...that Can Become Ours in Christ
Reveal Yourself to these I hold before You now.
Let them bathe in Your healing presence.
Draw them into Your fullness by revealing
to them how Christ wants to dwell in them.
Draw them toward knowing their specific place
in Christ's body so they can fulfill their part
in the expression of Your fullness in the earth.
Help them remember that dwelling in unbroken
communion with You is possible and it
will lead them to a personal fullness.
Increase the desire within them to know
more and more of Your fullness,
In the Name of Christ Jesus, our Lord…
Paul concluded his prayer in Ephesians 3:14-19 with ... that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God. Who is there who can describe the love of God, or the fullness of God, or the fullness of God that was expressed in Christ Jesus, or the fullness that is to be seen in His Body? But, the Scripture dares to speak of all this. Paul, especially, in Ephesians and Colossians draws us on to know His fullness.
And we can ask, what will become of His church if we fail to know His fullness in the dark hour that is even now impending with its threat to destroy us? The time has come for His church to enter this fullness and to become the expression of it in the earth. We have no choice but to implore the Lord to bring us on to know this place.
Now, if we’re going to believe that this means we will become known as great ones, then we will, without doubt, miss it all. But if we’re willing for His grace to bring it about in us and for the glory of it to go to Him, then there is the wondrous possibility of our entering His fullness even now. We can even enter it from our present state of weakness. In fact, it does seem the greater our weakness the greater is the place within us that can receive of His fullness.
I say this for you who are feeling weak, as many write of the spiritual attacks that are coming against them. Don’t forget what Paul said in II Corinthians 12:9. When he was brought to the end of his "store of endurance," the Lord said to him, My grace is sufficient for thee: for My strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
Coming from a place and time at which we were feeling weary and defeated and at the end of our endurance, four points of instruction came to our minds as we were discussing the matter of His fullness. I must admit those feelings come at us time and time again and we are often lacking in recalling these four points. This is not a matter to be entered with the intellect or understanding; it is more a matter is to be entered with the will. That is, His fullness is to be desired with all our hearts. Whether we understand it or not, He is leading us to want His fullness.
The four points are:
1—The fullness of God cannot be obtained apart from Jesus Christ.
2—When Jesus came, He was the expression of God’s fullness in the earth.
We are to be that expression now.
3—God’s fullness is brought unto our lives by His grace.
4—The expression of His fullness in us will come as a manifestation of
His love reaching through us to others.
Remember, these are not points coming from a logical study. They are points that came to us in a state of weakness and an unquenchable desire for His fullness. Please open your heart with us to desire it. Lay aside the arguments of your soul as it tries to discourage your heart from seeking to be filled with all the fullness of God. We must allow the Scriptures regarding His fullness to open, not out of an intellectual pursuit, but out of the drawing of the Holy Spirit.
The instruction from this Ephesians prayer of Paul, in which he laid out the dimensions of love with the concluding request that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God (Ephesians 3:19), has remained with us for years. In addition to what we gain from Paul, there is a powerful statement from John that has also intrigued us for years. It tells of a dimension of life that can be ours now.
And of His fullness have all we received, and grace for grace (John 1:16).
The little word of in the phrase of His fullness comes from ek and means "from out of." It doesn’t mean from the perimeter of, or from the outside edge of. It has the more precise meaning of "from within, out of the heart of." When we receive of His fullness, we receive from out of Him that which is the essence and substance of all He is. There is nothing held back or reserved from us. The words have all we, embrace every person. There is no soul alive who cannot receive of His fullness, if they will but open up to the grace that brings it.
Here in this John 1:16 passage it reaches a height of expression that challenges our spiritual grasp. When we receive of His fullness, it comes upon us as grace for grace. Literally this is "grace anti grace." This seems strange, for anti is as it seems, meaning "against." Could it be "grace against grace"?
This is better understood by the mind picture of the waves of an ocean. As one wave falls upon the shore only to recede back into the fullness of the ocean, it is met by another coming against it out of that same fullness. Never is the fullness of the ocean diminished. Never is the new wave coming daunted by the one receding. And, never is there a lack in the fullness of God’s grace to fall upon the shores of our lives, no matter how great was the last wave of His grace, nor how black and dismal the shore upon which it is to fall. Here is another wonder to know: the stronger the wind of His Spirit blows, the stronger are the waves of His grace.
There is a sufficiency in the grace manifest in Christ Jesus for the demand of every life in its every hour, even the dark hours the Prophets tell are awaiting us. Whatever is necessary for this day comes to us out of His fullness to become our fullness. Instead of working to make us perfect in Him, He gives us of His perfection. This is what the writer of Hebrews called entering His rest. When we can know our work for this day is already finished, brought to its completion and fullness, in Him, then we can enter into rest. We can cast our anxiety and stress aside and simply cling to Him Who is our life. He Who is perfect is ready to live in us.
