Beth Moore - Raise The Roof - Part 1
Ephesians chapter 1, let me give you a little bit of the background here. It is a letter of the apostle Paul. It is one of his prison letters believed to have been written along with three others, Colossians, Philippians, and Philemon, during the time of his first imprisonment in Rome when he was under house arrest, and people could come and go and tend to him. Very different from his last arrest in Rome that would lead to his death, but he was able to write these letters, and they have some commonalities, and then they're all very distinct. There is no more beautiful letter, to me, in the entire New Testament than the book of Ephesians.
All of them are powerful, all inspired, all put on the page by the very breath of God, but, I mean, there is so much depth and theological density in this epistle that it is almost beyond compare, and one reason was because Paul had gotten to spend so much time with them. He had been to Ephesus on at least two different occasions, and he had spent three solid years discipling them. So when you get into the meat of this first chapter with me, and our text that we're paying extra-close attention to is 15 to 23, but I'm gonna read it from the top to give it context, but you're gonna notice it's just one explosive, gorgeous, theological word after another because, you know what? You can do that when you have discipled a group that well. So he was not having to start at point "A". He was all into "K". He was all the way in the middle of the alphabet with them by the time, in their discipleship, he was writing this letter.
So it's part of the beauty of it, and I'm wantin' you to see how relevant it's gonna become. It's got such heavenly language, high language to it, and then it just, all of a sudden, lands right in the feet of the human being, the clay feet that we walk into our workplaces, in our homes, in our very difficult circumstances. In everything we face, it's gonna land right there with us. "Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, to the saints who are in Ephesus, and are faithful in Christ Jesus: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved".
Somebody needs to know tonight that you are blessed in the Beloved. "In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses". Anybody besides me so thankful for the forgiveness of your trespasses? Anybody thankful for the cross? My church has been reading through, they're spending this year reading through the Bible, and they've just recently been in Leviticus, and my oldest daughter, Amanda, called me and, she said, "I just want you to know something: I am thankful for the cross of Christ". All you need to do to appreciate what Christ has done for us is give a glance back at all those Old Testament sacrifices that we would still be having to make if not for the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. "According to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us", you need to know that you have had grace lavished upon you, "in all wisdom and insight".
Now, I don't know what this means to you, but I love that part, "in all wisdom and insight," because part of what that means, to me, is he knew what he was getting into when he saved me, that I wasn't an unwise decision for Jesus to make. I need to know if anybody worries about that kind of thing. Like, is he sorry now? Anybody? These are the kinds of things that occur to me because I just have had such a rough road, and I just wonder, you know, "Couldn't he have done this better with somebody else"?
And, of course, I know the answer to that is "Yes," but I love the fact that he chose us and poured out his riches of his grace on us, "lavished them upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance".
Don't forget that wording, "the guarantee of our", what? "The guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory. For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your heart enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe".
I want you to see those three things, because they will be so important to us in our gathering, that we may know three things, "the hope to which he has called us, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all".
That is the Word of the Lord. Is it enough for anybody? I've gotta tell you somethin' because I just want you to appreciate this. In my studies this week, on Monday morning, I had already begun doing a lot of my research for our text on my Bible software. I have tons and tons of commentaries and resources that are just built into my laptop, and so I've been already going through some of those, already making lots and lots of notes, and so I asked my assistant at work, back at Living Proof, in Houston, I said, "Can I hand you a couple of hard copies of a commentary"? So these were not on Bible software. These are now, I mean, real life. You pull 'em off the shelf and hand 'em over. So I handed her three different commentaries on Ephesians, and I said, "Would you look at this portion"? I said, "I'm just interested in these eight verses. Would you make me a photocopy of whatever the portions are on these eight verses"?
This is one of them. It is 65 pages long. When she handed it to me, I nearly fainted. This is the kind of depth that you and I are going to try to give a look at, but we're asking for a miraculous understanding given by God that he would do exactly what he's describing in some form with every single one of us. I am asking him, with all my heart, that some area of our lives that we're in the dark about that we are gonna get some supernatural insight from God on that. Would anybody be game for that, that he would demonstrate, even here and now, that we wouldn't have to wait for it but that one thing, just something, something, that God would just build up our faith and then do such a work among us?
