A Prayer of Enablement
May 15, 2022

A Prayer of Enablement

Preacher:
Series:
Passage: Ephesians 3:14-19
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Christ can and does empower us who are in Christ.  Here are 5 requests that God will answer.

Request #1- That Christ would give you inner strength. V.14-16

Request #2- That Christ would dwell in your hearts. V.17a

Request #3- That you would experience incomprehensible love. (v.17b-19a)

Request #4- That you would experience the Fullness of God. (v.19b)

Request #5- That you would be to the praise of God’s Glory. (V.20-21)

 
Introduction:

It is one thing to know something but another thing to be empowered to do it.
For instance:

Formula for wealth building

Spend less than you make.

Formula for dieting
Eat less calories than you expend.

Our problem is not knowing much of the time. Our problem is doing.
Paul has spent the last three chapters helping the Ephesians to know what it means to be “in Christ”!
He prayed a prayer at the end of chapter one letting them know that He was praying to God that they would know what it meant to be in Christ.
He prayed that the eyes of their understanding would be enlightened.
He prayed that they would know the hope of their calling, the riches of their inheritance, and the power available to them in Christ.
It was a prayer of
But after spending the last three chapters expounding on who they are, Paul prays again.
And this time his prayer is not a prayer of enlightenment as it was in chapter 1.
This time he prays a prayer of enablement.
He wants them to know that because they are in Christ, God wants to empower them to live out what it means to be in Christ!

Every believer can understand how Christ enables them by observing Paul’s requests.
Request #1– Inner strength. V.14-16
(14) For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,

“for this cause” What cause?  The message that he has been given to proclaim which is the mystery now revealed.
The message is that those who were afar off and those who were part of the promises will be brought together in Christ in the local church.

(15) of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,

The gentiles can now be a part of the family of God.
The gentiles now have access to the unsearchable riches of Christ.
Paul is the messenger called to proclaim this.
Now, the whole family (jews and gentiles) are one in Christ.
Paul begins a prayer with the posture of submission praising God for this and other amazing truths.
He says “I bow my knee”…
How often does the realization of the amazing power and goodness of God cause a physical reaction- a posture- in response?
Is there any significance to getting on my knees to pray?

I believe the significance here is the fact that Paul is so totally overwhelmed at the goodness of God to us that his authentic and honest response from the heart is to, in humility fall on his knees in worship to God.

The truth of God’s plan to redeem those who would believe from every nation, tribe and tongue should cause us to pause in humility and bow our knees in humble worship.
He is not just worshipping though.
He begins to ask for a prayer of enabling for these believers.
Notice this first request for inner strength

(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.

Grant you to be strengthened in the inner man
What is the inner man?

It speaks to the inner person.
The spiritual part of us.
The part of us that really does govern what we do.
It’s the part that influences how we make decisions.
It’s the part of us that is a new creation.

When it comes to living a life that honors God, we need a strong inner man.
Look at the specifics of this request.
He asks God to strengthen our inner man in 2 ways

According to the riches of his glory

According to- In accordance with.
If I give you a gift in accordance with my riches, and Jeff Bezos (Amazon.com) gives according to his riches, which would you pick?
Paul prays that God would grant us spiritual resources to be strengthened on the inside according to everything he has!
But not only by his resources, but also…

By His Spirit-

to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man.

The Spirit that comes in an indwells and therefore strengthens the inner man.
God Himself comes and does it!

Isn’t this incredible? God wants to strengthen our inner man, and he has all of the resources available to strengthen our inner man!
Paul has told them that they have hope, that they have an inheritance, and that they have the resurrection power of God available to them.
Now he is asking that they would be strengthened so that they can actually use all of this that God is giving them in Christ.
We have the Spirit of God living inside of us.
What if we partnered with God’s Spirit to be enabled to actually

defeat temptation?
have the courage, the boldness, and the opportunity to be used of God?

