Ephesians Week 5

This week’s passage is one of my very favorite in all of scripture. In fact, Ephesians 3:20-21 is mine and Bruce’s “marriage verse.” Back in the day of pagers, we would page each other with “320”  as our little secret code reminding us that through God’s power at work within us, He was able to do “exceedingly abundantly above” all that we could ask for think!

Could you use a little reminder of that from time to time? I know I could. 

We can read these words and memorize them but I think we all know the feeling of wondering, “What does that MEAN! And how does it apply to ME!?” or do you ever read things like that and think, “Yeah, right.” I must confess, there are seasons in my life when I am dry to the Word. Doubtful of it’s promises. Though the veil has been removed from my heart and I believe the truth of the gospel. I think that often that veil gets closed to the POWER of the gospel in my life. I find myself reading scripture lately this way.. “WHAT IF THAT’S REALLY TRUE!?!” When we come across something as wonderful as this we must stop and ask, “DO I REALLY BELIEVE THIS? If this is TRUE, it’s a game changer. Are we going to in faith believe that these words are true and hold meaning and power for us or do we just read over them as poetry or prose - some beautiful far off reality? Or power for the NOW?  

As we have discussed for the past several weeks, one of the points that Paul is hammering away at in this letter is that the SPIRITUAL man must be awakened to receive the things of the spirit. The comprehension of God’s great plan of redemption is IMPOSSIBLE without the enlightenment of the spirit and once again, Paul will pray for the believers to have the supernatural ability to comprehend the incomprehensible God.

Friends, are we praying this? Daily? (HOURLY? Moment by moment?) As we walk through the mundane details of our day - diapers, math problems, physical struggles, anxieties, marriage issues, family turmoil - are we praying that God would open our eyes to the spiritual realities of things that we are dealing with? What if we purposed in our hearts to pray EVERY SINGLE DAY for spiritual guidance and enlightenment? What if, in our moments of despair, instead of giving in to the pull of the “pit” we would commune with God and ask Him to open the eyes of our hearts to see His purposes and plans for us in that moment? Not a hair falls from out heads (or turns gray :) that He has not ordained. Surely He is with us with a loved one is hurting, when our plans are failing, when our children are rebelling. What if the promises of scripture are true? What if dependence on His Spirit for walking through the struggles of life is the key to a power-infused life? Are we neglecting to employ our greatest tool? Are we reluctant to use our greatest weapon against our enemy? Paul is praying that their eyes would be opened to the DEPTH of God’s love for them so that they would know their standing, their POWER as God’s children. And as God’s children - adopted in Christ before the foundation of the world - we wield much power through prayer. ARE WE CONNECTING WITH OUR FATHER THROUGH PRAYER?

Paul starts off this particular prayer by saying “For this reason, I kneel before the Father from whom every family in Heaven and on Earth derives its name.” We can look back to the verses before to find out what that “reason” is. He has just spent the last little bit explaining the greatness of God’s plan in opening up the covenant promises of God to all people through the sacrifice of Jesus. Because of this, every tribe, nation and tongue - every one regardless of the family they are from (A Hebrew family or a Non-Hebrew family)  - can name Yahweh God as their Father. This is praiseworthy, indeed!

Verses 16-19 are rich. RICH in their explanation of just HOW those spiritual eyes of hearts become enlightened. Let’s look at this “process of enlightenment” nugget by nugget:

“Out of His glorious riches.”

Stop. Just stop. Ask yourself this: Is anything too hard for God? Is anything impossible for God? Do we believe that
God made the world and everything in it? Do we believe that He HOLDS THE WORLD TOGETHER? Do we believe that He keeps watch over the nations? That He forms light and darkness, brings well-being and calamity, calls the dead to life with His Words? That in his very word, there is life? His revealed Word tells us that He is completely able (not only ABLE but passionately longing) to keep His covenant promises to His beloved. Do you believe that our all powerful Bridegroom has the Keys to the Kingdom? That He is fully capable of doing amazing things?

So, What is Paul asking God to DO with these glorious riches?

He prays that “OUT OF GOD’S GLORIOUS RICHES, He will strengthen you with power.
(The same power that raised Christ from the dead, remember?)


Let me digress for a minute and look at what Paul is NOT praying for. Do you find it interesting that Paul did not pray for their trials and tribulations to end? He did not pray that they would be granted material wealth or health or cultural acceptance. He did not pray for many of the things that we might find ourselves praying for. Now - I am not saying that it’s wrong to pray for those things but I just want us to look at what the apostle Paul considered worthy of prayer on the behalf of these believers.

His main groaning for them in prayer was that they would KNOW the POWER that was accessible to them, that they would grasp the HUGENESS of what God had done for them and that their hearts would be full of Christ, by FAITH.

It seems to me that if the apostle Paul thought these things were important to ask God for, we, too, should be asking God for!

Another vital part of this prayer is the request that they would be rooted and established in love. This particular verse has been my prayer for myself and for us as we look intently into Paul’s letter. Oh how I long to be ROOTED, CEMENTED AND CONCRETED, FIRMLY PLANTED, ESTABLISHED. DRAWING MY VERY LIFE FROM God’s love! THIS is where we draw our power - THIS is our very life! Being rooted and established in His love means that the truth of His love for us is flowing through our veins. It is being breathed in and breathed out of us. We draw our strength from it and it sustains us - not only in the sweet summer seasons of life but in the dry and cold times as well.

In the Gospel of John you’ll recall that Jesus referred to himself as “the vine” - He is the vine and we are the branches. We draw our nourishment from Him. If we are separated from Him, we wither and die. Likewise, to be firmly rooted in Christ means that all that we do and say and think and desire and pray and long for and speak about and run after and dream about and..... well - everything - if it is rooted and established in the knowledge of Christ’s love for us, it will produce much fruit and will be vibrant and healthy and full of life! To be rooted and established in Him means that when adversity comes our way, we have HIS power to stand firm. And let us not be deceived: The enemy will try with ALL HIS MIGHT to uproot us, to pluck us out, to chop us down even but if our roots go down deep into His word - into the KNOWLEDGE OF HIS LOVE FOR US - we will stand strong when the winds blow and when the chainsaws come at us.  

I think that it’s important to see that we must be diligent about being rooted and established. This means that the decisions about what we put into our hearts and minds, the relationships we have, the words we speak - Are they ROOTED in the knowledge of Christ? If not - we must ask God to prune us.

SO - on to the next part of this prayer.  Paul is asking that we may have POWER TO GRASP THE MAGNITUDE OF GOD’S LOVE.

Again, I don’t think we should just blow right by this and chalk it up to flowery language. Think about it: In order to comprehend something that that is incomprehensible, we must be strengthened with power. We must be given the ability to grasp that which is out of reach. Paul says that this love that Christ has lavished upon us  - it surpasses knowledge - it’s not knowable by our human, fallen, adamic nature. We can ONLY comprehend it by our power-infused new Christlike nature.

I will just close things out for this week with Paul’s benediction and ask you to take some time to really meditate upon this:

“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, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen."

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