Temple Baptist Church - 7-10-2022
A. Ephesus: a wicked city of commerce, permeated with open sin. Ephesus: noted for idolatry where the Temple of Diana, the “goddess of the Ephesians,” stood. Paul had to leave there.
B. Ephesus: where Paul fought the “beasts. 1 Corinthians 15:32 If after the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantageth it me, if the dead rise not? let us eat and drink; for to morrow we die.
C. Paul feared that the Ephesian believers would faint because of both the report of Paul’s trials and the reality of their tribulations. Therefore Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, wrote the Book of Ephesians, often called the “Highlands of Faith” to stabilize the people.
D. Ephesians has a two-fold breakdown: chapters 1-3 are Positional, anchoring the Ephesian believers in their salvation; chapters 4-6 are Practical, showing them how to walk with God in persecution and hard times.
E. As Paul came to the end of the first 3 chapters, heprayed a three-fold prayer that ended in a doxology of praise.
1. Verse 16. A Life That Is Strengthened By The Indwelling Spirit – “That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;” – (To rely on the strength of the Holy Ghost, and not the arm of flesh)
2. Verse 17. A Faith That Is Rooted And Grounded In Love – “That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,” – (To experience His abiding presence and sweet communion in love)
3. Verses 18-19. A Comprehension Of The Eternal Love Of Christ – “And to know the love of Christ” – (To know our Savior’s love which constrains us to love and serve Him)
F. It takes all three of the above to bring about the doxology of praise in tribulation. The strength of God in verse 16; the communion and fellowship of Love in verse 17; and the knowledge that whatever comes, God’s undiminishing love is always there with you.
Ephesians 3:20-21 (1) Now unto him that is able to do (2) exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, (3) according to the power that worketh in us, (21) (4) Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus (5) throughout all ages, world without end. (6) Amen.
G. This morning, I want to look at these two verses which speak of the love of Christ. The love of Christ cannot be known in its entirety, but it can be comprehended! (Two words are used here: comprehend and know)
1. To Comprehend with all saints – to understand or to be taught, either through hearing or experiential.
2. To Know the love of Christ – to learn to know, come to know, get a knowledge of perceive, feel 1a) to become known 2) to know, understand, perceive, have knowledge of 2a) to understand 2b) to know 3) Jewish idiom for intimacy between a man and a woman 4) to become acquainted with, to know
3. To Know, not just to know about! This makes the verse experiential as well as educational.
H. You see:
1. When Hard Times Come – you had better know the love of God so that you can trust Him.
2. When You Cannot See What Is Ahead – you had better know the love of God so that you can trust Him.
3. When You Do Not Understand And Things Look All Wrong – you had better know the love of God so that you can trust Him.
TO COMPREHEND WITH ALL SAINTS
I. The Incomprehensibility Of God’s Love
1. The Breadth Of God’s Love – 1 John 2:2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. (His love is from Pole to Pole. His love is from the East to the West. His love is from Wall to Wall. The Love of God covers every man, woman, and child. There are none exempt and there are none excluded! There is not a race, color, or creed rejected! His love is for the whole world! I cannot understand it, but I believe it!)
2. The Length Of God’s Love – Psalms 86:15 But thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth. (God’s love is not only universal in its scope; it is longsuffering in its forbearance. God is compassionate, gracious, longsuffering, and merciful. I did not deserve to receive it nor do I deserve to keep it. The Lord has been far better to me than I deserve and I am eternally grateful for it. I cannot understand it, but I have seen it!)
3. The Depth Of God’s Love – 1 Timothy 1:15 This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. (The wickedest man in the world is a candidate for His great salvation. It matters not what you have done; it matters not what you have thought; it matters not where you came from! His love goes to the deepest in sin and despair. I cannot understand it, but I have received it!)
4. The Height Of God’s Love – Romans 5:20 Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: (His wonderful love is far greater than all of our sin put together. God’s gracious love is always there, and you cannot sin your salvation away. He will forgive 70 times 7 and never exhaust his love or forgiveness. I cannot understand it, but I have experienced it!)
II. The Knowledge Of God’s Love
2 Timothy 1:12 For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.
1. Knowing the love of Christ comes from knowing Him in an intimate, personal relationship - John 13:25 He then lying on Jesus’ breast saith unto him, Lord, who is it? (He walks with me and talks with me, He tells me I am His own!)
2. Knowing the love of Christ comes from knowing the joy of sins and failures forgiven - Mark 16:7 But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see him, as he said unto you.
John 21:15 So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.
Psalms 51:12 Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. (I am so glad that God not only loves but also, in His love, forgives.)
3. Knowing the love of Christ comes from knowing His companionship and comfort in the trials of this life - Hebrews 13:5 Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
a. He Stood By Paul In The Storm - Acts 27:23 For there stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve,
b. He Stood By Joshua In Battle - Joshua 5:14 And he said, Nay; but as captain of the host of the LORD am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said unto him, What saith my lord unto his servant?
c. He Stood By Stephen In Persecution And Death - Acts 7:55 But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God,
d. He Stood By Paul When All Else Forsook Him - 2 Timothy 4:16-17 At my first answer no man stood with me, but all me forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge. Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known, and that all the Gentiles might hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion. (He has stood with me in my darkest hours!)
4. Knowing the love of Christ comes from knowing His abiding presence through each day of this life - 1 Samuel 30:6 And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God.
Hebrews 13:5 Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. (He is always there! There is never an hour of the day when the child of God is alone.)
5. Knowing the love of Christ comes from knowing that no matter what comes, you will live eternally with Him - Romans 8:35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God. (I am His and He is mine is more than just a catch phrase. It is a reality. I may never fully understand the love of Christ in this life, but I do know it. He loves me; He loves me; He loves me this I know. He gave Himself to die for me because he loves me so!)