30 November, 2012
Is Your Church Rooted & Grounded in Christ ? Are You?
Ephesians 3:17 “so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love”
In the Ephesians’s letters we can clearly see through the eyes of Paul and his writing how the Church was flourishing in their walk as Christians. By contrast, he was constantly worrying about the Galatians to the point where in 3:1 he called them foolish Galatians. Paul was in travail for them and needed to encourage those foolish Galatians to continue in their walk until Christ was formed in them. (4:19) It is a big contrast here when we read his letters to the Ephesians Church. He was pleased with them and throughout the book of Ephesians his goal was to reinforce and strengthen them in their steadfast walk. His prayer for them shows that he knew Christ was formed in them. Each one of them was a light in the world and together as a Church they were striving in the midst of difficulties. They had the truth in them, so the false prophets were not making a dent. They had the wisdom and the Holy Spirit’s power so they were able to test any “prophets or apostles” amongst them.
I will not go into details with the Ephesians Church that had prompted those letters from Paul. Suffice to say if we read Revelation 2:1-7. John was in his nineties when he wrote the book of revelation while he was a prisoner on the Patmos Island. This background gives you a good idea as to how long the Church was in existence before they went cold. Revelation 2:1-7: "To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: These are the words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks among the seven golden lampstands. I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked people, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary. Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place. But you have this in your favor: You hate the practices of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.”
We see the Christians in Ephesus were able at one point to be pleasing to God and to Paul. According to what we read they were rooted and grounded in Him. What does it mean then to be rooted and grounded in Him? Well, there is no need for me to use my words here because Scriptures tell us what it means when we read Ephesians 3: 16-19 “That He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God.” Now, isn’t that beautiful, the abundance of this life in Him and in the inner man (soul) strengthened by Him. Can you imagine what it means to comprehend the depth of the love of Christ, to see it with your spiritual eyes, and grasp it with your soul? Can you see the beauty of the riches we have in Him? Being strengthened to persevere and endure this life and to actually have Christ dwells in your heart? Can you truly grasp all of it with your soul and spirit? Do you truly possess these blessings in Him, right now as a corporate Church and also individually?
How do we know Christ dwells in our hearts? The scriptures tell us in John 14:23 Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.” Once again we see that Christ posed some conditions here. This goes beyond saying the sinner’s prayer. We are to love Him and obey His teaching meaning His ordinances. There is no doubt here that He also manifests Himself to those who love Him and they experience His grace and oneness even at a higher level. Often we misunderstand some passages in the Scriptures that are crucial to salvation because they look like work and since salvation is by grace we dismiss them as if we can get by, without them being part of our toolkit in our walk with Him. The misunderstanding comes mainly from lack of knowing Him first hand. So, in our toolkit, we do not have all that we need to go on being rooted, grounded and settled in Him. What we do not realize is that the work is done by the Holy Spirit. It is simply the continuance of the salvation we claim to have received, working in us by grace through faith.
Christ promising to make His abode with the father in the heart that loves Him is more than a passing phase. This oneness and this manifestation of Him will be a lifestyle as long as we keep loving Him and keep honoring His ordinances at the highest esteem of who we are in Him. Now, we know the downside of not keeping our part of the deal. It is right there in black and white in Revelation 2: 1-7. We see the Ephesians Church fell in love with Him at first, and now God told them they left their first love. When Christ dwells in your heart you cannot help but set your affections on things above as you practice His continual presence. All it takes on our part is to keep being committed to the faith no matter what life throws at us. Our job is simply to keep trusting and keep focussing on Him. And yes, this is easier said than done. Yet, He holds us responsible for it. Even if we want to ignore thousands of verses in the bible, through our spiritual blindness, the message sent to the Ephesus Church tells us that it is hard to keep following but we have to make sure we remain steadfast.
I read a sermon online where the pastor said in regard to Revelation 2: 1-7 the message was for the Church that does not mean the salvation of the Christians there, were in danger with God. This tells me this pastor’s definition of salvation is so narrow that God cannot make a dent in him. How deep can you be inside of Satan’s belly to say something like that? This pastor could easily have said God sent the message to the building. Yes, the message was addressed to the corporate Church and I have no doubt that most of those whom Paul had written to earlier where dead or old. So the flame must have been passed on to their children and other younger generations who made up the Church. But, the Church is not the building; it is us who makes up the corporate Church. We along with our leaders (mainly the leaders) in the Church set the tone that defines our walk with Him and the direction of our worship of Him.
Why do we need to be rooted? This is simple. Christ warned us as to what happened when we are not rooted in Him, in the parable of the sower. We do not have to use our imagination to know that a tree that never takes roots eventually dies. We do not get rooted in Him by living second hand Christianity either. Without being rooted and grounded in Him there is no solid foundation. Being rooted says that we have faith and we chose to continue this path He put us on. It means we have grown pass our feel good Christianity, pass head knowledge, misguided zeal, eloquence, past our experiences and opened our lives completely to Him. We do not get rooted while walking in the flesh so being rooted in Him is also an indication we are walking in the Spirit. Once again being rooted in Him is a job done inside of us by the Holy Spirit. It is once again the continuance of the salvation we have received.
It means we are standing on the only sure thing in this world that will never let us down which is God’s Word, and it is the only foundation we recognize to build onto our Christian community. When we are rooted, grounded and settled in Him, we have become unmovable. Even when the herd goes all in one direction with no clear goal, we do not mind standing alone. Our job is to remain loyal to Him and not to flinch because He has become your source of life and wisdom. Beloved, misery loves company and people who are living shallow Christianity in their head will do everything in their powers to keep you down with them. The more people they convince simply prove to them that they are right and do not have to go deeper apprehending. But remember, comes judgement day you will be alone to answer for yourself. So chose wisely whom you want to serve, God or man.
I hope you will be able to read this and ask yourself this: Are you truly rooted and grounded in Him.
Please read my book Apprehended & Apprehending with the subtitle: Soaring in the wilderness with God
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In His Agape Love,