Session 6- Empowered
Central Theme: Our empowerment in Christ
Every believer can understand how Christ empowers them by observing Paul’s requests.
Request #1– Inner strength. V.14-16
(14) For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
- “for this cause” What cause? The message that he has been given to proclaim which is the mystery now revealed.
- The message is that those who were afar off and those who were part of the promises will be brought together in Christ in the local church.
(15) of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,
- The gentiles can now be a part of the family of God.
- The gentiles now have access to the unsearchable riches of Christ.
- Paul is the messenger called to proclaim this.
- Now, the whole family (Jews and gentiles) are one in Christ.
- Paul begins a prayer with the posture of submission praising God for this and other amazing truths.
- How often does the realization of the amazing power and goodness of God cause a physical reaction- a posture- in response?
- Is there any significance to getting on my knees to pray? I believe the significance here is the fact that Paul is so totally overwhelmed at the goodness of God to us that his authentic and honest response from the heart is to, in humility, fall on his knees in worship to God.
- The truth of God’s plan to redeem those who would believe from every nation, tribe and tongue should cause us to pause in humility and bow our knees in humble worship.
- He is not just worshiping though. He begins to ask for a prayer of enabling for these believers.
- Notice this first request for inner strength…
(16) that he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man.
- Grant you to be strengthened in the inner man
- What is the inner man? It speaks to the inner person. The spiritual part of us. The part of us that really does govern what we do. It’s the part that influences how we make decisions. It’s the part of us that is a new creation.
- When it comes to living a life that honors God, we need a strong inner man.
- Look at the specifics of this request.
- He asks God to strengthen our inner man in 2 ways
- According to the riches of his glory
- According to- In accordance with.
- If I give you a gift in accordance with my riches, and Jeff Bezos (Amazon.com) gives according to his riches, which would you pick?
- Paul prays that God would grant us spiritual resources to be strengthened on the inside according to everything he has!
- But not only by his resources, but also…
- By His Spirit
- The Spirit that comes in an indwells and therefore strengthens the inner man.
- God Himself comes and does it!
- Isn’t this incredible? God wants to strengthen our inner man, and he has all of the resources available to strengthen our inner man!
- According to the riches of his glory
Request #2– Indwelling Christ. V.17a
(17a) That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith
- The word dwell here is “katoikeo”- to house permanently, that is, reside, dwell, inhabit.
- Collossians 3:16- Says to let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom. “Dwell” in this verse is “enoikeo”. It means “to dwell in one and influence him for good.”
- Jesus told the disciples to abide in him and when they do they would be able to “bear much fruit.” He also said that when they bore much fruit they would glorify God. He then said, “So shall ye be my disciples.”
- Christ indwells us through His Spirit by faith.
- We dwell in Christ by consistently depending on the indwelling Spirit as He uses the Word of Christ to change the way we think in act moment by moment.
- Practically speaking, we need to get into the Word of God until the Word of God gets into us.
- So, the one sits on top of the other. Paul prays that we would have the inner strength by Christ so that we would let Christ indwell us. When He does we experience what he prays for in the 3rd request.
Request #3– Incomprehensible love. V.17b-19a
(17b)…that ye, being rooted and grounded in love (18) may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the bredth, and length, and depth, and height; (19a) and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge…”
- After praying for inner strength for the Ephesians, and that Christ would be at home in their hearts, Paul prays that their lives would be established in love.
- What does that mean?
- The Disciple of Christ- the person who is in Christ- is a person characterized by and known for their love.
- It starts by comprehending the love that Christ had for them.
- Looks at what he prays. He prays that they would be “able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth and length and depth and height”.
- The idea here is that every direction you look- up, down, left, right- God’s love for you goes that far!
- It “passeth knowledge”! It’s so much bigger than we can truly comprehend, yet he prays that we would be able to experience it.
- This love is not just something to know about, it is something to experience.
- And as we experience that vertical love from God, we reflect it back vertically to God, and out horizontally to others.
- God, in his grace, through Christ Jesus, loves me despite all of my inconsistency and sin. He loves me more than I can fathom.
- And this really leads to the next request, which is absolutely incredible.
Request #4– Fullness of God. V.19b
(19b)…that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God.
- He prays in this last request that they would be filled with all of the fullness of God.
- “Filled” here has the idea of being controlled or consumed.
- Πληρόω- plēroō- From G4134; to make replete, that is, (literally) to cram (a net), level up (a hollow), or (figuratively) to furnish (or imbue, diffuse, influence), satisfy, execute (an office), finish (a period or task), verify (or coincide with a prediction), etc.: – accomplish, X after, (be) complete, end, expire, fill (up), fulfil, (be, make) full (come), fully preach, perfect, supply.
- John MacArthur put it this way:
To be so strong spiritually, so compelled by divine love, that one is totally dominated by the Lord with nothing left of self. Human comprehension of the fullness of God is impossible, because even the most spiritual and wise believer cannot completely grasp the full extent of God’s attributes and characteristics—His power, majesty, wisdom, love, mercy, patience, kindness, and everything He is and does. But believers can experience the greatness of God in their lives as a result of total devotion to Him. Note the fullness of God, here; the fullness of Christ in Eph_4:13; and the fullness of the Spirit in Eph_5:18. Paul prayed for believers to become as godlike as possible (Mat_5:48; 1Pe_1:15-16).
- This is the kind of fullness of God that we can have!
- Doesn’t this blow your mind, and excite your heart?!
- You can become like God as God works in you by giving you inner strength, the indwelling Christ, and incomprehensible love. As these things work through Christ in our lives, we are filled with all of the fullness of God.
- The natural question is, “How can this be?”
- Paul answers it in a prayer request of praise- this final request!
Request #5– God’s Glory. V.20-21
(20) Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, (21) unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.
- Paul ends these requests by praising God for His ability to do these things and so much more.
- He proclaims God’s glory for what he can do beyond all that we could ask or think.
- He says this power is the power that works where? IN US!!!
- And he prays that God would do this in the local assembly forever and ever!
- Imagine with me, if you will, a group of people (a church) so submitted to Christ that they continually…:
- …Let Christ strengthen their inner person
- …Let Christ dwell in their hearts on a daily basis by understanding and obeying God’s Word
- …Begin to fathom the love of Christ for them and refect that back to Him and to others
- …Grow in Christlikeness through this ongoing continual process until they all together
- …Bring Glory to God more and more!
- That would certainly be beyond anything we could ask or think!
- What could happen in a community with a body of believers like that?
- It can only happen as each of us submit individually to God’s work in or lives!
- What does the nature of Paul’s request for them teach you about prayer?
- Read Eph. 2:1-3 and then read 3:16-19. Compare and contrast who we were with who we can be in Christ.
- How has the love of Christ affected or changed you?
- Share prayer requests.