Walk Series - Week 14 (Ephesians 3:14-21)
Text: Ephesians 3:14-21 (NKJV)
Intro: The Old Testament is full of examples of men of prayer; Noah, Abraham, Joseph, Daniel and the boys, and you can’t forget Jonah… The book of Philippians reminds us: “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 2:5 (NIV)
Our series continues today in the concluding verses of chapter three: “For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, 16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, 17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height--19 to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. 20 Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, 21 to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” Ephesians 3:14-21 (NKJV)
1. Prayer of appreciation: vs. 14-15
“When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, 15 the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. Ephesians 3:14 (NLT)
Paul was reflecting on - This grace that was given with the unsearchable riches of Christ. It is almost like you can say: I can see clearly now the vail has been lifted, the wall has been removed; the cross has bridged the gap! I can do all things thru Christ because now I can see Him, experience Him, and have Him as my Lord and Savior!
The position of prayer was crucial for these early Christians, as well as the importance of recognizing the Sovereignty of God the creator of everything in heaven and on earth. The model prayer is one of the greatest references for gratitude: “Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name, may your name be kept holy.”
2. Prayer of authorization: vs. 16-18
“I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. 17 Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. 18 And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is.”
The prayer is focused on permission to be empowered, enabled to use the unlimited resources of the Holy Spirit! Imagine what can be done, what can be experienced through the unlimited power and strength of Christ.
It’s amazing the way our technology works today. When you purchase a product on-line and it downloads to your electronic device it does this within minutes. That continues to impress my simple mind. So when I recognize the unsearchable riches of God’s love and gift of Grace His power is downloaded into my heart “Immediately.” This inner strength I can chose to use does not need to be updated, does not need to be renewed or even fear being contaminated with a virus! It can give me strength always… Saying all that man without Christ is contaminated: this is worse than “Ebola!” it is SIN.
This is the center of Paul’s prayer; this is a prayer for the church! “⌊I pray⌋ that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, would give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him. 18 ⌊I pray⌋ that the perception of your mind may be enlightened so you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the glorious riches of His inheritance among the saints, 19 and what is the immeasurable greatness of His power to us who believe, according to the working of His vast strength.” Ephesians 1:17-19 (HCSB)
3. Prayer of accomplishment: vs. 19-21
“May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. 20 Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. 21 Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen.”
“And I pray this: that your love will keep on growing in knowledge and every kind of discernment, 10 so that you can approve the things that are superior and can be pure and blameless in the day of Christ.” Philippians 1:9-10 (HCSB)
That’s the worthy walk, you keep growing and grasping and experiencing the knowledge and discernment that is received through the completion of Christ!
Conclusion: Paul mentioned “For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” The usual position for the Jew at a time of prayer was for them to stand, normally when one would kneel they recognized the fact that death was in the equation theirs or someone else. “Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth.” Philippians 2:9-10
The Apostle Paul took worship seriously, reverently with great respect; his attitude was the same as that of Christ! His prayer appreciated everything his Lord had done, his prayer asked for authorization of an inner power and finally his prayer was that of accomplishment. “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”
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