Revel in Being Rooted
August 27, 2020 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments
Posted in: Pastoral Encouragement
Part of our vision for Oak Hills is that we would be Rooted in the Gospel. That’s God’s desire and design for his people. I would argue that we would not be a church unless we were rooted in the Gospel; it is that essential to our existence.
I explained in Sunday’s sermon that we are passive in the activity of being rooted in Christ. Paul commands in Colossians 2:6 that we are to “walk in Christ,” and then he explains the supporting strength for obeying such a command in verse 7: “having been rooted in him.” We are able to walk in Christ because God has rooted us in Christ. The relationship has already been established.
Paul speaks about us being rooted in one other passage, Ephesians 3:17. In this paragraph, Paul is offering prayer for the church at Ephesus. Paul’s prayers are highly instructional regarding our relationship with God. Let me break down this prayer and demonstrate the place our rootedness has in our lives.
The Addressee: Paul states that he is praying to “the Father” in verse 14. In verse 15 he exalts the Father as the source of life for “every family in heaven and on earth.” Such an address to God frames our hearts and minds as we make requests before him.
The Request: Paul makes his request known in verse 16: “that God may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being.” What a beautiful prayer! In this request Paul acknowledges that our greatest need is spiritual, not physical. And we are utterly dependent on God’s faithful provision to meet our needs. Do you pray for such things like this for yourself, your spouse, your children, your brothers and sisters in the church?
The Source: Before he expresses his request, Paul adds another affirmation of God’s infinite sufficiency. He requests that God grant us strength “according to the riches of his glory.” These are not flowery words. They are richly true. God has no limits. He is infinitely rich. Paul will extol God in a few verses stating, “to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think” (v. 20). Do we appeal to God according to his riches? I suspect that in many of our prayers we operate as if we are the source of what we want; we merely ask God to help us accomplish what we want. What if we saw ourselves utterly empty and needy for what God supplies?
The Compounded Purpose Statements: The rest of Paul’s prayer is a series of purpose statements. They may be seen as separate requests, but, more likely, Paul understands that there is a chain reaction that follows from being strengthened with power through the Spirit. These reactions build on one another. When we are strengthened with power by the Spirit then Christ dwells in our hearts through faith. When Christ dwells in our hearts through faith then we have strength to comprehend and know the love of Christ. When we comprehend and know the love of Christ then we are filled with all the fullness of God.
The Grounding Encouragement: These are lofty requests; perhaps we may feel that they are unattainable. Paul, in his pastoral care, wants to assure us that such requests are not too extravagant. Not only does he extol God in his resourcefulness, but he also reminds us of God’s gracious work. Tucked away in the middle of the list of purpose statements is this phrase: “you, being rooted and grounded in love.” That’s a summary of the Gospel. This phrase reminds us of God’s great love from Ephesians 2 that makes us alive together with Christ. We can have courage to make bold requests before God because we are rooted in his love.
Being rooted is part of the vision for Oak Hills because this clearly highlights the source for all spiritual blessing from God. He has done this for us. Our responsibility is to revel in the fact that we are rooted. Such reveling will lead to such empowering prayers.