Friday, September 16, 2011

Paul's Prayers Part 2 in Eph 3

1. General Overview: “Turn to Ephesians”
· Key Word:  Body building
· Author: Paul from prison in Rome
· Recipients: Saints in Ephesus and probably the surrounding cities.
· Overview: Most people divide Ephesians into two halves. The first t3 ch. are doctrine and theology.  The last 3 ch. explain how to put that doctrine into practice.

2. Review Context of Eph. 3.14-13

A few weeks ago we looked at Paul’s first prayer. It was a prayer for enlightenment.
· Paul was moved to pray for them because of their great salvation and the fruit of faith in Christ and love for all the saints.
· He prayed that they would be enlightened to know
· the hope of their calling
· the riches of God’s inheritance in the saints
· the greatness of His power toward believers

We have a section that it considered doctrinal and then ...
This second prayer for the Ephesians is in chapter 3.
A prayer for enablement.

3. Stand, read text, and pray.
Note the Trinitarian nature of this prayer

4. Sermon Overview
There are two applications in this prayer.  
· First, it gives us guidance in how we should pray. 
· Second, it gives us insight into what God wants to do in our lives.
Topic Statement: Paul prays God’s enablement to the  fourfold enablement of the saint.
Note: the sandwich form of this prayer.
· I. Beginning with worship v.13-15
· II. Body of four requests  v. 16-19
· III. Benediction of Praise  v. 20-21

I. Beginning with worship
II. Body of four requests 
III. Benediction of Praise

A. For this reason
· “going back to thought of Jew and Gentile becoming one body in Christ” –Wuest
3.1-7 the mystery “that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body…”
3.8-12 Paul’s preaching among the Gentiles … to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery ... so the wisdom of God will be shown to all
Paul, probably more than any of the apostles, helped the Church to understand the universality of the Church.
(“The mystery is not that the Gentiles would enter the blessings as part of Israel.  It is that “God has joined the Jews and Gentiles as equals in one new body.”—Constable)

· 3.13 Don’t loose heart because of Paul’s tribulation.
Paul is concerned about the Christians in and about Ephesus because they were in danger of losing heart.
“Life in this age can be tough, painful, and tiring. It is easy for us to lose sight of the central fact of our existence: that god in Christ is sung us with a love so deep that we cannot find its limits.”  —Ron Julian (McKenzie Study Center)

· If you are seeking to realize the unity of the one body of Christ. If you are in danger of “loosing heart,” this prayer is for you.

B. I bow my knees to
To” pros—toward  —Wuest
the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,

According to Tertullian, in the last half of the second century, some of the issues around prayer were whether you should
· wash your hands (representing surrender to Christ) before prayers,
· take off your coat to pray,
· sit after prayers after the example of Hermas in The Shepherd, and
· how loud to pray and how high to raise your hands.

The normal posture for prayer among the Jews of Paul’s day was standing, with hands stretched out, and the palms upwards.

After Paul’s emotional and  tearful farewell to the Ephesian Elders in Acts 20 he, “... he knelt down and prayed with them all.” (v26)

The posture of bowing here probably indicates the earnestness and strong feeling of Paul’s  prayer.

The posture of bowing shows a reverent and humble attitude. However, acting like it is so doesn’t make it so.

APPLICATION: ————————————————>

"The Prayer of Cyrus Brown"
Sam Walter Foss

"The proper way for a man to pray,"
Said Deacon Lemuel Keyes,"
And the only proper attitude
Is down upon his knees."

"No, I should say the way to pray,"
Said Reverend Doctor Wise,
"Is standing straight with outstretched arms
And rapt and upturned eyes."

"Oh no no no" , , , , said Elder Slow,
Such posture is too proud.
A man should pray with eyes fast-closed
And head contritely bowed."

"It seems to me his hands should be
Austerely clasped in front
With both thumbs pointing toward the ground,"
Said Reverend Doctor Blunt.

"Last year I fell in Hidgekin's well
Headfirst," said Cyrus Brown,
"With both my heels a-stickin' up
And my head a-pointin' down.

And I made a prayer right then and there,
The best prayer I ever said,
The prayingest prayer I ever prayed,
A-standin' on my head."

“The absence of reality is sad enough, but the aggravation of pretense is a deadly sin.”   ——-Samuel Chadwick
C. the Father* from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, 
*Young’s literal, KJV, NKJV include “of our Lord Jesus Christ
1) Father

Note: WWT —— We teach that His Fatherhood involves both His position within the Trinity and His relationship with mankind. 
· As Creator He is Father to all men,
Ephesians 4:6
1 I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, 2 with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, 3 endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and  one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.
· but He is spiritual Father only to believers.
Romans 8:14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.
(God as the “unfathered father.”)

