Aim: God has a purpose for me and for you
Why? Why? Why? We love to ask that question.
Why do I have to? Why did you? Why did that happen? Why didn’t that happen? Why am I here? Why do bad things happen to good people? Why do bad people do well? Why? Why?
But, so often we approach that question not really wanting an answer we just want to gripe and complain. But, here is the answer, even when we are only fake asking: Why? Because it is part of God’s plan. Period.
Now, we may not always understand God’s plan and we sometimes may not like God’s plan, but who do you think is better at a making a plan? Us or God?
Let’s look at how He communicated this to the Ephesian church through Paul:
1st Division: Eph 2: 1-10 We are made alive through faith in Christ
Principle: God has work for us to do
Illustration: Our job is to work – that is what it means to have a job – that is what it means to have purpose – that is part of the answer to the question “why?” The work we do is not to earn something (wages or favor), it is simply what members of the family do. In your family you have jobs. They are not things others need you to do – let’s face it, your parents have far more experience and skill at doing most of the things than you do and sometimes they could do them faster than having you do them. (sorry to burst your bubble). But, if you do not participate, you are not part of the family – see that word participate – it starts with “part” and means you have to do your part. If you don’t you aren’t. God gives us work so we can be part-icipants in His family.
Applications: Are you doing work to be a part or to get something special? Are you doing work gratefully or grudgingly? What is God asking you to do but you are denying or hesitating?
2nd Division: Eph 2:11-3:13 Christ provides unity for believers
Principle: Christ’s church was a mystery
Illustration: Have you ever seen a magic trick? A magic trick is kind of like a mystery. To people on the stage, there is no mystery, they know what, when and how everything happens. But to people that choose to just sit and watch, they don’t understand, it is unclear. The difference is perspective and revelation. Jesus revealed to Paul the mystery. God revealed it to Paul, Peter, Isaiah, etc. etc. There was no lack of information. But there were lots of people who chose to view things from their comfy seats in the audience.
The church of Christ – Jews and Gentiles, was always God’s plan. It is not, “for God so loved the Jews” God loved the world – and, thank God, because otherwise we would not be on the stage and part of the show!
Application: Are you curious or just wanting to be entertained? Have you made up your mind or do you continue to ask and learn?
3rd Division: Eph 3:14-21 Paul’s prayer for Ephesus
Principle: God is glorified through His power in His church (you and me)
“Filled to the measure of all the fullness of God”. What an interesting statement. It is easy to pass over because at first glance it sounds common. I’m old enough to remember my dad pulling up to the filling station. ding, ding. The station attendant jogged out and my dad would say, “fill ‘er up with ethyl.” But, wait a minute – while that is where this verse starts, it actually says more. Let’s take a deeper look.
In greek, the first filled is the word πληρόω plēroō, (strongs G4137). This literally means to fill it as full as is possible – that another drop would over flow, that another grain would fall off. Literally that there can be no more.
Now, most of us would look at that and say – filled is filled. Anything over filled is spilled and wasted, right?
But Paul doesn’t go there. He goes on to say filled to all the fullness of God. The second fullness is πλήρωμα plērōma (strongs G4138). In the New Testament verses, this word takes on additional meaning: the body of believers, as that which is filled with the presence, power, agency, riches of God and of Christ. In particular, it is the same word used in Colossians 2:9, “For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form”.
See, even in this seemingly simple verse Paul is continuing to emphasize this important message. He doesn’t want us to be filled in accordance with what our earthly selves can hold. He is praying that we are filled to the fullness that Christ in us can hold – He is praying that we are filled with the fullness of the Deity in bodily form – He is praying that we are filled not to the level we can manage but to the level God can manage, not with human limits but with holy limits (are there holy limits or is it limitless?)
But what a contrast that is to how I think – I think that I have a tank that holds a certain amount, just like the tank on our car. Filling it any fuller just would overflow on the ground and be wasted. But I am no longer just me when I am a Christian. I am no longer just me when I am a Christian. (that repetition was on purpose – don’t make me say it a third time ). I am the church. I am the body of Christ. I am the body of believers. I am the power, agency and riches of God and of Christ. I am limitless in God’s eyes.
Application: How are you asking God to fill you up?