Summary: Paul prays God will unleash a greater depth into the life of Believers
There once was a rich man who was near death. He was very grieved because he had worked so hard for his money and wanted to be able to take it with him to heaven. So he began to pray that he might be able to take some of his wealth with him.
An angel heard his plea and appeared to him. "Sorry, but you can’t take your wealth with you."
The man begged the angel to speak to God to see if He might bend the rules. The man continued to pray that his wealth could follow him.
The angel reappeared and informed the man that God had decided to allow him to take one suitcase with him. Overjoyed, the man gathered his largest suitcase and filled it with pure gold bars and placed it beside his bed.
Soon afterward, he died and showed up at the gates of heaven to greet St. Peter.
St. Peter, seeing the suitcase, said, "Hold on, you can’t bring that in here!"
The man explained to St. Peter that he had permission and asked him to verify his story with the Lord.
Sure enough, St. Peter checked it out, came back and said, "You’re right. You are allowed one carry-on bag, but I’m supposed to check its contents before letting it through."
St. Peter opened the suitcase to inspect the worldly items that the man found too precious to leave behind and exclaimed, "You brought pavement?"
Are we missing the true wealth God has given us because we prefer to lug around suitcases of pavement? I know, some of you are thinking, you don’t mind having some pavement now so let me tell you about the ant and the grasshopper…
The ant works hard in the withering heat all summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter. The grasshopper thinks he’s a fool and laughs and dances and plays the summer away. Come winter, the ant is warm and well fed. The grasshopper has no food or shelter so he dies out in the cold.
Lets take a look at the wealth available to believers found in Ephesians 3:14-21. Paul begins this section of Scripture with…
I. The Invocation. Verses 14, 14 say, 4 For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom his whole familya in heaven and on earth derives its name.
I’m thinking about this, remember Paul us in prison, chained to a Roman soldier, and what does he do, he takes a posture of kneeling, which was probably quite a surprise to the soldier who he undoubtedly brought down to the floor with him Now, before you read anything into this, the Bible does not command this as the only means of praying, in Scripture we read where people stood, knelt, bowed, sat and fell on their face. Paul was not dictating a pattern, he was giving an illustration of his prayer. It is not the outward approach that is important, it is the inward condition of the heart which leads to God. Paul begins his invocation, then he begins…
II. The Petition. Verses 16-19…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.
This is an awesome prayer. There are some keys I see, and desire in my own life when I read through this, hopefully you do as well. In verse 16, Paul prayers for the believers that they would have…
A. Strength. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being.
The inner being was a phrase understood by the Greeks. They saw it as the place of man’s reason. Paul desired believers would be able to reason, to know the difference between right and wrong, the consciousness of the Holy Spirit to the inner being. Wisdom that would keep believers safe in their actions and pure in deeds.
They also saw the inner man to be the place of conscience. If you neglect the prodding of the Holy Spirit, the conscience of the inner being, it dulls and you no longer remain sensitive toward sin. Paul prays God will strengthen your conscience.
They also saw the inner man as the place of man’s will. The will is where we have so many battles because we know what to do but the will battles the knowledge so Paul asks for the inner being to be strengthened to overcome the will to do evil and instead do good.