(Some understand this in the broader “Father to all men” sense.)     
The context of this chapter makes me lean toward understanding in the more narrow sense of “spiritual Father to believers.
Note: it is not a magic formula, but that this is the pattern that Jesus followed in the Lord’s prayer.  We should pray
· to God the Father,  (Matt. 6.9 & Luke 11.2)
· through the enabling of the Spirit,  (Rom 8.26-27)
· in the name of the son. (John 14.13-14)

2) whole (every) family
“The expression is taken from the custom in a family where all bear the name of the head of the family; and the meaning is, that all in heaven and on earth are united under one head, and constitute one community.”   —-Albert Barnes

When we become too glib in prayer we are most certainly talking to ourselves." —A.W. Tozer

When we begin to pray it is important to take the time to praise God for who he is for two reasons.
1. It is right to honor Him before we think of ourselves.
2. It will set us in the right frame of mind to approach  the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named.” (ESV)

Transitional Expression:
with the right attitude of worship and awe,
we turn to Paul’s fourfold request.
The question here is are these for things a list or a progression?
“that” shows cause and effect

There is an conjuction in the Greek that indicates they should be understood as building on each other, parts in a process.

I. Beginning with worship
II. Body of four requests
III. Benediction of Praise
 A. that He would grant be strengthened  16
krataiovw  krat-ah-yo'-o:  to strengthen, make strong to be made strong, to increase in strength, to grow strong

1) according to the riches of His glory
according to = kata lit. according to the standard of

“If I am a billionaire and I give you ten dollars, I have given you out of my riches; but if I give you a million dollars, I have given to you according to my riches. The first is a portion; the second is a proportion.”  —-W.Wiersby

2) in the inner man

2 Cor 4.16
15 For all things are for your sakes, that grace, having spread through the many, may cause thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God.
16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.
17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory,

3) through His Spirit
This enablement is not a self effort or will power, but when the Holy Spirit does something we cannot do.
“When it gets to where only He can do it, He will.”

2 Cor 12.8-10  Paul’s thorn “strengthened”
7 And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. 8 Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. 9 And He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness." Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ's sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

“But the Spirit of God works by means, and therefore we may expect to have our spiritual faculties strengthens by the study of the Word, by communion with Christ, by listening to the earnest exhortations of our Brethren, by experience, by prayer, and by all other hollowed exertions which Divine Grace has ordained…”  —-CH Spurgeon

We are empowered by the Spirit
     in order that Christ may be settled into the inner man

 B. that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; 17

1) Indwelling of the Spirit at salvation = presence
John 7.37-38
37 On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, "If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. 38 He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water." 39 But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy F35 Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

2) This word dwell indicates something different. = settled in
katoikevw kat-oy-keh'-o  a superlative form of “dwell”
to dwell, settle
metaph. divine powers, influences, etc., are said to dwell in his soul, to pervade, prompt, govern it
to dwell in, inhabit God is said to dwell in the temple, i.e. to be always present for worshippers

1. It is permanent. It is not here today and out tomorrow.
2. If means “that Christ might settle down and feel completely at home in your hearts.”  —Wuest

Cat allergy illustration:
The cat would irritate my eye and nose and cause them to water. I could have a nice visit for about 30 minutes.  After that time, I was not dwelling, I was enduring.
What kind heart can Christ settle down in? 
Is your heart a place where Christ will feel at home.

3) through faith
· faith versus your feelings,
sometimes in spite of your feelings

· Faith opens the door of the soul.”  M Henry

· Faith opens the door to the indwelling Spirit at salvation.
Romans 10   comes by hearing the Word of God
14 How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? 15 And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: "How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, Who bring glad tidings of good things!" 16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, "Lord, who has believed our report?"  17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. 18 But I say, have they not heard? Yes indeed: "Their sound has gone out to all the earth, And their words to the ends of the world."

