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Time to Get Rooted

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Summer is glorious, especially early summer. Now is the time to plant. It is the time for planting flowers, vegetables, or trees and shrubs. For some plants, we plant seeds. Other times, the seed has already been planted and watered and nurtured in a greenhouse, and now is the time to take them outside and plant them.
In either case, it is essential that the plants take root. If they do not, they will die. The roots of the plant do two things. First, they help anchor the plant in the soil. The roots hold firm in the soil when the environment wants to tip the plant over and uproot it from the soil. Second, the roots transfer the water and other nutrients from the soil to the inner parts of the plants, helping the plant to grow and thrive. Roots are essential to the life of the plant. All of these plants that we see people planting must begin to take root in the soil, or they will die.
It is essential that the plants take root, if they do not they will die. The roots of the plant do two things. First, they help anchor the plant in the soil. Second, they transfer the water and other nutrients out of the soil to the inner parts of the plants. Roots are essential to the life of the plant. All of these plants that we see people planting must begin to take root in the soil, or they will die.
It is essential that the plants take root, if they do not they will die. The roots of the plant do two things. First, they help anchor the plant in the soil. Second, they transfer the water and other nutrients out of the soil to the inner parts of the plants. Roots are essential to the life of the plant. All of these plants that we see people planting must begin to take root in the soil, or they will die.
In either case, it is essential that the plants take root. If they do not, they will die. The roots of the plant do two things. First, they help anchor the plant in the soil. The roots hold firm in the soil when the environment wants to tip the plant over and uproot it from the soil. Second, the roots transfer the water and other nutrients from the soil to the inner parts of the plants, helping the plant to grow and thrive. Roots are essential to the life of the plant. All of these plants that we see people planting must begin to take root in the soil, or they will die.
Now I know that is common sense, and surely we didn't gather together in the House of Lord to hear about plants, but I mention because that is what we need to do as followers of Jesus. We need to take root.
Now I know that is common sense, and surely we didn't gather together in the House of Lord to hear about plants, but I mention because that is what we need to do as a church. We need to take root.
Now I know that is common sense, and surely we didn't gather together in the House of Lord to hear about plants, but I mention because that is what we need to do as a church. We need to take root.
Now I know that is common sense, and surely we didn't gather together in the House of Lord to hear about plants, but I mention because that is what we need to do as followers of Jesus. We need to take root.
Remember this? The 2016 Annual Report? Now you don't have to go home and read it or anything, but in it, I wrote the Pastor's report. To summarize; it was about spiritual growth. The idea is that as we grow spiritually individually, we will grow as a church.
Well, that was roughly January, So today, I want us to start thinking about how we are doing. Are we growing spiritually? Are we as individuals growing closer to Christ?
Remember this thing? The 2016 Annual Report? Now you don't have to go home and read it or anything, but in it, I wrote the Pastor's report, and to summarize; it was about spiritual growth, spiritual growth as individuals. Well, that was roughly January, So today, I want us to start thinking about how we are doing. Are we growing spiritually? Are we as individuals growing closer to Christ?
Remember this thing? The 2016 Annual Report? Now you don't have to go home and read it or anything, but in it, I wrote the Pastor's report, and to summarize; it was about spiritual growth, spiritual growth as individuals. Well, that was roughly January, So today, I want us to start thinking about how we are doing. Are we growing spiritually? Are we as individuals growing closer to Christ?
Remember this? The 2016 Annual Report? Now you don't have to go home and read it or anything, but in it, I wrote the Pastor's report. To summarize; it was about spiritual growth. The idea is that as we grow spiritually individually, we will grow as a church.
The idea is, that no matter what happens, above all else, if we, as a church, and that means together, all of us, each one of us is growing, if we are all seeking after Jesus with our whole heart, and our whole mind, we as a Chruch are accomplishing what God has called us to.
Well, that was roughly January, So today, I want us to start thinking about how we are doing. Are we growing spiritually? Are we as individuals growing closer to Christ?
The idea is, is that no matter what happens, above all else, if we, as a church, and that means together, all of us. If we are all seeking after God with our whole heart, and our whole mind, we are successful.
