1. That He would grant you that ye may be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inward man;
2. That Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith;
3. That ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be strong to know the love of Christ which passeth knowledge;
4. That ye may be filled unto all the fulness of God. EPH. iii. 14-19.
TT7E have remarked several times that every
blessing which God gives is like a seed
with the power of an indissoluble life hidden in
it. Let no one therefore imagine that to be filled
with the Spirit is a condition of perfectness which 121
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leaves nothing more to be desired. In no sense can this be true. It was after the Lord Jesus was filled with the Spirit at His baptism He had to go forth to be still further perfected by temptations and the learning of obedience. When the disciples were filled with the Spirit on the day of Pentecost, this equipment with power from on high was given to them that they might carry out the victory over sin in their own lives and all around them. The Spirit is the Spirit of truth, and He must guide us into it. It will only be by slow degrees that He will lead us into the eternal purpose of God, into the knowledge of Christ, into true holiness, into full fellowship with God. The fulness of the Spirit is simply the full preparation for living and working as a child of God.
When we consider the matter from this point of view, we see at a glance how entirely indispensable it is for every child of God to aim at obtaining this blessing. Then we begin to feel that this is the very blessing that is to be pressed on the acceptance of the weak and timid. We also understand why it is that Paul offers this prayer on which we are now to meditate, in behalf of all
believers without distinction. He did not regard it as a spiritual distinction or special luxury which was intended only for those who were prominent or favoured amongst the children of God. No: it was for all without distinction, for all who at their conversion had by faith received the Holy Spirit, that he prayed. And his request was that by the special, powerful, and ever-deepening work of the Spirit, God would bring them to what was their true destiny namely, to be filled unto all the fulness of God. This prayer of Paul is everywhere regarded as one of the most glorious representations that the Word of God gives of what the life of a Christian ought to be. Let us then endeavour to learn what the full revelation and manifestation of this blessing of the Spirit may
That the Father would grant you that ye may be strengthened with power through the Spirit.
That these Christians had received the Spirit when they believed in Christ is clear from a previous statement of the Epistle. 1
1 Of. chap. i. ver. 14.
But he sees that they do not yet know or have all that the Spirit can do for them, and that there is a danger that, by their ignorance, they may make no further progress. Hence he bows his knees and prays without ceasing in their behalf that the Father would strengthen them with might by His Spirit in the inner man. This powerful strengthening with the Spirit is equivalent to being filled with the Spirit, is indeed this same blessing under another aspect. It is the indispensable condition of a healthful, growing, and fruitful life.
Paul prays that the Father would grant this boon. He asks for a new, definite operation of God. He entreats that God would do this according to the riches of His glory. It is surely not any trilling thing, anything very common, that he thus craves. He desires that God would remember and bring into play all the riches of His grace and, in a fashion commensurate with the divine glory of His power, do a heavenly wonder and as the living God strengthen these believers with might by His Spirit in the inner man.
Christian, learn at this point that your life
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every day depends on God’s will, on God’s grace, on God’s omnipotence. Yes: every moment God must work in your inner life and strengthen you by His Spirit, otherwise you cannot live as He would have you live. Just as no creature in the natural world can exist for a moment if God does not work in it to sustain its life, so the gift of the Holy Spirit is the pledge that God Himself is to work everything in us from moment to moment. Learn to know your entire, your blessed dependence on God, and the claim which you have on Him as your Heavenly Father to begin in you a life in the mighty strengthening of the Spirit and to maintain it without the interruption of a single moment.
Paul tells these believers what he prays for in their behalf, in order that they may know what they have need of and ask for it for themselves. Do you also learn to offer up this petition. Expect everything from God alone. Bow your knees, and ask and expect from the Father that He would manifest to you yes, in you the riches of His glory. Ask and expect that He would strengthen you with might by His Spirit, that Spirit who in fact is already in
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you, but only as an unknown, hidden, and slumbering seed. Let this become the one desire, the strong confidence of your soul: "God will fill me with the Spirit: God will strengthen me through the Spirit with His Almighty energy." Let your whole life every day be permeated by this prayer and this expectation.
That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith.
This is the glorious fruit of the divine strengthening with might in the inner man by the Spirit. The great work of the Father in eternity is to bring forth the Son.
In Him alone is the good pleasure of God realised. The Father can have no fellowship with the creature except through the Son. He can have no joy in it except in so far as He beholds His Son in it. Hence it is His great work in redemption to reveal His Son in us, and so to obtain an abode for Him in us, that our life shall be a visible expression of the life of Jesus.
