To pray for strength and power is to pray for particular things. Often, when we pray for these two particular things, we have in mind what we need them for. Spend a bit of time reflecting together on this…
What do you understand strength to mean, and has there ever been a time when you prayed for it? What was that prayer like? Or possibly, what was that season of your life like and how did God deliver?
How do you understand the word power (particularly in the context of prayer)? Has there ever been a time when you’ve prayed for it? Did God come through how you expected?
Sometimes, we take a little too much ownership over the factors which have put us in right standing with God (known as justification). Paul is clear that we are God’s handiwork. These passages from Ephesians 2:8-10 and Ephesians 2:18-22 offer a corrective view of how we got to where we are today in our relationship with God.
What does it mean to you to be called God’s workmanship? Which other verses in these passages affirm the resolute sovereignty of God in relationship with your justification? In other words, how do you see Paul glorifying God by giving Him the credit for our salvation?
This powerful view of God’s sovereignty in our salvation is what Paul has in view as we dive into the passage for today. Read Ephesians 3:14-19 together.
Pastor Matt asked about the power Paul speaks of in Verse 16. Take some time to discuss the questions he asked; what is this power? Who mediates this power? Where does this power operate? And what or who is the source of this power?
Here are 3 points regarding this power which should serve to give us hope.
What does it mean to be strengthened with power by the holy spirit in our inner being. Paul is talking about sanctification by the power of the Holy Spirit. The inner man, character, thoughts
Paul is praying for the supernatural in the domain of our character, a process which prepares us for heaven. He said that it is only when we yield to the Spirit the control of the inner man that we begin to live to the glory of God.
This passage isn’t the end of Paul’s letter to the church in Ephesus. The way Paul was going to call them to live in the second half of Ephesians was only possible through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Look at these 2 passages together. Try to identify the activity of the Holy Spirit in the lives of the believers.
Now on to comprehension. Read Verse 18-19
That statement… "The Strength to comprehend." Comprehend what exactly? Have you ever considered that you actually need the strength of God in order to comprehend this?
Pastor Matt quoted D.A.Carson, “Apart from the power of God helping us to comprehend the limitless dimension of the love of Christ we will have too little appreciation for it.”
What do you think of this statement? Is it accurate and fair?
We experience the truth of love when we see it in action, in motion. This often happens through suffering and persecution. Would you agree? Why is this?
Filled with all the fullness of God. This basically spiritual maturity. Paul assumes that we are not as mature as christians as we could be if we just grasped the magnitude of the power of God. But grasping the sublime massiveness of God’s love takes power, because his love is of a scale beyond our comprehension. The blessing though, is the answer to this question… where does Paul say that the power to comprehend actually comes from?
Pastor Matt said that this power, rarely, if ever, comes to the person not spending time in scripture. God has declared His love for us through his word. Would you agree?
How is your comprehension level? We each struggle with different things all the time, and our capacity to comprehend what God has done for us through Christ shifts with our situations, mentality, and emotions… This is why it’s important that this power comes from God, not us.
God makes good on his promises. Ephesians 3 closes with a doxology.
“20 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”
Praying for power, and for strength. This is a beautiful invitation to each of us and to the church corporately. Take some time, and reflect on the things which have monopolized your time this week. What thoughts, worries, or concerns have kept coming to the forefront of your mind over the last span of time for you? Consider these in light of what Paul prays for the Ephesian church.
Read Paul’s prayer from Ephesians 3 to yourself as if he’s praying for you by name… (read your name into the blank spaces)
“For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you _________ to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your heart ________ through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
Now _________, pray with me to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”
You can take this and pray if also for your life group, and on an even bigger scale, pray it for Ness!
Now as you walk through the rest of your week, maybe make this your prayer every morning. Before the day begins, ask this for yourself, your spouse, your family, your church, your neighbourhood, your co-workers, your students. Whoever you come into contact with, lift them up to be strengthen with power to know Jesus!
This past Sunday Pastor Matt talked about two big ideas, suffering and God’s glory.
This conversation will probably work better if we’re all on the same page with these words.
In this week's sermon, I (Pastor Matt) talked about Jesus who was the light of the world, his light shone in the darkness and was the light of life, the Saviour, the Messiah, the only one who could save us from the darkness and offer us eternal life.
Jesus showed he was the light, the Messiah in a few practical ways. Through his obedience and moral purity (Jesus said he only did what the Father asked him to do), he is the Truth and brought true knowledge and wisdom, and most importantly, he brought the very presence of God.
Jesus said to his disciples that we are the light of the world and we are to be the shining light of Christ in our world pointing people to Christ.
Three of the ways we shine the light of Christ are through the same avenues Christ did:
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to have been alive when Jesus walked the earth? Have you ever wondered what it would have been like to follow him as he walked the earth as a rabbi?
Is Jesus still our rabbi today?
The short answer is yes, Jesus is still our rabbi today. The fact that Jesus is still our rabbi has two practical applications for our life.
1. We need to continue to be discipled by Jesus
2. We need to make disciples of Jesus.
The big question people often have is how? How do we make disciples? Four things we can learn from Jesus' example are:
1. Model your spiritual life
2. Don't pretend to be perfect
3. Humbly invite others into your life
4. Be committed to life transformation, not just knowledge growth.
Listen to hear us unpack these things.
Supplements...what are they for? In the world of nutrition, supplements are generally used to add particular nutrients to our regular diet. People do this when their regular diet is low in necessary nutrients, or because their bodies require more of these nutrients in order to meet their higher physical requirements...think athletes or body builders.
Take protein supplements for example. An athlete or bodybuilder takes protein supplements to give their muscles extra nutrition to make the most out of their workouts. Yet, to only drink protein shakes would be a huge mistake. Our bodies need many more nutrients to be healthy and function properly. That is why protein shakes are called a supplement. Their purpose is to supplement a regular diet (foundational diet), to add more protein. So if one is trying to grow more muscle faster, they supplement their diets with protein.
2 Peter 1:1-11, uses the word "supplement" to describe 7 qualities that we should add to our daily diet, which is our faith. Our faith is the work of God and consists of our Knowledge of God (not just knowing him cognitively, but knowing him relationally), and trust in his very great promises to us. Peter says, that "His (God’s) divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence..."
God has given us the foundational faith, our daily diet. He has already GRANTED to us everything that we need, but Peter calls us to supplement this diet. Not because it is not enough, or that we can make it greater, rather it's the opposite. Without the regular diet, supplements are useless, and at times detrimental to our health. These 7 qualities Peter calls us to supplement our faith with, only have value because of the faith that we have been given. God is the one who has done the foundational work in each of these 7 qualities. Without his work, our work of adding these qualities would be impossible, for all of them require a transformed heart.
Here are the 7: Virtue, Knowledge (relational knowledge), self-control, steadfastness, godliness, brotherly affection, and love. To live out these qualities in the way that Peter is calling us to requires a true faith in God, that comes from an intimate relationship with him (knowledge) and trust in his very great promises for us. The greatest promise is the promise of eternal relationship with God, by the grace He grants us through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Why does Peter encourage believers to supplement their faith with these 7 qualities? If we do, he says that we will not fall. Peter doesn’t mean that we will not sin, but rather, that we will not fall away, or be drawn away by the world. He wants us to be rock solid, and unwavering in our faith, and able to persevere to the end.
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