Eph 3,14 The Foundation for the CommunityEph
The Foundation for the Community
Eph. 3: 14 – 4: 3
A woman who had been a staunch church member for years was asked, “Tell me, just what do you believe?” She replied, “I believe what my church believes.”
“But what does your church believe?” came the question.
“My church believe what I believe.”
The inquirer then asked, “Since you believe what your church believes, and your church believes what you believe, what do you and your church believe?” She quickly answered, “We both believe the same thing.”
It is essential to know what we believe to be a community what God intended to be. Our belief greatly influences our life and the life of community. Sometime ago I brought a message that the doxology is the key to victorious life. Today’s message is a sequel to that message. What is the life of doxology in practical life?
Paul gives us the key to the life of doxology in his prayers!
Please turn your Bible to Eph. 3:14 – 4: 3 This section is the prayer of Paul as he concludes first 3 chapters. Paul prays twice in this Epistle. The first prayer is in 1:16 – 19. There he acknowledges the works of the Trinity. God three in One worked together for the one purpose. To the praise of His glory (vss. 3-6, 9,10-12, 13-14). Filled with the greatness of God, he prays that people would see the same things Paul was seeing. So First prayer was the result of heavenward look. Here Paul is overwhelmed with God’s grace and knowledge of Him and seeing the great work of reconciliation God has done especially between the Jews and Gentiles. In chapter 2, the scene changes to earthward look that God has reconciled two groups destroying the dividing wall and established the peace between God and man and between men.
2:1, 2 say,
“As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.”
But this is the BIG BUT, verse 4, 5, “But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.”
So that now we, both Jews and Gentiles, can communicate with the Father. 2:18 says, “For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.” And this is the mystery that Paul is talking about in 3: 4 – 6,
“In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, 5 which was not made known to men in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to God’s holy apostles and prophets. 6 This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus.”
Paul became prisoner for the sake of Gospel, probably in Rome. But he did not want brothers and sisters in the Lord to not loose heart, literally means, “to become good for nothing.” Thus “not to be discouraged.” 3:13 says, “I ask you, therefore, not to be discouraged because of my sufferings for you, which are your glory.”
Then he offers this intercessory prayer, requesting three things.
1. that God may give His power that we may be strengthened.
“I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being (vs. 16).
We know when we receive Jesus, He comes into heart and here the thought is when we are encourage to press on Jesus continues to live in our lives through our faith. Our relationship with Jesus is the present continues tense.
2. that we may understand the breadth and length and height and
depth of God’s love
“together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high
and deep is the love of Christ” (vs. 18).
In Greek there is so called “purpose clause” usually translated into “In order that” and here the idea is
“And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love,
18[in order that you] may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,
19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—
[in order] that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”
In order to know the scope of God’s love, we must be rooted in love and established in love. Paul uses the metaphor of tree and building. Our life must be like tree deeply rooted into the source of love and also build upon the foundation of love.
Interesting thing is that when we exercise the love of God then we would have more power to understand what the love is all about. And also we are able to know the love of Jesus (vs. 19).
Let us love more in order to know the love of God. The Teacher’s commentary says this:
In context it is not the love of God, or even love for God. It is love for one another as members of the family of God! It is in the context of loving relationships within the church that we experience, through one another, the depths of God’s love. It is in this context that we grow to the fullness of Christ.
I think the in-law problem is somehow universal.
Illust: poison and cover up by loving the mother-in-law so that no one suspect the bride.
If you are able to love the unlovable, you are truly rooted and established in love and know love of God. Matt. 5:46 Jesus said,
“46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
And that is the way to be filled to the full of God. That is the third prayer request of Paul.
3. That we may be filled up to all the fulness of God.
“and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God” (Vs. 19).
Paul prayed this prayer that all leaders of the church should pray for the people. In that right before he gets into the practical aspect of the Church and closes this section with doxology. Paul was so overwhelmed with the grace and wisdom and power of God he could not help but praise the Father. It is “To HIM” life. We can not do it but God can empower us to do it. See in chapter one The Trinity was presented in the order of: Father, Son and the Holy Spirit, remember? Here Paul reverses the Order: Holy Spirit (vs. 16), The Son (vss. 17, 19) and the God the Father (vs. 19).
This is the heavenward direction that we live here on this earth as the community of God to reflect the Trinity especially Love and Unity and God is the one who gives strength and love so that we can to do it. We are beautiful miniature tree called “Bonsai.” We are trimmed and bend, not as we wished but that is the hand of the loving Father so that we can be a beautiful reflection of the big tree.
I do believe without this life of doxology we can not even engage in the practical aspect of church life which Paul deals with next.
Let us be strengthen to love to be filled to all the fullness of God.
Eph. 3: 17b - 19
“And I pray that you
being rooted and established in love,
18[in order that]
[you] may have power,
to grasp how wide and
together with all the saints, 19 and
to know the love of Christ
that surpasses knowledge
[in order] that
you may be filled
to the measure of all the fullness of God.”