Ephesians 3: 14-21
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 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 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 who is 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, for ever and ever! Amen.
How will our community know the depths of God’s love?
There is something so powerful that it can change the world in which we live. It is something so potent that it can change a nation from being a source of hate and persecution towards others for the colour of their skin, to elect a black man as President of The United States Of America. It is something so impressive that it can fill a family with joy even though they sit huddled together in the depths of winter, without food and without shelter. It is a force so strong that mighty leaders fall to their knees and those in chains can hold their head high. It gives hope to those who are dying and comfort to those who mourn. It is behind every kind word spoken and every force of good in the world. It is the reason we exist and the reason the world has hope. It is the love of God.
It is out of this love that God created the world, to turning chaos into order. It is out of this love that God stepped into our humanity to deal with our sin and its consequences. It is this love that saw Jesus endure the shame and agony of the cross but then rise triumphantly from the grave, defeating the power of sin, death and hell. It is this love that draws us to God and calls us to turn away from sin and hell and journey towards life and love. It is this love that calls us to journey to the Promised Land when God will make all things new.
When Paul writes here of God’s love it almost doesn’t make sense. Paul talks of this love being beyond measure, yet calls us to grasp hold of it. He speaks of this love being beyond knowledge, yet calls us to know it. I believe what is happening here firstly is Paul telling us that the love of God is so immense, so amazing that it doesn’t make sense. Secondly I believe Paul is saying here that the only way to know it and the only way to grasp it is when we put our faith in Jesus. When Paul speaks of Jesus dwelling in our hearts, I believe he is speaking about God being at the centre of our lives, being at the core of our being and this happens when we place faith in Him. God then becomes the root of our being, the Rock on which we stand; we are now rooted and established in love. So now knowing where love originates and seeing through the Cross of Jesus the extent of God’s love for us, we can begin to know and grasp this love. I wonder, have you put your life into the hands of God? Have you seen Jesus as the hope of your life? Is God rooted at the centre of your inner most being? Is Jesus the one who you have placed your faith in? If not I ask you to respond to the love of God given to us through Jesus. I invite you to put your faith in Jesus, to ask him to be at the centre of your life. I invite you to call out to him in faith and begin a journey with Jesus towards a bright future full of hope.
I wonder though, if this morning you have already placed your hope in Jesus, if you have experienced His love for yourself, whether we have done enough to show our community here on Mersea how wide and long, high and deep is the love of God? I wonder if we have done enough to declare and show to our community how immense God’s love is for them and the world? How will our community know the love of God unless we go and tell them?
I believe day by day we all experience the love of God in one way or another even if we don’t recognize it as that. When nations stretch out their hands to give food and clothing to the hungry and homeless, right there the love of God is experienced. When lovers watch a setting sun and parents celebrate the birth of their child, right there the love of God is experienced. When the lonely are visited and the bereaved are comforted, right there the love of God is experienced. Yet we are called to go tell people where all love stems from. We are called to go and declare to the community and world around us that God loves them and that Jesus is the One who reveals God’s love to us.
So we join in with the nations and stretch out our hands to feed the hungry, yet seek ways in which we can tell of the one who stretched out his hands on the Cross and died for our sins.
We celebrate when new love is found and new life is formed and then seek ways to speak of the One who spoke into history and created all things out of his love for us.
We seek to visit the lonely and comfort those who mourn and seek ways in which we can share the One who wants us to be our eternal Comforter and who will one day wipe every tear from our eyes.
Sometimes we will be able to share God’s love through words, sometimes it will be done through our actions. But at the root and heart of all we say and all we do needs to be love. And to know what real love is read again and again the beautiful words of Paul in 1 Corinthians;
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.
So, how will we respond to our community this week? Will we raise a hand in anger or stretch it out in love? Will we whisper words of slander or declare words of love? Will we seek to assassinate a character, or build a character of love? Remember it is God alone who has the power to change the world, yet he calls us to work with him in that. And he is able to do more than all we can ask or think, and he can do it through us.
There is something so powerful that it can change nations and communities, something so strong that it can break every wall of hostility and transform the very heart of a person. I wonder, how will we respond to it?