That is the aim He has in view in strengthen-
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ing us with might by the Spirit in the inner man. It is that Christ may dwell in our hearts by faith.
This indwelling of Christ in us is not like that of a man who abides in a house, but is nevertheless in no sense identified with it. No: His indwelling is a possession of our hearts that is truly divine, quickening and penetrating their inmost being with His life. The Father strengthens us inwardly with might by His Spirit, so that the Spirit animates our will and brings it, like the will of Jesus, into entire sympathy with His own. The result is that our heart then, like the heart of Jesus, bows before Him in humility and surrender; our life seeks only His honour; and our whole soul thrills with desire and love for Jesus. This inward renewal makes the heart fit to be a dwelling- place of the Lord. By the Spirit He is revealed within us and we come to know that He is actually in us as our life, in a deep, divine unity, One with us.
Brother, God longs to see Jesus in you. He is prepared to work mightily in you that Christ may dwell in you. The Spirit has come, and the Father is willing to work mightily by Him that
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the living presence of His Son may always abide in you. Jesus loves you so dearly and longs so intensely for you that He cannot rest until He makes His abode in your heart. This is the supreme blessing that the fulness of the Spirit brings you.
That Christ may dwell in your heart by faith. It is by faith that you receive and know the indwelling of the Spirit and the operation of the Father by Him. By faith, which discerns things invisible as clearly as the sun, you receive and know the living Jesus in your heart. As con stantly as He was with His disciples on earth yea, more constantly than with them, because more inwardly and more really He will be in you and will grant you to enjoy His presence and His love. soul, pray that the Father would strengthen you with might by the Spirit, would open your heart for the fulness of the Spirit, and enable you trustfully to appropriate it. Then at last shall you know what it means to have Christ dwelling in your heart by faith.
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That ye, Toeing rooted and grounded in love, may be strong to know the love of Christ which passeth knowledge.
Here is the glorious fruit of the indwelling of Christ in the heart. By the Spirit the love of God is shed abroad in the heart. By Christ who dwells in the heart the love wherewith God loved Him comes into us; and we learn that just as life in God, between Father, Son, and Spirit, is only infinite love, so the life of Christ in us is nothing but love. Thus we become rooted and grounded in love. We are implanted in the soil of love: we strike our roots into heavenly love; henceforth we have our being in it and draw our strength from it. Love is the supreme element in our spiritual life. The Spirit in us and the Son in us bring us nothing but the love of God. Love is the first and the chief among the streams of living water that are to flow from us.
It is thus that we come to discover the truths that love is the fulfilling of the law; that love doeth no ill to one’s neighbour; l that
1 Rom. xiii. 10. 9
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love seeketh not its own; 1 that love lays down its life for the brethren. 2 Our heart becomes ever larger and larger; our friends, our enemies, the children of God and the children of the world, those that are worthy to be loved and those that are hateful, the ransomed and the lost, the world as a whole and every individual creature in particular are all embraced in the love of God. We find, then, our happiness lies in the sacrifice of our own honour, our own advantage and comfort, in favour of others. Love takes no account of sacrifice: it is its blessedness to love: it cannot do otherwise; actual loving is its nature and its life. We are able so to love, because the Father with His Spirit works mightily within us; because the Son, " who loved me and gave Himself for me," dwells in us, and He, who is crucified Love, has filled the heart completely with Himself. We are rooted in love, and in accordance with the nature of the root in God is the fruit from God love.
That ye may be strong to know the love which passeth knowledge: that is, to know love not with 2 Cor. iiii. 5. 2 1 John iii. 16,
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the knowledge of the understanding and its thoughts alone, but in the conscious blessedness of a heart in which Jesus dwells; to know love as something that cannot be known or conceived by the heart of itself; to be strong to know it fully, so far as this is possible before God, in order that He may fill you, an earthen vessel, with His own love to overflowing.
Souls, pray, listen to the word: "God is Love "; and He has provided everything to the end that you may know love fully. It is for this object that the Spirit is in you, and that the Father will work mightily in you: it is with this aim that Christ desires to have your whole heart. let us begin to pray, as never before, that the Father would strengthen us with might by the Spirit; that the Father would grant unto us to be filled with the Spirit; that ye may be strong to know the love of Christ.
That ye may be filled unto all the fulness of God.