The idea is, is that no matter what happens, above all else, if we, as a church, and that means together, all of us. If we are all seeking after God with our whole heart, and our whole mind, we are successful.
It means that even if when we are failing at things, it means even when we fall short, we will still have our unfailing faith rooted in Jesus Christ. It means that no matter what disaster, or trouble we will face we can face it head on without fear because we are rooted in Jesus Christ.
It means that even if we fail, we still have our unfailing faith rooted in Jesus Christ. It means that no matter what disaster, or trouble we will face we can face it head on without fear because we are rooted in Jesus Christ. We can remain steadfast in our faith, and we will know that we are favored by God, not because of what we have done but because above all we have chosen to seek Jesus first. Seek first the kingdom of God and all these things will be added unto you.
The idea is, that no matter what happens, above all else, if we, as a church, and that means together, all of us, each one of us is growing, if we are all seeking after Jesus with our whole heart, and our whole mind, we as a Chruch are accomplishing what God has called us to.
It means that even if we fail, we still have our unfailing faith rooted in Jesus Christ. It means that no matter what disaster, or trouble we will face we can face it head on without fear because we are rooted in Jesus Christ. We can remain steadfast in our faith, and we will know that we are favored by God, not because of what we have done but because above all we have chosen to seek Jesus first. Seek first the kingdom of God and all these things will be added unto you.
We can remain steadfast in our faith, and we will know that we are favored by God, not because of what we have done but because above all we have Jesus. We have chosen above all the things we could be doing to seek Jesus first.
Matthew 6:33 NIV
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
So now, as Minnesota enters the prime growing season we as a Church are still in the growing season, and it is time to get rooted.
It means that even if when we are failing at things, it means even when we fall short, we will still have our unfailing faith rooted in Jesus Christ. It means that no matter what disaster, or trouble we will face we can face it head on without fear because we are rooted in Jesus Christ.
So now, as Minnesota enters the prime growing season we as a Church are still in the growing season, and it is time to get rooted.
Seek first the kingdom of God and all these things will be added unto you.
Today is the last day of Sunday school. We have spent all fall, and winter nurturing our little saplings, but just because summer comes, and the classes stop, we do not need to let our spiritual lives wither away to a slow fading wilting death. This fall and winter, we were seedlings in a greenhouse. We were beginning the growing season; we were getting the seeds to sprout. Now, that the little seedlings have been prepared it is time to take root.
We can remain steadfast in our faith, and we will know that we are favored by God, not because of what we have done but because above all we have Jesus. We have chosen above all the things we could be doing to seek Jesus first.
Today is the last day of Sunday school. We have spent all fall, and winter nurturing our little saplings, but just because summer comes, and the classes stop, we do not need to let our spiritual lives wither away to a slow fading wilting death. This fall and winter, we were seedlings in a greenhouse. We were beginning the growing season; we were getting the seeds to sprout. Now, that the little seedlings have been prepared it is time to take root.
As Minnesota enters the prime growing season, we as a Church are in the growing season, and now it is time to get rooted.
Mattehw 6:33
At Christmas we celebrated the coming of Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh, we witnessed the planting of the promise of the gospel. We moved toward Easter, and we watched the gospel as it was made manifest before our eyes in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Recently, we sought to define our lives by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
At Christmas we celebrated the coming of Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh, we witnessed the planting of the promise of the gospel. We moved toward Easter, and we watched the gospel as it was made manifest before our eyes in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Recently, we sought to define our lives by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Today is the last day of Sunday school. We have spent all fall, and winter nurturing our planted seeds. Now summer comes, the classes stop, but we do not need to let our spiritual lives wither away to a slow fading wilting death, left in a cramped pot. Now it is time to go out and take root.
How do we do that? Well, it starts with Christ.
Now, we fling open the doors and live. This summer we will fling open the church doors and go outside, it will be a necessity that we are rooted. As we go out of this building into the community, we must be firmly rooted, or our faith will die. Like a plant that is unable to take root, we will slowly wither and fade.
Seek first the kingdom of God and all these things will be added unto you.
