Ephesians - overview.
Sunday May 12, 2019
The sons of God pray to their Father continually, as the Lord instructed them.
In the upper room Jesus told them something new. One of those new things was to pray to their “Father” in His name. In His name might also indicate in His way.
Mat 6:9 "Pray, then, in this way:
'Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy name.
Mat 6:10 'Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.
Mat 6:11 'Give us this day our daily bread.
Mat 6:12 'And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
Mat 6:13 'And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
Prayer is the reality of faith. We pray to Someone we’ve never seen, never heard, never held, and call Him Father. To someone billions of light years away, farther away than any signal can reach, we pray, and we confidently know He is hearing us and answering us.
If there is no one in heaven who loves us then we cannot pray.
It would be a meaningless waste of time and a cruel joke played on us by a cruel god if he did not love us.
If we are to commit our life in time to God, but could not pray to Him and worship Him, blindly would we be seeking for His comfort and encouragement, never knowing if we hit the right chord.
Modern thinkers, some theological, have made it difficult for people to believe that God is anywhere at all, much less interested in our daily bread. It was part of the wonder of Christianity that it made prayer personally meaningful to common men and women on the ordinary levels of their life, without in any way diminishing its loftier significance.
“If it is after this manner we are to pray, then who can restrain prayer on the ground of mental inability to pray. Elaborate language, then, is no essential of prayer; nor yet ingenious thought, nor the observant penetration of spirit which discovers the minute or hidden wants of man. Only so much language is required as makes the desire audible. We are backward in prayer, not because it is too difficult, but because it is too simple for us. It is so unlike our other ways of gaining and getting, that we are always trying to make it something more than it is, an asking for what we want.” [Marcus Dods, The Prayer That Teaches to Pray]
We are not to imitate this prayer; we are to use it! We are not to be satisfied if our prayers have some general resemblance to it, but we are to use the very words taught us by our Lord. It’s not for beginners, or for some particular occasion; it was given for us to use, and within its words, knowing and searching and probing their meaning, we will always pray for God’s will, and as a result, we will find and behold God’s will with clarity.
Without prayer, our relationship with God as sons to a Father could not be personal day by day.
Eph 6:18 With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints,
Personal means communication. Relationship means desire fulfilled. If we could not express ourselves to our Father and that all involvement and communication with Him had to wait for eternity, then a personal walk, a close walk with Him would be impossible. And yet, some Christians don’t take advantage of prayer, finding themselves too busy.
Catch the accent of man’s ancient longing, which Abraham Lincoln put in simpler prose: “I have been driven many times to my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go. My own wisdom, and that of all about me seemed insufficient for the day.” It was such a refuge, in a God whom He called Father, that Christ gave to men. Nothing better illustrates the gift than the Lord’s prayer.
The problem of prayer ceases to baffle if the phrases of that simple petition (Lord’s prayer) are made a repeated framework by which to order all that which any Christian might wish to set before his God.
There is no situation in life which cannot be devoutly reviewed under the heading of some one of its simple phrases. Here is the way for the simplest to order devotion.
To summarize what we have studied about the sons of God:
The adopted son is:
Free and remains in the house forever.
A son of light (goodness, righteousness, and truth).
Extraordinary (loves his enemies, gracious, selfless).
As we return to Ephesians, I want to change our approach for a time. When someone receives a letter, especially an important letter, they don’t read it like we are reading this letter. Would you receive a letter from the apostle Paul and in six months only have read the first few sentences? You would read it through and through, and then later, over time, slowly digest its full meaning, and that’s what I’ve decided to do.