Video Transcript: Praying to Know God
Unit 09 04 Praying to Know God
This is my first opportunity to preach in the new year. And I want to begin by asking you a question, what is your highest aim? A lot of us set goals and we pursue those goals and they express our desires and what we want, what do you want the most.
Some of us have a variety of things on our wish list. We want to succeed in our education this year, or get jobs that we really desire and can really enjoy and thrive in or see our children flourish, or our marriage improve. And those are all things that are worth seeking. And there may be a wide variety of other things. And there are some high aims that are described in the Bible itself. Those of us who are following the bible reading plan of family of Faith Church, have been reading any Ephesians. And a few of the high aims and Ephesians include knowing deep doctrines, there are some tremendous things described and revealed in the book of Ephesians. And two desire to have a better grasp and understanding that is certainly a valuable and high aim. Another great theme of Ephesians is how the Lord builds up the church and gifts his church, and has done marvelous things for His church. And building a stronger church is certainly a high aim. Ephesians goes into great detail about living not as children of darkness, but as children of the light. And what it is to live a godly life, a holy life, a Christian life. And that is indeed a high and worthwhile aim. In Ephesians, six, it says, Be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power, and pull on put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil schemes and equips us for winning war against demons and for spiritual warfare. Now, any of these aims, and all of them are very high and wonderful, and we're seeking and yet the highest aim, the one that Paul prays for repeatedly in Ephesians, is not any of those things specifically, but supremely that we will have the Holy Spirit of knowledge and of Revelation, to enlighten our hearts so that we will know God our Father, in Jesus Christ, so that we will know His riches, His power, His indwelling, His love, His fullness, to know God better and better to know him as our Father, in these dimensions that is the highest aim that the apostle seeks, I believe it's the highest aim that there is for humanity. And that is what he prays for, and Ephesians one, and again in Ephesians, chapter three, and I want to focus on those prayers, and urge you and encourage you to make them your prayers. For this reason ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus, and your love for all the saints, if you have faith in the Lord Jesus, and love for all the states, those are two of the supreme and clearest proofs that you're the real deal, that you are a Christian. And since Paul has heard of that, that they have faith in Jesus and love for the saints, he says, I have not stopped giving thanks for you remembering you in my prayers. I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious father may give you the spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, in order that you may know the hope, to which he has called you the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints, and his income terribly great power. For those who believe that power is like the working of his mighty strength which he exerted in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead, and seated in that his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given not only in the present age, but also in the one to come. And God placed all things under his feet, and appointed into the head over everything for the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him, who fills everything, in every way. And after that prayer, the apostle goes on, to speak of how we were dead in our trespasses and sins, how God raised us to life in Christ, how he took a very of hostility between us and God and took it away how he took away the barrier of hostility among various peoples and took it away and how he is displayed. His wisdom in the church and then he launches into another prayer in Ephesians, three, verses 14 through 21. For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches, he will strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being. so that Christ may dwell in your heart, through faith. And I pray that you being rooted, established in love may have power together with all the saints 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. Now, to him was able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to Him be glory, in the church and in Christ Jesus, throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
I often say that a passage is my favorite this one is. This is the last passage I preached on when I was speaking on the radio for the back to God, our is one of the first passages that ever preached on when family of Faith Church was started. I preached it at my daughter's wedding. And I, it is not one of those that I say, Okay, I'm done with that. And now on to other passages. This is one that I keep going back to again, and again, I recite it myself many, many times, and I want to return you to it, as well. As we think about praying to know, God, I just want to encourage you to begin by taking stock is knowing God, your highest aim or not, there's a variety of ways to measure that. Here's just a couple of practical questions. If your parents do Bible reading and prayer, whether after your kids leave the house, they'll just ask that one because some of you have moved on a little closer to empty nesting, or some of your kids have gotten older. Is your time with the Bible and prayer more urgent and more eager even after they've lost them before? Or do you have to admit now that you were kind of doing it for the kids all along? That you didn't have that burning desire for God, but you knew it was kind of the thing you ought to do? And the preacher and others told you, you ought to do that. So maybe it didn't? Maybe you didn't even do that. But that's a pretty telling question. If at some point in your life, you discover