Christians in the Fourth Dimension
In Paul's letter to the Ephesian Christians he records two prayers that he prayed for them The focus of the first prayer is for their spiritual enlightenment (Ephesians
1:15-23). We are going to look at the second prayer in chapter 3, verses 14-19. The focus here is that they will be strengthened in the inner man and know by experience the love of Christ. The seven petitions of the prayer might be classified:
ENDOWMENT“…that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory…” There are more riches in God’s endowment fund than all believers can ever exhaust and the heavenly Father freely dispenses them to those who claim these riches by faith.
ENDUEMENT…to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man”
The Holy Spirit is the willing source of supernatural power for the
ENTHRONEMENT“…that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith….” The idea is that we will not only welcome Christ into our hearts, but also make Him fully at home by allowing Him to
reside on the throne in our heart.
ENABLEMENT “… that you, being rooted and grounded in love…” We are to be rooted like a tree and grounded like a building in God’s love. Most of us have been instructed not to mix our metaphors but neither Paul not God had any such restrictions. There is infinite strength in knowing that we are rooted in God’s love and our foundation rests on God’s love.
ENLARGEMENT “may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the
width and length and depth and height,” A grand goal of every believer is to increasingly lay hold of all that the loving heart of God has prepared for His children.
ENLIGHTENMENT “… to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge”. It first appears Paul is praying that believers will know the unknowable. However, he is praying that they will know from experience what they cannot understand intellectually. We have all seen a baby lying in comfort and security in its mother’s arms. Although the baby cannot give all the reasons for the mother’s love, the baby knows from experience that it rests in the care of perfect love. As believers experience more and more of the love of Christ in their life, their knowledge of Christ’s love is a reality far greater than they can ever be taught academically or explain with mental knowledge.
ENRICHMENT “…that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” What a mighty prayer this is! We recall that when the temple of Solomon was completed that Solomon acknowledged in his prayer, “But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain
You…” (1 Kings 8:27). Paul prays here that every believer may be filled
with all the fullness of God. We note that Colossians 2:9 informs us, “For in Him (Jesus)
dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.” We also remember that on the night before Jesus died He informed His disciples that the Godhead would come to live in all believers. “…the
Father…will give you another Helper,,, the Spirit of truth…He dwells with you, and will be in you… If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word: and My Father will love him, and We will come to him, and make our
with him.” John 14:16,17, 23. We need to understand that when the Godhead moves into the believer to make their body a temple that all the qualities of the Godhead reside in that believer’s body. The hindrance is the believer’s capacity to apprehend God’s fullness. Paul is praying that each believer’s capacity will be increased to lay hold on and possess all the fullness of God.
THE FOURTH DIMENSION
In this message we will focus on the four dimensions brought to our attention in verse 18.
For centuries the most brilliant of men were content to believe that all things physical could be measured in three dimensions…height, depth, and width. Then a fellow named Albert Einstein came along and stated that there is a fourth dimension to our universe…the dimension of time. As physical scientists restudied our universe in its length, breadth, and depth while adding in the fourth dimension of time there resulted a revolution of understanding about the physical universe.
In like manner the people of Israel were content to believe that the value of each person could be measured in the three dimensions of time, talent, and material resources. The idea went something like this: If a person invested a substantial amount of their time, talent, and resources in the noble areas of life, then that person was very worthwhile indeed. If, on the other hand, they invested a substantial amount of their time, talent and material resources in things of little value, then they weren’t worth very much. There is more than a little truth in this standard of measurement.
Then Jesus came and revealed there is a fourth dimension that gives a much greater understanding of the value of each human being and that dimension is the love of God. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.” John 3:16.
Following the years of the Spanish Inquisition, Napoleon invaded Spain. In one of the prisons his soldiers came upon the skeleton of a prisoner in an underground dungeon. The flesh and clothing were gone, but a chain with its manacles around the ankle bone was still there. On the wall the prisoner had somehow cut into the rock the shape of the cross. At the top was the Spanish word for height and below it the word for depth. On one arm was the word for length and on the other was the word for breadth.
Other commentaries have suggested the following meanings to the four dimensions:
HEIGHT -The source of divine love flowing from the heart of God for “God is love”. 1 John 4:8, 16.
