Monday, November 30, 2015

experiencing the love of Christ

artwork by Tamara Peterson

As I pondered this delightful work of art by Tamara Peterson, I could suddenly hear the deep baritone voice of George Beverly Shea singing the beautiful old hymn, The Love of God.

Composer Frederick M. Lehman describes the process of writing this hymn, which he composed in 1917 in Pasadena, California: “The lyrics are based on the Jewish poem, Haddamut, written in Aramaic in 1050 by Meir Ben Isaac Nehorai, a cantor in Worms, Germany. One day, during short intervals of inattention to our work, we picked up a scrap of paper and, seated upon an empty lemon box pushed against the wall, with a stub pencil, added the first two stanzas and chorus of the song, since the lines of the third stanza, Could we with ink the ocean fill and were the skies of parchment made, were every stalk on earth a quill and every man a scribe by trade, to write the love of God above would drain the ocean dry, nor could the scroll contain the whole though stretched from sky to sky, had been found penciled on the wall of a patient’s room in a hospital after he died.” This drew my heart to a word study of the word fullness from  Ephesians 3:19

NIV: and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Amplified:  [That you may really come] to know [practically, through experience for yourselves] the love of Christ, which far surpasses mere knowledge [without experience]; that you may be filled [through all your being] unto all the fullness of God [may have the richest measure of the divine Presence, and become a body wholly filled and flooded with God Himself]!

NLT: May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.

Phillips:  and to know for yourselves that love so far beyond our comprehension. May you be filled though all your being with God himself!

Wuest: and to know experientially the love of the Christ which surpasses experiential knowledge in order that you may be filled up to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Young's Literal:  to know also the love of the Christ that is exceeding the knowledge, that ye may be filled--to all the fullness of God;

Fullness in Greek is pleroma from pleroo means to make full, fill, fill up, fullness, full measure, abundance, completion or what fills. Pleroma describes a full measure or abundance with emphasis upon completeness. Pleroma is completion and describes what is fulfilled or is completed without any gap. The sum total. The totality. Pleroma speaks of the total quantity and emphasizes completeness. Pleroma was a recognized technical term in theology, denoting the totality of the Divine powers and attributes.

Greek scholar Kenneth Wuest writes: “The word “fullness” is pleroma. Thayer’s Greek Lexicon gives the following: “that which is or has been filled; used of a ship inasmuch as it is filled (i.e., manned) with sailors, rowers, and soldiers; in the New Testament, the body of believers, as that which is filled with the presence, power, agency, riches of God and of Christ.”

Pastor John MacArthur has said, “To be filled up to all the fullness of God therefore means to be totally dominated by Him, with nothing left of self or any part of the old man. By definition, then, to be filled with God is to be emptied of self. It is not to have much of God and little of self, but all of God and none of self.”

Pastor Steven Cole writes: “The top rung of the ladder (to use Spurgeon’s phrase) is, “that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:19). “The fullness of God” probably refers to the perfection of which God Himself is full. Paul is praying that we will attain to spiritual perfection, having all that God is fill us to overflowing. As our capacity to receive it grows, He keeps filling us again and again. The idea of fullness implies total dominance or control, so that God perfectly controls our minds, our emotions, and our will.”


Pastor Wayne Barber on filled with the fullness of God: “Everything that fills God fills me and controls me and satisfies me. I am living in a realm now that I didn’t know was possible. I am loving people I didn’t think were lovable. I have put up with people who used to give me a fit. I am handling circumstances like never before. God, what is going on inside of me? God says, "You haven’t seen anything yet. Keep on trusting Me. I have other levels I want to take you to. Walk in the fullness of what I have to offer you." That is it. That is the Christian life. Paul is praying that all of God would dominate all that you are. In other words, that all of God would dominate all of you. I picked that word "dominate" very carefully because the word "filled" implies dominate. The Greek word is pleroo. It is the word that means "to be filled to the brim." If you fill a glass of water and fill it to the brim, that’s pleroo. It is filled full. There is no room for anything else. There is the implied meaning of satisfaction. You have a satisfied glass if it is full of water. What is a glass for? To be filled up. When you put the liquid to the top it must be satisfied. Nothing else is needed to satisfy the glass. So in light of Paul’s prayer, Paul is saying when we are empty of sin and we are empty of self and filled up with the fullness of God, then we begin to understand what satisfaction is all about. There is also the implicit meaning of dominance. Whatever fills a person dominates that person."

What are you filled with?
What is coming out of your life? Look at your life. Are you filled with fear and jealousy or are you filled with the Holy Spirit of God?

Lord Jesus, we believe that whatever fills a person dominates that person. Fill us today so that our mind, soul, and body is dominated of the Spirit of Christ. Thank You that You don’t want to give us more head knowledge about Your love. Thank You that You help us understand and comprehend Your love for us—so that it really sinks in and goes from being head knowledge to heart knowledge about how very much You love us. Thank You that You give us a heart to experience for ourselves the limitless love of Christ. Knowledge isn’t enough. Great speeches or sermons won’t suffice, neither will hearing what You did in someone else’s life. It takes the Holy Spirit imparting power to each of us to fathom the depth and length and width, the incomparable nature, of God’s amazing love for us in Your finished work on the cross. Thank You that You cause our roots to go down deep into the soil of God’s marvelous love for us. Thank You that as we receive and experience Your love in our own hearts, Your love can flow through us to others. Grant us the power to understand the limitless extent of Your love. Be the center of our lives, our homes, our churches. In Your precious name we pray, amen.

Look Up—meditate on Ephesians 3:19

Look In
—as you meditate on Ephesians 3:19 pray to see how you might apply it to your life.

Look Out—as you meditate on Ephesians 3:19 pray to see how you might apply it to your relationships with others.