you've kind of been doing it for the kids, or that your own eagerness is just faded. And the same can apply to some young people. Now, are those just family habits, Bible reading and prayer that you did when you were at home, but you know, you got kind of busy with school outside of the home or with college or doing stuff with your friends are getting more involved with work, and now you find that, that doesn't happen very often. Maybe you have to examine yourself and say maybe one reason for that is that I do not have this great desire to know God, it may be one aim on my list, and not nearly my highest one. And there are a lot of other ways to measure it. Some of you are singles and have had no children. And these aren't the tests that the simple test is this, do you want to know him better? And do you seek and long and spend time in a desire and in pursuit of knowing Him better? How well do you know God? And that can be asked in two different ways, although they are not easily separable. One is, what do you understand of God's truth? What do you understand the Bible? Do you understand its teachings and you seek to understand more of the great realities revealed there, there is an aspect of knowing God that does involve the mind and the understanding, and keeps informing that mind and understanding better and better so that you understand more and more about God and His ways. But it's not just understanding it's also experience, simply experiencing more of the reality of God, of going through life as a shared life in which your life is surrounded by God in which you are in Christ and Christ in you. Be willing, this morning to really candidly answer those questions and even as you answer them, to allow and to seek for the spirit to really stir you. Now, when we look at this prayer, and this the supremely great requests of the apostle to know God, to know a love that surpasses knowledge to be filled with his fullest have Christ dwelling in us in a way that we really expect
We might want to pause and say, Well, is this a realistic prayer? A great many of us go through life with a sense of what we believe to be realistic. We live in what we call the real world. And we think that the real world is a pretty pagan place. paganism is flourishing. And it may have been nice for monks or for people in some long ago faraway place to aspire to these heights of spirituality. But the best we can do is kind of hope to make our way through and maybe get to heaven when it's all over. So is this a realistic prayer? Well, let's just go back to who originally was the target of this prayer, the apostle Paul was praying for the Ephesian Christians as well as for other readers who would come later, the Ephesians lived in a city filled with idle factories with sorcery stores that sold goodies for magic and black magic and sorcery. They had a variety of mystery calls and a lot of weird things going on religiously, just countless religious options. The Temple of Artemis was one of the wonders of the ancient world, Artemis or Diana, the goddess they worshiped. There were 1000s of temple prostitutes. Sexual immorality was so widespread that they had all sorts of perverted acts portrayed right on the pottery that they ate out of. It was a very rich city with marble streets, that their wealthier homes had beautiful mosaic floors and artistically designed things. They had a stadium that seated 24,500 people. And in that setting of great wealth and power, and multiple religions and all sorts of perversion. It was not a whole lot different than Chicago, it was about the third largest city in the Roman Empire. It had nearly everything going on. And maybe Christians didn't feel all that important. And they maybe were viewed by many as just one more minor cult among the whole hodgepodge of religious strangeness that would go on in that city. And so when you live just surrounded by that wall, the wall, you may think it's a real, it's just unrealistic, to pray for such great things. But it was a realistic prayer for the Ephesians. It was a realistic prayer for us. Is it a realistic prayer for people who are pretty ordinary? Well, again, think about who Paul was praying for Originally, the Ephesian Christians were girls and boys, moms and dads, shop owners, farmers, salesmen, garbage collectors, money, lenders, well educated uneducated people of all sorts. And he prays this for them. One of our dangers in reading, Paul, is that we think he's writing this, we're theologians with PhDs and a lot of extra time on their hands. These are letters written for ordinary people. And sometimes we think, well, Paul's theology is so deep or so far out there that only the greatest brain can begin to grasp it. But I think the biggest problem with Paul's writing for us to grasp is not that it soars into the stratosphere of incomprehensible doctrine, but that it enters into realms of experience that we have not experienced. So we literally don't know what he's talking about. We don't know what we're missing. That, I think is the thing that makes it hardest much of the time to understand what Paul's writing about because he expects that ordinary Christians are going to be tasting at least some of this. And if we're not tasting it, we really have a hard time knowing what he's talking about. It is a realistic prayer, for all kinds of ordinary people just like us, we're ordinary enough. But God is extraordinary. And don't just think about who he's praying for, think about who he's praying to. The question is, who is he praying to? Because God can do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine. And a third one that may make it seem unrealistic to many of us is, is this a realistic prayer, given how messed up we are,
