Faithlife Sermons

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PAUL’S PRAYER FOR THE CHURCH
INTRODUCTION
Our passage today is actually a prayer Paul gave for the Ephesians.
Paul began the prayer in verse 1 of chapter 3, but appears to have been sidetracked and then picks it up in verse 14.
This is his second prayer in Ephesians, the first was in 1:15-23.
Wiersbe says that prayer was for enlightenment.
This prayer is for enablement.
Not a head knowledge of knowing more about Christ,
But a heart of being a part of Christ.
Paul wants us to realize the vastness of the riches of Christ and begin using those riches for His sake.
Let’s turn in our passage to:
Did you notice in verse 14 Paul says he bowed his knees before the Father.
For us today, that does not really get our attention.
But for the Jews in the 1st Century that got their attention.
It is not customary for Jews to kneel when praying.
They stand and rock back and forth as you see them at the Western Wall in Jerusalem today.
For a Jew to kneel, it was and extraordinary event.
We see Jesus kneeling in Gethsemane on the eve of His death (, )
Solomon knelt at the dedication of the Temple ().
There appears to be 2 reasons for Paul kneeling here during this prayer:
The Impact of the revelation he had been given to share.
Paul was showing deep emotion for this revelation.
He is kneeling “before the Father” again with deep emotion.
In Paul’s prayer, he is making 4 petitions for the church.
PAUL’S PETITION FOR STRENGTH (v.
16)
PAUL’S PETITION FOR DEPTH (v.
17)
PAUL’S PETITION FOR COMPREHENSION (vv.
18-19a)
PAUL’S PETITION FOR FULLNESS (v.
19b)
He then ends with:
THE BENEDICTION (vv.
20-21)
Kent Hughes says:
“Paul had fallen to his knees because of two realities: first, the sublime truths of God’s Word, and second, the soul-healing Fatherhood under which he rested.”
First we will look at:
PAUL’S PETITION FOR STRENGTH (v.
16)
“… may grant you to be strengthened...”
Just as the ill or sick need to be strengthened to enjoy all of life,
Christians need to be strengthened to receive all the blessings God desires for them.
What are we to be strengthened for you might ask?
“… to the riches of his glory...”
Paul is wanting the Ephesians to be strong enough to receive the riches of Christ’s glory.
We are to be strengthened with power.
The second thing Paul mentions here for us to be strengthened by the Holy Spirit in our inner being.
“… through his Spirit in your inner being...”
What is Paul saying here?
The presence of the Holy Spirit in our life is the evidence of salvation.
Romans 8
But, the power of the Spirit is the ability to life the Christian life.
That is the Power Paul is praying for here.
Again Weirsbe says:
This power is available for “the inner man.”
This means the spiritual part of man where God dwells and works.
The inner man of the lost sinner is dead (Eph.
2:1), but it becomes alive when Christ is invited in.
The inner man can see (Ps.
119:18), hear (Matt.
13:9), taste (Ps.
34:8), and feel (Acts 17:27); and he must be “exercised” (1 Tim.
4:7–8).
He also must be cleansed (Ps.
51:7) and fed (Matt.
4:4).
The outer man is perishing, but the inner man can be renewed spiritually in spite of outward physical decay (2 Cor.
4:16–18).
It is this inner power that makes him succeed.
What does it mean to have the power in the inner man?
How does one get this power?
It means we are allowing the Holy Spirit to control our Spiritual faculties.
We are keeping them exercised and worked up by growing in the Word of God.
Heb
When and only when we allow ourselves to be controlled by the Holy Spirit that our inner man will succeed in living to the Glory of God.
PAUL’S PETITION FOR DEPTH (v.
17)
“… so that Christ may dwell in your hearts...”
What does dwell mean?
Kenneth Wuest says this:
“to settle down and be at home”
the idea he says is
“that Christ might finally settle down and feel completely at home in your hearts.”
Paul uses two more words here to get us to understand the depth to which we are to go.
“… rooted...”
This is an agricultural term.
Tammie and I had a tree in our back yard.....
For a tree to grow strong, it must have its roots deep into the soil.
For a Christian to grow deep, he must have spiritual roots driven deep into the love of God.
A good question for a Christian to ask himself is:
“From what do I draw my nourishment and stability?”
If we are to have power in our Christian life, our roots must go deep into the Love of Christ.
Our next word is:
“… grounded...”
This is an architectural term.
While attending college in Chattanooga, I watch daily as the new church building was being built.....
as one builder said:
“… the most important part of this building is the foundation.
If you don’t go deep, you can’t go high.”
In this Christian life we live, the trials we face and how we handle them depends on how deep our love for Christ is.
Where do we dwell and what are we rooted and grounded in?
The Love of Christ.
A lifestyle of love for others.
Dr. Barnhouse said this about the fruits of the Spirit listed in :
“Love is the key.
Joy is love singing.
Peace is love resting.
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