Net Questions: Church Defined - Chosen to Love

1. God chose to love us when He created us and when He chose to make a way for us to be forgiven for our sins! What are some of the ways you’ve experienced the Love of God in your life?
Eph 3:16  I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being,
Eph 3:17  so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love,
Eph 3:18  may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,

2. God wants us to chose to love Him and to love others.
What are some of the ways we can show our love for God?
What are some of the ways we can show our love for others?
How do we love those who are difficult to love?

Col 3:12  Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
Col 3:13  Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
Col 3:14  And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

3. Paul was going through some tough times and the Ephesian church was discouraged. Paul did not want them to lose heart. How has God’s love pulled you through tough times in your life.
Rom 8:35  Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?
Rom 8:36  As it is written: "For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered."
Rom 8:37  No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
Rom 8:38  For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,
Rom 8:39  neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

4. Jesus said we are to love our neighbor as we love ourself. Why do some people have a hard time loving themselves and forgiving themselves? How can this be overcome?
Heb 10:19  Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus,
Heb 10:20  by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body,
Heb 10:21  and since we have a great priest over the house of God,
Heb 10:22  let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.
Heb 10:23  Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.


Sermon Notes: Church Defined - Chosen to Love

Ephesians 3:14-21

This has been an amazing series for me. It has taught me much about the church. Paul's letter to the Ephesian Church brings so much depth to the definition of the church. The church is made up of people who have placed their faith and trust in Christ Jesus.

It is so much more than an institution! It is an organism. It is living, and breathing! Sometimes it celebrates, sometimes it hurts! It is sometimes strong, sometimes weak! At times it is walking, other times it is crippled, barely able to move!

The church should be growing, sharing, caring, serving, fellowshipping, feeling, believing, knowing, and most of all loving!!  

Paul tells us we were chosen to choose, chosen to know, chosen to live, chosen to  unite, chosen to serve, and as we'll discover today, chosen to love!

Love is such a foundational concept in the Christian faith! It is a foundational concept in the Bible. It should be the major motivation of all the church does. Of course we must use wisdom and seek God's guidance in all our decisions, however, love must be our motive and our motivation.

We were created because of the Love of God!
We were chosen in love.
We were redeemed because of love.
We love because He first loved us!
We have the power to love because of the love we've been given!

 I'm going to pray and ask
God to speak through me. Will you pray and ask God to speak to you? Will you pray for God to speak to you not what you want to hear, but what you need to hear?

Let's Pray!!

 Let's open our Bibles to the book of Ephesians 3:14-21.

14For this reason I kneel before the Father,
Ephesians 3:14 (NIV)

15from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name.
Ephesians 3:15 (NIV)

16I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being,
Ephesians 3:16 (NIV)

17so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love,
Ephesians 3:17 (NIV)

18may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,
Ephesians 3:18 (NIV)

19and to know this love that surpasses knowledge —that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Ephesians 3:19 (NIV)

20Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,
Ephesians 3:20 (NIV)

21to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
Ephesians 3:21 (NIV)

In this passage Paul defines in no uncertain terms the origin of the church, the resources of the church, the strength of the church, the power of the church, the heart and head of the church, the roots of the church, the foundation of the church, the glory of the church, and it all has to do with love!!!

 Let's look at our text and we'll see some amazing truths that apply to the church as a whole and to our individual lives.

14For this reason I kneel before the Father,
Ephesians 3:14 (NIV)

1. Paul starts off again with the words, "For this reason". This is his tie in with the previous verses. It is his transition.
What is the reason he is talking about?

Paul had just told his readers that he was called to serve the gospel, the message of God's love for all people. As a result, he had suffered some pretty tough consequences, like prison.

 The Ephesian church was disheartened and discouraged by this. Maybe they were worried about what might happen to them if they accepted God's call to serve the gospel!

Some of you in this room are in the same place. You know God has chosen and called you to serve the gospel message, but you have yet to fully embrace this calling.  

