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Ephesians   •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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This morning we are going to be in .
This is the prayer that Paul began in verse one and then got side tracked into talking about his ministry to the gentiles and God’s grace which has been extended to the nations.
Praying the bibe
Praying written prayers
One thing we have done in our home since Karis was born is to have a time of songs and prayers before bed.
Prayer lists
Every night we gather together and sings a few songs together, talk about the day, we pray together and then sing the doxology together.
And a few weeks ago I was thinking how this time together as a family is very important. And it is important because it is formative, during this time I am teaching my children how to pray.
And I felt somewhat convicted because though it is a good thing for us to do, I had not used that time to teach my kids how to pray well, how to mature in their prayers, or how to pray the way the bible prays.
So since then we have changed the way we do our evening songs and prayers...
Now we sing a few songs, we then read a psalm together, we pray a psalm together and then we pray the Lords prayer together.
You see, the prayers in the bible are prayers for us, prayers we should pray, and prayers that apply to us.
So when we look at Paul’s prayer here in we should look at it as a prayer we should be pray as our own.
Let us not fall into thinking that this prayer is just a historical record of Paul’s prayer, but this is indeed a prayer for the church today.
Ephesians 3:14 ESV
14 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father,
Ephesians 3:14–21 ESV
14 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, 16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. 20 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, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
Ephesians is the most poetical of Paul’s letters
He indeed writes from the mountain top of Christian thought and theology,
and now this prayer is one where Paul is taking so many of the great theme of the bible and bringing them together in this one glorious prayer
Lets start with vv.14-16
Ephesians 3:14–16 ESV
14 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, 16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being,
For what reason?
In Christ God has taken Jews and gentiles and has brought them together thus creating one new family, a new city, a new race.
Because of this great work, for this reason, Paul bows his knees before the father. and then in verse 15 he introduces the Father by saying, “from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named.”
Paul’s prayer life was one done mostly standing.
Jews only bowed down on their knees when praying with an unusual passion.
Bow my knees before the father...
Preaching the Word: Ephesians—The Mystery of the Body of Christ A Prayer for the Third Race ( Ephesians 3:14-21 )

The opening statement — “For this reason I kneel before the Father” — may not get our attention, especially if kneeling is part of our normal prayer discipline. But in fact it is remarkable because it was not customary for Jews to kneel in prayer. The ordinary posture was standing, just as we see pious Jews doing today before the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem, rocking back and forth as they intone their prayers. Kneeling indicated an extraordinary event or an unusual passion. For example, when King Solomon prayed at the dedication of the Temple, he knelt on a wooden platform before all the people and lifted his hands to Heaven in prayer (2 Chronicles 6:13). In Gethsemane on the eve of his death Jesus fell to the ground in agonized emotion as he prayed to his father (Mark 14:35, 36). And when Paul made his tearful good-bye to the elders of Ephesus, he knelt with them and prayed (Acts 20:36–38).

The ordinary posture was standing, just as we see pious Jews doing today before the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem, rocking back and forth as they chant their prayers.
Kneeling indicated an extraordinary event or an unusual passion.
).
During the exile, Daniel prayed three times a day on his knees
In Gethsemane on the eve of his death Jesus fell to the ground in agonized emotion as he prayed to his father (, ).
So for Paul to say that he bows his knees in prayer communicates that this prayer is one full of passion.
So Paul says he bows his knees to the father, and then in verse 15 he introduces the Father by saying, “from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named.”
Ephesians 3:15 ESV
15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named,
What Paul is doing here is exalting the one whom he is praying too.
You see, the Ephesians were well aquatinted with deities and prayer rituals.
Yet, they have been brought out of the life by the power of the gospel.
And Paul is saying that the one he is praying too is supreme, majestic, above all.
You see, to name something in the Bible has great implications.
its not the same as naming your your child, your dog, or your boat.
to name something in the Bible is to have and exercise complete dominion over that thing.
As Adam named the animals, and had dominion over them so God has named every family in heaven and on earth.
He has complete dominion over the angles of heaven and every person on earth.
So it is to this God who has cosmic dominion that Paul bows his knees before and calls father. And he prays to the Father for the Ephesian Christians.
He prays for three things, Power, Love, and Maturity.

