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Summary: Paul asks for spiritual blessings, which are the best blessings; strength from the Spirit of God in the inner man; strength in the soul; the strength of faith, to serve God, and to do our duty. If the law of Christ is written in our hearts, and the love .

Commentary on the Book of Ephesians

By: Tom Lowe Date: 6/30/17

Lesson 14: The Content of the Prayer (3:14-19)

Ephesians 3:14-19 (KJV)

14 For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,

15 Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,

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;

17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,

18 May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;

19 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.

Introduction

The apostle seems to be more anxious for the believers, than for what he himself had to bear. He feared that they might become discouraged and fall away when meeting tribulation. He asks for spiritual blessings, which are the best blessings; strength from the Spirit of God in the inner man; strength in the soul; the strength of faith, to serve God, and to do our duty. If the law of Christ is written in our hearts, and the love of Christ is shed abroad there, then Christ dwells there. Where His Spirit dwells, there He dwells. We should desire that His good affections may be fixed in us. And how desirable it is to our souls to have a fixed sense of the love of God in Christ! How powerfully the apostle speaks of the love of Christ! The breadth (18) shows its extent?to all nations and ranks; the length, that it continues from everlasting to everlasting; the depth, its saving those who are sunk into the depths of sin and misery; the height, its raising them up to heavenly happiness and glory. Those who receive grace for grace from Christ's fullness may be said to be filled with the fullness of God. Shouldn’t this satisfy any man? Must he feel the need to fill himself with a thousand trifles, thinking that accumulating “things” would complete his happiness?

Lesson:

14 For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,

“For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father.”

We have no way of knowing what was on Paul’s mind at this time, but we can probably make a good guess from the context and what we have learned thus far from our study of his epistles, especially Acts. What was it that caused the apostle to bow his knees in prayer? There have been several suggestions:

1) He felt the need to pray for the perseverance of the saints, because nothing is more desirable to the ministers of Christ than that; which is the pure gift of God. It is what He has promised, and therefore we should ask Him for it; for what God has planned and promised to His people, will be sought after by them.

2) The people of God were becoming worldly and complacent; some were more interested in accumulating wealth than they were in worshiping God and participating in the rituals of the Christian faith. The apostle might have wanted to stir up these saints to pray for themselves

3) Paul observed that Christians were especially loved and blessed by God; therefore, he prayed that they would know too, and pray to Him, and thank Him.

4) He may have prayed that they would not be discouraged by the things he was suffering

Paul had begun to finish this prayer back in Ephesians 3:1{1], but he interrupted it for the magnificent digression regarding the great mystery in Christ; now he repeated the words, “For this cause,” and completed the marvelous prayer.

“I bow my knees”

We need to remember that no one specific posture in prayer is commanded. Keep this in mind when various groups try to argue that raising one’s hands while praying is a more ‘spiritual posture’ than all others (1 Timothy 2:8){2], and consider the example of Jesus in the garden?“Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, ‘My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will’” (Matthew 26:39). Paul didn’t follow Jesus’ example; the position he used in prayer was bowing the knees; a man is not tied to any particular gesture or posture in prayer, the main thing is the condition of the heart; mere postures and gestures are insignificant things with God; though where the mind is affected, the body will be moved; and this gesture may be expressive of reverence, humility, and submission in prayer.

Many parts of this prayer bear a strict resemblance to that offered up by Solomon (2 Chronicles 6:1, etc.), when dedicating the temple; he kneeled down upon his knees before all the congregation of Israel, and spread forth his hands towards heaven (2 Chronicles 6:13). The apostle was praying for the Christian church and for those blessings which should always rest on and distinguish it; and he kneels down after the example of Solomon, and appeals to Him to whom the first temple was dedicated, and who had made it a type of the Gospel Church.

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