Why? Your not sure whether you're willing to pay the price. You're not sure your willing to give up your own agenda to follow God's will for your life.  

2. For this reason, Paul falls to his knees in prayer to the Father!!
Jews would typically pray standing with their hands lifted to God. It was only when under a heavy burden or in deep desperation a person would fall to their knees to pray. It was such a time for Paul. He knew what was at stake for God's people.

Paul says he kneels before "The Father"!

Father is a distinctively Christian designation for God that highlights the importance of love in the Christian's relationship with God. Jesus used the Aramaic term "Abba" which means "Dear Father".


This was an indication of the deep love between the Father and the Son. This same love is to exist between the Father and all His children. The writer of Romans put it this way...

15For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.”
Romans 8:15 (NIV)

16The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.
Romans 8:16 (NIV)

Paul then makes a statement about the Father to whom he makes his appeal...

15from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name.
Ephesians 3:15 (NIV)

Paul is again reminding his readers that members of the church have a common bond in the Father and as a result we have the same last name in Christ!!


Jews and Gentiles alike are saved by the Father's Grace poured out throughout His One and Only Son…
And we should never forget the price paid for us to share the name...

7In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace
Ephesians 1:7 (NIV)

8that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding.
Ephesians 1:8 (NIV)

13But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ.
Ephesians 2:13 (NIV)

Talk about love!

Back to our text for today, Paul speaks of the provision God offers to His family, the church...

16I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being,
Ephesians 3:16 (NIV)

3. Paul knows that his readers, and this includes us, need the resources of God if we are going to live the life of love God has chosen us to live!!!

The Blood of Christ has cleansed us of the guilt of sin and the penalty of sin, however, we will need the strength of God to overcome the power of sin in our lives!

This strength comes into our lives as we allow God's Holy Spirit to direct our hearts, mind and spirit to walk away from sinful things and to walk towards the things of God! Listen to the following words...

5Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.
Romans 8:5 (NIV)

Now I want to point out to you one of the areas where sin is strongest and where we need the power of the Holy Spirit of God to help us overcome.

It has to do with love!

That's right! I said love!

What do sin and love have to do with each other?
When we think of sin, we automatically think of something we do!
An act we commit. These are sins of commission.

But there are also sins of omission.
These are the sins of things we don't do we should do!!

What does this have to do with love?
God has chosen to love us and He has chosen us to love others. However, I hear so many say, "I just can't love this person. I can't forgive this person."  


You can't in your own strength! But you can through the power of the Holy Spirit.
God's love in you. I'm amazed at how many times when the Bible talks about the Holy Spirit, it is also talking about loving each other.
In fact our text goes on to say what the power of the Holy Spirit was to accomplish in the church.

4. The Holy Spirit brings Christ into our hearts and gives us the power to know the love of God!

17so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love,
Ephesians 3:17 (NIV)

18may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,
Ephesians 3:18 (NIV)

19and to know this love that surpasses knowledge —that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Ephesians 3:19 (NIV)

"So that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith!"

If Jesus dwells in your heart and you give Him the central place in your heart you are going to love God and others.
You just will...

19We love because he first loved us.
1 John 4:19 (NIV)

20If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen.
1 John 4:20 (NIV)

21And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.
1 John 4:21 (NIV)

1Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well.
1 John 5:1 (NIV)

John doesn't mince words, "If anyone says, 'I love God,' yet hates his brother, he is a liar."

You might say, "well I don't hate them, I just don't love them!"

Sorry, it doesn't work that way. You either love them or not! You see, love is the basis for Christianity. It is what Christianity is rooted in! It is the foundation!

Paul said, "being rooted and established in love,"

Rooted is a term the farmers knew well. If the plants had deep roots they would be healthy and would withstand hard times. Established or grounded, spoke to the builders of a strong foundation that could withstand the storms of life.

