Translations: Chinese GB Big5

Ephesians 3:14-3:21 (web)

Prayer for Maturity in God's Family

3:14 For this cause, I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
3:15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named,
3:16 that he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory,
that you may be strengthened with power through his Spirit in the inward man;
3:17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; to the end that you,
being rooted and grounded in love,
3:18 may be strengthened to comprehend with all the saints
what is the breadth and length and height and depth,
3:19 and to know Christ's love which surpasses knowledge,
that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
3:20 Now to him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think,
according to the power that works in us,
3:21 to him be the glory in the assembly and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.

Discussion Questions

Paul starts off this section saying "for this reason I pray" For what reason? Paul seems to be asking God to give them 4 things which seem to be related to each other progressively. What word or words could you use to characterize these 4 progresssions?
Or specifically, what does it mean "to be strengthened with might in the inner man"?
What does it mean "Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith"?
What does it mean "you may be able to comprehend ..."?
What does it mean "that you may be filled with all the fullness of God"?
 

(Conviction => Submission => Revelation => Transformation)
What examples in scriptures do we have of these links?

If you were God, what would you do to answer Paul's prayer?

Application

Pray about root causes
Pray about those things God has allowed Himself control over
(God may not force people to believe if it is against their free will)
Pray that the believers may be strengthened in their convictions
If we really want to know God more, we must be willing to obey Him concerning those things that He has already revealed to us.

Comments

A Prayer for Strengthened Convictions

Eph 3:14-17a  For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith

"For this reason" refers to what he's been saying all along - namely that Gentile believers (the Ephesian Christians in particular), have been included in the family of God. And members of the family exist both in heaven and on earth, though one should not read too much into that. Jesus said in the context of the coming resurrection, "He is not the God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive." Luke 20:38

But getting on to the content of Paul's request it appears that in light of their being included in Christ what first comes to Paul's mind as to what should be requested  on their behalf is for their convictions to be strengthened. Christ inhabits all believers. And "if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ." Rom 8:9  He is not praying for them to be saved. For he already said, "you also were included in Christ"Eph 1:13 But to dwell is a matter of degree. Christ dwells in one's heart - being Lord over one's desires - by faith. The degree to which he dwells in us is a function of the strength of our convictions.

So pray for yourself and other believers for your convictions to be strengthen so that Christ my freely reign within you.



The Transforming Revelation

Eph 3:17b-19 And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge— that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God

There is a revelation of Christ which transforms a person's life. In fact this is the process of sanctification.

1. He starts off with the development of faith in verse 16, which lead to the revelation of Christ's love, being rooted and established in the love of God. Such faith leads to obedience. "Through him and for his name’s sake, we received grace and apostleship to call people from among all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith." Rom 1:5 and "If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching." John 14:23

2. Obedience leads to Revelation - or namely understanding. "I have more understanding than the elders, for I obey your precepts."Ps 119:100 and Jesus said, "Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him." John 14:21  If we really want to know God more, we must be willing to obey Him concerning those things that He has already revealed to us.

3. Revelations leads to Transformation - being filled with the fulness of God. "We know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure." 1John 3:2,3 (Also Col 1:9-12; Job 28:28)



To God be the glory

Eph 3:20,21  Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

Being mortal we often think small. We ask for small things - material things, temporal things. Prayer requests are often dominated by concerns of health, finances and job security, but so few requests reflect the prayers found in the New Testament letters and here in Ephesians in particular which concern spiritual and eternal matters. So when you pray consider whether your requests are too small. And pray about root causes and not just symptoms.

We as Christians are never alone. "Continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose." Php 2:12,13 Now "he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." Php 1:6


The Berean Christian Bible Study Resources


Jul 29,2015