Summary: Subject: What should be our response to God’s blessings? Complement: Our response is to pray for strength in other believers and in the church as a whole.
Intro: When a sports team wins the championship game, what is their response? When you hit a home run at work and your boss notices and congratulates you with a promotion, what is your response? Think about those people who win some big multimillion dollar prize, imagine their response.
Now imagine the incongruity of someone really making a great advancement, a major victory, finding out they had inherited unconceivable wealth and then their response is one of nonchalance. The response isn’t compatible with the situation.
The Rookie is based on the true story of Jimmy Morris, a high school teacher and baseball coach who became a major-league baseball pitcher. Several of the high school players who had been on the receiving end of Morris’s fastballs encouraged him to try out for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. Because of his age and past injuries, Morris dismissed their encouragement as wishful thinking. Morris knew the major-league scouts would not consider a prospect unless he could throw 90 miles-per-hour.
Inwardly, however, Morris can’t shake his curiosity. While driving his pickup down a deserted country highway, Morris spots a sign that displays the speed of oncoming traffic. Morris slows his truck and pulls to the side of the road. Looking to see if anyone is watching, Morris grabs a baseball, walks into the road, and tosses the ball past the sign. The number 46 quickly flashes on the sign. It works.
Morris smiles and walks swiftly back to the truck to grab an old baseball glove and another baseball. A car drives down the highway, and Morris quickly turns and leans nonchalantly against his truck. He walks back on to the road and takes one more look to see if any cars are coming. Then he winds up and throws the ball with everything he has. The sign stares blankly back at him for a moment, and then it flashes 76.
Discouragement falls over Morris’s face. He walks slowly to retrieve the baseballs. What Morris does not see is the sign blinking for a moment, and the 7 becoming a 9. Morris has actually thrown a fastball at 96 miles-per-hour! Yet he remains unaware of his own strength.
It is hard to imagine someone either not comprehending what riches they have or responding in an inconsistent manner. But I wonder, do we do this in our walk with God? Do we either fail to truly comprehend what we have so that our response is inconsistent with our situation in Christ?
We have been learning for weeks now about the blessings we have in Christ and today, I want to look at the appropriate response!
When we finally understand who we are in Christ and can begin to fathom the power and grace and intimacy with God, which is ours, then, how should we respond?
Jumping in the air with a shout? Throwing are arms around the nearest person in a big bear hug with great shouts of joy mingled together with smiles all around? Should we develop a winning cheer? I’m certain that all those responses are good but lets look and see what Paul’s response was to all these things in Eph. 3:14-21.
I. The benefits of knowing Christ should lead us to our knees. (14-15)
A. Prayer is a natural response to God’s Blessings.
1. Paul states clearly that He kneels before God the Father because of all the benefits he has in Christ.
a) The fact that he is redeemed and can truly know God.
b) The fact that he was now a part of God’s family with no more dividing walls between him and others.
c) The fact that he is part of a new entity called the church.
2. Because of all those things and what they mean for his life, Paul gets down on his knees to pray.
a) Kneeling before anyone is a sign of homage and lordship.
b) It is communicating with our body the reverence, respect, and honor we have for the one bowed down to.
3. Paul didn’t always pray on his knees.
a) Scripture tells of God’s faithful people praying in many different positions.
b) Standing, sitting, and falling on one’s face are all postures for prayer according to the Bible.
c) I personally would encourage people to try different postures to enhance their prayer life.
4. As Paul prayed here for the Ephesians while writing this letter to them, the apostle felt led to bow his knees before Father on their behalf.
a) Not because that position was especially sacred.
b) But because it spontaneously reflected his reverence for God’s glory in the midst of his passionate prayer.
B. Prayer is directed to God the Father and creator of everything.
1. The word used here for Father is the same term that Jesus always used to speak of God.