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Summary: Paul's prayer and God's power

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Ephesians—Bodybuilding for the Church

Ephesians 1:15-23

John Shearhart

April 18, 2010

Introduction

This morning we continue through our study in the book of Ephesians.

Last week we saw all the wonderful spiritual blessings that come with salvation and faithfulness in Christ, and we saw how these work together for building up of the church.

This morning we’re going to continue through our study as we pick up in verse fifteen and continue bodybuilding for the church:

Ephesians 1:15-23

This first part of this text show us…

1. Paul’s unceasing prayer and gratitude for the church in Ephesus (:15-16)

For this reason I too, having heard of the faith in the Lord Jesus which exists among you and your love for all the saints, 16do not cease giving thanks for you, while making mention of you in my prayers;

He starts off saying “for this reason.” For what reason? The previous verses say, “you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise.” In other words the Ephesian church was a body of saved members who had been sealed with the Holy Spirit and “for this reason” Paul gives thanks.

I’m thankful I’m a member those who are saved and sealed, aren’t you? We are the body and the bride of Christ, and we have all the promises we read about last week.

Look at how he is assured of their salvation and sealing: first, their faith is an obvious part of who they are. He says, “I have heard of the faith in the Lord Jesus which exists among you.” It was no secret that these folks were believers; there was no doubt as to their allegiance.

I imagine their faith was just as natural to them as any other part of their lives.

Every morning I wake up and make the decision to be a family man. I decide to go to work and earn a living for my wife and children; every afternoon I decide to come home and spend time with them; every night I decide to go to bed with my wife and stay there until morning.

I could get up at 2:00 in the morning and drive to Las Vegas and party and spend all our grocery money, but I decide not to do that.

But think about this: these decisions don’t seem like decisions at all.

“Family man” is who I have become; that is my nature and my life. I’m not remotely tempted to drive off and leave them because it doesn’t fit with my nature.

I believe these faithful Christians in Ephesus had a faith that defined them in such a way that their very nature showed it.

Some of us act like faith is a big deal that requires a great amount of energy and sacrifice, but in reality it should be second-nature. Sure, sacrifice is required; sure energy is needed, but we do it because “that’s what we do.”

Faithlessness should be as out of the ordinary and bizarre for the believer as driving to Vegas at 2:00am is for a dedicated, young father.

There’s a second indicator of the Ephesians faith: they loved all the saints.

By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another. (John 13:35)

We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love abides in death. (I John 3:14)

If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, 16and one of you says to them, "Go in peace, be warmed and be filled," and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? 17Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself. (James 2:15-17)

Christian faith is evident not only in how many sermons you hear or how often you pray but in how you treat the brethren!

The example in James is specifically food and clothing, but how much more important are the emotional and spiritual needs?

Since coming to this church I’ve heard on nearly a weekly basis that someone has his feelings hurt; folks, let me tell you three things:

#1- Some of you are going to have to toughen up and stop being so sensitive. God loves you even if no one else will and that should be enough. You’ve heard it before and I’ll tell you again—“GET OVER IT!”

#2- Some of you need to be more sensitive to others needs and take Paul’s command to heart when he says to “regard one another as more important than yourselves” (Phil. 2:3).

#3- All of us need to follow the Biblical model of conflict found in Matthew—

If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. 16"But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that BY THE MOUTH OF TWO OR THREE WITNESSES EVERY FACT MAY BE CONFIRMED. 17"If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. (Mt. 18:15-17)

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