Ephesians 3: 14-19
For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
The Apostle Paul prays that we would be “…rooted and established in love.” (v. 17) On Sunday, Peter Lynas challenged to think about what we love and desire most in life. It might not always be what we would instinctively say or think we love. Imagine an alien were to visit from another planet. Through observation and analysis of our daily behaviour, what would they assume that we love most? For many of us, it would be our mobile phones. They would watch us spending more time during the day looking at this little hand-held device then often we spend face to face with other people, even our own families!
We are creatures of habit. Apparently each day we make around 35,000 choices, 95% of which we aren't even aware off. We have been formed and 'deformed' by a series of bad practices and unhelpful habits, and so we need to become conscious in retraining our thinking and developing healthy habits, if we are to embrace the lifestyle of a disciple of Jesus.
Paul moves on to pray that we “...may have power…" (v. 18) What does this power look like? Paul actually tells us a few verses earlier. It is the power of the Holy Spirit working in us and through us. We see this in the life of Daniel in the Old Testament. Daniel and his friends were found to be ten times wiser than the magicians and enchanters of their time. God gave them knowledge and skill in every aspect of literature and wisdom. Daniel’s excellence paved the way for influence and power. He could understand visions and dreams of all kinds. There was this wonderful integration of the cultural and the supernatural which was incredibly powerful. The more godless the culture, the more there is the need for the Holy Spirit and a demonstration of supernatural Christianity.
Paul continues to state that this empowering is not an individual thing but a collective work of the Spirit. It is “…together with all the Lord’s holy people.” (v. 18) God’s power is released not primarily through individuals, but through communities. We are formed in community, shaped as a holy people, set apart from Jesus. We are also a community of dreamers, from café owners to care workers, hairdressers to head teachers.
When we bring solutions to the city, we do so in a spirit of humility. We are about collaboration not competition, we work in partnership with others who already there. Because Christ has been raised from death and is seated on the throne in Heaven, in charge of running the universe, no name and no power are exempt from his rule. He is in charge of it all, He has the final word on everything. The church is not peripheral to the world; the world is peripheral to the church. We are Christ's body, in which He speaks and acts, by which He fills everything with His glorious presence.
Finally, Paul talks about knowing “…this love that surpasses knowledge….” (v. 19) That seems a little contradictory. However, mere knowledge of God alone is not sufficient. Thinking isn’t enough. God’s love does not bypass knowledge, it surpasses it. It is greater than knowledge, it goes beyond understanding information and retaining facts. It is an experiential knowledge which leads to greater love. This love takes us on a crazy mission to love our city into life, one person at a time.
There was so much in Peter’s message, please do take time to listen to the podcast, especially if you weren’t able to make it to one of our services this past Sunday.