June 13, 2004


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Sermon Notes

Ephesians 3:14-4:6

1. Strength for Understanding Ephesians 3:14-16

Heaven and earth are peopled with Christ's creation, some created anew IN Him,
these needing strength by His Spirit to grasp the greatness of their God

2. Grounding through His place in grace 3:17

Thus fitted for His life in them, they experience the reality of what and who God is, for love is of God and all who love in truth are His, being directed by His scope and sovereignty to understand its meaning and exercise its ways, follow its invitation to Himself, find there its grandeur.  See I John 4:7-11. In this is the love of God, not that we loved Him, but that He loved us, and actually went to the point of sending His Son to be a propitiation, a sacrificial offering on our behalf. This love then is more mighty than the mountains, more excellent than their peaks, more beautiful than the deepest of lakes, or the best of all woodland walks.

3. Knowing what both surpasses and enables knowledge 3:18-19

Indeed, it needs exploring, but in knowing Him, you learn of its divine dimensions, and see that the limitless God passes beyond any confinement, so that you become filled with His fulness, not with your own concepts and culture, living IN this world, but THROUGH Him, alive and alert in His kingdom!

4. Discovering the scope of His answers 3:20-21

When it comes to action, there too He is unlimited by any power shortage, or even by our own smaller conceptions, being able to answer our requests beyond their discernment, from depths and heights of love. God is not a convenience unit, to DO this or that, but the Father, from whom we derive understanding, and in whom we have our lives, at His call and kindness, wisdom and direction.

It is then that our needs are met as we meet with Him! Isaiah 64:4-5.

5. Grasping the simplicity of unity, based only where He is  4:1-6

The apostle Paul, in the spirit of that love, a prisoner, yet so cares for them in Ephesus, that he strives for their grooming, their growth in joy in Christ, even when his own life is threatened. He seeks that their spirits be attuned to being worthy children of God, having a spirit of lowliness in personal things, and cultivating within His word and direction, a unity which is natural and right for such as follow His commands. There is after all, just one God, one Lord, who is above all and through all and in all of them, who are Christians.

His word works strength; His will makes man to exist; His grace makes Christians to resist sin, and the service of sin to desist as they wait on Him, rejoicing in the strength His wisdom gives, and the values He imparts, as HE works in us both to will and to do (Philippians 2:13). His love surveys, His wisdom secures, His grace gives lead, His wit finds means.

This is no mere programmatic matter, as if you were a robot: for when, as with Jonah, you resist not sin but His own will for you, then He persists and discipline enters in (Hebrews 12). Yet it is better for all that, to be corrected, than to endure incorrect; and wonderful when you learn to walk as He leads, who is One for all, and has given all for those who come to the one Saviour and one Lord, to find acceptance first, and commission next for His service, as HE only directs. For this, in tenderness of spirit, you wait upon Him, in need of heart call on Him, while glorying in Him, you seek how best you may realise all that He would have for you both to be and do, that He might be glorified for all that He is, and you might be serviceable in spirit.

As Paul puts it in II Corinthians 5:15:

¨  “He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves,
but for Him who died for them and rose again.”

This is preceded by the declaration:


¨  “For the love of Christ constrains us that if One died for all, then all died.”


‘All died’ in this, that on becoming Christians, all of whom He covered in His death, they die daily, their will subject to His; and secondly, they lose in His love the lordship of their own sovereign natures. These now are consigned to His reconstruction, to learn DEPENDENCE on deity, instead of independence of His word, will and law, ways and wisdom.  

WHY then do you live ? It is for Him. Is this so strange, for in His love He has rescued us from the meaninglessness of mutiny, the fractiousness of faithlessness, and restored us to our due and true relationship with God as our God, the living God and the source and joy of our lives. Created BY Him, in the first, cursed and then pardoned in Christ, His redeemed are re-created, regenerated through Him at the last. Then filled with Him, we grow like sheep with the Shepherd, continually responsive to His call, either to avoid needless danger or to find the place of His heart’s desire for us.

As David put it, in the Psalm:


“Trust in the Lord, and do good,

Dwell in the land and feed on His faithfulness.

Delight yourself also in the LORD,

And He shall give you the desires of your heart.”