Now, this is the first time that we see in these passages that Paul is going to refer in Ephesians to "ekklesia," the church, and in the six chapters of Ephesians, he does more to speak into the value of the church than any one of his other letters, the church specifically. And what is so cool about this is that the rest of his letters, when he's talking about the church, he's talking to the local congregation that this is the church universal. This is all believers in all of time. So when he's making this reference, it's all of us who are in Christ. I want you to know something because you can feel it. You can feel him building. Could you feel it as I was reading?
You can feel him building: "Far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all". I mean, it just gets bigger and bigger and bigger and bigger. The book of Ephesians has... I don't know how to explain this. I was tryin' to explain it to a friend of mine this week. I said, "It's got this spatial capacity to it, 'that you may know the breadth and length and the height and depth of the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge,'" that we're gonna hear him say that we may know what we cannot know except the Holy Spirit of God make it known to us.
By virtue of the fact that you and I were built by God with finite minds, now, isn't it fair to say that we use very little of it in a lifetime? I'm constantly asking God... you can ask him. I constantly ask him, "Go into what I haven't used. Go in there. Go in". I'll even do it with my hands. "Go in there. Find it, find it. I want you to... go have access to it. Whatever is in there that you can use, go get it". Because we don't use all of our finite minds, but our minds are finite. Reason why I'm saying that is because you and I, because we are human and this is our human brain, we are naturally going to put limitations on what we think about God and what we think God thinks about us, okay? So we're gonna have to accept that, to a certain extent, we will never fully get it... is that fair to say?... That he's gonna be beyond.
"In him, in Christ," Colossians chapter 1, and the very beginning of chapter 2, "are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge". So we know we're never gonna penetrate that. We already know that, in this lifetime, we will know in part, but when we see him face-to-face, according to 1 Corinthians 13, then we are going to know as we've been known. So let's all agree that, for this time, we have finite minds. So no matter how far we reach, we're always gonna have a roof on it. Has everybody got that understanding? So what we're doing is raising the roof because we're having to accept that we've got a roof, that it's just the way we do things. It's the way a human thinks, but we can raise the roof.
Look at one another and say, "Oh, you could raise the roof". And, listen, you'll never get your roof high enough to match him because here's the thing. Is everybody listenin'? Is everybody listenin'? Is everybody listenin'? He doesn't have one. He doesn't have one, that you may know "the breadth and length and height and depth, and know the love of God which surpasses knowledge". So there isn't one. So he's always gonna blow the roof off, but what we can do is we can keep pushing them out and pushing them out. "Lord, tell me, if I'm to praise you according to your excellent greatness, tell me how excellently great are you. Continue to reveal yourself to me. I wanna know you. I wanna know the real you. Where I messed up in my estimations, would you come and bring that correction"?
Throughout the course of my life, I have had times and seasons where, for whatever reason, it changed my roofline... is anybody comin' in to a resonating thought with that? That I can remember, for instance, I can remember being in such a situation. This is when God was really beginning to set me free from so much brokenness from my past, just bein' so messed up. He has been so unbelievably patient with me, and I can tell you this. I said to him, almost in these words, "If you turn out to be only as big as I think you are, I'm dead".
And, you know, I've been raised on him, but I knew I had gotten to a place where, if God is only who I have been taught that he is, and it's like this: It's all compartmentalized, and he's here, here's Sunday, and then here's Monday. Here's church, and then home is a livin' nightmare. Maybe here's home, but church has been a livin' nightmare. Whatever it may have been, a situation that you come to, whether it may be a chronic health problem, a financial crisis, the bottom just dropping out of your checking account, all sorts of things can happen, a terrible loss, and, suddenly, it's like, "You know what? If you're not bigger than I have thought you to be all of this time, not gonna make it". Has anybody ever felt that way before? I mean, that was me. That was me. And so the roof had to come up.
Now, let me tell ya somethin' else that can happen, and many of you would agree that it's happened to you in this room. Your roof can also be lowered. In other words, if you can think back, "You know, I used to think so much of him". Do you think less of him now? Like, do you have less confidence in his power, less confidence in his greatness, in the holiness and purity of God, in the motive of God? Do you have less confidence than you did? Because we can also go through times when we have lowered the roof, that, literally, we used to think more of him than we do now, and there could be all sorts of reasons for that. Normally, if you'll allow me to be this bold, it's because we'll get around faithless people. And maybe... and I, just, I mean, you know, you want to love the Pharisees in your life, but you don't want to become one of them. Does anybody know what I'm talkin' about?
