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Ephesians overview – 3:14-19, Pauls prayer, part 2 (the family name).

EPHESIANS-1-200303
length: 69:21 - taught on Mar, 3 2020
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Class Outline:

Tuesday March 3, 2020

 

After the parenthesis of vv. 2-13, Paul again takes up the prayer he had only begun.

 

Paul resumes the prayer that he offered at the beginning of the chapter when the current of his thoughts carried him away.

 

EPH 3:1 For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles —

 

EPH 3:14-19

For this reason, I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, 16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man; 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fulness of God.

 

Summary of what Paul prays for: inner strength from the HS, full knowledge of Christ, deep seated love, full understanding of God’s plan, and personal fullness from God.

 

The inward strength of the Holy Spirit and the dwelling of the full understanding of Christ in our hearts are inseparable. When one is found the other is found with it. These then lead to understanding of God’s plan as well as the love of Christ. These four then lead to being filled up to all the fullness of God. Yet, don’t become a slave to an outline. All of these would grow together.

 

Take the fullness of God for instance. Paul doesn’t give us an explanation of what that means, so we take the words simply. We know what it means to be full. It means to be satiated, satisfied, content, without need of anything more. We can, by faith imagine that when such fullness is God Himself, that it must be the most wonderful and lasting contentment, and it must be complete - spiritual, mental, and physical. Yet we also understand that the actual experience is more than we can imagine, and thus we anticipate its awesomeness. And we also find that we don’t have to wait fifty years for it. Even starting out we get glimpses of it. All knowledge of Christ through the inner power of the HS lead to a certain feeling of fullness within. These glimpses make us long for clearer sight of this fullness, and God promises that we will see it.

 

We will get to each of these four in turn, but first let’s learn a couple of things from Paul’s introduction to the prayer.

 

EPH 3:14-15

For this reason, I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name,

 

3:14-19

A) “I bow my knees”

 

We may pray in any posture physically, while mentally we maintain the posture of humility and obedience.

 

The normal posture for prayer among Jews was standing. In the parable of the Pharisee and the Publican both men stood to pray (LUK 18:11,13). Kneeling was unusual. Yet, we find no rule for posture while praying in the scripture.

 

By telling us of his posture, Paul is not specifically asking us to kneel, but is more likely revealing his passion and earnest desire in this prayer. If you conclude that being on your knees is the only way to pray, then go for it, but don’t put that rule on others when the Bible doesn’t.

 

It is Paul’s deepest desire for the church, not for buildings and programs (such things didn’t even exist in Paul’s time), but for the hearts of the people to understand the issue concerning the mystery of Christ and to absorb themselves and their lives in it.

 

3:14-19

B) The Family Name

 

“from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name.”

 

It is hard to imagine that every family derives its name from the Father. Certainly, God is in control of all things in history, even the formation of families and nations.

 

ACT 17:24-27

“The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; 25 neither is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all life and breath and all things; 26 and He made from one, every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times, and the boundaries of their habitation, 27 that they should seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us;”

 

“every family” - pasa patria. Pasa can mean every, all, or whole. Patria is ancestry of lineage. Paul much more likely means: “whole family” meaning the family to whom God gave His name.

 

Paul uses a deliberate play on words, since “father” is pater and “family” is patria. Patria does not mean fatherhood, but family. This is a reference to the Father’s family, which is the body of Christ on earth and either the elect angels in heaven or the triumphant believers in heaven. It is impossible to know for sure which group Paul references when he writes “in heaven,” for he could mean the deceased believers or the elect angels, who although they are servants of man, they are called ‘sons of God’ in the Book of Job. As usual, such vagaries do not affect the theme of the passage, which is Paul’s desire for your heart to be of a certain condition.

 

The point is that God’s family, whether in heaven or on earth, and in eternity there will be a new heaven and new earth, all possess His name because He bestowed it upon them by grace.

 

EPH 3:14-15

For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, (KJV)

 

EPH 3:14-15

For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name.

(NIV)

 

The body of Christ have been called sons of God being adopted by predestination.

 

EPH 1:5-6

In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.

 

EPH 3:14-15

For this reason, I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name,

 

Patria refers to ancestry or lineage. In the ancient world the father passed his name to his family and so we read “sons of Israel,” “sons of Korah,” “the Son of David.”

 

The history of patronyms is pretty fun. Wilson (son of William), FitzGerald (son of Gerald), Fernández (son of Fernando), Petrov (of Peter), Grigorovich (son of Grigory or Gregory) MacAllister (from "mac Alistair", meaning son of Alistair, anglicized Scottish form of Alexander) and O'Conor (from "Ó Conchobhair", meaning grandson/descendant of Conchobhar). Aramaic used Bar, Hebrew Ben.

 

And so, what is your family name? On earth it is one thing and in heaven it is the eternal name, which is son or daughter of God. I wonder do we feel the privilege that comes from having His name?

 

As we know, God takes great pride in His name. He does what He purposes for His name’s sake. He warns Israel not to profane His name. He calls it His holy name. The third commandment was to not take the Lord’s name in vain, meaning; do not claim to be of God when you are not. The Promised Land is described as the place where God’s name dwelt. There are dozens more examples. God uses “name” (Heb: shem, Gr: onoma) hundreds of times in this way.

 

So, when we read “family” we are not to think of it as all the families of the earth and their surnames, but we are to think of the family that God gave His name to, namely the body of Christ.

 

God becomes our name-Father. We were once the sons of Adam and now we are the sons of God thanks to our so-great salvation.

 

This passage gives to God’s Fatherhood the same extension that 1:21 gives to Christ’s Lordship.

 

EPH 1:19-21

These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might 20 which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead, and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age, but also in the one to come.

 

Every name that is named is under Christ seated above.

 

The Father has given His children His name. What, therefore, shall the Father be asked to give to His needy children upon earth? They have newly learnt His name; they are barely recovered from the malady of their sin, fearful of trial, weak to meet temptation - strength is their necessity.

 

3:14-19

C) The Four Petitions: strength (Spirit and Christ), rooted and grounded in love, knowing Christ’s love, filled up to God’s fulness.

 

It should not surprise us that these four things are all closely related.

 

EPH 3:14-19

For this reason, I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, 16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man; 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fulness of God.

 

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