Now, we fling open the doors and live. This summer we will fling open the church doors and go outside, it will be a necessity that we are rooted. As we go out of this building into the community, we must be firmly rooted, or our faith will die. Like a plant that is unable to take root, we will slowly wither and fade.
At Christmas we celebrated the coming of Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh, we witnessed the planting of the promise of the gospel. As we moved toward Easter, we watched the gospel as it was made manifest before our eyes in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Most recently here after Easter, we sought to define our lives by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
So how? How do we do that? How do we practically live and thrive outside of these walls, how do we take root?
So how? How do we do that? How do we practically live and thrive outside of these walls, how do we take root?
As Minnesota enters the prime growing season, we as a Church are in the growing season, and now it is time to get rooted.
Now planted with the Gospel, defined by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, we fling open the doors and live. This summer we will fling open the church doors and go outside, it will be a necessity that we are rooted. As we go out of this building into the community, we must be firmly rooted, or our faith will die. Like a plant that is unable to take root, we will slowly wither and fade.
All great movements of God begin with one thing, prayer. In the book of Ephesians, the apostle Paul recorded his prayer for the church at Ephesus. I believe the prayer for the Church at Ephesus, applies to St. Luke's Church today.
Today is the last day of Sunday school. We have spent all fall, and winter nurturing our planted seeds. Now summer comes, the classes stop, but we do not need to let our spiritual lives wither away to a slow fading wilting death, left in a cramped pot. Now it is time to go out and take root.
All great movements of God begin with one thing, prayer. In the book of Ephesians, the apostle Paul recorded his prayer for the church at Ephesus. I believe the prayer for the Church at Ephesus, applies to St. Luke's Church today.
So how? How do we do that? How do we practically live and thrive outside of these walls, how do we take root?
All movements of God begin with one thing, prayer, and in the book of Ephesians, the apostle Paul recorded his prayer for the church at Ephesus. I believe the prayer for the Church at Ephesus, applies to St. Luke's Church today.
Let me pray.
How do we do that? Well, it starts with Christ.
Let me pray.
At Christmas we celebrated the coming of Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh, we witnessed the planting of the promise of the gospel. As we moved toward Easter, we watched the gospel as it was made manifest before our eyes in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Most recently here after Easter, we sought to define our lives by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Let me pray.
Father as we open up your word this morning Lord God change us. Lord, we ask by the Holy Spirit may your word cause us to worship you with all of our hearts, and all of our minds. In Jesus name Amen
Father as we open up your word this morning Lord God change us. Lord, we ask by the Holy Spirit may your word cause us to worship you with all of our hearts, and all of our minds. In Jesus name Amen
Father as we open up your word this morning Lord God change us. Lord, we ask by the Holy Spirit may your word cause us to worship you with all of our hearts, and all of our minds. In Jesus name Amen
Now planted with the Gospel, defined by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, we fling open the doors and live. This summer we will fling open the church doors and go outside, it will be a necessity that we are rooted. As we go out of this building into the community, we must be firmly rooted, or our faith will die. Like a plant that is unable to take root, we will slowly wither and fade.
Let's turn to Ephesians chapter 3. Now the first thing we notice is the passage we read this morning concludes chapter 3. Chapter three, of course, is well into the letter. If you have a heading, it may say " A prayer for the Ephesians." The next thing we notice is the start of this passage begins with the phrase "For this reason."
Ephesians 3:14 NIV
For this reason I kneel before the Father,
So how? How do we do that? How do we practically live and thrive outside of these walls, how do we take root?
This tells us that we may need to back up a bit in the letter to understand the reason Paul is praying this prayer, and consequently, why it would be important to us as well.
Turn with me to Ephesians chapter 3. Now the first thing we notice in this passage is that it concludes chapter 3. Chapter three, of course, is well into the letter. If you have a heading, it may say " A prayer for the Ephesians." The next thing we notice is the start of this passage, , begins with the phrase "For this reason."
Many time, when we encounter a phrase like this, we can just back up a few verses. But it is not the case here. Paul begins chapter three with the same phrase, "for this reason," but instead of the prayer, Paul goes down a little side trail.
All movements of God begin with one thing, prayer, and in the book of Ephesians, the apostle Paul recorded his prayer for the church at Ephesus. I believe the prayer for the Church at Ephesus, applies to St. Luke's Church today.
