Summary: Jesus dwells in every Christian’s heart, but is He at home there?
PAUL’S SECOND PRAYER FOR THE EPHESIANS: Ephesians 3:14-21
FIRST PETITION (v. 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."
1. EVERY CHRISTIAN HAS AN "INNER MAN."
2. OUR INNER MAN NEEDS TO BE "STRENGTHENED WITH MIGHT."
3. GOD WILL "GRANT" US INNER STRENGTH IF WE ASK HIM FOR IT.
4. GOD WILL GIVE US INNER STRENGTH "ACCORDING TO THE RICHES OF HIS GLORY."
5. GOD WILL GIVE US INNER STRENGTH "BY HIS SPIRIT."
Pretend for a moment that you are on vacation visiting another province. Today you will be going through the town where an old friend lives. He has invited you to stay the night in his home. You find his house and knock on the door. Your friend’s teenage daughter answers. "My parents aren’t home. They went out for dinner," she says. You look at your watch. It’s 6:00. "That’s strange," you say. "I was told to be here at six." You decide to drive around town to kill some time until your friend returns. You go by his house several times, but still no sign of him. Disgusted, you sit on his front step waiting impatiently. Finally, at 9:00 his car pulls into the driveway.
You hope to now spend some time catching up with your friend, but after about five minutes, he announces, "Well, I’ve had a long day. I better get to bed." He directs you to the spare bedroom. The bed is unmade. Toys are scattered everywhere. You go to bed unhappy with your visit so far, but you expect to have a better time in the morning.
When you wake up, you go to the kitchen hoping to find breakfast. Instead you find a note on the table: "Got called into work early. Sorry." You pack your suitcase and leave, feeling that this visit was a total waste of time. Your friend needs a few lessons in hospitality. You were his guest, but he didn’t make you feel at home.
SECOND PETITION (v. 17a): "THAT CHRIST MAY DWELL IN YOUR HEARTS BY FAITH"
DOES JESUS FEEL AT HOME IN YOUR HEART?
I. EVERY CHRISTIAN HAS CHRIST LIVING WITHIN HIS HEART.
"Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that JESUS CHRIST IS IN YOU, EXCEPT YE BE REPROBATES?" (2 Cor. 13:5).
To be a "reprobate" means to fail the examination. Those who do not have Christ within them are not in the faith. They are not true Christians.
"At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I IN YOU" (John 14:20).
"Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and COME AGAIN UNTO YOU" (John 14:28).
"If any man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and WE WILL COME UNTO HIM, AND MAKE OUR ABODE WITH HIM" (John 14:23).
The Ephesians were Christians. Paul is praying for Christians. Why, then, does he pray that "Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith"?
If every Christian already has Christ inside of him, why does Paul need to pray this?
II. NOT EVERY CHRISTIAN HAS CHRIST DWELLING WITHIN HIS HEART.
"That CHRIST MAY DWELL IN YOUR HEARTS by faith"
The key to understanding Paul’s meaning is found when we examine the Greek word that has been translated "DWELL." The word means "to settle down and be at home."
There is a great difference between being inside a house and being at home there. And there is a huge difference between Christ being in our hearts and being at home in our hearts.
In some Christ is just PRESENT, in others He is PROMINENT, and in still others He is PREEMINENT.
Paul’s petition does not relate to the FACT of Jesus’ presence in the hearts of believers but to the QUALITY of His presence.
The Lord appeared to Abraham with two angels (see v. 22). He felt at home in Abraham’s tent.
The two angels went without the Lord to visit Lot in Sodom. It seems the Lord did not feel at home in Lot’s house.
"Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I WILL COME IN TO HIM, and will sup with him, and he with me" (Rev. 3:20).
These words are addressed to Christians: "He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto THE CHURCHES" (v. 22).
It is true that all who are truly Christians are indwelt by Jesus Christ, but it is also true that this is something they grow into as Christ takes stronger and fuller possession of every corner of their lives.