August 13 - Ephesians 3:14-19

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

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.

Have you read these verses and thought, “Oh, I am so thankful to the Lord for the grace and mercy he extends to me. His love is so wide and long and high and deep that it fills me no matter who I was or who I am”?

Of course you have. That is one of the most beautiful things about the promises in Scripture – they are what bring us to a better understanding of our relationship with God.

But, these words of Paul’s are meant to be about so much more than our personal relationship with God.  Paul is writing about the Church of Christ. And by Church, I’m using the big ‘C’ word, not the small ‘c’ word which means any specific local institution. Paul is talking about the entire community of God … all encompassing, not exclusive or exclusionary.

Why would we need to be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God with love if it were only for us? Why would we be strengthened with power if we were to keep it all to ourselves?  This gift of grace is given to us as part of a community … together with all the Lord’s holy people.

In the first century, the culture was nothing like what we experience today. Every good thing was done for the enhancement of the larger community, whether it was a family, a collective of friends and family working to make a better life, a village, a tribe, a town or city and for the Israelites, an entire nation.  Salvation wasn’t set into place for just one individual, though it began with the individual. Salvation was a gracious gift and the expectation and hope was that each person would then share the good news with others.

If you read the Revelation, you will not see individuals (other than John) in heaven. You see the Church … the Saints.  You read about large groups of people who have been saved.

All that God does for us is not to stop with us.  Paul prays that we might have power … together with all the Lord’s holy people.  The good news of Jesus Christ is meant to be shared with everyone.