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: Ephesians overview – 3:14-19, Pauls prayer (inner strength)

EPHESIANS-1-200304
length: 70:05 - taught on Mar, 4 2020
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Class Outline:

Wednesday March 4, 2020
 

I noticed something when reading Deuteronomy.

 

DEU 12:1

“These are the statutes and the judgments which you shall carefully observe in the land which the Lord, the God of your fathers, has given you to possess as long as you live on the earth.”

 

DEU 12:8-9

“You shall not do at all what we are doing here today, every man doing whatever is right in his own eyes; 9 for you have not as yet come to the resting place and the inheritance which the Lord your God is giving you.”

 

God emphasized “carefully observing” His statutes and judgments when they were in the Land, meaning, in the kingdom that God had given them. Every believer in the church has crossed the Jordan, to use the metaphor, for all of us are in the kingdom of God.

 

God goes on to tell them, as He has to us in Paul’s prayer, that Israel are His sons, and because of that they are to be holy.

 

DEU 14:1-2

“You are the sons of the Lord your God; you shall not cut yourselves nor shave your forehead for the sake of the dead. 2 For you are a holy people to the Lord your God; and the Lord has chosen you to be a people for His own possession out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.”

 

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.

 

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.

 

3:14-19

C), 1. Strength - the indwelling Spirit and indwelling Christ.

 

The first one, strength, is related by Paul to both the indwelling Spirit and the indwelling Christ. Being linked together, we don’t have to wonder what comes first, strength from the Holy Spirit or strength from the knowledge of Christ. They both come together.

 

While people are arguing about which one comes first, or even just trying to determine which one comes first, they may forget to determine if there is actual strength and knowledge within themselves.

 

And in this petition, we must be clear to understand that Paul means the knowledge of all of Christ’s Person and work. Though I will not always use the term “full knowledge” it is what is meant. It is knowledge of “the Christ.”

 

We can conclude that the first thing all Christians need is knowledge of Christ through the scriptures and strength from the Holy Spirit and knowledge to carry on in God’s plan in the face of all that distracts and hinders spiritually young believers. (parable of the sower - rocky ground and thorns; affliction, persecution, worries of the world and deceitfulness of riches)

 

The first thing all Christians need is the strength of the Holy Spirit in knowledge of Christ so as to avoid the traps that beset the spiritually young.

 

The purpose clause, “so that” puts these two petitions together and so we count them as one petition in our outline. The power of the Spirit produces a dwelling Christ, not His presence as God, but the presence of His mind, His way, His word, the identity of His person. And since all believers are indwelt by Christ, Paul certainly had something else in mind when he wrote his petition “that Christ may dwell in your hearts.”

 

1CO 16:13-14

Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. 14 Let all that you do be done in love.   

 

The source of strength is not ourselves, but the Spirit and the Son within, working in us. We must allow them to work through obedience to them, to God.

 

Christ told the disciples that they would receive power from on high, referring to the Holy Spirit.

 

But not just them, over the centuries, multitudes of men, women, and even children have exhibited the vigor of strong faith, the valor of a good soldier of Christ Jesus, the courage of martyrs, the cheerful and indomitable patience of multitudes of obscure sufferers for righteousness sake. They live in every generation, and where they are found in greater concentration or abundance, that place in the world is recipient of special blessings.

 

[Marcus Dods, commenting on EPH 3:14-18] “When that will is animated and filled with the Spirit, the man so possessed is the embodiment of an inconceivable power. Firm principle, hope and constancy, self-mastery, superiority to pleasure and pain, - all the elements of a noble courage are proper to the man of the Spirit. Such power is not neutralized by our infirmities; it asserts itself under their limiting conditions and makes them its contributories. “My grace is sufficient for thee,” said Christ to His disabled servant; “for power is perfected in weakness.” In privation and loneliness, in old age and bodily decay, the strength of God in the human spirit shines with its purest luster. Never did Paul rise to such a height of moral ascendency as at the time when he was “smitten down” and all but destroyed by persecution and affliction. ‘That the excellency of the power may be of God and not from ourselves.’”

 

Before we look at the first petition more closely, I can tell you that “[the] Christ at home in your hearts” refers to our full knowledge of Him, which not every believer has.

 

I have put “the” in brackets because Paul does use the definite article, though it is omitted in the English. It is significant.

 

EPH 4:11-13

And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge [epignosis: full knowledge] of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fulness of Christ.

 

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