30 comments:

  1. Too many more times than I'd like to count, I am filled up with anything but the fullness of God. Quite often, fear fills my heart - and it crowds everything else out. I am praying for something new in the coming year, a deeper sense of His presence and a greater understanding of the love He pours out on us.

    Those words from the hospital - wow. THAT is Life...

    GOD BLESS!

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    1. Sharon, thank you so much for stopping by! I love your beagle Marty, he has such fine words of wisdom! I so agree with you about the third stanza lyrics...in an interview with George Beverly Shea I heard him say those words especially touched his heart and drew him to this song. Many blessings to you and Marty!

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  2. Thanks, Beth, for this great reminder that we need to experientially ingest the love of God and not just to read about it as if it were the local newspaper. The various translations warmed my heart. I often seek out every translation available to catch every nuance of a verse or passage. Visiting as your neighbor next door! Thanks for this good word!
    Blessings,
    Pam

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    1. Amen, Pam! I so agree with you...so glad you stopped by today. Many blessings to you!

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  3. Ephesians is such a great book! Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Kelly, Ephesians is one of my favorite books in the Bible...so full of God's grace and mercy...drawing us into His everlasting arms...Many blessings to you!

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  4. So glad you visited my blog so I had a chance to read your robust blog about the love of God! How rich and full! I will be reading Ephesians with deeper meaning and just love this definition!! “To be filled up to all the fullness of God therefore means to be totally dominated by Him, with nothing left of self or any part of the old man. By definition, then, to be filled with God is to be emptied of self. It is not to have much of God and little of self, but all of God and none of self.”

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    1. Thank you so much for your encouraging comments, Kathy. I so agree with you, I now see the word "dominate" in a new and positive light, as I pray for the Spirit of Christ who dwells in the innermost part of me to take authority, dominate, my soul--the seat of my emotions, and my body--my fleshly desires and appetites. Many blessings to you ❤️

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  5. Thanks for sharing your Bible study with us, Beth. The love of God. That is definitely what I want to be FULL of. Your question at the end is convicting too. What is coming out of my life?

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    1. Thank you Betsy for stopping by...appreciate your comments. many blessings to you s❤️

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  6. Beth..one of your very best !! Loved reading this and am copying into my journal to keep. That verse in Ephesians is one I cherish !
    Thank you for blessing me so beautifully with this study today... it did me the power of good.

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    1. Mary, I'm so blessed that you were encouraged by this precious scripture from The Living Word of God...the only book we open and the Author Himself shows up...the Holy Spirit spoke powerfully to me through this verse, too...praying God's continual favor and blessing on you and Jono ❤️

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  7. Hi Beth, God's Love is amazing. Many times we need to click pause o our busy lives and really think deep!
    Love your heart, friend. Thank you for the prayers
    God Bless

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    1. Thank you, Ifeoma, you are such a wonderful encourager to me and so many others...many blessings to you ❤️

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  8. Love this quote: "By definition, then, to be filled with God is to be emptied of self. It is not to have much of God and little of self, but all of God and none of self." SO hard to let go of ALL of self, don't we just want to hang onto a little bit for ourselves. Great post!

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    1. Kathryn, I so agree with you, without the Holy Spirit dwelling in the innermost part of me, taking authority over by emotions and my flesh, I could do nothing...many blessings to you ❤️

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  9. Whenever I read your posts, I feel as if I am looking over your shoulder as you study the Word. Thanks for letting us into your experience of Scripture.

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    1. Michele, when I read your sweet comment I felt like Jesus was wrapping His loving arms around me...He knows how much I delight in sharing with others what He uses to encourage me in His Word...thank you so much for your heart-felt words...many blessings to you ❤️

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  10. Thank you for sharing this. It gives me something to think about, and defintely more than one can chew at one sitting. I will be coming back to this for deeper study. Would make for great posts to blog over on Walking In My Destiny with what the Lord shares with me though this. God Bless!
    http://walkinginmydestiny.com/

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    1. Thank you for stopping by, Jason. I enjoyed your post on Advent also. Many blessings to you ❤️

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  11. What am I filled with? Thought-provoking question for this morning. Thought I'd read your post quickly before heading into quiet time with the Lord. I'll be asking Him this very question. Loved visiting this morning from #dancewithJesus, Beth.

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    1. Kristi, thank you so much for stopping by and sharing your heart with me. Isn't it neat the way God knits us together to share our hearts as we rest in Him? Many blessings to you ❤️

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  12. "There is no room for anything else." <3 Interesting study, thanks for researching and then sharing what you learned. :) Blessed to be neighboring you at Weekend Whispers this morning. ((blessings))

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    1. Thank you, Brenda. It is a joy for me to share with others what the Lord has used to encourage me. Many blessings to you ❤️

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  13. I was thrilled to be reminded of one of my favorite hymns, and I didn't know anything about the writing of it. Such an interesting story. The love of God is one of those things mere mortals cannot possibly comprehend, but how grateful I am to know it knows no bounds.

    I found you at Spiritual Sundays, where we are neighbors.

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    1. Dayle, thank you so much for stopping by...I so agree with you! Many blessings to you ❤️

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  14. Each week, I get excited to see what artwork you share with us! I adore the overflowing cup of Love! I have a thing for hearts ;)

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    1. Thank you, Carrie, I am also inspired by the artwork each week. Thanks so much for stopping by! Many blessings to you ❤️

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  15. In this modern day, with all the new songs being written and played, we rarely hear and often forget the beautiful lyrics and sound of the older hymns, like this one. To experience the love of Christ in its fullness is almost beyond words, but this song espresses it so very well! Thanks for sharing.
    Ann @ Christ in the Clouds - http://christintheclouds.blogspot.com/

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    1. Ann, thank you for stopping by...I so agree with you! Many blessings to you ❤️

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