· We continue in our walk with the Lord
the same way we began it, by faith.
Colossians 2.6-7
6 As you have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, 7 rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.
Galatians 3.1-4
1 O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth,* before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed among you+ as crucified? 2 This only I want to learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? 3 Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh? 4 Have you suffered so many things in vain--if indeed it was in vain? 5 Therefore He who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you, does He do it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?--

It is just a fact that faith again rests upon Jesus' promise given in the Upper Room in John 14. Do you remember how he put it to Judas, not Iscariot? Judas (not Iscariot) said to Him, "Lord, how is it that You will manifest Yourself to us, and not to the world?"  {John 14:22 NKJV}. Jesus answered and said to him, "If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. " {John 14:23 NKJV}. That is what Paul is referring to. Faith is awakened now. You remind yourself that Jesus Christ lives in you. You are a believer. He has taken up his residence in you. He will not leave you. He is at home in your heart, and you belong to him. That immediately brings the third step.” 
——How Prayer Works by Ray Steadman

We are empowered by the Spirit
     in order that Christ may be settled into the inner man
           in order that
C. that you ... may be able to comprehend
... the love of Christ  17b-18
1) rooted and grounded in love
· His love to us not ours to him.
· rooted  a plant’s nourishment and stability Psalm 1.1-3; Jer. 17.5-8
· grounded  a building’s foundation against storms  Matt. 7.24-29    “If you don’t go deep, you can’t go high.” —WW

2) comprehend … with all the saints
· comprehend: to lay hold of so as to make one’s own, to seize, take possession of”  —Wuest
If we know nothing of mathematics, ay we be well-tutored scholars in the spiritual geometry and be able to comprehend the breadths and lengths of Jesus’ precious love.”  —CH Spurgeon

· “God knows nothing of solitary religion”  John Wesley
Love cannot exist in one person alone. 
“You must love or you cannot comprehend love.”  —Spurgeon

· “ Paul is was a real, substantial, measurable fact.” —Spurgeon
the width—Extends to all ranks and races Col 3.11
and length— eternal love through all time past and future
and depth— You cannot go too deep in sin for Christ’s love to reach down to you
and height—Up to the very throne of God where we through Christ have an interest in heaven and where he will present us faultless before His glory with exceeding joy.

3) which passes knowledge

“You cannot construe that. You cannot make grammar and logic out of that. You cannot make theological science out of that. You cannot shut that up into a confession of faith, or contract it into a Church catechism.”         —-Alexander Whyte

We are empowered by the Spirit
   in order that Christ may be settled into the inner man
       in order thatwe may comprehend the love of Christ
           in order that …
D. that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
There are two aspect to the “fullness of God” that fills us.
1) Its energizing force.
2)  Its affect on our disposition and conduct
1) Its energizing force.
1 Corinthians 2:1-5 1 And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony* of God. 2 For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. 3 I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling. 4 And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5 that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.
2)  Its affect on our disposition and conduct
· 2 Peter 1.4
2 Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, 3 as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, 4 by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
· The fruit of the Spirit is the result of fullness.
1 John 4:7-13 7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8 He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 9 In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us. 13 By this we know that we abide in Him, and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit.

Transitional Expression: Paul’s focus on God’s work in the believer causes him to break out into praise.

I. Beginning with worship
II. Body of four requests
III. Benediction of Praise
A. 20 Now to Him who

1) is able to do exceedingly abundantly

When the massive weather front of God’s POWER,
meets the massive weather front of God’s LOVE,
in the believer’s heart energized by Christ’s abiding presence,
it produces an F-10 tornado of “doxology” or praise!
——adapted from John Piper

2) above all that we ask or think,

“we ask”  in middle voice - for ourselves  —-AT Roberts

Since God can do thing so much bigger than we can imagine, we should focus on His objectives, and let him fill in the details.

3) according to the power that works in us,

This refers back to the power described in Eph 1

Ephesians 1
19 and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power 20 which He worked in Christ when
He raised Him from the dead and
seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come. 22 And
He put all things under His feet, and
gave Him to be head over all things to the church, 23 which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.
B. 21 to Him be

1) glory

The word we get doxology from
“...doctrine leads to doxology as well to duty.”  —-Stott

2) in the church

The world, the culture, the political systems in this world our own country are note focused of giving God glory

The church, the body of Christ, who are
chosen before the foundation of the world
redeemed by the blood of Christ and forgiven
sealed and guaranteed by the Holy Spirit
we are where God will be glorified.

One main way that the Church will show God glory is by being and doing what he wants us to.

The core trait expressed in this prayer is the same one Jesus identified as our identifying characteristic.  It is the first and most important way to show Him glory.

3) by Christ Jesus
A reminder lest we become so enthused and self-confident we forget.

4) to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

Literally reads “unto all generations of the age of ages” an expression that basically means forever.  This is not just this month’s emphasis.


I. Beginning with worship v.13-15

II. Body of four requests  v. 16-19

Paul prays God’s enablement to the  fourfold enablement of the saint.
· power thru His Spirit
· settled dwelling
· love of Christ
· fullness of God

III. Benediction of Praise  v. 20-21


· Become part of this Church.

· Pray this prayer and let God answer it.

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