To Know The Love of Christ | Ephesians 3: 17-19
:17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, :18 May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; :19 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.
This is a portion of the prayer that Paul was making for the believers of the church of Ephesus. The prayer is consisted in verses fourteen to twenty one. The entire prayer is one that should be read and re-read until we are familiar with the lofty request Paul makes for these believers and realize that it isn't only for these believers these request should be fulfilled but for all the saints. I only want to touch on this last request made by Paul and only particularly on a phrase in this request that seemed to jump off the page at me this morning. "To know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge." To know something that is unknowable, at first glimpse it seems like a impossible request. How can one know something that passes knowledge. Not only did it seem impossible but it seemed like such an undertaking that at the onset one might even become overwhelmed with such an undertaking. Then I considered what effort has been spent on things far less honorable, things of earthly importance that have no eternal impact, studies of birds and apes and ecosystems and many more subjects that lives have been spent trying to comprehend. There have been countless men spend their lives in the pursuit of earthly knowledge and were praised as pioneers of modern science. Men who have explored unknown parts of the earth, mapped out continents, rivers, lakes and even trade routes in the oceans. All these things at the onset must have seemed like overwhelming task that they may never reach the end of, that they would one day have to hand over their discoveries to their predecessors that the search and study may go on even after they are gone. If the men of science can operate in such a manner, then surely men of faith can do more and be more inspired to have such a spirit of discovery when it comes to vast, unknowable oceans of the love of Christ. The men of science and discovery were acting from the mindset of science and in the spirit of discovery, you and I are to operate by faith("That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith") and we too have a Spirit to drive us on and not human spirit but The Holy Spirit. These are the the driving institutions that empower us to move forward in our exploration of the Love of Christ.
The world for the most part has been mapped but there remains one part of our earth that there is more unknown about it than is known about it, the ocean. Of all the earthly things I could think of I believe the ocean comes closes to something we can compare the love of Christ to. We sail on the ocean, we fish from the ocean, in days past the ocean is how we would reach other continents. Without the ocean we couldn't live, it is from the ocean that water evaporates into the clouds and those clouds come to where we are and pour out their blessings on us. It is the oceans that connect the world. As important as the ocean is, it is the one thing on earth we know the least about. Men have spent their entire life exploring the vastness of the oceans and only to find that is far more vast than they ever realized but never the sadder for having discovered what they did. As of today one the greatest avenues of discovery being undertaken is the mapping of the seafloor, as of now they have mapped one fifth of the seafloor. This exploration first started in the early 1800's, sailors would take "soundings." This was achieved by dropping lead lines along the floor of the ocean and once that reached the bottom the sailor would draw the line measuring it against the length of his arm span, about six foot. Each arm span would be counted in a measurement that has come to be known as a fathom. Imagine the work and time that was invested in those days to this exploration, long days in the elements, bodies pushed to their limits all for the sake of a earthly exploration. Today things are much more sophisticated and much less labor intensive. They said in the days of lead line sounding that it could take days to get 500 readings, today with the help of sonar technology they are able to take around 500 readings per second. As time has progressed their study of this seemingly unknowable subject comes more clearly into view and maybe one day they will have completed this vast undertaking that has been over two hundred years in the making. Now let us turn our attention to a far greater cause, a subject much more vast than a thousands seas, the love of Christ. It is the ocean that connects the attributes of God, Mercy has it's shores at the love of God, Grace as well, even Wrath. It is the love of God that crashes on the shores of our redemption and it is the love of God that delivered His wrath upon Christ. The love of God is the ocean of all theological thought. It is his love that we couldn't live with out, His love comes to where we are and pours its blessings on us, it is His love that we feed from, it is His love that brings us from one continent of spiritual thought to another and without His love we could not live, yet it seems that His love is the one subject that is most often taken for granted. We have explored the mountain tops of grace, the trenches of God's redemption even the lofty heights of heaven are studied but the Love of Christ which passes Knowledge to often is overlooked. This is a subject that seems to vast a undertaking to even start and I'll admit that you and I and all the other explorers of Christianity cannot and never will reach the day when the task is complete but I will have spent my life exploring the breadth and length and depth and height of the Love that knows no end. In olden days men dropped the lead lines of their minds in this love, they spent years acquiring translations written in different languages, reading by candle light, learning new languages so they could read what was available to them. Traveling far and wide to dive deeper into the unsearchable, unknowable depths of Christ love. Oh what faith they operated by, oh what operation of the Spirit of God in them. They spent their lives drawing up little by little the fathoms of God's love for man and when they passed on they handed their work over to the next generation. Today we have a far greater advantage than the explorer's of God's love than in days gone by. They had candle light, we have lighted devices from which we read, they traveled the world to find books, we have access to millions at the click of a button, what took them years to obtain we can find in a matter of seconds and even with all the advances we have there is still more to be discovered, still more to know, until our dying breath we search and share our findings and when we are gone there will be a infinite amount more to know and explore. Dive into the depths of God's love, cut the anchors loose and launch out into the deep to join the exploration of the ages, To know the Love of Christ that passes Knowledge.
"Could we with ink the ocean fill
And were the skies of parchment made
Were every stalk on earth a quill
And every man a scribe by trade
To write the love of God above
Would drain the ocean dry
Nor could the scroll contain the whole
Though stretched from sky to sky
O love of God, how rich and pure!
How measureless and strong!
It shall forevermore endure
The saints' and angels' song"