The power that works in us

Ephesians 3:16-21

<27011E> 139

The subject of prayer here is that there might be an inward power put forth by the Holy Ghost. Paul's heart was desiring to see these saints in a deepening enjoyment of Christ, and this by an operation of the Spirit unlimited in its measure.

They had the inner man. the divine nature communicated to them. God had looked upon them in His great love, not only quickened them, but given them out of His fulness. They were in a family every member of which is purged from sin. "I write unto you, children, because your sins are forgiven you." The incorruptible seed is not the word of God, but that which is communicated by the word of God. The Christian is thus put into a position in which the creature does not stand. The first Adam was innocent but corruptible. The Second man was pure and incorruptible. The believer now (in spite of that which is corruptible in him) has received this incorruptible seed, and that by the word of God. This they had: yet the heart of the apostle was not satisfied, but must go forth with energy that God the Holy Ghost might act in them according to their individual need, and that "according to the riches of his glory," not only eventually to be enjoyed, but a spring of power now to be given, and that without measure. It is the same Spirit to quicken and to strengthen now as will fill the whole bride. Paul put no limit short of this.

"That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith" (v. 17). This is not having happy feelings, or suavity of character, etc. It is one thing to be safe in the ark on the Ararat of God, and another thing for Christ to dwell in the heart by faith. Oh what a quantity of care goes out when Christ is there! If Christ is the master of the house, and dwelling in it, He does not let the dust and cobwebs accumulate, but He fills it altogether: and should a sudden start come to the heart, there will be found not fear, but Christ.

Some people make love among believers into a commandment. This is not the secret. If Christ is master of heart and conscience, He will teach brotherly love, and then will be comprehended "with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height," v. 18. See the connection of understanding with being rooted, etc., here and in Colossians 2:2. I shall not understand, save as divine (not human) affections are in exercise. Breadth, etc., of what? Soon after Christianity was launched, philosophy came in with progression. Paul knew no length, breadth, etc., save what was in Christ; Satan knows many, but they are only his depths and can be detected.

140 Next, we are set in the fulness of God. Thus we have had first the inward strengthening by the Spirit; next, this is shewn by Christ dwelling in our hearts by faith, rooted and grounded in love, that they might comprehend with all saints what is the length, and breadth, and depth, and height; thirdly, by this they might be filled with all the fulness of God; and fourthly, this is described as the power that works "in us." This fulness of God calls for something back. All that God gives Christ is yours: then I must praise Him. Can I be silent? Why not lift your voice to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly above all you ask or think? We cannot expect too much.

Observe the distinct superscriptions of the prayers. The first is to God the Father of glory, the second is to the Father of the Lord Jesus Christ. The glory of Christ as the servant of God and the glory of the only begotten of the Father are quite separate. It is very different for Christ to say, "My Father and your Father," and "My God and your God." When Christ took the servant's place, God was the Father of glory to Him.

Christ's sympathy flows out according to need down here. We have His sympathies. If we knew more of Christ's sympathies, the children of God might have more for one another. If full of sorrow yourself, go and sympathise with another, and your own will be gone.

Many a saint, if he knew what Christ's sympathy was, would wish to be left alone. Christ does not sympathise with my fleshly thoughts, but what He does is for the glory of God. He may have to break my will, and bring it to His. He will take up all the good, and He can make the face to shine; but it is of no use for us to ask for sympathy, if not set on the glory of God.

Our sympathy with Him is another thing: but He cares for us; John 16.

141 Let me ask (as exhortation) whether you pray for the acting of the Spirit as prayed for here. One of the reasons why the light and knowledge given connected with God and His Christ is so little entered into is connected with lack of prayer for the operation of the Spirit in this way. Christ is in heaven now. He was the centre of the thoughts of the little company who followed Him in Galilee. Why should not you and I have Him practically as the centre of our minds and hearts? All with them was simply done in the light and at the word of their Master. Had they boats to launch, nets to let down, all was at His word. This is a challenge to our hearts as to every-day circumstances. His presence in our hearts changes everything. It is very hard to be discontented when He is in the heart. How the thoughts of one's mind change with the company one is in! God has put us into a place where we may be sounding the unsoundable depths of the motives that have acted on Christ.