Prayer for Power

Ephesians 3:16–17a ESV
16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love,
16-17

Paul prays that they will be strengthened with power through the Spirit in their inner being.
One question we need to ask is what does Paul mean when he talks about the inner being?
He has used the phrase in other letters which will help us understand what he means
In 2 cor 4 Paul speaks of the work of the holy Spirit in the lives of believers and says this in verse 16
2 Corinthians 4:16 ESV
16 So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.
2 cor
In our society we value the outer self as being of utmost importance.
Physical care is a multi-billion dollar industry.
We spend so much time and money trying to maintain the outer self
Proverbs 20:29 ESV
29 The glory of young men is their strength, but the splendor of old men is their gray hair.
prov 29
There is a time in our lives where our physical strength for men, and beauty for women, is our glory.
When we feel our bodies starting to slow down we get gym memberships to try and maintain our strength
to make-up to try and keep the glory of the young as long as possible
to Rogain trying to keep hair on your head
yet, as we get older both strength and beauty fade, and we move from one degree of glory to the next.
when our skin starts to loosen we spend money on beauty products trying to keep our skin looking young
when our hair starts to turn gray or fall out we try and reverse this course by coloring it or trying to help it grow back.
Our society
Now, there is nothing necessarily wrong with any of this, but the question is, “do we spend as much time and effort trying to keep our inner selves healthy?
Think about your life as a house, which Paul encourages us to do at the end of chapter 2
If you spend all of your time working on the outside of your house, the landscaping, the painting, the curb appeal, yet neglect the inside of the house what are you really accomplishing?
If the inside of the house is filthy with spoiled food laying around, mold and mildew growing in the corners, sump pump hasn't worked in years and there is water damage throughout the house…
Thou
The house may seem nice on the outside, but as soon as you step inside you discover that the house should be condemned.
This is the sort of hypocrisy Jesus charged the pharisees with when he called them “white washed tombs”
Matthew 23:27–28 ESV
27 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness. 28 So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.
Matthew 22:27–28 ESV
27 After them all, the woman died. 28 In the resurrection, therefore, of the seven, whose wife will she be? For they all had her.”
It is so easy for us to live this way, we think if we can convince people that we are spiritually heathy, that we are faithful followers of God than we have lived rightly before God.
27
However, we serve a God who sees through our white washed lives into our hearts and our souls,
and he wants not only our outward selves to bow down before him, but our inward selves as well.
You see, Christ is not only interested in the curb appeal of your life, but he wants a tour through each and every room of your house.
And as Jesus opens up doors that have been crusted shut with unconfessed sins, and lusts, and selfishness we feel significant shame.
We experience a shame and doubt that no matter how nice the lawn looks it does nothing to help the pain of our inner selves.
And to be honest, as Jesus walks through our house opening each and every door, we soon discover that the work it takes to clean this up, to make this new, is impossible for us. And every time we try we just fall short.
So what are we to do? this is what Paul address in his prayer
So the strength and power Paul prays for in
Look back with me at 3:16-17
Ephesians 3:16–17 ESV
16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love,
Pauls prayer is that the one who has all dominion in heaven and earth will grant, or litterally “give”, you strength with power through his Spirit in your inner being.
this strength Paul prays for is not an active strength as in you are able to conjure it up on your own, but rather its passive, its given to you, you are made strong with the power of God’s spirit.
You see, you are not able to strengthen your inner being on your own, you cannot clean up the rot and decay of your life on your own, but rather the Spirit of God enters into your life and empowers you to do the work.
The Spirit wants to go into every room of your house and fix, repair, recreate, and clean it all up… and he does this for a reason
Look at verse 17
“so that Christ (the king) may dwell in your hearts through faith.”
You see, Jesus does not want to just come and visit, he wants to move in, take up permanent residence in your house.
And what the Spirit does is create a space for Christ to live.
The Spirit of God works in your life so Christ may reside in your house.
Its as if the Spirit goes before Christ into every room of your house and destroys what needs to be destroyed and fixes what needs to be fixed.
He prepares your hearts, mind, emotions, will, habits, affections and every part of your being to be the temple of Christ.
Church this is what God’s Spirit is doing, and this is what we should pray for him to do. We should pray that we would be strengthened with power through the Spirit of God in our inner selves.
We should pray that the Spirit of God will empower us to fight against temptation, keep us from falling into anxiety, fear, chaos, and depression.
We should pray that we would have the power to fight against bitterness, or envy,
that Spirit would give us strength and power to have
joy rather than despair
love rather than anger
peace rather than chaos
righteousness rathe than fear
truth rather than lies
And when the spirit strengthens and gives us the power of God we live in the joy, love, peace, righteousness, truth and glory of Christ as he rules and reigns in our hearts.
So Paul here has prayed for the power and strength of the inner person by God’s spirit. And he has prayed that Christ would dwell in their hearts.
And now through this strengthening and dwelling he prays that the these Christians would be rooted and grounded in love so that they will comprehend the greatness of the love of Christ.