What an expression! what an impenetrable mystery! what a divine blessedness! Filled unto all the fulness of God: this is the
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experience to which the fulness of the Spirit is intended to bring us, and will bring us.
Filled unto all the fulness of God: who shall ever unfold the meaning of this expression to us? How shall we ever reach any definite idea of what it signifies? God has made provision for our enlightenment. In Christ Jesus we see a man full of God, a man who was perfected by suffering and obedience, filled unto all the fulness of God: yea, a man who in the solitariness and poverty of an ordinary human life, with all its needs and infirmities, has nevertheless let us see on earth the life enjoyed by the inhabitants of heaven, as they are there filled unto all the fulness of God. The will and the honour, the love and the service of God were always visible in Him. God was all to Him.
When God called the world into existence it was in order that it might reveal Him. In it His wisdom and might and goodness were to dwell and be visibly manifested. We say continually that nature is full of God. God can be seen in everything by the believing eye. The Seraphim sing: the whole earth is full of His glory. When God created man after His
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image, it was in order that He Himself might be seen in man, that man should simply serve as a reflection of His likeness. The image of a man never serves any other purpose than to represent the man. As the image of God man was destined simply to receive the glory of God in his own life, to bear it and make it visible. God was to be all to him; to be all in him: he was to be full of God.
By sin this divine purpose has been frustrated. Instead of being full of God, man became full of himself and the world; and to such an extent has sin blinded us that it appears an impossibility ever to become full of God again. Alas! even many Christians see nothing desirable in this fulness. Yet it is back to this blessing that Jesus came to redeem and bring us; and this is the end for which God is prepared to work mightily within us by His Spirit. This is no less the result for which the Son of God desires to dwell in our heart, and which He will bring to accomplishment: it is all that we may be filled unto the fulness of God.
Yes; this is the highest aim of the Pentecostal
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blessing. To attain this, we can count upon the Spirit to make sure of our reaching it. He will open the way for us and guide us in it. He will work in us the deep humility of Jesus, who always said: " I can of Myself do nothing "; "I do not My own will "; " The words I speak, I speak not of Myself." l Amidst this self-emptying and sense of dependence He will work in us the assurance and the experience that for the soul which is nothing, God is surely ALL. By our faith He will reveal to us Jesus, who was full of God, as our life. He will cause us to be rooted in the love in which God gives all, and we shall take God as all. Thus it will be with us as with Jesus: man nothing, and God’s honour, God’s will, God’s love, God’s power, everything. Yes; the issue will be that we shall be "filled unto all the fulness of God."
Christian, I beg of you by the love of God not to say that this is too high an experience for you, or that it is not for you. No; it is in truth the will of God concerning you: the will alike of His commandment and of His promise.
1 John v. 30, vi. 38, xii. 49, xiv. 10.
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He is bent on fulfilling His promise: He Himself will work it out. To-day, then, in humility and faith take this word, " FILLED UNTO ALL THE FULNESS OF GOD," as the purpose and the watchword of your life, and see what it will do for you. It will become to you a mighty lever to raise you out of the self-seeking which is quite content with only being prepared for blessing. It will urge you to enter into and become firmly rooted in the love of God which gives everything to you, and thereby in the love which gives everything back to Him. It will convince you, that nothing less than Christ Himself dwelling in your heart can. keep such a love abiding in you, or actually make the fulness of God a reality within you. It will train you to fix your only hope of all this blessing on the mighty operation of God Himself by the Spirit. It will also move you to go down upon your knees and summon to your aid the wealth of God’s glory, that it may itself prepare you for this great wonder. This it will continue to do until your heart is enabled to utter the response: " Yes: FILLED UNTO ALL THE FULNESS OF GOD is what my God has prepared for me."
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With this glorious prospect before us, come and let us join with the apostle in the doxology: " Unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us (the power of His might), unto Him be the glory for ever and ever." ] Let us desire nothing less than these riches of the glory of God. To-day, if we have never done it before, let us make a beginning and appropriate to ourselves the full blessing of the Spirit as the power which is sure to lead us to be " filled unto all the fulness of God."
When God said to Abraham, " I am God Almighty," He invited him to trust His omnipotence to fulfil His promise. When Jesus went down into the grave and its impotence, it was in the faith that God’s omnipotence could lift Him to the throne of His glory. It is that same Omnipotence that waits to work out God’s purpose in them that believe in Him to do so. Let our hearts say, " Unto Him THAT is ABLE to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, unto Him be the glory." Amen.