you know, to, to know the fullness of God and these tremendous expanses of God's love to grasp that and experience that is meant for people who have gone a lot further in the Christian life than we have. And people who are not so bogged down in the pettiness and the sins and all the problems that we mess up people have. Well, again, read your book of Ephesians. And what does Paul say besides these prayers, He also gives a lot of practical advice which apparently he's Thanks is needed he says okay you guys who've been stealing please cut it out and work and earn something you people have been lying. Please tell the truth. You guys who are getting anger fighting cut it out. You've gossips and back biters time to put into that you've been holding a grudge Hey forgive each other as God in Christ forgave you. You greedy people you don't you know that idolatry cut out the dirty jokes the sexual immorality that getting drunk has got to quit you got to be filled with the Spirit. Hey, you wives, you know, submit your husband you stop the nagging now, you husbands you think you can not be so harsh with your wives and love them instead? The way Christ loved the church? Kids, let's try obeying your parents for a while now. And your dad's Will you quit driving your kids crazy and exasperating them. Now, somebody who gives all that advice, knows that the people are hearing it need all that advice. And it's obviously not a group that just has it all together. And everything is running like a smoothly oiled spiritual machine. Oh, we have got it made. Not at all. He knows their difficulties and their problems. He knows how messed up many of these people still are. Yet he believes that in the middle of the mess, you can come to know God better and better. And the mess might get a bit less messy as you go. And you'll know God better and better. It is a realistic prayer. We're sinners. But God is gracious to sinners. And he puts Christ in us and us in Christ. So I just mentioned these things so that nobody here will say that prayer is meant for somebody who's not like me, not living in that difficult Monday through Friday world that I've got to inhabit not an ordinary schmo like I am, and not messed up like I am. These Ephesians we're no different than we are. And the prayer. And the aim that we should pursue in our prayer life is no different than what the Apostle had for them. That God may give you the spirit of wisdom and revelation so that you may know him better. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened. Each of us has eyes in our heart. And God has to open those eyes, his light shines, the earth is full of his glory. But the heart has to be opened to know that glory. And to perceive it. We have physical eyes. And sometimes those eyes can get kind of down just a little while ago, my dad had cataract surgery, he hadn't gone completely blind, but getting rid of the cataracts really sharpen things up again. And he didn't realize how much his sight had kind of deteriorated till the cataracts got removed. And in a sense, this is a prayer that the cataracts of our heart be removed, we may already have some inkling of who God is and how he relates to us. But we pray that more and more, the eyes of our hearts will be enlightened. And as I've said, it involves understanding, understanding more of God's word, and of its truth. And so we seek a spirit of wisdom and of God's revelation for that. Because apart from that spirit, the things of God are foolishness to those who are not enlightened by the Spirit of God. But it's not just the intellectual grasp, but the experience of more and more of God's reality, his riches, His power, His indwelling, His love, His fullness. But if I want to boil it all down, I'll get into the list a little later. But I want to first focus on the central thing, and that is simply the spirit aiding us to know God as our Father in Christ. In the prayer of Ephesians one, he prays to the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, the Father of glory, the god of Jesus Christ. In chapter three, he prays to the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven on earth, His name, and this sense of praying to the Father, when the disciples were being taught to pray, what are the first two words? Our Father, because you are sons, Paul says in Galatians, four, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts. So the Spirit calls out Agha father Sonia young, no longer a slave but a son. And since you are a son, God has also made you an heir. You see the the relationship, the riches of the inheritance. It's all there in that one cry, Alba. And this is what God does when we come to know him from you don't just hear words in the Bible, teaching the Fatherhood of God, but some thing or someone in your heart, from the very depths of your heart, cries out my father, and you love him. And you sense how much he loves you. This is the heart of the whole prayer, knowing God as your Father and the Spirit crying out. From the depths of your heart, Jesus cried out Abba, Father, and the Spirit of Jesus cries out Abba, Father from within him. Now, maybe the best commentary on all of that is simply Jesus parable of the Father's heart, sometimes called the parable of the prodigal son. And in that terrible, there is this distinction between the mentality of a slave and the mentality of a son, which we see Paul talking about in a little more doctrinal form. Jesus tells it in story form. And remember the story how the young man asks for his inheritance and goes to the far country and squanders it all in Wicked living, and then it comes to his senses. And he says, I'm going to return to my father, and I know what speech I'm going to give. I'm going to say, I have sinned against heaven and against you, I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired men. And he gets home. And he doesn't even get the opportunity to offer to be a good slave for his father. He starts his speech. And it's as though his father says, What in the world are you talking about quick, Bring the best robe and put him on, put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet, Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let's have a feast and celebrate for this son of mine, was dead into the live again, he was lost, and is found. He wants to offer to be a slave. That voice inside him says Best I can hope for best I can hope for is a little bit to eat and a position as a slave. And what is his father do? It's the ring. It's the fatted calf, it's the robe. He's the heir again, the stupid kid has thrown away his whole inheritance. And somehow, the father still has plenty to go around. Because of his unsearchable and inexhaustible riches. Well, he's got another son. And what is that elder sons complaint? Look,
