Eph. 3:14-21: God’s Love

Ephesians 3:14-21: Paul’s prayer and doxology


About nine years ago an HBO miniseries came out called John Adams. This was based off of the biography called John Adams by David McCullough. I read that book fourteen or so years ago and I watched the HBO miniseries after it was available on DVD. There is a scene towards the end of the 6th episode where President John Adams confronts his son Charles who is addicted to alcohol. John says to him, “I renounce you!!” with that President John Adams walks away.

I want you to know that we serve a God in Heaven who loves us and His love for us is so great that He will never renounce us. Once we truly know Jesus Christ nothing can separate us from His love. God’s love is far beyond our understanding. In that respect today’s sermon could be titled, Why the Cross? God’s Love. Now, I know I preached about God’s grace a few weeks ago. God’s grace is the way God gives us salvation. God’s love is different as God’s love is the reason behind God’s grace. However, there is still a dilemma, God loves us, but God must punish sin and that is why the cross event happened.

My Theme:

Understand God’s Great love for you and the strength you receive through the Holy Spirit.


Be energized by the power in you through the Holy Spirit.

  1. Paul prays, notice that first.
    1. Paul gets down on his knees and prays. 14 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name,
    2. Paul says, “For this reason…” and that must look back. That looks back to what he had been writing about. He had been writing about salvation and unity to Jews and gentiles alike. Remember Ephesians chapters 1-3 are all about our great and awesome and glorious salvation. This made Paul pray and praise.
  2. Paul desires us to have strength.
    1. See that in verse 16: 16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man
    2. You see that? Paul wants us to have strength in the inner man. How do we get strength? Through the Holy Spirit. Notice the wording: “Riches” of “His glory” that you would be strengthened through His Spirit.
    3. John MacArthur preached on this passage and talked about being charged up by God. He preached about starting your engines.
  • So, Paul also prays that we would know, or comprehend.
    1. See the next few verses: so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; andthat 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 fullness of God.
    2. Paul prays that Christ may dwell in our hearts…. How does Christ dwell in our hearts? Through faith. Then Paul prays that we be rooted and grounded in love.
    3. The word used for dwell in our hearts is the same type of word which would be used to live in our hearts. The word literally means to settle down and feel at home. Do you think that Christ feels at home in your heart right now?
      1. There is a little booklet titled “My Heart Christ Home.” It is really good. It is written about Christ going through your life as if it is a house and cleaning it up. Is Christ at home in your life?
      2. We want Christ to live with us, to live within our hearts.
  • Paul goes on to pray that we be rooted and grounded in love.
  1. A root needs to go deep down in order to get the water. That means that our root must go deep down to get water from the well that doesn’t go dry which is Jesus.
  2. Grounded would be comparable to a foundation of a house. We want to a have a solid, a firm foundation in love.
  1. Verses 18-19 speak of the love of God. So Paul had prayed that we be strengthened by the power of the Holy Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ will feel at home in our hearts through our faith and that we are rooted and grounded in love, and now Paul prays that we understand the love of God which we cannot understand.
  2. Verse 18-19: How wide, how long, how high, and how deep is the love of God
  3. This is simply showing how vast and complete the love of God is.
  4. When believers accept Jesus Christ’s revelation of the mystery of the church, they are able to comprehend that God’s love is broad enough (“breadth”) to embrace both Jews and Gentiles in the church. They can appreciate that it is long enough (“length”) to reach the far off (Gentiles) as well as the near (Jews), and to stretch from eternity to eternity. They can see that it is high enough (“height”) to raise both Jews and Gentiles into the heavenly places. They can understand that it is deep enough (“depth”) to rescue both kinds of people from sin’s degradation and from Satan’s grip. (Dr. Constable, Dallas Theological Seminary)

I read the following about an old hymn:

There is an old hymn written by a man whose last name is Lehman. He was a man who lived before modern psychology and its medications, and seems to have been bi-polar or manic depressive. There were times of lucidity and times he would lose his grip on reality. Not surprisingly, living in the early 20th century he was institutionalized. Now the man was both a musician and a devout Christian. Despite his institutionalization he wrote some wonderful joyful hymns, and the most famous of which has a story behind it. The most memorable verse of this hymn was the last thing Mr. Lehman ever wrote, for it was found scrawled on the padded wall of his cell, in which he was found dead. It reads as follows:
“The love of God is greater far than tongue or pen can tell; it goes beyond the highest star and reaches lowest hell…Could we with ink the ocean fill, and were the skies a parchment made, were every stalk on earth a quill and every man a scribe by trade, to write the love of God above would drain the ocean dry. Nor could the scroll contain the whole if stretched across the sky.” Should we then despair of ever loving like God loves, or as God has commanded us to love?

God’s love is immense.

  1. Now look again at verse 19: Paul prays that we know the love of God that surpasses knowledge
  2. Can we know the love of God if it is so complex that it surpasses knowledge? I think we can. It surpasses knowledge in the world; however, through the Holy Spirit as God’s children we can know the love of God. We experience the love of God in a spiritual way!
  3. If we do know the love of God we will be filled with the fullness of the Spirit. So, this passage is saying that God loves us. God loves us so much that he will never renounce us. God loves us so much that we can’t comprehend that love without the Holy Spirit. God loves us so much that we can only experience His love.


My Jesus I Love Thee

Author:      William R. Featherston

1       My Jesus, I love Thee, I know Thou art mine;
For Thee, all the follies of sin I resign;
My gracious Redeemer, My Savior art Thou;
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus ’tis now.

3       I’ll love Thee in life, I will love Thee in death,
And praise Thee as long as Thou lendest me breath;
And say, when the death-dew lies cold on my brow;
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus ’tis now.

4       In mansions of glory and endless delight,
I’ll ever adore Thee in heaven so bright;
And singing Thy praises, before Thee I’ll bow;
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus ’tis now.[1]

Let’s pray.

[1] Logos Hymnal. 1995 (1st edition.). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

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