Prayer for Love

cross out 17a and 19b
Ephesians 3:17–19 ESV
17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

17-
Rooted and Grounded in love
If Christ has moved in and is dwelling in your heart , he will both root you and ground you in his love.
Paul employs two metaphors here to explain what it means to stress the foundational nature of the love he is describing.
Rooted = love is the soil believers are to be rooted in and thus our lives should grow out of the love of God.
Grounded = love is the foundation believers to be built upon.
So when Christ dwells in the house of our life, we are then both rooted and grounded in his agape love
Application*
For us to love others as God loves us we must be rooted and grounded in his love.
If you want to love your wife as Christ loved the church, you must be rooted and grounded in the love of God.
If you want to have patients and love for your kids, your life must be rooted and grounded in the love of God
If you want to love your husband, respect and honor him as is right before the Lord, you must be rooted and grounded in the love of God.
If you are to love what God loves, and hate what God hates, than your whole life must be rooted in and built upon the love that comes from God.
If you are to love what God loves, and hate what God hates, than your whole life must be rooted in and built upon the love that comes from God.
So much of the weakness that needs to be strengthened in our inner selves is the weakness of disordered love.
As men and women made in the image of God, we are wired for love and for God. Love is in our DNA.
Worshiping with the Church Fathers Supplication in Prayer

human beings, made in the image of God, are wired for love and for God. Love is in our DNA. Unfortunately, our DNA has mutated and now disordered loves, crooked loves, self-centered loves, have replaced the real thing.

Unfortunately, due to sin, our DNA has mutated and now disordered loves, crooked loves, self-centered loves, have replaced the real thing.
God has given the gift of sexual intimacy to his creation as a way to worship God.
Yet pornography takes this gift this love and disorders it, twists it and makes it completely self centered.
When we indulge in disordered loves, we move further and further away from the source of true love, that is Christ himself.
To be rooted and grounded in love is to have properly ordered loves, which comes from God.
So far in this prayer Paul has prayed:
that we will be given strength and power through the Spirit
SO THAT
Christ will dwell in our hearts
SO THAT
we will be rooted and grounded in the love of God
SO THAT (as we will see now)
we would have the strength to comprehend with all the saints (holy people of God) what is the breadth and length and height and depth of Christ’s love.
Our loves are disordered.
that we would have the strength to comprehend with all the saints (holy people of God) what is the breadth and length and height and depth of Christ love.
Ephesians 3:17–18 ESV
17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth,
Ephesians 4:17–18 ESV
17 Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. 18 They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart.
Ephesians 3:18–19 ESV
18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
Eph
Here Paul laying out a four dimension measurement of the love of God. Now this is significant because of the language of breadth and length and height and depth is language used for measuring the temple both in Ezekiel’s vision and in Revelation as it relates to the new Jerusalem or the city of God.
Ephesians 3:18 ESV
18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth,
And not only is it significant because of the measurements (temple language) but also because he uses four dimension (temple used 3)
we see throughout the bible is that things that come in “fours” represent cosmic or universal significance.
And not only this but also that they would
However, what we see throughout the bible is that things that come in “fours” represent cosmic or universal significance.
The earth itself is viewed as a house, and Revelation refers to the four corners of this house
Ephesians 3:19 ESV
19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
The four winds of Ezekiel and Zechariah and Revelation refer to reaching people at the ends of the earth.
The four rivers that flowed out of Eden bringing the glory of Eden to the whole world.
So when we see these four dimensions listed here by Paul, measuring the love of God we see that God’s love is a cosmic love, that extends to the lengths of the world and to the heights of God’s throne in heaven.
The breadth of God’s love is wide enough to embrace all the nations of the world, from the east to the west people from every tribe, tongue and nation will be brought into the new creation of God’s love.
The length of God’s love is long enough last forever,
Spurgeon said, “It is so long that your old age cannot wear it out, so long your continual tribulation cannot exhaust it, your successive temptations shall not drain it dry; like eternity itself it knows no bounds.”
The heights of God’s love is high enough to bring sinners directly into his throne room where we are seated with Christ in the heavenly places.
And the depths of God’s love is deep enough to pull even the most vile of sinners out of the depths of sin.
For as the Psalmist said, if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
And Paul prays that we will know this love that t surpasses knowledge.