all these years been slaving for you? And never disobeyed your orders. You never gave me even a young goat. So I could celebrate with my friends. That's what the elder brothers voice says. And what is the father's voice say? My son, you are always with me. And everything I have is yours. Very many of us. Go through life, our whole life. And listen to sermon after sermon, perhaps even read verse after verse from the Bible or book after book. And it could all be thrown out. If only you knew this, my child, you are always with me. And everything I have is your yes, you can escape the slave mentality. It's the I've been slaving away on doing my best. I'm slugging it out. Boy, am I toiling? And if you can relax and hear a voice that says, My child. I'm here. You're with me. No need to get resentful about anybody else. I know that. I know, as a parent, sometimes. I hear my kids say Now who's the favorite? And I'll be asked, now who's your favorite? We all know who your favorite is, except that they disagree on the outcome of that sometimes. But who's the favorite? And there is only one answer that I can give.
I'm your dad. I would die for you. I would do anything that I thought was for your good
Do you know how loved you are? And how rich you are? As God's child. That is basically the prayer. To you know God is your Father. Do you know how loved you are? You know how rich you are. You did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear but you received the Spirit of sonship by him, we cry Abba Father, the Spirit himself testifies with our spirits that we are God's children. And if we are children, then we are heirs, heirs of God and CO heirs with Christ is indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also share in His glory. There's our spirit cries out and our father, but as our spirit cries that it is God's own spirit testifying with our spirit. And he's not saying good little servant work a little harder. He's crying out to God, as father. And my prayer friends is that, you'll just know that if you if you know God, as Father, if you can pray Our Father who art in heaven, and really have that be the joy and the cry of your heart, then you know nearly everything you need to know, in a certain sense. Now, to the list. There are some specific words that have come up again and again and again, in these couple of prayers. The overall aim is seeing and savoring our Father's glory in Christ. And I want to focus on five words that come up riches, power, indwelling, love, and fullness. Let's just start with riches. When you are a child, and an heir, then everything that your father has, belongs to you. And there is a tremendous inheritance. But the place to start maybe in talking about riches is simply a phrase that Paul uses the riches of His great the riches of his grace. Some of you have been involved in performing the play Les Miserables, some of you have seen it out on the stage, some of you have seen the recent movie version of it. And in one of the early scenes, of all John has been sort of released from slavery, he's always kind of labeled, but he was imprisoned and enslaved for stealing, and now he's out. And he's welcomed by a bishop who allows him into his house and, and feast him in is kind to him when no one else is. And then he gets up in the middle of the night and steals the silverware and the silver plates and puts them in a sack and heads out figuring the world owes him and he deserves it. And he gets nabbed by the cops. And they drag him back to the bishop tower. And he says, well, the bishop gave them to me, you know, in a desperate try to get off the hook. And they drag him back to the house and and they asked the bishop well did use this man. He claims you gave him the silver. And the bishops response is up. Yeah, that's true. But my friend, you're left so early, surely something slipped your mind. You forgot I gave these also, would you leave the best behind? And he gives him the silver candlesticks as well. And that is how God has treated us. There is nothing you can do to God. Worse than what we've already done. We've already killed him. already killed him. What else are we gonna do? He's already given us everything. You think you can rip anything else off of him. Don't leave a mess behind him, I will take it off. That's the point, the riches of His grace, the incomparable riches of his grace. As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins in which you used to live, when you follow the ways of this world and of the prince of the ruler of the air, who's now at work and the children of disobedience. But God
who is rich and mercy because of the great love with which He loved us made us alive, even when we were dead in our trespasses and sin is by grace you have been saved. That's what the Apostle says, But God, the whole gospel, my one of my favorite preachers, Martyn Lloyd Jones has a whole sermon on that one, but God, he said, the whole Gospel is that, but God knew we're this, but God and the incomparable riches of his grace. And when you start to think about not just the riches of grace in giving us all that forgiveness, which we didn't earn or deserve, through Jesus and through His precious blood, but also then the riches of the inheritance purchased with that blood. What is there such great value, that the blood of Christ has not paid for it? What dipped is there that the sacrifice of the eternal Son of God has not completely warranted and earned He did not spare His own Son that gave him up for us all? How will we not also together with him graciously give us all things that is the logic Dear God gives us everything the unsearchable riches of Christ, I pray that out of his glorious riches, he may strengthen you. This, this sense of the wealth of God. And we need to understand that we are not poor, downtrodden, penniless