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Rays of Light Bible Lessons by Keith Holder

ROOTED AND GROUNDED IN LOVE

Ephesians 3:14-19 For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man; that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God.

We find in the beginning of the lesson text Paul humbly and sincerely praying for the spiritual welfare of the church as Ephesus. This seems to be a continuation of his prayerful attitude noted in chapter 1, where he commends them for their demonstration of faith and love saying that he ceased not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers that God would give unto you ...wisdom and revelation, in the knowledge of Him (Jesus Christ) (Vs. 15-17). Paul includes the individual church at Ephesus as part of the universal church of Christ over which Jesus reigns from His throne in heaven - the church that bears His name and by which all members are called Christians (See Eph. 1:10 & Acts 11:26).

Paul wrote, in Philippians 4:13, I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. In the lesson text Paul prays that the saints at Ephesus would be (spiritually) strengthened in Christ according to the riches of His glory. Spiritual strength is just one of the unsearchable riches of Christ spoken about in verse 8. Strength to overcome all trials and obstacles of life, strength to stand against the wiles of the devil (Eph. 6:10-11), and strength to perform all the duties and responsibilities inherent in being a Christian, is the rich blessing we find in Christ - spiritual strength. The outer man, our physical body, is strengthened with muscle-power allowing us to perform physical labor. (T)he inner man, the will and mind of mankind, receives spiritual strength from God through Christ - it is God's gift to all Christians. By filling our minds with the word of God, we develop a spiritual will-power that allows all Christians to say with all expectation, as did the apostle Paul, I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

In Matthew Henry's Commentary we find this description of faith and of the indwelling of Christ in the children of God: "Christ is an inhabitant in the soul of every good Christian. Where His spirit dwells, there He dwells; and He dwells in the heart by faith, by means of the continual exercise of faith upon Him. Faith opens the door of the soul, to receive Christ; faith admits Him, and submits to Him. By faith we are united to Christ, and have an interest in Him." (from Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible: New Modern Edition).

With Christ dwelling in them, and having the faith described above, it is then, and only then, that Christians can be rooted and grounded in love. The full extent of Christian love is to be directed, first toward God, and secondly toward all mankind. All specific commandments of God firmly rest on Christian love. Therefore, to do the will of God, to be acceptable in His sight, to have a hope of everlasting life in heaven, one must be firmly rooted and grounded in love. From the time the seed of God's word is planted in one's heart, through its germination, growth, and maturity, a Christian should be...like a tree planted by the rivers of water (Psalm 1:3), whose roots run deep and wide, in order to bring life sustaining water and mineral nourishment to the tree. The strong root system also serves to give the tree a firm foundation, well grounded, and one that cannot be moved. In Christ we can have the spiritual nourishment, as well as a strong, unmovable, foundation on which to grow, mature, and build a life dedicated to love for God, and for all men and women of the world.

As a Christian grows in faith and love, so does their ability to comprehend ...the breadth, and length, and depth, and heightof the love of Christ,and all the fullness of God. Just as there has always been, is now, and always will be, room to grow in faith and love, so is there room for us to continue to grow in our comprehension of the love of Christ, and of the unsearchable riches available to all obedient children of God. Being firmly rooted and grounded in love allows the Christian a "glimpse" of the blessings that can only be fully comprehended when one enters heaven's portals. Then we shall clearly know and see!