1) A love which is wide enough to embrace the world. John 3:16 tells us, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

2) A love which is long enough to last forever (1 Corinthians 13:8). As Spurgeon said, “It is so long that your old age cannot wear it out, so long your continual tribulation cannot exhaust it, your successive temptations shall not drain it dry; like eternity itself it knows no bounds.”

3) A love which is high enough to take sinners to Heaven (1 John 3:1, 2).

4) A love which is deep enough to take Christ to the very depths to reach the lowest sinner (Philippians 2:8).

This love of Christ goes beyond our knowledge, we will spend the rest of eternity trying to discover and comprehend the incomprehensible love of Christ.
His love is a well that will never run dry, its is a universe that will never be fully explored, it is a security that will never fail, and we have all of eternity to experience this love.
It is somewhat of a paradox, Paul prays that we might have the strength to comprehend that which is incomprehensible.
But it is this pursuit of this incomprehensible love that fills us with the fulness of God.
We we comprehend the love of God we are brought from one stage of glory to the next, we mature of followers of Christ where we are more and more formed into his image.
To be filled with the fulness of God is to be like God. And this is what Christian maturity is all about.
As we are filled with the fulness of God:
We think the way God thinks
We act the way God acts
We love what God love
We speak the way God speaks
And this gets to the heart of Paul’s prayer, that we would be conformed into his image.
So finally Paul’s Prayer is:
that we would be given strength and power through the Spirit
SO THAT
Christ will dwell in our hearts
SO THAT
we will be rooted and grounded in the love of God
SO THAT
we would have the strength to comprehend with all the saints (holy people of God) what is the breadth and length and height and depth of Christ’s love.
SO THAT
We would be filled with the fulness of God - that we would be filled with God himself.
And you might be thinking do you have any idea how impossible all of this sounds?

Prayer for Maturity

15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named,
What this word family means is everyrone who proceeds from a father.
What this word family means is everyone who proceeds from a father. ryone who comes from him is named.”
or another way to see it, is that each become part of the ‘family’ from their relation to the ‘father’

The classes of beings referred to by the apostle have each become a πατριά ‘family’ from their relation to the πατήρ ‘father’ [Ea].

I need strength just to get out of bed in the morning
or another way to see it, is that each become part of the ‘family’ from their relation to the ‘father’
It takes everything I have just to be nice to my coworker or neighbor
So today, if you are a follower of Christ, you are part of the family of God. Your
I struggle to understand the bible when I read it, or to understand how prayer works, yet you want me to try and understand the incomprehensible love of God?
I would love to study God’s love but I work 55-60 hr a week, i have a house to keep clean and so on.
And some of you will say, that the rooms in my life are filthy and they will stay dirty behind locked doors until I have the time and wherewithal to clean it up. But until then, the habits of gossip, or slander, anger and bitterness will stay where they are.
And to that very real and honest sentement, I would only ask, how powerful do you think God is?
Those rooms in your life that are in complete disarray are impossible for you to clean up.
We lack the power and strength to sanctify ourselves, but we serve a God who is not afraid of your mess, he is not afraid of whats behind those locked doors, and there is no guilt or shame, or fear, or habbit or addiction.... there is no chaos or disordered love that he cannot bring to peace.
In fact, he can and will do more in your life that you could ever think possible
Paul ends this prayer with one of the most beautiful poems in the bible.
And it is a poem that we should hold on to with all of our might because it tells us of the power of Christ.
Ephesians 3:20–21 ESV
20 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, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
Church,
Jesus Christ, the king of glory, is able through to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think according to the power at work in us, which is his Spirit.
Anything you ask of God or even think about God he is able to do 5,10,100x more
Our minds cannot contain what Jesus is able to do through his spirit in our lives.
So let us long for this strength and power,
let us pray that we would be rooted and grounded in love
Let us seek to comprehend the infinite love of God so that we would be filled with the fulness of God.
And may we praise him for he is able to do far more than we could ever ask or imagine.
Lets pray.
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