The Apostle Paul had a great love for the Church at Ephesus; and this love was manifested in his prayers for them. That they would be filled with the fullness of God, and thatGod would be supremely glorified in and through them. Are our lives being filled or being fooled? Are we rooted in love or rotting in routine? This prayer is one every Christian can pray for themselves and for others. May jesus be glorified in and through us and His Church.
14. For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15. Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, 16. That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; 17. That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,
18. May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; 19. And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. 20. Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, 21. Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.
There are two prayers of Paul in Ephesians (here and in 1:15–23). They complement each other. The first is a prayer for enlightenment; the second is for enablement. Paul wants the Ephesians to learn all they have in Christ and then live what they have learned.
I know a lot of people who have a wealth of bible knowledge in their head, but it has yet to drop that 18 inches into their hearts. I suggest to you that happens through prayer. Paul’s prayer in the 3rd chapter is that the theology of everything else that he has taught them this far would make it’s way from their head to their heart.
14. For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
- For this cause– We see here in verse 14 that Paul uses the same words, for this cause that he used when he began this chapter.
- The cause that Paul is speaking about refers to the revelation that God gave to him regarding the bringing together of Jew and Gentile, through Messiah Yeshua into one new man, the church.
- Not only did Paul desire that each one of these saints in Ephesus understand what this great mystery of Jew and Gentile in Messiah meant doctrinally. His breathtaking prayer here is that each and every one of these dear saints experience a deeper fellowship with The Father, through faith in Jesus Christ, in the power of The Holy Spirit.
- Paul knew (and I hope that you and I know) that doctrine about God apart from a true relationship with God is nothing but a cold, impersonal religion. A form of godliness with no life. No power. God has not sent His Son to die for our sin and given unto us the revelation of His Word and the Holy Spirit to merely know about Him. The Christian faith is knowing our Lord personally and having a growing relationship with Him.
o John 17.3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.
o Jer 9.23,24 Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD.
- I bow my knees- Bowing the knees is one of the many bodily positions for prayer that are recorded in Scripture. Other prayer postures that are mentioned are sitting, standing, lying down or on your face to name a few. May we never forget that the most important position in prayer is the position of your heart, not if you are praying sitting, lying, kneeling, or standing. You can standing with your hands lifted up like the Pharisee in Luke 18, but if you regard iniquity in your heart, your prayer is going nowhere.
- We know that in Paul’s day, the most common position of prayer was standing. Only in cases of extreme need or times of consecration or dedication unto God would be seen bowing a knee. Bending your knee was a sign of great reverence and submission, recognizing that you were in total dependence on the one to whom you were bowing. And this is the position that Paul takes when interceding for the church.
- What motivated Paul to pray for these people? It was his deep love for the people of God and his desire to see them grow in Christ and live for the glory of God.
- One of the greatest expressions of your love for others is revealed in your prayers for them. One of the greatest investments in the spiritual growth of others is your prayers for them.
15. Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,
- The whole family means that all saints in earth and Heaven constitute one great family of born-again ones, of whom God is the Father. Like our physical birth, we do not give ourselves spiritual birth, we owe our spiritual birth into the body of Christ to the grace of God. John 1.13 reads, we are born, not of the will of man, nor of the will of the flesh, but of God.
- We are born into this beautiful family of God by grace through faith in The Lord Jesus Christ.
o Titus 3.5,6 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
- The only difference between the family of God that is in heaven and the family of God that is on earth is that they are now perfect, and we are not. Like any earthly family, the family of God on earth has its problems, don’t we?
- The family of God a living organism, not an organization or any one particular system. This family is also a body, with only One Head, The Lord Jesus Christ.
- You can be baptized into a religious organization on earth, but you must be born into the family of heaven and earth. You can become a member of a religious organization on earth, but to enter the kingdom of God, you must be born again. Have you experienced that new birth by grace through faith in Jesus Christ? Are you in Christ today? Turn any question mark into an exclamation point by calling upon the Name of The Lord today? Repent and believe on The Lord Jesus Christ.
