Summary: Message 86 from Eph discussing the power of praying for one another.
I. Our Wealth and Worth In Christ 1-3
Paul first called the Ephesians to bless the Lord (speak well of the Lord) who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenlies in Christ. He then wrote a gigantic 14 verse sentence packed with a grocery list of those blessings ending with a prayer that the Holy Spirit would enlighten us as to the wonder and nature of those blessing.
II. Our Worthy Walk in Christ 4-6
In light of the great blessing of God granted to every believer, Paul exhorted them to live worthy of those blessings by living differently; by living like Christ in every area of our life.
III. Our Warfare through Christ 6:10
The formidable opposition against us living worthy in a fallen world is an unseen but brutal spiritual enemy out to destroy us and our testimony. As we have seen, God provides both offensive and defensive resources to effectively wrestle this enemy. Paul commands us to be connected an empowered. Paul instructs us to be fully armed. Paul encourages us to continually resist enemy’s offensive with constant prayer. Paul enlists us to stand firm against all the schemes of the enemy with His power.
All of the resources have to do with a clear understanding of our standing in Jesus.
The Truth of Jesus to combat the devil’s lies
The Righteousness of Jesus to crush the devils condemnation
The Peace of Jesus to combat the devil’ chaos and conflict
The faith of Jesus to extinguish the devil’s fear
The Salvation of Jesus to squelch the devil’s doubt
The Word of Jesus to destroy the devil’s fortresses in us and our loved ones
Conversation with Jesus to bring His power to bear on the situation
This special conversation with Jesus acquires and affirms each piece of armor needed for battle.
The core instruction here is to do whatever is necessary to stand against these brutal attacks while in constant prayer for ourselves and each other in the body. Like most actions in scripture, spiritual warfare is not just about us. We are to war not only for ourselves but for our brethren who according Peter are suffering some of the same battles. Like all the other spiritual disciplines, spiritual warfare is not just an occasional practice. The war is not over until the Savior returns in victory.
While Paul encouraged constant prayer for one another in the context of a battle field, Paul also enlisted prayer regarding himself and his ministry. As we close this section of Ephesians I want us to observe the place of connections in ministry. God intended ministry to be done in partnership with others. We ask God for empowerment and so often He answers our prayer through our connections to other members of the body. Some Scripture prescribes specific directions to be understood and followed. Other Scripture describes various events and interactions of people to serve as examples. There have been plenty of specific directions passed on to the Christians gather in Ephesus. The concluding verses of Ephesians deal with some personal interactions of Paul and a final blessing. In such Scripture we look for principles that can be drawn from personal interaction. I think that Paul highlights for us the importance of connections. Effective connections lead to effective ministry.
We connect with others for all kinds of things. How do those connections cause us to be more effective in our ministry? Why should I tune into this message? Beyond what I may say today, God has something to say to you. God wants to speak. Jesus stands in the midst of the church calling out for those who have ears to hear, HEAR! Hear what the Spirit has to say to us as a church and to you personally today.
Paul shared a personal prayer request for effective bold proclamation of the Gospel
praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak. Ephesians 6:18-20
On the heels of instructing them to continually pray for one another, Paul slipped in a personal request of his own.
This letter was written while Paul was imprisoned for his proclamation of message of Jesus.
While awaiting trial, Paul was allowed to serve his time in a house rented at his own expense.
Since they didn’t have electronic ankle bracelets in those days, guards were assigned to him to prevent his escape but not others from visiting. This would not be the case later. Later he would be dropped in a dark and damp hole in Rome cold and alone. In fact, a decree stated that visitors not be prevented from seeing Paul. Paul used this as an opportunity to write (Prison Letters) as well as to bear testimony to the power and grace of God to the various guards assigned to him and disciple many who visited him. One such visitor was Onesimus a runaway slave brought to the Lord by Paul. Paul wrote to Onesimus’s former owner Philemon to encourage restoration now that Onesimus had become a believer in Jesus. That letter to Philemon has been preserved as one of the books in the New Testament.