Summary: There is so much in His heart for us. He is doing so much to bring those things about. If we only knew the half of it, we would be totally amazed that He goes to such lengths to help us.
What God Wouldn’t Do for You!
Ephesians 3:14-21 (NLT) 14 When I think of the wisdom and scope of God’s plan, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, 15 the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. 16 I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will give you mighty inner strength through his Holy Spirit. 17 And I pray that Christ will be more and more at home in your hearts as you trust in him. May your roots go down deep into the soil of God’s marvelous love. 18 And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love really is. 19 May you experience the love of Christ, though it is so great you will never fully understand it. Then you will be filled with the fullness of life and power that comes from God. 20 Now glory be to God! By his mighty power at work within us, he is able to accomplish infinitely more than we would ever dare to ask or hope. 21 May he be given glory in the church and in Christ Jesus forever and ever through endless ages. Amen.
Intro: Our Ephesians study takes us straight to the heart of God today. There is so much in His heart for us that He wants to see happen! And He is doing so much in and all around us to bring those things about. If we only knew the half of it, we would be totally amazed that He goes to such lengths to help us. Today, Paul’s prayer gives us a glimpse of God’s heart for us.
I. God wants to make you strong on the inside (16)
[Do pressure illustration with Coke can if possible. Use full can & empty can, have helper try to crush full can with hand, then have them crush the empty one. When God is in us we can withstand the pressures that come.]
-How does God make us strong on the inside? Through the Holy Spirit. If the outside pressure becomes greater than the inner pressure, we will collapse. The Holy Spirit comes and lives inside of us (in our hearts or spirits) when we put our trust in Jesus. He gives us the inner pressure we need to withstand the outer pressure of this life. This begins with a change of heart that God brings about when we call on Him and trust Him with our past, present, and future. When we ask Him to forgive us for our past sins and failures, He comes into our present and gives us a future hope that is centered around Him. This heart change includes a change in our character and our behavior. Our intentions and our actions begin to reflect His goodness.
-God wants to make you strong on the inside by His Holy Spirit so you can withstand the pressure that comes from the outside. We all know there are many things in life that can cause pressure on the outside. And when we get to Ephesians 6, we’ll see that we need to stand against the schemes of Satan. There are spiritual forces at work in this world that are coming against us at every turn.
-So we ask one another questions like, “How are you holding up?” What we are really saying is, “How are you resisting the outer pressure?” “Have you collapsed yet?” People use resistance to try to maintain enough inner pressure to survive (anger, total independence, building walls around their emotions, shutting people out, or just plain checking out of reality through escapism).
-It is only when Christ does a work inside of us that we can avoid a collapse in our lives. Some people collapse morally. Others collapse physically, mentally, and emotionally. Some experience a collapse in their ability to love or trust anyone because someone betrayed them and wounded them deeply.
-The kind of collapse that needs to happen is our will collapsing under God’s will. Lord, I give up! I can’t do this on my own. The pressure of Your love is greater than the inner pressure of my resistance! Please make me strong on the inside with the power of Your love. What wouldn’t God do for you! He wants to make you strong on the inside!
II. God wants to help you learn to trust Him (17)
-People will always let us down. We will even let ourselves down. But God will never let us down or betray us. God is not a man that He should lie. What He says He will do.
-Yet God takes us as we are and helps us change. If we have been self-reliant and independent just to survive in this life, God is working in us to increase our trust level. He reminds us in the Bible that He has never failed, never lied, never broken a promise, and will never leave us or forsake us. He can be trusted! It is through a relationship with Him that we will overcome our lack of trust and give Him the wheel.