16. That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;
- Paul is asking Abba to grant abundantly unto His church a gift corresponding to the riches of His glory. And this first request is for strength in the inner man.
- Inner man- the interior of our being…the seat of personal consciousness…[and] of our moral being. The inner man, beloved, is the focal point of a person’s life. It is our hearts, souls and minds. That is where the Holy Spirit dwells and does His strengthening and renewing work. Your inner man is the sanctuary of God in your soul.
o 1 Peter 3.4 hidden man of the heart.
o Romans 7.22; 2 Cor 4.16 the inward man.
- Some people have an idea that a Christian is a walking storage battery. You hear people pray, “O God, give me more power, fill me with power.” The idea they have is that the old battery is pretty well run down. “Put another one in, Lord,” is what they seem to say. No, you are not a storage battery; you are in connection with the great eternal dynamo, and the Holy Spirit works in and through you to the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ as you yield yourself to Him. He Himself is the source of all power, and that power is to be used by the people of God. Dr Harry Ironsides
17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,
- Please note that the people that Paul is praying for are the same ones that read about in chapter 1 who have been chosen by The Father, redeemed by The Son and sealed with The Holy Ghost.
- Why does Paul pray this way? Don’t they already have Christ dwelling in their hearts? Yes, but God’s will for each one of us is to grow up spiritually. A baby is cute for a while, but when a 15 year old is wearing diapers and saying goo-goo ga-ga something is wrong!!!
- Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith- The verb “to dwell” here literally means, “to settle down,” as opposed to “to sojourn.” Jesus Christ enters into our lives and we enter into His body by faith. This is the prayer that Jesus Christ would dwell or be seated as Lord upon the throne of our hearts, ruling and reigning over every word that comes out of our mouths and all that we do for the glory of God.
- God is not expecting sinless perfection in this life, but He is looking for a sincere and honest desire to grow in Christ. Thus, we need to continually draw our strength to walk in holiness and power from Christ’s indwelling within us.
- Just as our physical bodies need our hearts to continually be pumping blood through our body for our bodies to live, so we need a continual flow of the grace and presence of Christ in order that we can truly live for the glory of God.
- Rooted and grounded- rooted as trees in a deep, fruitful soil, grounded as a building on a rock. And what is it that we are to rooted and grounded in? The love of God for us, for God is love. This love of God was so beautifully manifested on that middle cross of Mount Calvary.
- We are to be rooted in the love of God for us, with the overflow of our lives being a God-centered love, beloved. As the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts, The Name of Jesus is exalted and The Father is glorified.
- The love of God is the greatest virtue that Christian and any local church can have. According to Jesus Christ, the greatest commandments of entire Old Testament are to love God supremely and to love our neighbor as ourselves.
- When our local church individually and congregationally is motivated by the love of God in the way that we talk to one another, and listen to one another, and give, and pray and serve, and forgive, we have everything. Without being motivated by the love of Christ in all of these areas, we can have great buildings, excellent doctrine, impressive websites, but according to 1 Cor 13 and Revelation 2.4, our church is a big fat ZERO that has left its first love.
18. May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;
- This speaks of the immeasurable dimensions of God’s love for us. In other words, we will never be able to say that we have fully comprehend or experienced the love of God.
19. And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.
- To know the love of Christ that passes knowledge- Did you catch that, dear ones? Paul prays that we may know the unknowable. To know this love of Christ is not speaking of arriving at an intellectual discovery. It is a revelation of the love of God in Christ that was manifested on Calvary. It is something that God gives to us via revelation by spending time with Him in prayer and precious communion.
- Filled with all the fullness of God. More about that in a moment.
20. Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us
- How many times do we place our human limitations on God? As human beings, we are prone to place things in categories: that is very easy, that is simple, no problem, oh that is pretty tough, that one is difficult. Hey, that is impossible. We are prone to carry these human limitations over to God in prayer. How many times in our attitude of prayer, “Lord, this is a simple thing. You can handle this one. Lord, this is pretty tough. I really don’t know. Forget it, Lord. It is impossible.