We need to back up to understand the reason Paul is kneeling before the Father. We need to know the reason, because if we know why Paul prays like this, maybe we can pray like this as well.
The reason Paul prays this prayer is found a little way back in Chapter two. Paul explains the reason he kneels before the Father on behalf of the Ephesians in Chapter 2. He begins at verse eleven and continues through to verse nineteen.
The reason Paul prays this prayer is found in Chapter two, from verse eleven to chapter 2 verse ninenteen.
Let me pray.
We will start at verse 12.
Father as we open up your word this morning Lord God change us. Lord, we ask by the Holy Spirit may your word cause us to worship you with all of our hearts, and all of our minds. In Jesus name Amen
Now, starting at verse 11 Paul writes, "Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called “uncircumcised” by those who call themselves “the circumcision” (which is done in the body by human hands)— remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ."
Ephesians 2:12–13 NIV
remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
It is the idea of reconciliation.
The Gentiles, or non-jews, were not a part of God's nation, Israel. The were separate and excluded, outcast, foreigners, alone. They had no hope because they had no God. But it was by Christ's blood, orby Jesus's death, that they were brought into the family of God.
Ephesians 3:14 NIV
For this reason I kneel before the Father,
This was a radical idea at that time. In order to fully understand the reason, we need to fully understand how radical this was.
The Gentiles, or non-jews, were not part of God's nation, Israel. The were separate and excluded, outcast, foreigners, alone, no hope and no God. But it was by Christ's blood, or his death, that they were brought into the family of God.
See God, Yahweh, Jehovah, the great I AM, the God of the Old Testament, He only belonged to the Jews, not the rest of the world. We are so used to this idea that everyone can come to Jesus that we forget this idea was not present in the mind of the Jew. The Jew was born a Jew. If you were not born a Jew, you were the rest of the world. The rest of the world was separated and did not have God. Oh, they had other so-called gods. They manufactured them. They had the gods they invented. They had gods on their own terms. Gods as they would like him to be, made of wood and stone.
This was a radical idea at that time. See God, Yahweh, Jehovah, the great I AM, the God of the Old Testament He only belonged to the Jews, not the rest of the world. The rest of the world was separated and did not have God. Oh, they had other so-called gods. They had the gods they invented. They had gods on their own terms.
Turn with me to Ephesians chapter 3. Now the first thing we notice in this passage is that it concludes chapter 3. Chapter three, of course, is well into the letter. If you have a heading, it may say " A prayer for the Ephesians." The next thing we notice is the start of this passage, , begins with the phrase "For this reason."
But now, the love of God, the love of Christ, was so great, that He, Jesus, was willing to sacrifice himself to bring into the family of God those who were without God.
We need to back up to understand the reason Paul is kneeling before the Father. We need to know the reason, because if we know why Paul prays like this, maybe we can pray like this as well.
But now, the love of Christ, the love of God was so great, that He, Jesus, was willing to sacrifice himself to bring into the family those who were without God.
This was revolutionary. The ancient people were much more collective than we are today. Today, we view are the world as though we are made up individuals. We are independent; we value earning our way. And if we see a group we want to belong to we join. If we are in a group we don't like, we change ourselves to be part of a different group.
For example, I grew up in Addison, Illinois. Addison was largely populated with Italians, but there were a few Polish mixed in. The Polish were a small minority. Another Polish family happened to live three doors down from us. But unlike my family with unambiguous last name of Purchla, you could tell their heritage by their last name. Their last name ended with ski.
The reason Paul prays this prayer is found a little way back in Chapter two. Paul explains the reason he kneels before the Father on behalf of the Ephesians in Chapter 2. He begins at verse eleven and continues through to verse nineteen.
We are so familiar with the gospel that we forget how revolutionary this idea is, and how good this news is. Today, we are a less collective society; we are made up of individuals. We are independent, we earn our way, if we see a group we want to belong to we join, or we lift ourselves up as best we can to become part of that group. But this wasn't the case back then. If you were lucky enough to born a jew, you were part of God's family, you lived a life rooted in living out God's word. You were a person of the book.
