2013 Sermon Series
- July 7, 2013
Theme: The enjoyment of unseen spiritual realities prepares our hearts for unified daily living in God’s glorious church.
The last part of Ephesians 3 is what Peter O’Brien calls “the highest peak in the book,” from which we gaze back on all Christ has given to us and forward to all He asks us to do. This passage is a prayer that actually began in verse 1 with the phrase “For this reason.” Paul’s mind drifted to the spiritual resources we have been given, but now he returns to prayer.
Prayer is an environment where God loves to show Himself glorious and capable.
As we worship the Lord in prayer, we realize more and more of His person and greatness. In this environment, we are to be thankful and grateful while we rehearse before the Lord all that He’s done for us.
In prayer, we lay aside daily anxiety, entrust our hearts to our faithful Creator, and find the strength to continue to do good (1 Peter 4:19). We come as dispossessed, homeless beggars with empty cups before the Lord. We may look to Him and ask anything, and we know that he hears.
While we pray, the Spirit instructs us in the significance of Scripture that we read.
It is in prayer that we also understand we have been given every spiritual resource to do capably and comprehensively what is asked of us.
The main content of Paul’s prayer is a series of requests, followed by a doxology. Paul’s heart is prompted by the truth He wrote in chapter two, the miracle of God’s forming Jew and Gentile into one spiritual family.
In verse 14, Paul says he bows his knees, using an Old Testament illustration of individual prayer. Verse 15 recognizes the reverence that all living beings owe God as their Creator.
Enablement (verse 16)
Spirit-Enablement is the first request Paul makes. God gives us an ability by His Spirit to bring glory to God in our understanding of all that we have in Jesus Christ and preparation for the living of our practical responsibilities.
God gives out of His own limitless net worth. When we were saved, God made an infinite deposit of His Spirit, from which we make withdrawals on a moment-by-moment basis. We don’t pray for more of the Spirit; we pray for a greater understanding. He remains an eternal and infinite resource of divine help. His primary influence comes through the Word of God and prayer, as He teaches us to put off the acts of our old nature and walk in newness of life.
There is nothing God tells you to do that He hasn’t enabled you to do. If you look at the expectations in chapters 4-6 and think them impossible, you should also know that in Jesus Christ, you can honor God and obey. You don’t really know that you know Christ until you’re ready to do what He asks of you.
Indwelling (verse 17a)
We know that Christ already indwells us from the point of salvation. Paul prays that Christ would not just live in us, but that He would make His home in us, and feel comfortable and welcomed in our hearts. Christ is made to feel at home through our faith, a faith that is growing as enabled and governed by the Spirit.
Jesus desires every corner in His home to be clean; there must be no hidden sin in our hearts, or He will not feel at home. See Robert Munger’s book My Heart, Christ’s Home for a vivid illustration of this principle.
- Worship of the Lord is based in knowledge of Him. This is a good reminder to always keep learning more of our God and all He has done for us! If you struggle with praising God, start with Ephesians 1-3:13 and pray that content back to God.
- Is there any sin between yourself and your Savior? Don’t glance over what makes Jesus uncomfortable. Dark clutter can infiltrate our hearts so quickly. You must deal with any sin that is keeping Jesus from feeling at home in your heart. Confess and forsake it, and enjoy renewed fellowship!
Cross References to Explore:
- Luke 18:1-8 – Why pray?
- 2 Corinthians 5:5 – Our deposit of the Spirit.
- Ephesians 4:30 – The seal of the Holy Spirit.
- Galatians 5:16 – Walk in the Spirit.
- Romans 8:5-14 – We are governed by the Spirit.
A Hymn to Encourage: “O God, My Joy”
O God, my joy, You reign above in radiant splendor and beauty.
Your Word has drawn my heart to love the awesome sight of Your glory.
Your blazing Light and gospel grace shine brightly from my Savior’s face.
No other wonder would I see than Christ enthroned in His glory!
Sustained by joy in trial and pain, I trust Your wisdom and mercy.
Through suff’ring that Your love ordains, more like Your Son You will make me.
For Christ embraced the cross of shame, beholding glorious joys to come.
O give me faith like His to see that suff’ring lifts me to glory!
Compelled by joy, I fight the sin that turns my gaze from Your glory.
Your Holy Spirit dwells within; His presence arms me for vict’ry.
Let death and hell against me rise; through death I’ll gain eternal joys.
All pow’rs of hell will bend the knee before my great King of Glory!