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Ephesians overview – 3:14-19, The character of being filled to the fullness of God.

EPHESIANS-1-200909
length: 50:24 - taught on Sep, 9 2020
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[neTitle: Ephesians overview - 3:14-19, The character of being filled to the fullness of God.

 

EPH 3:16-19

that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man; 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fulness of God.

 

The genitive, the fulness of God, is either to be understood as objective or subjective. If objective, then God’s fullness is the abundance of grace which He bestows. If it is subjective, it is the fullness which fills God Himself, in other words His perfect attributes. Naturally, I think we’d rather accept the former because the latter seems way too high.

 

But the preposition (“to”) is eis, which indicates that we are to be filled not ‘with’ so much as ‘unto’ the fullness of God.

 

Staggering as the thought may be, the more probable meaning is that we are to be filled up unto all the fulness of God, meaning His perfect attributes.

 

The idea correlates with the rest of the revealed life of Christ in the NT. We are to be like Christ; love like Him, have His peace and joy, as well as the fruit of the Spirit, i.e. the fruit of God. To whatever capacity we can be full of the perfect attributes of God, we are to have them within us: love, wisdom, knowledge, power, peace, joy, contentment, etc.

 

The experiment of God, if it is right to call it that, is that heaven (inner man) has been placed within earth (flesh). And then our Father bid us to overcome.

 

This is a fitting way of looking at it, since God became a man: heaven subjected itself to earth. That which was from heaven became the bread of life. He who was rich became poor. He limited Himself, made Himself temptable, made Himself weak, made Himself obedient, and all so that He could show man the new way, life, and truth, and then give His life so that we would have it without cost. His life was perfection itself, and when we see Him we will be just like Him, 1JO 3:2. We have to reach for perfection now, and stand on the foundation of the grace of God, for our sins He remembers no more.

 

And, in light of the fact that we are still occasionally sinners in practice, don’t forget the connection with the love of Christ. The purpose of being filled to all the fullness of God is predicated on knowing the love of Christ.  

 

EPH 3:16-19

that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man; 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fulness of God.

 

Knowing the love of Christ, which is always greater than what we know, has the purpose of being filled up unto all the fulness of God. God gave Himself for us because He loved us. He loves us now as a perfect Father to his children. He gives to us without cost. We reach ahead to the upward calling of perfect holiness always surrounded and engulfed in His infinite love. We have nothing to fear and everything to gain by reaching for it with all of our heart and soul.

 

Inspiring as that is, there a lot of discovery to be made; a lot of growing up to do. It takes time. A believer not dedicated will lack time, and if he remains undedicated for too long, he may run out of time and never realize the hope of his calling, and the riches of his inheritance in Christ.

 

‘Fullness’ is a characteristic word of Ephesians, as it is of Colossians. In Col Paul tells us not only that God’s fullness dwells in Christ, but also that in Christ we ourselves have come to fullness (“complete”).

 

COL 1:19

For it was the Father's good pleasure for all the fulness to dwell in Him,

 

COL 2:9-12

For in Him all the fulness of Deity dwells in bodily form, 10 and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority; 11 and in Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ; 12 having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.

 

At the same time, Paul makes in clear in his prayer in Eph 3 that there is room for growth. The church, already full in Christ, is to grow up into Him until it reaches his fullness (EPH 4:13-18).

 

Pleroo (being filled) is used for the insight God has given us to His will, meaning that He has held nothing back.

 

COL 1:9-12

For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled [pleroo] with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 10 so that you may walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; 11 strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously 12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.

 

Notice the similarity to Eph (sister epistles)

 

(3:16) strengthened with power through His Spirit

 

(3:19) filled up to all the fulness of God.

 

(4:1-3) entreat you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing forbearance to one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

 

This is followed by our complete transfer, our salvation, from the dark kingdom to the kingdom of light.

 

COL 1:13-14

For He delivered us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

 

This is followed by the most beautiful hymn of the Person of Christ in which the noun pleroma (fulness) is used of Him.

 

COL 1:15-20

And He is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation. 16 For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities —  all things have been created by Him and for Him. 17 And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. 18 He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the first-born from the dead; so that He Himself might come to have first place in everything. 19 For it was the Father's good pleasure for all the fulness [pleroma] to dwell in Him, 20 and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven.

 

So then, Christ is filled, He has filled us, and His life is to fill us with joy, peace, and knowledge among other things. All of this was done for us by the love of God, and so the knowledge of that love and its motive for the purposes of God fills us with the fulness of God (EPH 3:19).

 

Pleroo (being filled) is used showing how we are filled with abundant blessings of righteousness.

 

PHI 1:9-11

And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, 10 so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ; 11 having been filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.

 

The fruit of righteousness is to fill us. It is the fruit of a life disciplined to think in terms of God’s righteousness alone, ready to spontaneously act in righteousness.

 

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