You know like Jablonski or Cerwinski. Well, this man was a realtor. A realtor with a Polish last name did not do well in an Italian area. The Italians wanted to do business with Italians. You were either in, or out. Unlike in ancient times, this family decided to change their association. They simply dropped the ski off the end of their name. Now, it was not obvious which group they belonged to, and the business flourished.
We will start at verse 12.
Now, imagine yourself not a part of that group. You didn't have a God. You were an outcast. You had no hope. Even the temple in the middle of the city had a separate spot, called the court of the Gentiles, that was furthest removed from the center. It was fiuthest from God, you could not come any closer. And there was nothing you could do about it.
This wasn't the case in the early first century. You couldn't just change your name; there was this thing of circumcision to identify you as a jew or a non-jew. If you were lucky enough to born a jew, you were part of God's family. If not you were an outsider. If you were born a jew, you lived a life rooted in living out God's word. You were a person of the book. Everyone around you was a person of the book, and you had a God. The God. Yahweh, the Great I am was your God. If not you were out.
Now, imagine yourself not a part of that group. Not only were an outcast, and separate, but you did not have God. You had no hope. Even the temple, in the middle of the city, had a separate spot, called the court of the Gentiles. Even if you wanted to come to God, you were restricted physically by how close you could get. The court of the Gentiles was furthest removed from the Holy of Holies, where God was. Everything in the world pointed to the fact that you were far from God, and you could not come any closer. And there was nothing you could do about it. Imagine knocking on the door of a Church, and someone coming to the door and saying, I'm sorry you can't come in, pleas stand outside. What if you really needed God?
Ephesians 2:12–13 NIV
remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
Jesus broke down that barrier. You who were once far away were brought near to God, and this was huge. The love of God was now demonstrated. It was real for everybody.
What Paul is telling the church at Ephesus is Jesus broke down that barrier. It no longer mattered what race you were, Jesus broke down that barrier.
The Gentiles, or non-jews, were not a part of God's nation, Israel. The were separate and excluded, outcast, foreigners, alone. They had no hope because they had no God. But it was by Christ's blood, orby Jesus's death, that they were brought into the family of God.
Suddenly those that gre up in the "church" were on the same footings, or part of the same family as the drunhards, the swindleres, the liars, the fonricators and the prostitutes, becasue really as we learn from Jesus in His sermon on the mount, and echoed by Paul in Eph is that that is really what we all are anyway. Just to different degrees.
You who were once far away physically were now brought near to God, by the blood of Jesus. This was huge. The love of God was now demonstrated. The love of God was concretely evident in Jesus Christ, It was real and it was for everybody.
This was a radical idea at that time. In order to fully understand the reason, we need to fully understand how radical this was.
And when we realize that. When we understand that we are all, by our own nature far away from God, and without hope. When we fully grasp that we do not deserve God, that in fact God owes us nothing. We grasp that we we have been brought near, not by anything that we have , and we are all no better than the other but we are all seperate, when that sinks in, then we understand how awesome it is that we are brought near. So with that understanding, let me rread from , and then go into the prayer. Then we should be able to understand the reason Paul is praying this.
Suddenly those that grew up in the "church" were part of the same family as the drunkards, the swindlers, the liars, the fornicators and the prostitutes.
What is even more interesting about that is that even the church people were, in their heart, far from God. So what Paul is saying, is that really it doesn;t matter what is happening on the outside, it is where are our hearts.
14 For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, 15 by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, 16 and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. 17 He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.
See God, Yahweh, Jehovah, the great I AM, the God of the Old Testament, He only belonged to the Jews, not the rest of the world. We are so used to this idea that everyone can come to Jesus that we forget this idea was not present in the mind of the Jew. The Jew was born a Jew. If you were not born a Jew, you were the rest of the world. The rest of the world was separated and did not have God. Oh, they had other so-called gods. They manufactured them. They had the gods they invented. They had gods on their own terms. Gods as they would like him to be, made of wood and stone.
