2017 -OUR YEAR OF BEING ROOTED AND GROUNDED IN LOVE

  MESSAGES FOR YEAR 2017

 OUR YEAR OF BEING ROOTED AND GROUNDED IN LOVE: EPHESIANS 3-16-19

 Our Year of Being Rooted and Grounded in Love  -  James and Rebecca Otitoju

Think about this for a minute - Christians are to be rooted and grounded in love. Paul says: "For this cause I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height - to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God" (Eph. 3:14-19). (English Standard Version)

This passage is one of the most incredible passages in the Bible.  Paul prays for two things: First: That they are granted strength in the inner man (spiritual man - heart) by Christ dwelling in their hearts through faith. Second: That by being rooted and grounded in love they are able to comprehend the love of Christ in order to be filled with all the fullness of God.

Webster Dictionary defines root as: "the underground part of a seed plant body . . . , functions as an organ of absorption, aeration, and food storage or as a means of anchorage and support . . .” The word translated "grounded" seems to have an architectural connotation representing a strong foundation, therefore, being grounded in the love of Christ is a challenge for us to ensure the basis of our faith’s foundation is Jesus Christ (Matthew 7:24-27).

What does Christ's love toward mankind have to do with Christians being rooted and grounded in love? Having eternal life comes from the knowledge that Jesus first loved us and gave His life for us and said whosoever believes in Him will not perish, but have Everlasting Life (John 3:16). If we understand the love of Christ, we will seek to know Him better and live in obedience to His commandments (I John 4:19; John 14:15; I John 5:3).

Now ask yourself: Have I been transplanted from the lust of the world to live in the love of Christ? How do I comprehend the love of Christ? Am I filled with the fullness of God? If you are not sure or answered "No," begin today by reading the word of God, learning about the love of Christ that motivates us to love the Lord, and keeping His commands just as Jesus said. Surrender yourself and your will to Him. Remember we are the branches and He is the vine. We cannot bear good fruits unless we are rooted and grounded in Him; that is, we are to be firmly connected to Him, and the power of the Holy Spirit will establish us in His love.  What we are talking about here might seem impossible, but with our God, all things are possible. Take encouragement from this prophecy to Zerubbabel as the Lord is saying to you too that: “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel (personalize it and put your name in place of Zerubbabel): ‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ Says the Lord of hosts.” (Zechariah 4:6) NKJV.

Brethren, we are convinced that as we strive to surrender to God by allowing His Spirit to dwell in us, we would be rooted and grounded in His love.  Always remember that, He first loved us so that we can also love Him and one another. What is in your heart right now as you are reading this article, is it hatred or love? It is impossible for anyone to see what is in your heart, but our God does. Why not pray this prayer as the psalmist did: “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer” Psalm 19:14. Praise The Lord!!

James & Rebecca Otitoju are members of Ambassadors for Christ Peacegate church Pastoral Team


 

Following after love, living by principles - Katherine Carswell

 May He grant you out of the rich treasury of His glory to be strengthened and reinforced with mighty power in the inner man by the (Holy) Spirit (Himself) – indwelling your innermost being and personality.   May Christ through faith (actually) dwell – settle down, abide, make His permanent home – in your hearts! May you be rooted deep in love and founded securely on love, That you may have the power and be strong to apprehend and grasp with all the saints (God’s devoted people, the experience of that love) what is the breadth and length and height and depth (of it). Ephesians 3:16 – 18 (Amplified Bible).

            Apostle Paul prayed that the Ephesian Christians’ faith would be rooted and grounded in love.  That tells me that our faith can be rooted and grounded in other things.

            What other things are these?  What happens when our faith is grounded in something other than love?  Our faith in God could be based on fear, on wanting provision, on family or cultural traditions.  Let’s look at some people and events recorded in Biblical history to see what happens when faith is not rooted in love.

            Let’s think of Adam and God walking in the garden in the cool of the day.  Did they discuss all the work they had done that day as Adam named all the animals God brought to him?  Did they discuss the fact that naming something meant you had power over it?  Did they discuss the beauty of the snake, but how it may be a little sneaky?  Did they chuckle at the name “duck billed platypus”?  What about the name three toed sloth?  What a wonderful walk that must have been!

            Yet, Adam found himself hiding from God, after he and Eve both knew they were naked.  He didn’t think he could talk to God anymore, because of fear.  Adam had turned from having a relationship that featured co-working with God in close fellowship to one of fear.  It happened because of sin; because of him and Eve not using the rightful authority that God had given them.  They both could have told a certain snake to shut up!!

            Does our faith have elements of fear in it:  elements of fear that we won’t please God or others, the fear of going to Hell?  God covered Adam’s nakedness by sacrificing an animal.  We can remember that the sin of fear is covered by Jesus’ blood on the cross, repent and run back to our Jesus!

            Is our faith based on a desire for provision, for having our needs met?  If so, we are in good company.  Jacob said to God “if you will give me food and clothing, you will be my God” (Genesis 28:20 – 23).  Jacob continued to walk with God and had many experiences, both positive and negative.  He had to deal with his own deceiving nature, when he met another deceiver Laban (Genesis 31: 4-7).  He wrestled with God, and made the choice not to let go.   He was hanging on to God, not only for provision, but for a blessing.   He knew what a blessing was – knew it involved God’s purposes; as he had stolen both the Abrahamic birthright and blessing from his brother Esau.  He had wanted it because knew its value, while Esau thought it was worth as much as a bowl of stew!  Jacob wrestled with God, he wouldn’t let him go, until God had to change his name to “Israel—a prince with God”.  When God changed Israel’s name, it was a profound change in the relationship, with God now firmly in charge.

