Five Points Blog

Christ’s Supreme Glory in the Church

The Apostle Paul finishes Ephesians 3 with these thrilling words, “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us” (verse 20). It’s only half a sentence, yet soaring, exhilarating joy in God shines from it. Behind the blessing is the grand truth that God is able to do far more than all we could ask or think. So what is the “far more” God is doing?

In context the abundant ability is love. The power within us is the Spirit of Jesus Christ and the purpose is to maximize God’s glory on the earth. Through his love for the Church, God means to extend his reputation throughout the universe as the being most worthy of all praise and glory. This is what God is doing.

The best human marriages are a parable of this. When a godly husband loves, leads, serves, and strengthens his wife, she goes out in public with a deep and abiding joy on her face. And Proverbs 31:23 is fulfilled, “Her husband is known in the gates when he sits among the elders of the land.” This means the man’s wife is so open with her joy and esteem of her husband that when he sits among the leaders he is known as an excellent husband because his wife “displays his glory” for others to see.

God invented such a dynamic in human marriage so the entire human race would know something of what he is doing cosmically and eternally. God is the husband to the Church and as the Church moves throughout the world in his strength, his joy, his abundance, and his love, she shines forth her joy. Discerning observers will say, “What a husband she must have!”

What Do We Mean “Gospel-Centered”?

At Five Points, we value gospel-centered worship, community, service, and mission. What do we mean by "gospel-centered"? John Piper articulates well what we're talking about in our "gospel-centered" values in a sermon he preached this past Sunday:

You can hear more about our values by listening to Pastor Brent's sermon series "Gospel-Centered Vision & Values."

Puritan Work Available Free Online

In my ongoing work with Don Kistler and The Northampton Press, I've offered to put one of the finished, edited, but yet un-printed Northampton books into blog form. Check out The Man of God Blog which features several posts -- a start of what I hope will eventually be dozens of book excerpts in blog post form. All the material comes from the book, Man of God, by Octavius Winslow, which awaits the funds for print production at The Northampton Press.

While part of my purpose is to generate growing awareness of The Northampton Press, the Winslow text, and Don's teaching ministry, I'm more interested in bringing excellent material like this to bear in the lives of readers here at Five Points and all over the world. That we can have access to this information and publish it on a free blog site and link to the Five Points website is a tremendous gift of God. I don't want us to miss its significance and the opportunity to be good stewards of it.

Regarding the book itself, I've only read through a few of these chapters and so far am amazed at its clarity and depth, theologically and practically. I've read other works by Winslow and find him to be a trusted, faithful voice that clearly and pastorally applies biblical truth to his readers.

Other than posting portions of each chapter in short chunks, the only other changes I am making are to title each post as descriptively as I can, include the key chapter verse at the beginning of each post, and add a question or two for consideration at the end.

I trust that as readers become familiar with the blog that they'll freely comment on it.

I welcome your input on any of this project and invite you to promote and distribute the blog and its posts wherever you'd like. There's an easy means to subscribe to the blog via email; please encourage anyone to sign up who might benefit.
By the way, The Man of God Blog is not limited to men. Women are of course welcome to read it and will benefit just as much, too.

To Know the Love of Christ

So supernatural was his intent that Paul prayed for the Church—in the Bible’s grandest prayer—that God grant us strength “to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge” (Ephesians 3:19). He doesn’t mean Christ’s love stands against knowledge, but only surpasses it. Do you know by experience how vast is the love of God in Christ?

God’s love is as infinite as God. No measurement suffices to chart it. The love of God is inexhaustible. We know this, but do we know this? Paul prays that we could prove the inexhaustibility of God’s love by our real experience, not just state it by our doctrine.

Because God’s love is boundless, there is no pain so great that can tear you from it. There is no sorrow so heavy that God’s love cannot bear it up. There is no poverty God’s love cannot redeem, no opposition God’s love cannot overcome, no longing God’s love cannot fulfill.

So Paul wrote to the Romans, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword” (Rom. 8:35)?

Ponder the love of God for you on the day you were saved. Recall the kindnesses outpoured on your life from the riches of God’s love. Look back and marvel on your journal record of God’s love, or begin one. Ransack your memory for evidences of his divine love.

In an evening sermon in London in the fall of 1883 Charles Spurgeon preached, “Truly brethren, we know the love of Christ! When Jesus dwells in us, we do not merely believe in his love as a report, but we enjoy it as a fact! We have made its acquaintance—we have tasted, we have handled, we have experienced this heavenly gift! What a favor! To know the love of Christ!”

The Unseen Love of Christ

It takes the power of God to know the unknowable. In Ephesians 3:18-19, Paul prays that we would “have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge.” Only by the Holy Spirit illuminating Holy Scripture will we see the unseen. To know the love all humans yearn for is itself a gift from God.

Its cost is high above our reckoning. Paul writes to the Romans, “One will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:7-8).

Its benefits are beyond counting. “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called the children of God” (1 John 3:1). He and the Son were of one heart in this matter. 

Its bounty is beyond calculating. “All things are yours, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future—all are yours, and you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s” (1 Corinthians 3:21–23).

Its freedom puts it beyond question. Jesus didn’t have to love us. No cosmic force in the universe pressed him into dying on the cross. He embraced the suffering willingly. “For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again” (John 10:17-18).

Join us Sunday as we press in to seek to grasp the love of God in Christ during Bible Study Hour at 9:30am and our morning worship service at 10:45am.

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