Ephesians 3:14-19 // Expanding Our Vision for Christian Life

You may have heard that the average human being only uses 10% of their brain. Turns out, this is a total myth – it’s not true. But as we think about Ephesians 3:14-19, could it be that the average Christian only experiences 10% of the blessings available through Jesus Christ?

Through Jesus, we’ve been reconciled to the God of the universe so that He’s now our Father. And yet it often seems like we live just like everyone else. We don’t always seem so different from other people.

Our Scripture today can expand our vision for what the Christian life can be. It can also expand our vision for what we hope for the next generation.

Our Vision: Internal or External?

When we think about our hope for this life, we sometimes just hope to make it through this week. For our children, we just hope that they’ll stay out of trouble, go to church and not make any really bad decisions.

These are good things to pray for – but as Christians, we can set the bar so much higher. One thing we can pray for is a deeper experience of Christ’s presence. This is what Paul’s lofty prayer in Ephesians 3:14-19 says.

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father … that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith …

– vv. 14-17a

Right off, we get the fact that God has the resources that we need. Apart from Him granting us “to be strengthened with power,” we would be too weak to experience what Paul is asking for. We can’t muster up spiritual strength and power on our own. It only comes “through his Spirit in [our] inner being.”

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Paul isn’t praying that the Ephesians will be more devoted to external religious practices. He’s thinking about their inner being.

What Does It Mean for Jesus to Dwell in Your Heart?

The climax comes at the begin of verse 17. Paul prays for this strength in spiritual power “so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.”

You’ve probably heard of people “asking Jesus into their heart.” But what does that actually mean?

Paul’s train of thought comes from the beautiful image of God’s people being like living stones taken from all over the world which, “being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord … into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit” (Ephesians 2:21-22). The temple was where God’s presence dwelt. But God doesn’t dwell in a man-made structure anymore – He dwells within human hearts.

To think about what it means for Jesus to dwell in your heart, it might be helpful to think about what it would mean for Jesus to dwell in your house. Imagine Jesus showing up at your door. He’s not just visiting – He’s going to move in. How would that change your household? How would it change the way you spend your time? It would totally shift the way you live.

For Jesus to dwell in our hearts, it would mean all of that. It wouldn’t happen in our household, though; it would happen in ourselves. As Christians, we’re not the only ones residing in our hearts. Jesus is in there with us, and it rearranges how we live and how we view ourselves and the world.

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Rooted in Love, Filled with the Fullness of God

Christ Jesus isn’t supposed to be an external notion that we know a lot of facts about. He’s meant to be an internal, living reality that transforms everything about us.

With that in mind, Paul fleshes out some implications in verses 17b-19:

… that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Part of us experiencing Christ dwelling in our hearts is personally experiencing His love. And “being rooted and grounded” in this love, we can have a common bond with “all the saints.” This Christ-like love is what unites us.

And Paul ends with “that you may be filled with all the fullness of God” (v. 19). It’s a contrast between a heart that’s empty of spiritual life versus one that’s active and buzzing with the fullness of God Himself.

Conclusion

These are amazing expectations for what the Christian life can be. But again, we often set the bar so low. As Christians, we can know that we can and should grow closer to Jesus and have a deeper experience of His presence in our hearts. We can grow in knowledge of His love and in the fullness of God.

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For our kids and teens, it’s important that they know that our hope for them isn’t just church attendance. Our hope for them is a real relationship with Jesus Christ in which they experience His presence, love and fullness, that He would be a living reality within them. We can get our kids in church, teach them, model Christianity for them – but only God can cause His Son to dwell in their hearts.

Discussion Starters

  • What is your vision for your life? How does it compare with Paul’s prayer in this passage?
  • If you have kids, what is your vision for their lives?
  • What does it mean for Jesus to dwell in your heart?
  • According to this Scripture, what are the implications for Jesus dwelling in our hearts? Do any other Scriptures come to mind?

As always, if anything stood out to you in this message, please let us know in the comments below. We look forward to hearing from you!

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