Summary: 18th in the series continuing with the divine fulness theme of 17.
Ephesians Series #18
“Stairway to God’s Fullness” Pt 2
I. Our Wealth and Worth In Christ 1-4
A. Paul blessed God for blessing us with every spiritual blessing 1:3-14
B. Paul prayed for their enlightenment 1:15-23
C. Paul detailed our resurrected life in Christ 2:1-10
D. Paul declared our awesome acceptance and reconciliation 2:11-21
E. Paul shared His personal testimony regarding ministry 3:1-13
F. Paul prayed for the Ephesian’s enablement 3:14-19
Paul shared the significant content of his prayer with the Ephesians.
14 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, Ephesians 3:14-15
Paul’s prayer reveals a golden staircase to God’s fullness. His initial request sets a sequence of events into motion. His end desire is for the Ephesian Christians to live out the fullness of God.
We will try to describe what that means in a moment.
1. Desire for Inner strengthening with power by the Holy Spirit 16
Paul prayed that these believers be strengthened with power in the inner man
16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man 3:16
a. It is God who grants our strengthening
b. It is a strengthening “according to” His riches in glory
c. It is a strengthening with His power (dunamis)
d. It is a strengthening by or through the Holy Spirit
e. It is a strengthening that takes place in the inner man
Even though this is the same power able to perform signs and wonders, it is not its most glorious application or manifestation.
11 strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously Colossians 1:11
This prayer was for strengthening for the attaining of steadfastness and longsuffering.
That we remain true to God in the midst of difficult circumstances (steadfast) and maintain a spirit of service in the midst of difficult people (long suffering) requires a supernatural enabling power from outside of ourselves. We will never achieve God’s fullness without God’s strengthening first.
2. Desire for the dynamic indwelling of Christ by faith 3:17
so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love
The object here is Christ’s indwelling. The means is by our faith or trust in Him. The place of His indwelling or control is the inner man. This indwelling has to do with Christ being trusted with free reign in the inner man. The faith exercised here relates to daily surrender to Christ and meaningful connection. The Holy Spirit strengthens us so that we surrender more and more of the areas of our life to Christ; beginning in the inner core of our being.
What areas do you still reserve the right to control in your life? Living the surrendered life takes the Spirit’s strengthening.
I was listening to a message the other day that spoke of our general response to rule of Christ in our life. How would we respond if one of our kids treated our instruction like we generally treat Jesus’ instruction? “Go clean your room!” We come back a few hours later and nothing has been done. Our child responds with… “I memorized what you said dad.” “In fact, I got some of my friends together and we spent the day discussing what a clean room might look like.”
Is Jesus really the boss of our life or simply a figurehead we adore but ignore?
I don’t want you to get a wrong picture of this “indwelling” relationship with Jesus. It is really a relationship of incredible love in its ultimate expression. This daily intimate interaction with Jesus grows deeper and deeper as life progresses. The more we depend on Him, the more we find Him absolutely dependable. The more we trust His love, even when it feels counterintuitive, the more we feel His love. When you can’t trace His hand trust His heart. The more we experience His love in all of life’s situations, the better we understand it. Deeper understanding regarding Christ’s great love is the natural result of our daily interaction with Him and surrender to Him by faith. That naturally draws us up to the next stair to God’s fullness.
When God powerfully strengthens us with power by His Spirit in the inner man…
We, by faith, allow Christ to daily demonstrate His incomprehensible love for us and effectively live in us, then we gain a better understanding what genuine love is all about.
3. Desire for the Believer’s fuller understanding 17b-19a
So that you, being rooted and grounded in love,
18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth,