Dishman Baptist Church
Eph 3:14-21 11/21/2021
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  • Praise To The Lord The Almighty (Praise Be The Lord The Almighty Hallelujah)
  • Hallelujah What A Savior
  • Come Thou Fount Of Every Blessing (Nettleton)
      • Psalms 100.1-4ESV

      • Psalms 100.5ESV

  • Good morning and welcome to Dishman Baptist Church. Please take your Bibles and turn with me to Ephesians 3, Ephesians 3.
    Ephesians 3:14–21 CSB
    For this reason I kneel before the Father from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named. I pray that he may grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with power in your inner being through his Spirit, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. I pray that you, being rooted and firmly established in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the length and width, height and depth of God’s love, and to know Christ’s love that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do above and beyond all that we ask or think according to the power that works in us— to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
    For this reason - Paul returns his mind and his readers back to the prayer that he began in verse 1. For this reason also calls us back to all that he had said in chapters 1 and 2 of this letter. Paul is going to offer a prayer on behalf of his readers, a very important prayer which reveals his heart for them but also for the importance of their understanding what he had been teaching them. First he offers a preamble, then he will show us the vertical nature of prayer, the horizontal nature of prayer and the victorious nature of prayer.

    The Preamble

    I kneel
    Not the normal prayer posture for Jewish believers
    Pharisee and the tax collector
    Demonstrates reverence
    Ezra 9:5 CSB
    At the evening offering, I got up from my time of humiliation, with my tunic and robe torn. Then I fell on my knees and spread out my hands to the Lord my God.
    Daniel 6:10 CSB
    When Daniel learned that the document had been signed, he went into his house. The windows in its upstairs room opened toward Jerusalem, and three times a day he got down on his knees, prayed, and gave thanks to his God, just as he had done before.
    Humility/Unworthiness
    The least of all apostles comes to the sovereign God of the universe
    Paul recognizes his own unworthiness to approach God’s holiness
    We must also recognize the somberness, the gravity that Paul brings to this prayer - the reason behind this prayer is that the church would recognize the unity in which it now resides and the importance of grasping and living in that reality compels Paul to bow the knee and bring an earnest request to the most powerful King in the universe, the very creator.
    From whom every family in heaven and on earth is named
    The word rendered family (patria) is a play on the preceding word for Father (Pater) and it stands for any group derived from a single ancestor.
    In ancient times the role a person’s name played in their life had greater significance than today. The thought was that a name was more than simply a way to distinguish one person from another, it was actually a means of revealing what is the true nature of that person.
    God as creator of all things has ownership over all things
    Colossians 1:15–16 CSB
    He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For everything was created by him, in heaven and on earth, the visible and the invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities— all things have been created through him and for him.
    He who created it, names it
    And while this has the greater meaning of all creatures were created by God and therefore draw their name from Him and are owned by Him - there is a greater significance here in this use of the word family
    Paul has just completed telling his readers that they are now a part of the family of God
    You who were once far off have been brought near
    You are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of God’s own household
    Whatever else you may be called, you now bear the title of son or daughter of God
    We draw our significance from the One who named us
    We draw our roles from the One who named us
    He is not only the creator of all things but the source of our significance and existence
    We ought not be concerned by the powers, hostile though they might be, that surround us because God owns them all
    Instead, referring back to verse 10, we are to be witness to the rulers and authorities of the vast wisdom of God
    Having given us the posture of prayer and the Person to whom his prayers are directed, Paul now demonstrates for us not only how we should pray but what we should pray. He starts by praying in the vertical

    Prayer in the vertical

    Paul has already acknowledged to whom it is that he is praying - the Father, the very sovereign creator of the universe
    Now he makes his requests known to the Father, praying that He would act
    I pray that He
    Paul recognizes that
    God acts
    Prayers can influence Him to act on behalf of His people
    God’s acquaintance is not made by pop calls. God does not bestow his gifts on the casual or hasty comers and goers. Much time with God alone is the secret of knowing him and of influence with him.
    E. M. Bounds
    The prayers of a faithful man availeth much.
    Yes God is completely sovereign and can do as He pleases when He pleases
    Psalm 115:3 CSB
    Our God is in heaven and does whatever he pleases.
    But one of the avenues that He has chosen to move is through the fervent, faithful prayers of His people
    And He does so according to the riches of His glory - He has an unlimited account, an inexhaustible account. You can rest assured that you can never exhaust the riches of God’s glory.
    Philippians 4:19 CSB
    And my God will supply all your needs according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
    Paul assures us that the Father is wholly able to meet our needs - but we must also be aware of his desire for the Ephesian believers
    Almost every prayer of Paul’s that is recorded in Scripture was for the spiritual welfare of others. And this one is no different.
    Paul prays that the Ephesians would be strengthened with power through His Holy Spirit
    This word rendered strengthen here is used only four times in the New Testament
    Twice in Luke it is used to refer to Christ growing strong in His spirit
    Paul uses it as the end of 1 Corinthians when he charges the believers there
    1 Corinthians 16:13 CSB
    Be alert, stand firm in the faith, be courageous, be strong.
    It is defined as being psychologically strong which fits nicely with the focus that Paul has here
    He says for the believers to be strengthened in their inner beings
    So much of our prayers are focused on strength in our outer beings but, like it or not, we are wasting away. Our outer beings are decaying even now as we speak - I can no longer physically do what I once did
    But it is in the inner person that we need the most renewal - the inner person refers to “our seat of personal consciousness, our moral being”
    2 Corinthians 4:16 CSB
    Therefore we do not give up. Even though our outer person is being destroyed, our inner person is being renewed day by day.
    The role of the Spirit is to strengthen us, to give us fortitude, to operate through the Gospel and to empower the Gospel’s teaching and preaching
    Acts 1:8 CSB
    But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
    1 Corinthians 2:4 CSB
    My speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of wisdom but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power,
    1 Thessalonians 1:5 CSB
    because our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power, in the Holy Spirit, and with full assurance. You know how we lived among you for your benefit,
    But this power working within us is also for our benefit - that we would be made more resilient, more cognizant of the Lord’s glorious work within us.
    Invisalign - hard to notice the change in my teeth
    Sometimes we have a hard time noticing the changes that are happening within our inner person - one of the functions of the Holy Spirit’s work within us is to help us recognize the changes that are happening within us
    300 Quotations for Preachers from the Modern Church (A Deliberate, Intelligent Purpose)
    This is the one purpose of God, the great worker in heaven, the source and master of all work, that the glory of His love and power and blessing may be shown. This is the one purpose of Christ, the great worker on earth in human nature, the example and leader of all our work. This is the great purpose of the Holy Spirit, the power that works in us.… As this becomes our deliberate, intelligent purpose, our work will rise to its true level, and lift us into living fellowship with God.ANDREW MURRAY
    Coinciding with the strengthening efforts of the Holy Spirit, Paul prays that Christ would dwell within our hearts.
    It is important to note that these are not mutually exclusive or that one is reliant upon the other
    It is not that we are strengthened by the Holy Spirit and then Christ comes to live in our hearts
    Paul is not encouraging the Ephesian believers to have some sort of mystical experience which would then prepare or make them ready for Christ to come and dwell in their hearts
    To be empowered by the Spirit in our inner person means that Christ Himself dwells in our hearts
    The verb for dwell here is not a reference to the initial indwelling of Christ. It signifies a more permanent dwelling - it means to live or dwell in a place in an established or settled manner - rather than some temporary abode.
    Ephesians: The MacArthur New Testament Commentary (Christ’s Indwelling)
    In his booklet My Heart Christ’s Home, Robert Munger pictures the Christian life as a house, through which Jesus goes from room to room. In the library, which is the mind, Jesus finds trash and all sorts of worthless things, which He proceeds to throw out and replace with His Word. In the dining room of appetite He finds many sinful desires listed on a worldly menu. In the place of such things as prestige, materialism, and lust He puts humility, meekness, love, and all the other virtues for which believers are to hunger and thirst. He goes through the living room of fellowship, where He finds many worldly companions and activities, through the workshop, where only toys are being made, into the closet, where hidden sins are kept, and so on through the entire house. Only when He had cleaned every room, closet, and corner of sin and foolishness could He settle down and be at home.
    Paul writes that Christ will dwell in our hearts permanently through faith - we are saved through faith, we are strengthened by faith and as our faith grows our hearts are purified and made more hospitable for Christ’s permanent dwelling as faith reveals and removes sin issues in our lives. If Christ has taken up residence in our hearts, he is at the centre of our lives and exercises his rule over all that we are and do. The implication of the apostle’s prayer, then, is that the more the Spirit empowers their lives the greater will be their transformation into the likeness of Christ.
    Having requested that the Father would strengthen the believers through His Holy Spirit and that Christ would make a permanent dwelling in each of their hearts, Paul now turns his mind to the horizontal prayer plane as he focuses on his desires for the Ephesian believers.