Paul has a warning in Colossians 2 lest we miss the fullness to which the Holy Spirit is drawing us. Let us see at least three verses. They are pertinent to this hour and give instruction about some things that will try and draw us away from the fullness of Christ.
8 Beware (stay watchful and alert) lest any man spoil you (carry you off as a captive) through •philosophy (the love and systematic search for wisdom) and •vain deceit (empty lies that seduce), after •the tradition of men (ways of living and responding to life that have become accepted because they have been followed for generations), after
•the rudiments of the world (both the laws of the Old Covenant and the standards of the heathen), and •not after Christ. (In each case after is from the Greek káta which means "according to.")
Beware lest you let any of these things, even the seemingly good things; carry you away from drawing upon the resources that are yours in Christ. Instead, live ‘‘according to’’ the resources that are yours in Him.
9 For in Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. (For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form. [niv])
We are not to stop and build a doctrine upon this, for then it becomes a static thing that settles our mind but ceases to reach for our will or our heart. Rather, we can let what Paul said become a principle of life waiting for us daily to draw upon it. We can see it as the ocean of life and provision before us, sending its never ceasing waves upon the shores of our lives. We can see it as a place where we can walk and let those waves wash in upon us.
10 And ye are complete ("brought to your fullness") in Him, Which (better "Who") is the Head of all principality and power.
We will find no fullness outside of Him. We will find no other resource for living that can take us before principalities and powers with the authority of His finished work and of His Throne backing us. We will find no righteousness outside of Him that can bring us acceptably before God. We will find no peace outside of Him that can prevail in every war we will ever face. We will find no strength outside of Him that can enable us and govern us in the demand of every situation life might throw at us.
Many points of danger await us today that will try and take us from our completion in Him. They are ready to carry off any believer as a captive. There are more of these spiritual predators than can be counted, ranging all the way from the low and groveling philosophies of the base and mean to the lofty aspirations of the spiritual elite who think to attain something as high as Christ Himself, yet apart from Him. Predators are rampant in the land. Many of them are religious. Many use terms with which we are familiar and seek to entice us by pointing toward Christ, but with a deviation that leads around Him. Some are so refined in their appeal that we, in our natural approach, can find no fault. They quote Scripture, preach sermons, and sing songs in line with the movements of God’s Spirit. They do good and offer a sense of spiritual security, but all with a deception that leaves us empty of Christ Himself.
What does Paul say regarding this? Beware lest any man spoil you. Beware simply means "keep on the watch; remain alert." And just know this, the higher we go in our pursuit to know the Lord in His fullness, the higher and more refined become the tactics of the enemy to deceive us.
What is our recourse? How can we keep from failure?
We can seek an intimate relationship with our Lord. We can walk with Him, become acquainted with His touch, know the smell of His garment, feel the beat of His heart. We can become His hand extended to heal and help. We can listen for His voice. We can let His love move in upon us and through us to touch others.
Both Paul and John help us here by drawing us toward the love that emanates from God. In Ephesians 3:17-19 the prayer, which we are learning to use as an example, says...
I want you to become rooted and grounded in love. I want you to lay hold on it in its breadth, and length, and depth, and height. I want you to know the Love of Christ, which is actually beyond the reach of our ever knowing completely. All this I want for you that you might be filled with all the fullness of God.
Wonderfully, John says, when we become settled with His love running through the channels of our lives, in deed and in truth, we gain an assurance before Him that will not diminish before the deceiver, nor in the face of any trial.
I John is very helpful at this point. It holds a threefold theme: Christ, anti-Christ, and love. If we get the matter of Christ and love settled, anti-Christ with all his deceptive skill stands no chance. Love, and obedience, and assurance, and fullness are all inter-linked. None of these can find their way in us without the intervention of God’s grace in us. Therefore, we are learning to take them all into our prayers and supplications and to hold our souls before Him till we know we are complete in Him.
Let me conclude what cannot be concluded by looking with you into a passage from I John. The reference is 3:18-24. I won’t number the verses since I’m taking it from the Original and laying it out with some freedom in my own expression. I do place quotation marks around it, however, for it is John’s insight and revelation.
"My little children, whom I’ve birthed in the spirit and continue to hold dear, let us not just talk about love, but let us put it into true practice with our actions. It is then we can know that we are living expressions of His truth, and our heart can find its persuasion before Him. Even if our heart tries to bring some sense of blame back upon us, God will overrule this because He is greater than our hearts and has knowledge of all things.
"Oh, precious ones, if our heart is set free from its sense of guilt, we can have a bold freedom before God. This means that whatsoever we ask we receive from Him. What really helps is that we are keeping His commandments and doing the things that are pleasing before Him. And this is His commandment, that we should believe in the Name of His Son Jesus Christ, and that we should love one another just as He has commissioned us.
"And whoever is keeping this commandment of His is dwelling in Him, and, reciprocally, He is dwelling in that one. And to add something wonderful, the knowledge that we are abiding in Him is enhanced by His Spirit Whom He has given to dwell in us." (I John 3:18-24)
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