people, we have all things, All things are yours, and you are Christ, and Christ is God's. That's the logic of the Scriptures and of God's truth. And the Bible says already, there's a sense in which we are seated with Christ in heavenly realms. And what we've already begun to taste is going to be experienced much more fully, when Christ comes again, when we are exalted, to rain on the throne with Christ, when we are put in a position of authority, even above the angel, when we rule, the creation is Adam and Eve were originally designed to do and as we are still meant to do and destined to do, those are just some of the eternal riches of God's grace that it gives us in the Spirit helps us to begin to experience that, to not just hear those as words, but to say, wow, my father is rich in houses and lands, he holds the whole wealth of the world in his hands. And it's all mine, because I belong to him. And then, in in praying for riches, he also prays for power. In chapter one, he says that this way, he speaks of his incomparable great power for us who believe that power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when He raised Him from the dead, and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly realm. In chapter three, he prays, I pray that you may have power together with all the saints. And then he goes on at the end of that prayer, now to him was able to do immeasurably more than all we asked her imagine, according to His power, that is at work within us. So there is this sense of praying for a divine power to strengthen us. Again, we need to examine our own prayer lives, and realize that the poverty of our prayer lives is not so much what we asked for, but what we don't. We asked for help in dealing with our illnesses, our challenges, our sniffles, our flu, our job issues, our finances, our relational things and, and just changes in our world and these things. It's not that it's wrong to pray about such things, we can bring anything to our Father, and he's glad to hear what his children have to say. But sometimes rather than praying, Lord, change the situation, Lord, change my physical well being, Lord, change my spouse, Lord, change my kids.
Every so often, this prayer maybe should well up, Lord, change me. Lord, give me power, whatever the outer circumstances are, give me Inner Power, power in the inner person, to know you, and to be who you want me to be. And when you pray, you need to understand again, that it is not unrealistic to pray this way. Notice what is said about it, this is the same power that he exerted in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead. And that same power is in you. And that's the same power that's going to raise you from the dead. And in a sense, is already the power that has raised you from the dead. Jesus said, I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life will not be condemned, he's crossed over from death to life, I tell you the truth, the time is coming and has come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. That's what's going on. This power that raises Jesus from the dead is the same power that raises your own spirit to life, and that power is already living in you. Now it's just a matter of praying, Lord, help me to more and more experienced that power. Let that power be the definitive influence the thing that makes me who I am, and strengthens me for everything else in my life. It's described as the power that raised Jesus from the dead. It's also described at the end of the prayer and Ephesians. Three, as the power that's at work within us. And what power is working within us? Well, it is a power of somebody who can do, how much can he do? Some of what we ask? Well, no, it says he can do all that we ask. And there's some things that we don't ask either because we don't think of them or because we're not clued in or to or to dance, or have too little faith to believe it can happen. But he can do not only all that we ask but also all that we imagined and more Then all we asked her imagine, in fact immeasurably more than all we asked her to imagine. And so when we pray, we are praying to the power that made the universe, we are praying to the power that spread out the galaxies, we are praying to the power that makes the winds blow, we are praying to the power that makes the Earth Turn, we are praying to the power that gives life to billions of people on the planet, the power that gives light to every animal, every plant on the planet, the power that controls every atom and molecule in the universe, and by it to whom the whole universe is smaller than a tiny marble. We are praying to the power that raised Christ from the dead. And when we pray to that power, and when we know him as our father, then we pray with confidence. See, it's not just understanding that God, kind of a nice and friendly God happens to be my dad. Now we're beginning to discover who dad really is. There, there are some things that kids don't always know about their own parents. And as they get older, they may find out a thing or two, in the case of sinners and weak people, that may not always be good. But in some cases, you also discover quite a bit about your father, that there was more to him than he understood. You know, when I was little, I knew who my dad was. And he was a farmer, he was a little bit or a little of that I didn't know, he worked on secret codes in Germany, you know, and that sort of stuff is that was kind of an interesting thing to find out a little later about my dad. Now, when you come to know God, initially, you may discover him as a very kind and tender God who came to you and gave His Son for you, to save you and to forgive you. But the better you get to know him, the better you realize, Wow, he does love me bow Is he big, is he's strong, there is nothing that he can't do. And praying, they're not just for riches and power, though. But I pray that out of his glorious riches, he may strengthen you with power. Why? so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. We want the spirit to work in our inner being so that Christ will be at home in us.