- Beloved, our God is El Shaddai, The Almighty God! His vast power far exceeds our needs, our expectations, our “positive confessions” and our prayers. The greatest of my prayers and thoughts are the very least of what God can do. The Puritans used to say prayer can do what God can do.
- Jer 32.26,27 Then came the word of the Lord unto Jeremiah, saying, Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh: is there any thing too hard for me?
- Jer 33.3 Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.
What is your Jeremiah 33.3 today? Who is your Jeremiah 33.3 today? Beloved, do not measure your present crisis, or difficulty or need by your limited resources. Cast your burden upon The Lord, and He shall sustain you.
21- Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.
- The glory of God is the beauty and brightness of his infinite perfections. When your heart breaks out in the words, “Glory to God,” it’s like a football team carrying their coach off the field on their shoulders; or like a standing ovation at Orchestra Hall.
- The glory of God is one of the most wonderful themes in all of Scripture. But when Paul or anybody else in Scripture is talking about the glory of God, know that beyond a shadow of a doubt that they are not only talking about the doctrine of the glory of God, they are fascinated by, and praising and worshipping The God of all glory!
Two things jump out at me in this prayer. They are the two phrases “the fullness of God” and “the glory of God” that send Paul into doxology orbit! The fullness of God is specifically mentioned in verse 19. The glory of God is most certainly implied in verse 21.
- Think about those two phrases for a moment. Now ponder in your heart what those two phrases mean. Now ask yourself a couple of questions. Is the deepest desire of your heart right now to be filled with the fullness of God? Is the greatest desire in every single area of your life to live for the glory of God?
- What kind of an changes do you think praying to be filled with the fullness of God and asking God to show you His glory would have on your Christian life?
- How might praying that prayer change your perspective or priorities in life?
- How might praying that prayer affect the decisions that you make in life vocationally, financially, relationally? How you use your time?
- How might our church family be changed and the gospel be spread if each and every one of us sought to be filled with the fullness of God in order that we might live for His glory and honor?
Think of it beloved, what could possibly be more fulfilling or satisfying in life here on earth than being filled with the fullness of God?
- John 1.16 And of His fulness have all we received, and grace for grace.
- Col 1.19 For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell.
- To be filled with the fullness of Christ means to be filled with His presence, His goodness, His beauty, His grace, and His pleasures. What or who can possibly be more fulfilling than this?
Have you ever seen a person driven by a purpose of winning a race, acing that exam, landing a job? Nothing gets in the way. What purpose in life could be more glorious than living for the glory of God?
- 1 Chron 29.11 Thine, O LORD, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O LORD, and thou art exalted as head above all.
- Isa 6.3 And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory.
- Matt 6.13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
- Rom 11.36 For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.
- Rom 16.27 To God only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ for ever. Amen.
- 2 Pet 3.18 But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.
- Jude 24,25 Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.
- Rev 5.11-13 And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.
- Not unto us, not unto us, but unto Thy Name give glory, for Thy mercy, and for Thy truth’s sake. (Psalm 115.1). May each one of you be filled with the fullness of God for the glory of God today!
As we connect these two phrases into one closing thought, we realize that the divine purpose for us individually, our families and our church family is that we be a people who desire to be filled with the fullness of God more than anything else or anyone else in order that we might live for the glory of God.
This God of Glory sent His Son Jesus to die a substitutionary death on the cross for our sin. Have you cried out to Jesus to receive the forgiveness for your sin? Have you received Him and confessed Him as Lord of your life? But He also sent His Son to deliver us from pursuing a self-centered life, that is a dead end street of emptiness. What shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul?
Is there anything or anyone or earth that is worth losing your own soul?
One day, every single person who ever lived on planet earth will bend their knee to Christ as Lord. All will recognize not only that He indeed is God, but also that they owed their allegiance to Him as Lord. Just as Paul said in Phil. 2:9-10, “Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth.” Have you bowed the knee of your heart, your mind and your will to the Lord Jesus Christ?