And if that's all you hang with, then I'm gon' tell you, you will start, inch by inch, lowering your roof, and, I mean, your room's gon' start gettin' dark, dark because he's gettin' smaller and smaller and smaller. Listen, if, in your pursuit of knowledge about God, God gets smaller, you are being deceived. You can take that to the bank every single time, and somehow we're misunderstanding something, or somehow there's a deception at work that the enemy is really trying to work on because we cannot begin to estimate the grandeur and the glory and the holiness and burning-fire affection of God. We cannot. We are here to raise the roof.
Anybody game for that? We are here to raise the roof, that we can whoever we may be and wherever it may be. This is the beauty of it. Even if you have been a Bible teacher for many, many years or you've walked with God for 60 solid years, and, I mean, really, really walked with him faithfully, here's the beauty of him being inestimable is that, no matter where your roof is, it can go higher this weekend.
There's a four-part confessional of our theme. We have underestimated God. We have underestimated our value to him and our future with him. We have underestimated the power he's willing to exert on our behalf. We have come now to a new end of our old estimations. See, makin' this confessional, there's not any shame in it because here's what I want you to understand. There's not gonna be any time in our lives that number one will not be true. We will always have underestimated God, always, but here's the beauty of it: We can always come now to a new end of an old estimation. That is what we're about. So here's what I want you to see.
I want you to go back with me and look at these words starting in verse 17, "that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your heart enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe". And so, I want you to notice with me that it says that "God would give us the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him". The "Spirit of wisdom," that word in that little phrase, "pneuma," "saphés," in the Greek, is something that we would find a couple of different times if this gives us any kind of insight on the breadth of what the wisdom of God can do in our lives.
It's used a number of times in the Old Testament, in the Greek translation, the Septuagint, which is the Greek translation of the Old Testament Hebrew, so this same wording that we see right here, the "Spirit of wisdom," and a couple of places we would find it, is that it's used even for the inspiration of the makers of Aaron's garments, the high priest, that, when God determined that he was going to have Moses give instructions for how to build the tabernacle and then how to dress the priest to serve him, he literally gave what is called a "Spirit of wisdom" to those seamstresses, those who would sew the garments and put them together. He literally gave them a Spirit of wisdom to do it. We'd also find it in the inspiration for Bezalel and his partner as they engineered the whole tabernacle in putting it together and designing it, an artistic design.
So understand with me, you really don't have an area of your life that could not be very powerfully invaded with the Spirit of wisdom and it come out in such a way that you are greatly helped and a great help to someone else. Think very broadly when you think what wisdom looks like. Listen, the wisdom of God stretches all the way from how in the world we're gonna figure out how to teach this group of third graders in this public school when we can't even keep their attention, all the way to how it is we're gonna find care for an elderly parent, as well as how we understand what God is telling us through is Word, as well as how in the world we're gonna deal with a broken friendship. There's just not an area of your life, an area of my life, that does not practically and beautifully stand to improve vastly through his Spirit of wisdom and also revelation.
In this age of exploding information, that's what they call us, the "information age", what we need is revelation. "Revelation" is a different matter than "information". One is "communicating information, knowledge, intelligence". The other is, "an act of revealing or communicating divine truth". Look at that "B," "something that is revealed by God to humans". Now, the second one, "revelation," this is where God is coming into this now. This is, "revelation" is what God himself has made known or desires to make known. I love somethin'... Well, he's talkin' about the Spirit of wisdom and knowledge here. One of the things that's so beautiful about it is that Paul is talkin' to all of us here.
There's another place that he talks about the gifts that are given to the leaders, the servant leaders of the church in Ephesians chapter 4, but here in Ephesians chapter 1, when he says that "God would give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your heart enlightened," praise God, this is written for all of us, and I want you to see. You're close to it anyway. You're so close to 1 Corinthians.
Turn back toward the gospels just a little bit, and I wanna show you 1 Corinthians chapter 2, verse 12. Chapter 2, verse 12, because I want you to see one of the jobs of the Holy Spirit toward us: "Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God". You and I, who have received Christ as Savior, have the Spirit of Christ living inside of us, and one of his jobs is to make known to us what has been freely given to us by Christ. I love that 'cause I don't wanna miss anything. If it could help me live in victory, and it can help me live in fulfilling God's desire for me, if it could increase my joy in a joyless world, I want it, don't you? I want it.