Wide And Deep

What’s the breadth of the spread of Christ’s love? Does it extend to people who snub you? And to those who want nothing to do with you? Can you still express His love?

Scripture: Ephesians 3:17, Galatians 5, Romans 5


Alright, thank you very much. And hello again, radio friends. How in the world are you? Doing alright? I trust so, bless your heart. This is your good friend, Bob Cook. We’re back together again to look at Ephesians, the Book of Ephesians 3:17, “That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith.” That word dwell means feel at home. It’s a compound word that has in it the word for house, a verb, oikeo, to live in a house. And so He wants to move right in and feel at home in your heart, and all of this is done by faith, not by trying, not by paying, not by promising, not by works, but by faith. Now, “That ye being rooted and grounded in love.” He uses two words which constitute two figures of speech there. Rooted has to do with the source of life, grounded has to do with the pattern for construction and usefulness.

Rooted and grounded. Rooted is a farmer’s term. Grounded is an architect’s term. And Paul uses both of these in connection with the concept of divine Calvary love, because the love of God works in our heart. Paul the apostle says the love of Christ constraineth us. The love of Christ constraineth us. So, rooted in love, in Christ’s love means that that presence of the Lord Jesus in your life through the indwelling Holy Spirit pours out Calvary love in your life, and that becomes then the source of the dynamic of your whole existence. Paul says in Romans 5, “The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost who is given unto us.” Rooted in love, not in law but in love, not in works but in faith, and which worketh, it says, by love. Galatians 5. The essence of… If you wanted somehow to analyze the dynamic power of a Christian life, the essence of it is the love of God at work in a person’s life through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

And then he says grounded. Of course, that’s an architect’s term. The foundation is properly laid. There again, you find that God’s love is the best foundation for any kind of spiritual growth. “Love worketh no ill to his neighbors,” says Paul. Therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law. By love, serve. The word serve is our expression of serve like a slave, Greek verb douleuo; serve like a slave. By love, serve as though you were a slave. Serve one another. You see, the construction of the Christian life, as well as the dynamic of the Christian life is based, says Paul, on divine love at work in your heart, and this comes through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost who is given unto us.

Alright, that’s the condition of the dynamic Christian life. Now he says, “that ye”, and this is the dynamic condition, rooted and grounded in love, “that ye may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height, and to know the love of Christ which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God.” “Rooted and grounded in love, that ye might be able to comprehend with all saints.” Comprehend, get hold of katalabesthai– get hold of. Comprehend means really get hold of it.

Have you had the experience of trying to do homework sometime when you were in school? Now, some of you have been out of school so long that you may forget about it, I don’t know, but it hasn’t been that long for me. And you were, [chuckle] only about 70 years. You were trying somehow to study let us say, for an exam. And the whole thing was so vague and so amorphous and so fuzzy, and you said, “I just can’t get hold of this.” You recall that? And so, somebody maybe explained it to you and said, “Look here, look here, Cook, this is how it works.” And they explained it. And then you said, “Now, I can get hold of it.” Why? Well, because it became real to you. May lay hold. The word comprehend means lay hold. Get hold of it personally. Like you reach for a pancake on the breakfast platter. Get hold of it for yourself. See?

Comprehend with all the saints the breadth, and length, and depth, and height. Now, I don’t really know all that Paul the apostle meant when he gave these four dimensions. I know that someone has said that that relates well with John 3:16. The breadth, “God so loved the world,” and the length, what length did He go to? “That He gave his only begotten Son.” And the depth, how far did He go? How deep did He go? “That whosoever,” that goes clear down to the bottom of the pit, “believeth in Him.” And what then is the height? What is the height? “Should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Well, that’s a pretty good comparison, wouldn’t you say?