And when we realize that, when we understand that we are all, by our own heart far away from God, and without hope, when we fully realize that we do not deserve God, when we come to the conclusion that God owes us nothing. When we grasp that we are all seperated from God, and none of us has any hope, when that part sinks in. Then we can begin to understand how awesome the good news is.
But now, the love of God, the love of Christ, was so great, that He, Jesus, was willing to sacrifice himself to bring into the family of God those who were without God.
19 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22 And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.
It is by Jesus that we are brought near. God doesn't owe us anything, none of us deserves to be brought near, But God, being rich in mercy through the blood of Jesus Christ brings us near to Him.
(3-14)
This was revolutionary. The ancient people were much more collective than we are today. Today, we view are the world as though we are made up individuals. We are independent; we value earning our way. And if we see a group we want to belong to we join. If we are in a group we don't like, we change ourselves to be part of a different group.
So with that understanding, Paul writes For this reason. For this reason, I kneel before the Father. For this reason, because we all are brought near to God by Jesus. For this reason, Paul kneels before the Father from whom His whole family in heaven and earth derives his name.
A reason is a driving force, it is a motivating factor it is why Paul prays this prayer. The reason is the gospel. The gospel is so incredibly powerful, it changes the culture, it breaks down barriers, and it changes lives. And this how Paul prays, starting at verse 16.
For example, I grew up in Addison, Illinois. Addison was largely populated with Italians, but there were a few Polish mixed in. The Polish were a small minority. Another Polish family happened to live three doors down from us. But unlike my family with unambiguous last name of Purchla, you could tell their heritage by their last name. Their last name ended with ski.
For this reason, I kneel before the father from whom every family in heaven and Earth derives its's name.
3:16
Ephesians 3:16 NIV
I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being,
:
You know like Jablonski or Cerwinski. Well, this man was a realtor. A realtor with a Polish last name did not do well in an Italian area. The Italians wanted to do business with Italians. You were either in, or out. Unlike in ancient times, this family decided to change their association. They simply dropped the ski off the end of their name. Now, it was not obvious which group they belonged to, and the business flourished.
Paul prays that God may strengthen the people of the church at Ephesus with power through the Holy Spirit in their inner being.
This wasn't the case in the early first century. You couldn't just change your name; there was this thing of circumcision to identify you as a jew or a non-jew. If you were lucky enough to born a jew, you were part of God's family. If not you were an outsider. If you were born a jew, you lived a life rooted in living out God's word. You were a person of the book. Everyone around you was a person of the book, and you had a God. The God. Yahweh, the Great I am was your God. If not you were out.
It is interesting what Paul prays for isn't it? He doesn't pray for money or a building. He doesn't pray for protection, or even for more people to come. He doesn't pray for the sick, or to end the persecution. He prays for power by the Holy Spirit to strengthen them in thier inner being.
Now don't get me wrong, we should pray for those things. In fact, in many other places, Paul tells us to pray for those things, but not now.
Now, imagine yourself not a part of that group. Not only were an outcast, and separate, but you did not have God. You had no hope. Even the temple, in the middle of the city, had a separate spot, called the court of the Gentiles. Even if you wanted to come to God, you were restricted physically by how close you could get. The court of the Gentiles was furthest removed from the Holy of Holies, where God was. Everything in the world pointed to the fact that you were far from God, and you could not come any closer. And there was nothing you could do about it. Imagine knocking on the door of a Church, and someone coming to the door and saying, I'm sorry you can't come in, pleas stand outside. What if you really needed God?
Why is that? Paul is even on his knees. Paul is on his knees before the Father in heaven and prays for God to strengthen them by his Holy Spirit in their inner being. He prays for this because of the most important thing, about the Gospel, is that it brings us near to God. So, the most important thing for Paul to pray for is more of God.
What Paul is telling the church at Ephesus is Jesus broke down that barrier. It no longer mattered what race you were, Jesus broke down that barrier.
Paul is praying that the people of the Church will have more of God.
Ephesians 3:17 NIV
so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love,
3:17
You who were once far away physically were now brought near to God, by the blood of Jesus. This was huge. The love of God was now demonstrated. The love of God was concretely evident in Jesus Christ, It was real and it was for everybody.
Paul is praying that the Holy Spirit will strengthen them with power, so that Christ may dwell in their hearts by faith.