            God is our provider.  May we walk with him until he is far more than that, even if we face our own short comings in others and wrestle with God.

Is our faith grounded in a lack of self-worth? Shall we talk of Gideon, the least man in the poorest clan in Manasseh (Judges 6:15)?   Are we willing to be as honest with God as he was, when God ‘acts weird’ calling us a mighty man of valour, when he can see we are harvesting grain in a wine press because of our fear of the enemy?  God did not disagree with Gideon’s assessment of himself and his family—he just showed his love, his willingness to prove himself to Gideon.

            Is our faith rooted in a need for protection?  Shall we talk of David?  He spent time out watching sheep, but as he watched sheep, he worshipped God and began to know his love, began to know him as a helper who could protect him and anything God put into his care.  God was big enough to protect young David from a lion and a bear, as he obeyed his father by watching sheep.  That time with God helped David see Goliath’s threat to Israel different than the tallest man in Israel (Saul) and different than any member of Saul’s army (1 Samuel 17: 45, 47).  Who was Goliath to put down the people of God, the people of the God that David had learned to love?        

            Do we believe God cannot love us because of something we did?  The prophet Hosea married Gomer, but she left him to become a prostitute. God instructed Hosea to love her again, as an example of how much God loves his people (Hosea 3:1 -5).  

            Shall we talk of Noah, Abraham and Joseph, whose relationships with God were rooted and grounded in love in such a way that the human race was saved, a people was set apart for God and provision was stored ahead for the years of famine?  They walked in relationship with God—relationships based on love, not just following principles.

            The relationship that God wants to have with his people is one based on love, not on any system of hierarchy which could cause obedience out of duty or obligation.  Following principles is good, but it does not lead to a relationship with God.

            A story in Luke reminds us that following good principles are not enough.  The rich young ruler approached Jesus.  He asked Jesus about eternal life.  Jesus mentioned some very good principles, quoting from the 10 commandments, loving our neighbour, honoring our parents, giving to the poor.  The young man had these good principles in his life memorized.  But then Jesus asked him to go a step further, to give up his wealth and follow Jesus in a close relationship.  The rich young man turned sorrowfully away  --  I wish he would have looked back to see the love in Jesus’ eyes.  We are not told that he ever followed Jesus.  He had the principles, but the close relationship Jesus desired to have with him with to costly for him.

            As we live out a life that is rooted and grounded in the love of Christ, we will not ignore principles.  We will obey Jesus’ commands, for Jesus said “I will call you friends, if you obey my commands.”   Three things will remain at the end of time:  faith, hope and love.   But the greatest of these is love (1 Corinthians 13:13).  Let’s take steps this year, in 2017 to make our lives more rooted and grounded in the love of Christ.  May we look at what our life is producing, and if it is not pleasing to God (and us), let us rework the soil, so it is soft so the seed of the Word can take root in our lives and produce 100 fold or more.   Let’s break up the stony places, pull up the weeds that would choke our growth, as Jesus tells us to in the Parable of the Sower.

            Jesus loves us enough to die for us, to prepare a place for us in Heaven and to actively intercede for us until we join him in Heaven.

   May our faith by rooted and grounded in Christ’s love.

Katherine Carswell is a member of Ambassadors for Christ Peacegate Church Pastoral Team  


 

 

Established in love- Murray Carswell

How are you established? Is it by your own efforts or desires or by something or someone else? Does it depend on circumstances or is it beyond your control?

            In Ephesians 3, the Apostle Paul prays a really interesting prayer which starts at verse 14 and goes to the end of the chapter, verse 21. It reads: "For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family[a]in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen." (NIV)

            As we look at this amazing prayer; we see something interesting. In verse 17, Paul prays that Christ may dwell in your heart through faith and you are rooted and grounded in love. If that happened at salvation, why does he pray that after we are supposed to have this? The sobering truth is: it did not come into its fullness when we accepted Christ, we need to continually encounter Christ’s love for us. For if we don’t, we have an enemy that will constantly cast doubts about Christ’s love to us.

            The reason it has to be dwelling in our hearts through faith is that without faith you cannot please God (Hebrews 11:6) and faith works by love. The next phase builds on the first phrase. If Christ dwells in your heart through faith, the next part of the building is able to be built. The phrase ‘rooted and grounded in love’ gives us a picture of laying a foundation for a building. You may ask what building are we? We are the dwelling place for God and more specifically, our heart is His dwelling place.

            If you were building your dream house, would you not take time to build a solid foundation? Absolutely you would. God is not careless in how he builds. He has detailed plans for everything. The term “rooted’ would be like the digging of a hole for the footings to be laid.   They must be sturdy as your house must be able to withstand storms. The term ‘grounded’ has to do with making sure it can handle the storms that it will encounter. If you build something, you want it to last a long time.

            So let the purposes of God find a place to rest in your life, by letting his love make you more like Jesus.

Murray Carswell is a member of Ambassadors for Christ Peacegate Church Pastoral Team 

 

OUR YEAR OF BEING ROOTED AND GROUNDED IN CHRIST’S LOVEJohn Adeyoju

 How can we be rooted and grounded in Christ’s love?  We need to choose the love of God as commanded in 1 John 4: 8-16. God showed his love to us when he sent his only son who only responded to the call (Isaiah 6:8) and freely accepted to stand in the gap for us before God. Since Jesus loves us so much by dying for us, we, in turn, must be grateful to God who first loved by loving one another freely without any condition. No one can see God, but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is truly in our hearts.

  John Adeyoju is a member of Ambassadors for Christ  Peacegate Church Pastoral Team

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