Love was to be the root and the foundation for the church. In fact, you might remember what Jesus said when asked what was the most important commandment...

28One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”
Mark 12:28 (NIV)

29“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one.
Mark 12:29 (NIV)

30Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’
Mark 12:30 (NIV)

31The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
Mark 12:31 (NIV)

Paul went on to give the reason for being rooted and established in love. It was so we...

18may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,
Ephesians 3:18 (NIV)

We need to be rooted and grounded in Christ's love so we can see and understand just how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ!!

I'm amazed at the people who are willing to receive the wide love of Jesus, His grace, the long love of Jesus, His patience, the high love of Jesus, above any other love, the deep love of Jesus, His mercy, and yet those same people aren't willing to give it!!!
Makes me wonder if they ever really got it, or they've just gotten cold, really cold!

If we've been forgiven by God, how can we then be so cold to not offer forgiveness to those who plead for our forgiveness? If we've been loved by God, how can we then be so hard to not offer our love to those who plead for our love?

Let me clarify something. If you are in a currently abusive relationship and someone is saying you should just forgive them and continue the abusive relationship, that's not something that would honor God!


We love the unloveable, but we must set healthy boundaries. Jeff and Luis have been teaching a class on this and I would suggest you take the class next time it's offered.

However, if a person has truly repented and has accepted Jesus as their Savior and are seeking to allow Christ to be Lord of their life, then forgiveness is in order!

We must seek to grasp that God has chosen us to love! If we don't love, we are no different than the rest of the world.

5. Paul said we are to know a love that goes beyond anything the world could ever understand.

19and to know this love that surpasses knowledge —that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Ephesians 3:19 (NIV)

God wants us to be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
What is the measure of all the fullness of God?

I think I found the answer to this brain teaser...

8Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.
1 John 4:8 (NIV)

9This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.
1 John 4:9 (NIV)

10This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.
1 John 4:10 (NIV)

11Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
1 John 4:11 (NIV)

12No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
1 John 4:12 (NIV)

God's love is made complete in us!!
That's what God wants to do! Make His love complete in us.

Now I want us to read the last two verses of our text for today and I'll end the message in a rather surprising way.

20Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,
Ephesians 3:20 (NIV)

21to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
Ephesians 3:21 (NIV)

6. Paul states a powerful truth…God is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us!

 God is at work in you! God wants to transform you with His divine love! He wants you to be able to love Him and to love others. But there is someone else you must learn to love.
Wait a minute, if I love God and others, who else is there?


 YOU!!

 Didn't Jesus say love your neighbor as you love yourself? If you don't love yourself, you're not going to do a good job loving others. If you allow God to forgive you, but you don't forgive yourself, Satan will use this self-hate to defeat you.

 The Bible says we are to deny ourself not hate ourself!

David Seamands wrote a book called "Healing for Damaged Emotions"
He wrote the following...

 "Self negation is not a part of humility or holiness or sanctification. Self-crucifixion and self-surrender do not mean the downgrading of self. Develop the picture of your worth and value from God not from the false reflections that come out of your past...

 The healing of low self-esteem really hinges on a choice you must make: Will you listen to Satan as he employs all the lies, the distortions, the put-downs, and the hurts of your past to keep you bound by unhealthy, unchristian feelings and concepts about yourself? Or will you receive your self-esteem from God and His Word?"

The following statements taken from David's book apply to you and to others!

Listen...

"What right have you to belittle or despise someone whom God loves so deeply?"

He sent His Son to die for you!

"What right have you to belittle or despise someone whom God has honored so highly?"

You are a child of God!

"What right have you to belittle or despise someone whom God values so highly?"

He left the 99 to look for the one!

"What right have you to belittle or despise someone whom God has planned for so carefully?"


11For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

20Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,
Ephesians 3:20 (NIV)

21to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
Ephesians 3:21 (NIV)

let's Pray!!