07.26.09 Ephesians 3:14-21 Power of God’s Love Sermon Summary
At Jesus’ baptism, God’s voice proclaimed, “This is my son, whom I love.” Today we look to Christ as the Savior of the world. Jesus was God’s beloved, but that wasn’t sufficient to make him the savior. What made him the savior was that he loved others.
Jesus’ life and death made him the savior, and these were motivated by his love for others. He loved people who weren’t loved otherwise. And because he loved them, he lived for them and eventually died for them.
The most famous verse in the Bible is John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only son, Jesus.” God’s love is active and giving. It’s one thing to say you love someone, it’s quite another to sacrifice of yourself to show it. God sacrifices. And as God’s beloved child, Jesus sacrificed to show God’s love to others.
This is why Ephesians 3 prays that we might know the power of God’s love, that we might be filled with God’s love, and that we will be able to do immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine.
This prayer is God’s hope for us and for the church. God’s dream for the world is that as we experience God’s love for us in Christ, we will do as Christ did and extend that love to others. God wants to reproduce Christ in our lives, to resurrect Christ in our day.
This is difficult for many of us who can’t believe God loves us. We believe we have disqualified ourselves through our shortcomings. Believing we are unworthy of God’s love, we despair. We give up. We live as if God doesn’t exist because we believe even if God does exist, God wouldn’t be interested in my unworthy life.
Or, believing we are separated from God’s love, we work extra hard to try to become loveable. We pursue righteousness only to confirm again and again the crippling paradox that the harder we try to earn God’s love the farther away it feels.
The good news of the gospel is this: we can’t lose God’s love, nor can we earn it. It is a gift we can only receive, a gift that has already been given. But because we have a hard time receiving it, Ephesians prays that somehow we will receive it.
God wants us to receive God’s love so we can feel better about ourselves and show it to others. We can only love others to the same degree that we have received God’s love. Just as Jesus was filled with God’s love and loved others, so God wants to fill you and me with God’s love and send us out to love others.
The Bible says that God is love, and so we should love one another (1John 4). It also says that love covers over a multitude of sins—not sins against God, but those that separate us from one another (1Peter 4). Today if you want to be more loving, receive God’s love, and become the answer to this prayer in Ephesians 3. Receive God’s love and give it to others.
Remember that at your baptism, the words God proclaimed over Jesus were proclaimed over you: “You are my beloved child.” What difference would it make if you lived by this judgment instead of the one you have of yourself?
In what ways is God calling you to “reproduce and resurrect” Christ’s life in your personal life? How about in your church? How are you the living answer to the prayer in Ephesians 3?
Which of your righteous pursuits is getting in the way of your simply receiving God’s gift of love?