Andrew Fountain - His great love with which he loved us


Full sermon notes - Ephesians pt3: His Great Love

  • First a summary of last time:

The Problem:

  • We all have the Spirit if we are Christ’s
  • He is supposed to be a new power within us,
  • so why do we so often fail?
  • I’m going to just quickly go through some Scriptures about this power
    • First to show that the Spirit is in all Christians
    • Not to say we are all “filled with the Spirit” —the subject for another day
    • But every Christian is born again by the Spirit who lives in them, as Paul says:

All true Christians have the Spirit

  • Romans 8 (Not the same as being “filled”)
  1. You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.
  2. But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness.
  3. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.
  • Now we will look at a couple of passages in Ephesians that clearly state that the power of the Spirit is really available to us:

Power is available to us

  • Ephesians starts with power: Eph 1
  1. and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might
  2. that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places,
  3. far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come.
  • And ends with it: Eph 6
  1. Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.

This power is working in us: Eph 3

  1. For this reason I bow my knees before the Father,
  2. from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named,
  3. that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being,
  4. so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith...
  5. Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us,
  • Do you always feel a new power at work in you?
  • Does everyone agree that lack of power is a common problem?
  • We don’t experience victory in our lives over the old way of living.
  • How do we access this power?
    • Ideas?

The Solution:

  • Surrender
  • Ask God what you should do right now
    • You probably know already
  • Chose to Surrender to him and do it!
  • (This is actually faith)
  • e.g. dishes
  • e.g. I’ll make a confession to you—If I have something stressful to do, I think “I’ll have a quick game of solitaire first”
    • And then I get distracted with something else and the stressful thing gets put off till tomorrow
    • But if I say “God, do you want me to play solitaire right now...” usually I don’t even have to ask, I know the answer
      • So the question comes down to a choice—do I surrender?
  • e.g. do I phone that awkward person
    • This is what you want me to do, so I trust you will give me the power as I step out in it

Explanation from Scripture

God’s power in us

  • When we become a Christian, something new was born in us, created anew, e.g. Eph 2
  1. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,
  2. not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
  3. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
  • and Eph 4
  1. [you were taught in Jesus] to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God...
  • Something in you knows what Jesus would do in this situation
    • It is the new self, in the likeness of Jesus
    • Used to be very shy, and still have trouble making smalltalk
    • Worst possible thing for me was to talk to a visitor after church
    • I just surrender to Jesus, and actually it’s not nearly as hard as I thought

Some curious verses

  • For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me. Col 1:29
  • But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. 1 Cor 15:10
  • I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Gal 2:20
  • But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life. 1 Tim 1:16
  • It seems like this is some alien power that is within us!
  • Actually it is the new us but because it is totally a gift, we don’t even get merit points for it because it’s no credit to us
    • Eph 4:9 said that we can’t boast (previous slide)
  • How do we access this power? —surrendering
  • My problem is that I forget about this new way of living and realize I have been slipping back into the old for a few hours

Romans 6

  1. Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?
  2. But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed,
  3. and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness.
  4. I am speaking in human terms, because of your natural limitations. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification.
  • Presenting yourself as a slave sounds pretty much like surrendering
    • Not a negative connotation, but a totally devoted and loyal servant

Conclusions from last time

  1. Surrender
    • needs faith!
    • can’t do it without truth
    • very often looks like love
  2. Maturity is not “sinning less” but surrendering more
    • growing in faith=growing “down” in dependence
  3. Peace that comes from surrender
  • Big picture—jigsaw puzzle
  • Get focussed on the wrong part

What is the big picture?

  • Old Catechisms: “The chief purpose of man is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever.”
  • John Piper: “God is most glorified when we are most satisfied in him.”
  • Bible?

Ephesians 3:16-19

  1. …to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being,
  2. 17so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—
    • that you, being rooted and grounded in love,
    • 18may have strength to comprehend with all the saints
    • what is the breadth and length and height and depth,
    • 19and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge,
  3. so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
  • Power, love and destiny
    • He is going to unpack this last bit to say that the church is the new body that God lives in, the new temple
  • The purpose of the power is this new relationship with Christ in us
  • The purpose of this new relationship is that we become the dwelling place of God
  • So let’s look at the new relationship:

Ephesians 2:1–10

  1. And you being dead in your transgressions and sins, 2in which you once walked according to the age of this world, according to the ruler of the authority of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience,
  2. among whom also we all once lived in the desires of our flesh doing the wishes of the flesh and of the thoughts, and we were by nature children of wrath as also the rest.
  3. But God being rich in mercy, because of his great love with which he loved us,
    • 5even being dead as we were in transgressions,
    • made us alive with Christ—by grace you have been saved!—
    • 6and raised us up with him
    • and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,
  4. that he might show in the ages to come the surpassing wealth of his grace in kindness upon us in Christ Jesus.
  5. For by the grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not from you , of God is the gift; 9it is not from works, so no one may boast.
  6. For his work are we, created in Christ Jesus for good works which God prepared beforehand, that in them we might walk.

Version: NET Bible

  1. Notice the time: before and after, once and now
  2. Notice this world vs age to come
  3. We have actually been re-created as something new
  4. Union with Christ
  • We are JOINED to Christ.
  • Brothers and sisters, we are joined to him if we are Christians.
  • United. Inseperable. He in us and us in him.
  • Ex of helicopter rescue from ship off Cornwall
    • moment is when man is joined to rope.
  • This is a precious truth. One that we should take home with us and think often about,
    • till its sweetness begins to take hold of our heart.
  • George Muller was transformed by this
  • But are you joined to Christ?
    • I am a new creation? (although there is a battle)
    • I am stuck in the old
  • Ask him—it is a free gift

Updated on 2013-01-17 by Andrew Fountain