Summary: Part 3 of the Paul's Powerful Prayer Series. In Ephesians 3:14-21 Paul prays for the church in Ephesus a prayer that should be prayed for every congregation that gathers in the name of the LORD.
Dakota Community Church
July 15, 2012
Paul’s Powerful Prayer 3
For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge —that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
1 Strengthened in the inner man by the Holy Spirit
2 Rooted and established in love
3 Knowing a love that is beyond comprehension
4 Filled with all the fullness of God
Paul closes this first half of his letter with a magnificent doxology.
Beginning with verse 21 I want you to notice four phrases.
1. "To him be glory . . . "
2. "To him be glory in the church . . . "
3. "To him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus . . . "
If the church is the arena in which the principalities and powers of the universe are to see the glory of God's manifold wisdom, then Jesus Christ is the embodiment of that wisdom and the main character in the drama played out in the arena of the church.
The church glorifies God by providing the stage upon which the work of Jesus Christ can take effect. Again the point being that this drama is not starring you or I - It is about Jesus.
He is the main character in our lives.
When good things happen the glory is His - not ours.
..to Him (Who gets the glory – religion vs. the gospel) be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus...
From Tim Keller’s “Gospel in Life” (page 16) Religion vs. Gospel:
Religion: I obey; therefore, I’m accepted.
Gospel: I’m accepted; therefore, I obey.
Religion: Motivation based on fear and insecurity.
Gospel: Motivation based on grateful joy.
Religion: I obey God in order to get things from God.
Gospel: I obey God to get God – to delight in and resemble Him.
Religion: When things go wrong, I am angry at God or myself, since I believe that anyone who is good deserves a comfortable life.
Gospel: When things go wrong, I struggle, but I know all my punishment fell on Jesus and that while God may allow this for my training, He will exercise Fatherly love within my trial.
Religion: When I am criticized, I am furious or devastated, because it is critical that I think of myself as a “good person” Threats to that self-image must be destroyed at all costs.
Gospel: When I am criticized, I struggle, but it is not essential for me to think of myself as a “good person”. My identity is not built on my record or my performance but on God’s love for me in Christ.
Religion: My prayer life consists largely of petition, and it only heats up when I am in a time of need. My main purpose in prayer is control of the environment.
Gospel:My prayer life consists of generous stretches of praise and adoration. My main purpose is fellowship with God.
Religion: My self-view swings between two poles. When I am living up to my standards, I feel confident, but then I am prone to be proud and unsympathetic to failing people. When I am not living up to standards, I feel humble but not confident – I feel like a failure.
Gospel: My self-view is not based on my moral achievement. In Christ I am simul iustus et peccator – simultaneously justified and sinner. I am so bad that Christ had to die for me, so loved that He was glad to do it! This leads me to deep humility and ultimate confidence at the same time.
Religion: My identity and self-worth are based mainly on how hard I work, or how moral I am – and so I must look down on those I perceive as lazy or immoral.
Gospel: My identity and self-worth are centred on the one who died for me. I am saved by sheer grace, so I can’t look down on anyone. What I am is not of my own doing!