Summary: When our spiritual tanks are bone dry, God by His Spirit stands ready to fill to us overflowing.
August 28, 2011 – “Strengthened, Established and Filled” – Ephesians 3:16-19
Charles Price, pastor of People’s Church in Toronto, says that verses 16-19 of Ephesians 3 is one prayer that you don’t really need to add: “…If it is Your will”, or “According to Your will” to. Why? Because this absolutely is the will of God for all Christ Followers. It is a prayer that flows out of the pastoral heart of the Apostle Paul.
It is the passion of every pastor called by God. It is a prayer of tremendous warmth and aspiration. It is a prayer that we might know the fullness of the abundant life offered to us in Jesus Christ.
It is probably the best prayer you can ever pray for another person. Now that we’ve read the whole chapter together, let’s focus in on the Apostle Paul’s prayer to God in verses 16-19.
At a major parade a beautiful float suddenly sputtered and quit. It was out of gas. The whole parade was held up until someone could get a can of gas. The amusing thing was this float represented the Standard Oil Company. With its vast oil resources, its truck was out of gas.
At one point or another most Christians find themselves in the same place, although created in the very image of God, with the ability to tap into the endless possibilities and power of God, they are left stalled out and sputtering.
What does it mean to you to be strengthened? What are the challenges you face right now that you don’t feel quite up to on your own? Where in your life do you feel a need for God’s power?
Paul’s prayer reminds us that we do not need to go it alone, we do not have to face the things we have to face with our limited resources and capacities alone.
It is the will of God that we be strengthened. And you know, He doesn’t strengthen us by lifting up our arms a little when we’re tired.
He doesn’t strengthen us by giving us a push to do better with what we have. We doesn’t strengthen us by giving us a little extra motivation here and there.
I suppose if that’s all we want, God might oblige us. That’s not what Paul is talking about here though. Paul is talking about strengthening us to do God’s will.
Paul never lost site of the bigger picture. What is the bigger picture in the gospels and in the life of believers? The bigger picture is the Kingdom of God.
It is the purposes of God. It is the joy of the Lord that God wants to permeate our individual lives and our corporate life as a local church, a local body.
He wants God to strengthen believers because what we do in our lives is really ultimately about God’s Kingdom. It’s bigger than us.
When you’re at work, or when you’re at school, you know that God wants you to do your absolute best. To be exemplary at what you do, because what you do, you do it for Him.
But what you do at work or school is not ultimately just about the work you are doing. It is about the witness of your life to others who are watching. If you are known as a Christian, you are being watched.
Watched by your friends, watched by everyone. I believe what they are watching for is to see where in your life there is discernable truth about God, something that stands out.
A little girl sat at the breakfast table with her parents one morning. Dad was reading the newspaper. Mom was making waffles. The little girl sat, wide-eyed, staring at her orange juice. She thought for a minute, and then asked the question, “Daddy?” “Yes, sweetie,” he said. “Jesus is God, right?” “Yes,” he answered. “Then God lives in my heart, right?” “Yes, sweetie, God lives in your heart.” “Ok,” s
he said, then she sat quietly for a while, and took a sip of her juice. Then she asked another question, “Daddy?” “Yes, sweetie,” he said. “How big is God?” “Well, God is big. Remember the song we like to sing, He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands?” “Yeah,” she answers.
He says, “God is big enough to hold the world in his hands. That’s big, isn’t it?” “Yeah, that’s really big.” She seemed content with his answer, and she again sat quietly and had another sip of juice. “Daddy, if God is that big, and he lives in my heart, wouldn’t He stick out?”
People are watching. And wondering. Is there something compelling, something that sticks out, something engaging, something that testifies that the God you know and love might be for the one who is watching. Same goes for when you are simply hanging out with friends and family.