And that's the theme again and again, in the Scripture is Christ lives in the Christ in the hope of glory, we know that we live in him, and he announced because he's given us of His Spirit. And so there's this prayer for this interactive indwelling, that Christ will dwell in us now, at one level, he is praying for people who already have Christ in them. These are people who, to whom he's just said, I've heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and the love that you have for all the saints, he knows they already have been saved, and every saved person has the life of Christ already. And yet, there is a prayer that Christ will dwell in you. And a big part of that is simply that Christ will be at home within you, that you will be someone who has a sitting house, and a place for him to dwell a fitting room mate. For him. It's a wonderful thing to get married. We've got some newlyweds here, and some others who are pretty recently married. And it's a wonderful thing, to have that ceremony. And to make those vows and to sign that wedding certificate, and you are married, and now you have life together. But it's another thing to move in. And to spend time together and to keep on dwelling together, where you're truly at home with each other, where after a while, you can kind of anticipate what the other person's thinking before they even say it, where you have a sense of rhythm and of enjoyment and, and a comfort level being in each other's presence. And when Christ makes himself at home, and you begin to feel, in a sense more and more at home with him, and closer and closer to him, and have this life of being together. This is what we're seeking to have an interactive indwelling where your heart pours out love for him, and he pours out His great part of love for you. Jesus said this in his great prayer the night before he died. He said I've given them the glory you gave me so that they may be one as we are one I in them and you and me may be brought to complete unity to let the world know that You sent Me and have loved them even as you've loved me. I've made you known to them and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me maybe in them and that I myself may be in them. So this indwelling and this sense of the Beloved, within this is a very hard reality to speak about. Because it goes beyond speaking or beyond words. But to to live In the presence of Christ, to know that I have somebody in me, somebody in me and there are times when I know that he takes over. Sometimes when I'm preaching, I know that he takes over. Sometimes when I'm just by myself, and I, and I'm overwhelmed with the sense of him being there, and of the great love that He has poured out on me and with with love that, that melts my heart where I can hardly continue. I wonder, I have to be honest, I didn't know if I could preach this whole sermon today. Because I know that some kids get very uncomfortable watching, grown up loses composure, and that
you know that there are times when you can't talk. And just even in thinking there was about an hour on Friday, where I you, I was totally, I can't say much. There. There are things that go beyond words, and I can't put them into words, all I can do is what Paul did in the sense of pray that Christ will dwell in your heart through faith, and that, that your heart will cry AABA and that you'll know that he loves you. And I guarantee you this will cure more things than any of the band aids we come up with, to try to fix the ills in our life. Oh, I pray that many of the ills and things we struggle with will go away. But if we know that Christ is in us, and we're in him, and we know that love so many other things, the resentments melt away because his, his love takes over. And the sense of being deprived or being cheated or being envious, how could I envy anybody else when I have everything, that the more these realities overwhelm you, the more you will be able to rise above all the things that otherwise tend to drag you down in it, it's a process. It's something that we continually keep seeking and praying for, but it is something God can do and does do. And from indwelling. Let's talk a little bit about love. In love, He predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ. That sentence just says before the worlds were ever made before you ever existed before, the angels or the demons existed before there was anything. God loved you in advance, and from everlasting to everlasting, the Lord's love is with you. And because of the great love with which He loved us, He made us alive together with Christ. And so that what we call grace is not just a logical thing, and a doctrine. It is the generous expression of God's love and dealing with sin. And when we pray, to know this love that surpasses knowledge, the apostle says, I pray that you being rooted and established in love, rooted in love means you're sticking your roots down, and what a roots good for one thing roots do is they draw up nourishment for the life that is there. And our life in Christ is nourished by the love. And we need to be rooted in that love. And it's established in love. It's got a strong foundation, what gives you a stable personality, a stable sense of who you are, is the knowledge that you are, beloved, that you are treasured, that God prizes you, and delights in you. And He wants us already being rooted