To Know the Love of Christ

To love God with all the heart, and with all the understanding

Ephesians 3:17-19

January 24, 2016 AM

Pastor Craig Ledbetter

Bible Baptist Church, Ballincollig, Cork, Ireland


I.        Introduction (Mark 12:28-34)


A.     Jesus is asked by a scribe, a Bible copyist, the most important question ever – what is the greatest and first commandment?

B.      Jesus’ answer – to love God with everything we have, and love others like we love ourselves

C.      The scribe agrees – No debate – of all the Bible he has read and copied by hand, there is no greater commandment given by God.

D.     But the scribe says something that caught my attention… “to love God with all the heart, and with all the understanding


1.       To not only love God, and others

2.       But to understand love – to grasp it, know it, be affected by it, experience it

3.       That is better than all of religious activities, all the efforts, good works, and ceremonies

4.       It is even better than winning all the lottos, all the game shows, all the talent shows


E.      Jesus gladly admits that this man, this scribe of the law was not far from getting born again!

F.      We all believe that we already know how to love, and what is okay to love. We know there are some things that are wrong to love.

G.     But do we understand, and know, and comprehend the love of Christ?


II.     Background (Ephesians 3:14-19)


A.     Paul is telling the Christians in Ephesus that he is praying for them


1.       NOT for them to be rich and happy and healthy

2.       But for them to be strengthened in their inner man

3.       And that Christ would DWELL in their hearts

4.       That they would be rooted and well grounded in love

5.       And most of all, that they would be able to comprehend the love of Christ


a.       To Actually experience it

b.       To understand it

c.       To Enjoy it day after day

d.       To know that it is there, and will never go away

e.       To rest in it even when it doesn’t feel like it is there sometimes


B.      Paul, as a wise master-builder, gives some measurements of the love of God…


1.       Breadth - Width

2.       Length

3.       Height

4.       Depth

5.       Job struggled with two dimensions (Job 23:8,9)

6.       David grasped three dimensions (Psalm 139:7-9)

7.       Paul goes for four dimensions (Ephesians 3:18,19)


C.     Such Love was Experienced by


1.       John (John 13:23) “Now there was leaning on Jesus' bosom one of his disciples, whom Jesus loved.”

2.       Paul (Gal 2:20) “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”

3.       Lepers, blind, lame, dying, troubled, lonely, demon possessed, sinners, harlots, publicans

4.       Rich Man (Mk 10:17,21)

5.       Martha, Mary and Lazarus (John 11:5) “Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus.”

6.       It can be experienced by every person in this room


III.  Message (Ephesians 3:14-19)


A.     Comprehending The Breadth of Christ’s Love – How Far It Reaches


1.       Stretch out a line marking just one side of a building…


a.       And don’t stop. Keep stretching it out further and further… This line never ends!


2.       The wider the base, the stronger the structure


a.       Look at the Pyramids

b.       The Eiffel Tower

c.       Skyscrapers

d.       So it is with the love of God!


3.       The breadth of the love of Jesus Christ is the base that God has laid to build everything that we can be upon


a.       Infinite Breadth is the strong base upon which Christ’s love for sinful mankind rests

b.       He did not plan for small lives, hobbling on one leg, crawling through defeats

c.       He starts with a love that spans the vastness of His creative power


4.       Another way of understanding the breadth of the love of Christ, is by looking at the breadth of what God has created – the universe! Let’s talk About “Size” for a minute


a.       Size of our world – incomprehensible unless you can take a ride on a rocket into space, and SEE it for your-self

b.       Size of our solar system – travelling at the fastest speed any rocket has ever gone, it would take a crew 20 years to travel to the edge of our solar system

c.       Size of our galaxy

d.       Size of our universe

e.       Only one word – VAST!

f.        We are asked to attempt to comprehend, to know, to experience a love that is greater than any ocean, plan-et, galaxy, or than the entire universe

g.       This love is BIG (Rom 8:38,39)


5.       Don’t imagine for one second that God doesn’t love you – and that God can’t love you


a.       He loves every Jew, every gentile, every pagan, every religious zealot, every politician, every paedophile, every sinner, every nation, every tribe, every kindred

b.       He does not love what they DO, but He does love them immensely!


B.      The Length – How Long It Works


1.       Length refers to the time God is willing to take to reach to the uttermost


a.       How far back it goes

b.       And how far it will go patiently waiting for it to finally be received


2.       Christ’s love began in eternity past (1John 4:19)

3.       Christ’s love continues to the very end (John 13:1) – even when ours has ended!

4.       Christ’s love is never ending (Jeremiah 31:3)

5.       The length of the love of Christ is His Grip on us (Romans 8:35-39) – Unbreakable

6.       It never quits – once we have received it! (More about that later)


C.     The Depth – How Strong It Is


1.       The depth of the love of Christ shows a solid thickness that resists pressures and attacks – not superficial – not words only

2.       This is the unseen foundation of our relationship with God


a.       Like a building needs a deep foundation

b.       Like a mighty tree needs deep roots


3.       Remember what Christ’s love must withstand:


a.       The accuser of the brethren, constantly bringing up our sins and failures (Rev 12:10)

b.       Our own weaknesses against temptations


4.       Reaches under the lowest we have ever gone (Deut 33:27) – Christ has gone deeper

5.       Remember how low Jesus had to go to get us (Philp 2:5-8)


a.       Jesus came down

b.       Was constantly put down – mocked, ridiculed

c.       Was murdered

d.       Put into a tomb

e.       Went even into the heart of the earth and brought up all Old Testament believers, and took them with Him all the way into heaven


6.       Our love is so paper-thin

7.       His love has real depth


D.     The Height – How High It Raises Us


1.       Christ’s love towers above everything else


a.       Normally something taller than us and bigger than us is scary

b.       But not when it comes to the love of Christ


2.       It is more important than knowing anything else


a.       You could know all the facts, the names, the places, the words, the history, the science, the prophecies, the promises of the Bible…

b.       But if you do not know the love of Christ, you have missed everything! (John 5:42) Spoken to very religious Jews that knew the Bible inside and out

c.       But they did not know the love of God


3.       Christ was not just pitiful towards us, looking down upon such fallen ruined creatures

4.       But He was so loving, that He is capable of raising us to sit with Him in heavenly places (Eph 2:4-6)


IV.  Invitation


A.     It is so good and healthy and encouraging to try to fathom it all

B.      But it is even better to Experience it – receive it – it is freely given

C.      It will change your life - If you accept what Christ’s love did for you


1.       It loved you as you are

2.       It forgave you at Christ’s expense

3.       It waits for you to believe it is true