Suddenly those that grew up in the "church" were part of the same family as the drunkards, the swindlers, the liars, the fornicators and the prostitutes.
Because above all the most important thing is that we have God, that we are strengthened, with him that we seek first Him and His kingdom, then all these other things will come.
What is even more interesting about that is that even the church people were, in their heart, far from God. So what Paul is saying, is that really it doesn;t matter what is happening on the outside, it is where are our hearts.
The seasons are changing, it is summer. It is time to close up the Sunday School rooms and order some new curriculum. And although it seems like an end it is actually just the begining. It is the begining of the Church going outside these walls. Garage Sale, Basketball Camp, Parade, Fair Stand and VBS, it is time for going us to go the world, and one thing the New Testament is clear on, we cannot do it on our power. We need the Holy Spirit.
Sometimes we do not understand the Holy Spirit. But, once you place your faith in Jesus for the forgiveness of your sins and believe that he rose from the dead, you come near to God. You receive the Holy Spirit. Every believer here has the Holy Spirit, and I pray as Paul prays, and I am asking all of the believers here to pray. And I am asking you first of all, and most importantly to pray for God to strengthen each one of us with power through His Spirit. Pray for more of God here at St. Luke’s. Pray for God to strengthen us. Plead with God, get on your knees and pray for more of God. That is what we really need this summer.
And when we realize that, when we understand that we are all, by our own heart far away from God, and without hope, when we fully realize that we do not deserve God, when we come to the conclusion that God owes us nothing. When we grasp that we are all seperated from God, and none of us has any hope, when that part sinks in. Then we can begin to understand how awesome the good news is.
We don’t need more stuff, we need more of God and his power. Look around.
It is by Jesus that we are brought near. God doesn't owe us anything, none of us deserves to be brought near, But God, being rich in mercy through the blood of Jesus Christ brings us near to Him.
We have a busy family willing to host a garage sale and we have more than enough stuff to donate. But if our hearts are far from God, it doesn’t go anywhere. Pray that God will strengthen them with power through His Spirit in their inner being. We have a beautiful parking lot to host the Basketball camp and a skilled and willing coach. If your hearts are not close to God, it is just that a nice parking lot. Pray that God will strengthen her with power through His Spirit in her inner being.
We have access to a trailer for the parade, and people willing to participate, Pray that God will strengthen them with power through His Spirit in their inner being. We have a beautiful building at the County Fair. Pray that God will strengthen us with power through His Spirit in our inner being. We have a spectacular facility for VBS, and a memorial donation to help put it on. But without the power of the Spirit it will go used. Pray that God will strengthen us with power through His Spirit in our inner being.
So with that understanding, Paul writes For this reason.
And when you enter into that prayer realize that it because Jesus brought you near to God by His blood, and it is for that reason that you are getting on your knees before the Father and praying that He may strengthen us with power in our inner being.
Ephesians 3:14–15 NIV
For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name.
For this reason, I kneel before the Father. For this reason, because we all are brought near to God by Jesus. For this reason, Paul kneels before the Father from whom His whole family in heaven and earth derives his name.
A reason is a driving force, it is a motivating factor it is why Paul prays this prayer. The reason is the gospel. The gospel is so incredibly powerful, it changes the culture, it breaks down barriers, and it changes lives. And this how Paul prays, starting at verse 16.
Ephesians 3:16 NIV
I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being,
Paul prays that God may strengthen the church at Ephesus with power through His Spirit in your inner being. It is interesting what Paul prays for isn't it? He doesn't pray for money or building. He doesn't pray for protection, or even for more people to come. He doesn't pray for the sick, or to end the persecution. Now don't get me wrong, we should pray for those things. In fact, in many other places, Paul tells us to pray fro those things, but not now.
Now, For this reason, because of the Gospel, perhaps what Paul is praying for is the most important thing. What Paul is kneeling before the Father for is more of God. Paul is praying that the people of the Church will have more of God. Paul is praying that the Holy Spirit will strengthen them with power. Because above all the most important thing is that we have God, that we are strengthened, with him that we seek first the kingdom of God, then all these other things will come.
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