in establishing love. And remember, he's not praying this for unbelievers, he does want it to happen in the lives of unbelievers eventually, but that's not who he's writing to right now. He's writing to people who are already rooted in established in love. And he says, Now, I want you to know love. That's how it is with God. When you've tasted a little love, there's a whole lot more to come. I want you to be able to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ. And to know this love that surpasses knowledge. How wide and long and high and deep. I think the pastor was just saying, I want you to get a sense of the vastness and the infinity. But if you do think about it a little bit, how wide is God's love, just in the light of Ephesians? Well, it's wide enough to embrace people of all nations, and of every kind. How, how long is it well, from eternity to eternity, how high from the very heights of heaven and it raises us to the heights of heaven? How, how deep? Well, the
one since we can talk about the depths of God's being in the mystery of his will, but we can also talk about the depth of the sewer into which he dies, in order to rescue us. And if you take all of that and then just go beyond that. I'm going to stop thinking in terms of categories and dimensions, and just say, well, there is a love that surpasses knowledge, and somehow I will Want to know it? I want to know what can't be known. It's just like I want to see what can't be seen. Moses saw him who is invisible. We know the love that can't be known. There are times when language fails. But reality is still there, when the reality is bigger than the language bigger than the concepts bigger than the sentences you can come up with to express it. But it is more real than what can be said, God is more real than the Bible. That's not heresy. God lifts in human language to convey and then by a spirit, he makes those things known to us. But God is bigger than any sentence or any words that he has spoken to us in human language. And there is a love that is certainly poured out and described in the Bible. But God Himself must show by His Spirit, what he's really talking about. Again, as I said, Paul is hard to understand sometimes. And partly because we don't fully know what we're missing, because he had gone farther. And our prayer and his prayer for us is that we'll go farther in knowing that love. Just a little caution. You may think, Well, you know, these people that sit around and enjoy God's love or pray for more of God's love or get a little weepy when they're talking about God's love. That's all very nice, but we need some people who are go getters and get something done in this world. Some people are so heavenly minded, they're no earthly good. Well, as my buddy CS Lewis said, I've never met anybody like that. I never met anybody that was so heavenly minded. He was no earthly good. I've never met anybody who was so enraptured with the love of God that he never did any good for anybody else. You look at the great saints of history, it was the ones who knew the love of God best, whose lives were radiant, and who brought life and joy to those around them. Martyn Lloyd Jones has it as a plain lie to suggest that people who regard this knowledge of the love of Christ as the supreme thing are useless, unhealthy mystics, God's best servants have realized that this is the most important thing of all, this is what God made them for. And they've spent hours in prayer, seeking his face and enjoying his love. The man who knows the love of Christ in His heart can do more in an hour, than the busy kind of man can do in a century. If you want to get practical, seek and pray that you may know God and in particular, know God as Father and know the love of God, and know it not just in concept, but in reality and experience. And if you know the love of God in your heart, you will be used more powerfully than the busy you could have done in a century. So get practical, get love. And it all comes down, then to the fullness of God. That's a favorite concept of Paul, chapter one. He says, God placed all things under Jesus feet, and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills everything in every way. And near the end of his prayer in chapter three of Ephesians, that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God, chapter four, he goes on to talk a little bit where he says, until we reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Really, it's just the the idea that God is everything that you have in Christ, all that can possibly be given, or all that can possibly be desired. And so there are days when you feel empty, there are a variety of ways to try to fill it, whether it was a little extra food, or one more show to watch, or one more thing to do, or one more item on the internet to look at or three more hours on Facebook or whatever. There's a lot of ways to fill empty spaces, but you're kind of like cotton candy. As soon as you get them in your mouth, they go from this big down to nothing. And, again, Ecclesiastes says, Yeah, you can enjoy all that. That's fine. As long as you realize that it's just a vapor, you can enjoy a little of this and a little of that as a gift of God. But don't try to find your fullness in there. Because the fullness is found in Christ Himself in His indwelling in his presence, in his power in his riches.