    Prayer in the horizontal

    I pray that you - Paul tells the Ephesians readers exactly what he is praying for them
    We should do this more often - not just that I’m praying for you or that I’ll pray for your outward strengthening but that I’m praying for your spiritual maturity, for your inner person
    Notice what Paul says here - being rooted and established in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the length and width, height and depth of God’s love, and to know Christ’s love that surpasses knowledge.
    Now it is important to recognize here that the phrase “of God’s love” in verse 18 is supplied by the translators to simplify the reading. The original Greek only says that you may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the length and width, height and depth and to know Christ’s love that surpasses knowledge. Does this significantly change the meaning - no. And in fact, in my mind, it drives home the point that Paul is trying to make here even more.
    First that we would be rooted and established in love - this happens as a natural outworking of the strengthening of our inner person and the indwelling presence of Christ. If we are truly committed to Christ our demeanor, our natural inclination is going to tend toward love. Not is some sappy sense. Or in the sense of the modern connotation that loves overlooks all manner of faults in the name of inclusivity or of “love”. Rather we will look tenderly on those who were created by our Father and have affection for them. Christ stood over Jerusalem, the very city and the very people who would crucify Him, and wept expressing His loving desire for them.
    It is only as we are rooted and established in love that we can truly begin to grasp the length and width, height and depth of God’s love - that He had for us. That we can clearly recognize that despite all of our sins and our inclination toward supplanting Him and ruling in His place, God still loved us and that He gave His most precious Son to bear our guilt and to bear our shame. That there is no where we can go that this love will not follow. Psalm 139 says
    Psalm 139:7–12 CSB
    Where can I go to escape your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there. If I live at the eastern horizon or settle at the western limits, even there your hand will lead me; your right hand will hold on to me. If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me, and the light around me will be night”— even the darkness is not dark to you. The night shines like the day; darkness and light are alike to you.
    These verses speak to our creation and that we cannot get away from the eyes of God - but we also cannot get away from His love. If He has chosen to bestow His love upon us and to exercise that love by forgiving our sins there is no where - no distance, no height, no depth, no point of the compass that we can go to to get away from His love.
    The only ground of God’s love is his love. The ground of God’s love is only and wholly in himself. There is neither portion nor proportion in us to draw his love. There is no love nor loveliness in us that should cause a beam of his love to shine upon us.THOMAS BROOKS
    300 Quotations for Preachers from the Modern Church (Ever-Present Love)
    Mountains, when in darkness hidden, are as real as in day, and God’s love is as true to you now as it was in your brightest moments.CHARLES SPURGEON
    And the greatest expression of His love is in Christ and through Christ - the love that He showed for us even while we were yet sinners
    Romans 5:8 CSB
    But God proves his own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
    This is not a petition that they may love Christ more, however important this might be; rather, that they might understand Christ’s love for them. Further, their grasping this cannot be simply a mental exercise. Clearly, it is personal knowledge, and, although it undoubtedly includes insight into the significance of God’s love in the plan of redemption, it cannot be reduced simply to intellectual reflection. Paul wants them to be empowered so as to grasp the dimensions of that love in their own experience.
    We often speak of those who seek knowledge to the exclusion of love. That often those who have the most knowledge have the least love. And that is certainly a danger that we should all be cognizant of - that in our desire to know Christ that we don’t neglect one of His most recognizable attributes in our own lives. But I think there is something else here that Paul may have in mind.
    Think of all the people you know. Now think of all those you know that you consider hard to love. Whether it is one thing in their personality or many things - they’re just someone you find it hard to love. Paul has been teaching on the unification of the Jews and Gentiles and the unity that can now be found in this new entity called the church. I believe that one thing Paul is getting at here - one application of this statement is that the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge is to inform how we love one another.
    Think how much Christ knows about you - and yet He loves you anyway. He knows every sin you’ve ever committed and every sin you’re going to commit. He knows you deepest darkest thoughts. He knows everything about you - and yet He loves you anyway.
    Proverbs 10:12 CSB
    Hatred stirs up conflicts, but love covers all offenses.
    Proverbs 17:9 CSB
    Whoever conceals an offense promotes love, but whoever gossips about it separates friends.
    1 Peter 4:8 CSB
    Above all, maintain constant love for one another, since love covers a multitude of sins.
    Now does that mean that in love we overlook sin? No. What it means is that the love of Christ that we are to have for one another enables us to overlook the less desirable aspects of their personalities and to love them anyway. We shouldn’t allow our knowledge of someone’s life to affect or limit our ability to love them - that’s my point.
    And what does all of this lead to - that we will experience the fullness of God in our lives.

