earth, but we knew long before we loved each other, our love for God came first. What a joy it was to get married – finally! To finally get what you’ve been waiting for! What fullness of JOY. Seeing my wife walk down the aisle. BABY: Then I remember when Jill was expecting Katie. And I remember we were on deputation travelling across the country. Jill tells me it is hard to be expecting a child! Carrying a baby for nine months! If men carried babies, the human race would be extinct. But with all the pain and discomfort, we keep having more. Because the moment we have that baby in our arms – the moment you hold that child, the fullness of joy over comes all the pain and discomfort! Now none of these earthly joys compare to our joy in the fullness of God! O that God would be our fullness and our sufficiency and our satisfaction! O that we might say with the Psalmist: “Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you” (Psalm 73:25). To be filled with God speaks of the sufficiency of God. When we are filled with God we lack nothing. We are filled to the overflowing. Andrew Murray said in his book Absolute Surrender: “God has prepared for us a wonderful redemption in Christ, and He longs to make something supernatural of us. Have we learned to long for it, and ask for it, and expect it in its fullness?” Spurgeon said: “It is not every kind of knowledge that will fill a man. Many forms of knowledge make a man more empty than he was before.” Mere human knowledge simply “puffs up, but love builds up”. John Piper said it this way: “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him.” 2 Peter 3:18 (ESV), “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” Psalm 16:11 (ESV), “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” Application: Some of you say “When I get that job or that relationship I’ll be happy!” The truth is you’ll not be happy till you are filled with all the fullness of God. God’s got to have complete control! 2. Be surrendered by God. Ephesians 3:19b (ESV), “that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” What it means that you are dominated and controlled by something or someone. Can you say you are “dominated with all the domination of God”? The world has yet to see what God can do with and for and through and in and by the man who is fully and wholly consecrated to Him. I will try my utmost to be that man. -D.L. Moody The idea of fullness is that God overtakes you. Every idol must be surrendered! 3. Be reflecting God. Man was made to be an “image bearer” of God. In the days of the heathen kings of old, a regent would show his authority by placing statues of himself in every town. That’s kind of what we are. We are God’s image bearers. We are to shine our light. Back in the garden we broke that image. We mutilated that image. Being filled with all the fullness of God means “being conformed to the image of Christ”. It is becoming more and more like Him in your character. You WILL Worship What You Are Impressed With · Are you impressed with God? What is it that carries you? · My mother carried my sister and I for six and a half months. OPEN HEART SURGERY · I had heart surgery · I showed everyone my scar – I was impressed with my surgery, and… HAPPY DAYS · And I was also impressed Arthur Fonzarelli “Ay!” I had the leather jacket at three years old. Happy Days carried me. I was impressed. RAMBO · When I was a kid I was impressed with John Rambo. I can’t recommend the films for obvious moral reasons, but for THREE years I wore camouflage. THE CROSS OF JESUS CHRIST · Sept 15, 1989, I became impressed with the CROSS of Christ. o It carried me to Spain, o To marry my wife o To raise Godly children o To love others o I was impressed that night that Christ died for me PERSONALLY Are you impressed with God? Oh the power! God has a lasting work for you to do. He’s going to do it through you. Are you surrendered to it? Our problem is not that we think too big, we think too small. V. Be empowered with God’s Incredible Power (vs. 20-21). Ephesians 3:20–21 (ESV), “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” The explosion takes place. The engine is on. The blast is on. And we have one of the greatest benedictions in the Bible. God is able. And Paul piles on superlative upon superlative. Illustration – the Power of Transportation If you needed to get from here in Chicago to across the ocean, say the coast of Scotland or something, you could choose one of many modes of transportation. · You could use the old reliable and dependable tennis shoes. · Better yet, you could obtain some roller skates and roll there! · You could go to Amish country and grab a horse and buggy · Or perhaps you could ride a bicycle—that’s what my kids love to do · How many of you though instead of these things would just rather take a car or train? All of these modes might be fine until you reach the ocean. Actually I googled a map from here to London once and I found that it will take you step by step from hear to the New York Harbor. Step 30 is “Turn left on the long wharf” in New York Harbor.” Step 31 is “swim across the Atlantic Ocean”. This kind of trip might be possible on Google, but in real life it’s neither possible nor advisable! What you need is a ship, or better yet a plane! · Back two hundred years ago (1799), no one could ever have dreamed of flying a plane anywhere because there was no such thing as an airplane. · The best they could do then (beginning in 1783) was the hot air balloon. No one living back then could even come close to imagining a 747 which can carry 500 people up to 8000 miles in one trip, all in less than a 24 hour period! No one could have imagined that kind of power! And friends, we have not begun to imagine the potential of what God can do in your life. Living your life without the power and presence of God is like trying to swim across the Atlantic Ocean. To try to be what God wants you to be without His power and presence is neither possible nor advisable. When compared to a horse and buggy, the power and potential of a 747 is beyond comprehension. How much greater is God’s awesome power?! And as we come to verse 20, I want you to see the awesome potential of God’s power. His power is limitless! We can’t even imagine the things that God can do. He is Able · He is able! · He is abundantly able. · He is exceeding abundantly able. · He is exceeding abundantly able to do far more than ALL we ask or imagine! “According to the power at work within us!” The power is unleashed by you appropriating God’s fullness and presence in you! Grab hold of God’s love for you. Let Him fill you. The CLOCK – Appropriating God’s Fullness: Where Do I Put it? Last week someone gave us a grandfather clock. The clock is the new center piece of our living room! Jill painted. Rearranged furniture. I don’t recognize my house. But the clock has a prominent place! Rearrange your life and make God’s Love and Fullness for you the centerpiece of your life. Ephesians 3:20–21 (ESV), “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” Conclusion Now the benediction: to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” To Him be GLORY – to give the RIGHT OPINION of. We are to be so impressed with God that we imitate Him and give the right opinion of Him. We are to do this as the church collectively and individually. In all generations, God has His glory being gotten by sinners saved by grace! 10 Generations of Jill’s family. Family tree. Will it be your family?