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Life-Study of Ephesiansby Witness Lee

ISBN: 0-7363-0962-4
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry

Currently in: Chapter 33 of 97 Section 1 of 3

LIFE-STUDY OF EPHESIANS

MESSAGE THIRTY-THREE

TO APPREHEND THE DIMENSIONS OF CHRIST
AND TO KNOW THE LOVE OF CHRIST

In this message we shall consider the matters of apprehending the dimensions of Christ and of knowing the love of Christ (3:18-19). In verse 18 Paul speaks of the breadth, length, height, and depth, but he does not say to what these dimensions refer. Surely they refer to Christ. We need to be strong to apprehend with all the saints the breadth, length, height, and depth of Christ.

THE STEPS TO APPREHENDING
CHRIST’S DIMENSIONS
AND TO KNOWING HIS LOVE

In verses 16 through 19 the word “that” is used four times: “that He would grant you...to be strengthened...into the inner man,” “that Christ may make His home in your hearts,” “that you...may be strong to apprehend...and to know,” and “that you may be filled unto all the fullness of God.” In each case the Greek word rendered “that” may also be rendered “in order that.”

The first “that” is the result of Paul’s prayer. Paul bowed his knees unto the Father and prayed that He would grant us to be strengthened into our inner man (vv. 14-16). Thus, the result of Paul’s prayer is that the Father would grant us such a strengthening.

The second “that,” found in verse 17, is that Christ may make His home in our hearts through faith. This is the result of being strengthened into the inner man.

Some may say that the third “that” is parallel to the second, but I agree with those who claim that it is a further result. This means that the second “that” is the result of the first, that the third is the result of the second, and that the fourth is the result of the third.

In chapter three Paul prayed that we would be strengthened. If we have been strengthened into the inner man, Christ can then make His home in our hearts with the result that we are strong to apprehend with all saints what is the breadth, length, height, and depth of Christ and to know the knowledge-surpassing love of God. The result of all this is that we are filled unto all the fullness of God. Here we see several steps. From Paul’s prayer we go on to being strengthened; from being strengthened we proceed to Christ’s making His home in our hearts; and from this we progress to the apprehending and the knowing and finally to being filled unto all the fullness of God. It is by these steps that we can apprehend the dimensions of Christ and know His knowledge-surpassing love.

THE FULLNESS OF GOD

The fullness of God is the expression of God. We have pointed out that the Body is not the riches of Christ, but the fullness of Christ (1:23). As the riches of Christ are being digested and assimilated into us, they are metabolized. By this process of metabolism we become the fullness of Christ as His expression. Many Christians regard the riches and the fullness as synonymous. The riches of Christ are the various aspects of Christ for our enjoyment, whereas the fullness is the result, the issue, of the enjoyment of these riches. For example, when we eat and digest the riches of American foodstuffs, we become the fullness of America. As the fullness of America, we are the expression of America. Ephesians 3:19 does not say that we are filled with the riches of God, but that we are filled unto the fullness of God. This means that we are filled with the result that we become the expression of God. The expression of God today is the church, which is the Body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all. Hence, the fullness of God in 3:19 is the fullness of Christ, which is the Body, in 1:23. The Body is constituted through our enjoyment of the riches of Christ.

Chapters one and two cover the revelation of the church, and chapter three covers the constitution of the church. In chapter three we see that Paul, who was a leading one and a pattern, received the revelation and enjoyed the riches of Christ. These riches were metabolically constituted into his being to make him a part of the Body. All who would follow him to be today’s apostles and prophets must be the same as Paul in these matters. Then the church will be constituted to become the fullness of Christ and the fullness of God. In order for this to take place, Paul prayed that we might be strengthened into our inner man with the result that Christ could make His home in our heart and thereby occupy, possess, permeate, and saturate our whole inner being with Himself. In this way we are filled with Christ, and we become strong to apprehend the dimensions of Christ and to know the knowledge-surpassing love of Christ. Eventually, we shall be filled with Christ to such an extent that we become the fullness of God.

As we pass through all these steps, we need to apprehend the dimensions of Christ. The Greek word translated “apprehend” means not only to know, but also to grasp, to lay hold of intensively. In order to grasp the dimensions of Christ, we need all the saints; for this we must lay hold of Christ corporately.


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