But I think you have to bring it into your own life. “That you,” he said, “may be able to lay hold with all the rest of those who are born again, with all the saints.” So he says that’s you that I’m talking to. He said, “I want you to know the breadth of the love of Christ.” Now, bring that into the front room of your own life. How broad is the application of the love of Christ? Does it extend to things that are non-religious, let us say? I remember trying to convince a lady in one of my congregations many years ago who was feuding with another lady, and I said to her, “You know, Mrs. So and So, you ought to love. You oughtn’t to hate Mrs. So and So. You ought to love her.” And she drew herself up to her full height and said, “I do love her, I love her in the Lord, and let her alone. I’ll get out of here.” [chuckle]

Well, what is the breadth of the love of God? What’s the spread, in other words? Does it include non-religious items? Does it include relationships with family and in-laws? Does it include relationships with neighbors, whose kids trample your grass and whose dogs dig up your tulips? Does it include relationships at work, where people harass you, because they found out that you are a Christian? Does the love of Christ have any breadth in your life? That’s what he’s talking about here now. He says the source of your dynamic rooted, and the source of your whole development, like an architect builds a building, in your life is the love of Christ, and that’s brought to you by the Holy Spirit of God. “The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost who was given unto us.” Now he says, “Because that is true, I want you to get hold, for yourself, of the idea of letting God’s love impinge upon areas of life that are not necessarily church-related.” Real-life areas.

I felt rebuked in my spirit just today, I came up to an intersection, driving my four-wheel drive vehicle. I have to have one to get up and down these mountain hills when the ice and snow in the winter is there, and I enjoy it. I kinda identify with that kind of machinery. And so, I drove up to this stop sign. Now, this is kind of a Y there. You can go straight ahead and make a left turn, or you can go into another little Y spin-off and make a right turn onto the highway, and I was about to make a right turn and there was a man in a pickup truck who was in the other lane, where you’re supposed to go straight on and make a left turn. Suddenly, without any warning whatsoever, he turned abruptly right in front of me, went across and ducked into the gas station to my right. And I felt a surge of anger. [chuckle] I really did. And then I thought, “Now, why am I getting angry with this man? I don’t know him. He made a traffic mistake. I may have done the same thing sometimes. Where is Christian love coming in at this point?”

No, I hadn’t thought about this radio message then. I was busy going to the store, but believe me, I felt rebuked in my spirit because of the surge of anger and resentment against somebody who had cut me off like that. I almost hit him, as a matter of fact. But now, what’s the breadth? See, what I’m saying is, what is the breadth of the love of Christ in situations like that, that don’t have the faintest connotation of religion? I wasn’t singing Holy, holy, holy, for the man. I was trying to mind my own business and drive safely.

What is the breadth of Christ’s love? It means that instead of being suffused with anger and hating the person, resenting what he did, and resenting the person who did it, I need to realize that there is another person for whom Jesus Christ died on the cross of Calvary. See, that’s what the Scripture says to Bob Cook, the breadth of the love of God means what’s the spread? How far does it extend? How far does it extend?

Well, over 23 years of being a college president I’ve met some young people who came to college mad and stayed that way for a while, and some of them took out their resentments and angers on administrative people. Not to omit yours truly. I remember there was one such young man, he didn’t want anything to do with me whatsoever. He sort of blamed me for all his troubles. He got sick one day and had appendicitis, they took out his appendix and I showed up just as he was coming out of the anesthetic, and he was hurting and woozy but he could recognize that it was Dr. Cook there. And I said, “Hello buddy, I heard you weren’t feeling too well, I just wanted to encourage you and tell you we love you and pray for you.” I did, I laid my hand on his forehead and prayed earnestly and tenderly for him. And as I turned to go, he said, “Gee, Doc, you do care about me, don’t you?” “Yeah, I do. I did and I do.”

What’s the breadth of the spread of Christ’s love? Does it extend to people who snub you and they want nothing to do with you? Can you still express His love because the Holy Spirit does it through you? That’s what this verse is talking about. Now we get back to this the next time we get together.

Holy Father, today, may the love of Calvary spread to all of the relationships of our life, I ask in Jesus’ name, amen.

Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!

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