DEPTH - The deepest levels of sin to which man can go…even to the borders of Hell. The great love of God can reach down to the worst of sinners and through redemption raise them to the highest heights of God’s glory.
LENGTH - God’s love spans all ages from fallen Adam and Eve to the last sinner of history.
BREADTH - God’s love reaches across all classes including Jews
and all Gentiles. We learned this truth when we learned to sing as
children, “Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world. Red and yellow, black and white; they are precious in His sight. Jesus loves the little children of the
EXPRESSIONS OF GOD’S LOVE
GOD LOVED US FROM ETERNITY PAST
He knew all about us and was not daunted by our sin, although it seems He should have been. God is never surprised by our sin for He knew the worst from the first. How do we know? Because Jesus, the eternal Son of God, was foreordained to redeem us with His precious blood before the foundation of the world. (See 1 Peter 1:18-20) That unsurpassable decision of love was made before God created the world.
GOD GAVE HIS SON AS A
SACRIFICE FOR OUR SIN
When Adam and Eve succumbed to Satan’s temptation God promised “…the seed of the woman shall bruise the serpent’s head…” To fulfill that promise God had to preserve a godly line through Seth, Noah, Shem, Abraham, Judah, and the family of David. God had to unite deity with humanity in a virgin’s womb. God observed as His Son experienced physical privation, envy, anger and slander, betrayal, suffering and death. On the cross Jesus accepted the sins of all mankind to be laid on Him. This broke the fellowship between the Father and the Son and the Son cried out, “My
God, my God, why have You forsaken me?” The full condemnation of perfect justice carried out its sentence on Him. And so John wrote “In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation (sacrifice) for our sins.” 1 John 4:10.
GOD'S LOVE MOTIVATED HIM TO SAVE
There is a mystery about the inter-working of the sovereignty of God and the free will of man that has not yet been understood.
Most of us can at least accept that God knows every person who will
receive Jesus Christ as Savior and every one who won’t. Of those who do receive Jesus as Savior Paul wrote, “But God,
Who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in
trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up
together and made us sit together with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.”
Ephesians 2:4-6. We did not receive assurance of our salvation until we consciously received Christ by faith as our Savior. In the mind of God we received remission of sins, spiritual life, and ascension into heaven in the death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus. In due time it was the great love of God that brought us into the experience of this great salvation.
NOTHING CAN SEPARATE US FROM
In this regard Paul wrote “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
As it is written, . . .Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am
persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities nor
powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord". Romans 8:35-39 Space does not allow us to tell of how God, in love, promises His presence and provision for our life’s journey. We can be assured we have available to us all we need for life and eternity because of the love of God.
BELIEVERS ARE TO EXPRESS GOD’S LOVE
God’s love has been poured out into believer’s hearts. Believers have the capacity to even exult in tribulation “because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts
by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” Romans 5:5 Believers do not need to manufacture God’s love but simply be a channel to let God’s love in them flow out to others.
BELIEVERS ARE TO EXPRESS THEIR
LOVE TO GOD
As believers, we are aware that the first and greatest commandment is, “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart…soul and …mind.” Matthew 22:37 We should also be mindful that God expects our love. Just before Jesus went back to heaven He didn’t ask His disciples one doctrinal question but He leveled His eyes on Peter and asked, “…Do
you love Me?” We know that in our fallen, fleshly nature we have failed miserably in our love to God but with God’s love poured into our heart we now have the capacity to love Him as we should.
BELIEVERS ARE TO EXPRESS THEIR
LOVE TO FELLOW MEN
We also know the second greatest commandment is, ”You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Matthew 22:39 We also know how we have miserably failed here but God’s love has been poured out into our hearts.
Believers can love other believers with a divine love. The husband can properly love his wife and the wife her husband. Parents can properly love their children and children their parents. Believers can even love the unsaved no matter how unlovable they are because the love of God that loved them in their sin has been poured out into their hearts.
When believers allow the love of God to flow through them and out to others they become a Christian in the fourth dimension.
Copyright © 2002 Thomas E Berry
All Scriptures quoted NKJV unless otherwise noted