    Prayer in closing

    And Paul wraps everything up by reminding his readers that God is able to do above and beyond all that we ask or think - that when we feel incapable of loving that He is more than capable. That when we feel weak, that He is strong. That when we feel the desire to separate or fracture the unity of His body, He will provide the power to maintain it. As is frequently pointed out, verse 20 is a pyramid progression of God’s enablement: He is able; He is able to do; He is able to do above; He is able to do above and beyond all that we ask; He is able to do above and beyond all that we ask or think. There is no question in the minds of believers that God is able to do more than we can conceive, but too few Christians enjoy the privilege of seeing Him do that in their lives, because they fail to follow the pattern of enablement presented in these verses.
    To Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations - that includes you and I. There is no doubt that He has received glory through Christ
    John 17:4–5 CSB
    I have glorified you on the earth by completing the work you gave me to do. Now, Father, glorify me in your presence with that glory I had with you before the world existed.
    It is now through the church that He receives glory - and that glory is shown through our unity and through the love that we exhibit for one another and for the world. Paul closes this crowning statement of the identity and makeup of the church with such a beautiful doxology of praise to the One who envisioned the mystery that he has been explaining, revealed the mystery to Paul for explanation and now superintends the mystery through the working of His Spirit in you and I. All for the purpose of His glory to this and all generations until the end of time.
      • Ephesians 3:14–21ESV

      • Ezra 9:5ESV

      • Daniel 6:10ESV

      • Colossians 1:15–16ESV

      • Psalm 115:3ESV

      • Philippians 4:19ESV

      • 1 Corinthians 16:13ESV

      • 2 Corinthians 4:16ESV

      • Acts 1:8ESV

      • 1 Corinthians 2:4ESV

      • 1 Thessalonians 1:5ESV

      • Psalm 139:7–12ESV

      • Romans 5:8ESV

      • Proverbs 10:12ESV

      • Proverbs 17:9ESV

      • 1 Peter 4:8ESV

      • John 17:4–5ESV

  • It Is Well With My Soul

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