And there's a there's a poem a song by a French writer, who expresses the fact that this fullness comes when we're emptied of ourself and more and more find our fullness in him all the bitter shame and sorrow that a time could ever be. When I let the Savior's pity plead in vain and proudly answered all of self and none of the yet he found me. I beheld him bleeding on the person tree, heard him pray Forgive them, Father, and my wistful heart said faintly, some of self and some of the Day by day his tender mercy healing, helping full and free, sweet and strong and ah so patient brought me lower while I whispered less of self and more of the higher than the highest heaven deeper than the deepest See, Lord, thy love at last has conquered grant me now my supplication none of sell all of the you will know fullness when it is all of him and not you anymore. When you pray to know God. Ultimately, it is for His glory. Seeing and savoring your Father's glory in Jesus Christ, His riches, His power, His indwelling His love, His fullness. Man's chief end says the old Catechism is to glorify God and enjoy him forever. Or as John Piper has kind of rephrased it man's chief end is to glorify God by enjoying him forever. The way you glorify God is by enjoying his riches, by being strengthened by His power, by being filled with His presence and His nearness and an interactive relationship with Him by being overflowed with His love, by being filled with His fullness. That's how you glorify God. You don't glorify God just by saying, Lord, I want to give you glory. You glorify Him by knowing how glorious He is, by experiencing how glorious He is, and delighting in his glory. God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him. And that's why all these other things I've talked about. The Apostle speaks of the Father of glory, the inheritance of glory, the riches of his glory, to Him be glory, in the church, and in Christ Jesus, throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. The prayer is that we may know him as he is in his fatherly love for us in Jesus and experienced Him in order that his glory may be enjoyed by us and magnified by us and worshiped by us. Friends. If you don't know anything else, about me, or about what I want for you remember this message? Lord, we pray for your spirit to enlighten the eyes of our hearts. That spirit of wisdom, that spirit of revelation that Spirit, who helps us to encounter you welled up in our hearts and testifies with our own spirit that we are the children of God. So Lord is that cry father, comes from our heart.
Help us to indeed hear your voice saying, My child, you're always with me and everything I have
is yours. Help us Lord, to sense the rich that you pour out upon us and the inheritance that you had to wait to.
Help us, dear Lord, to know more and more this power is great power that overcomes the devil that overcomes the world that overcomes our own sin. It overcomes our own dissatisfaction. And it helps us to do all things through Christ who gives us strength. Help us Lord, to know that love the love that we experience in being loved by you. And the love we experience as your love is poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit and then pours from our hearts back to you and back to others, Lord, to know you is eternal life and to know you is love because you are love. And so Lord made that love dominate everything about us as you indwell our hearts and then Lord we pray to that. We will be more and more filled with that fullness. And as we are such small vessels and you are so grand and great. keep expanding. Our hearts, making more room where even if, in a sense, we're already filled with the Spirit make more and more of us to fill. Help us to grow in grace to grow in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ and grow in capacity to grow and grow and grow till we truly are those who are greater than angels, those who can truly and rightly reign with Christ forever. Help us not to become discouraged in how far we are. From that wonderful standing Lord, we know that we do already have that standing and status in Christ as we're seated with Him in the heavenly realms. But we pray also that it may just be more and more true of us in our holiness in our power and our majesty and dignity, in the love that we pour out to others, that the reality of a living God may be displayed that the glory may radiate, radiate from each one of us. Father, if there are any who don't know you would all turn their hearts to you. break their hearts with your love. Help them to realize, Lord, they don't need to go on living in sorrow and sadness and sin. Lift them up, help them to know your great love. And those of us Lord who are yours, but was still such a poor and pinched understanding of you. Help us to know you are loving father for Jesus sake. Amen.