We can. God can enable us and empower us to do that.
He strengthens us with His Spirit to do this.

 
Every believer can understand how Christ enables them by observing Paul’s requests.

Request #1– Inner strength. V.14-16

Request #2– Indwelling Christ. V.17a
(17a) That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith

The word dwell here is Katoikeo- to house permanently, that is, reside, dwell, inhabit.
Collossians 3:16- Says let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom.

Enoikeo- It means “to dwell in one and influence him for good.

Jesus told the disciples to abide in him and when they do they would be able to “bear much fruit.”
He also said that when they bore much fruit they would glorify God.
He then said, “So shall ye be my disciples.”
Christ indwells us through His Spirit by faith.

Colossians 1:27

(27)  To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:

We dwell in Christ by consistently depending on the indwelling Spirit as He uses the Word of Christ to change the way we think in act moment by moment.
Practically speaking, we need to get into the Word of God until the Word of God gets into us.
So, the one sits on top of the other.
Paul prays that we would have the inner strength by Christ so that we would let Christ indwell us.
When he does then we experience what he prays for in the 3rd request…

Every believer can understand how Christ enables them by observing Paul’s requests.

Request #1– Inner strength. V.14-16
Request #2– Indwelling Christ. V.17a

Request #3– Incomprehensible love. V.17b-19a
(17b)…that ye, being rooted and grounded in love (18) may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the bredth, and length, and depth, and height; (19a) and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge…”

After praying for inner strength for the Ephesians, and that Christ would be at home in their hearts, Paul prays that their lives would be established in love.
What does that mean?
The Disciple of Christ- the person who is in Christ- is a person characterized by and known for their love.
It starts by comprehending the love that Christ had for them.
Looks at what he prays. He prays that they would be “able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth and length and depth and height.

The idea here is that every direction you look- up, down, left, right- God’s love for you goes that far!
It “passeth knowledge”! It’s so much bigger than we can truly comprehend, yet he prays that we would be able to experience it.

This love is not just something to know about, it is something to experience.
And as we experience that vertical love from God, we reflect it back vertically to God, and out horizontally to others.
God, in his grace, through Christ Jesus, loves me despite all of my inconsistency and sin. He loves me more than I can fathom.
And this really leads to the next request, which is absolutely incredible…

Every believer can understand how Christ enables them by observing Paul’s requests.

Request #1– Inner strength. V.14-16
Request #2– Indwelling Christ. V.17a
Request #3– Incomprehensible love. V.17b-19a

Request #4– Fullness of God. V.19b
(19b)…that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God.

He prays in this last request that they would be filled with all of the fullness of God.
Filled here has the idea of being controlled or consumed.
Πληρόω- plēroō- From G4134; to make replete, that is, (literally) to cram (a net), level up (a hollow), or (figuratively) to furnish (or imbue, diffuse, influence), satisfy, execute (an office), finish (a period or task), verify (or coincide with a prediction), etc.: - accomplish, X after, (be) complete, end, expire, fill (up), fulfil, (be, make) full (come), fully preach, perfect, supply.
One commentator (John MacArthur) put it this way:

To be so strong spiritually, so compelled by divine love, that one is totally dominated by the Lord with nothing left of self. Human comprehension of the fullness of God is impossible, because even the most spiritual and wise believer cannot completely grasp the full extent of God's attributes and characteristics—His power, majesty, wisdom, love, mercy, patience, kindness, and everything He is and does. But believers can experience the greatness of God in their lives as a result of total devotion to Him. Note the fullness of God, here; the fullness of Christ in Eph_4:13; and the fullness of the Spirit in Eph_5:18. Paul prayed for believers to become as godlike as possible (Mat_5:48; 1Pe_1:15-16).

This is the kind of fullness of God that we can have!
Doesn’t this just blow your mind!
You can become like God as God works in you by giving you inner strength, the indwelling Christ, and incomprehensible love. As these things work through Christ in our lives, we are filled with all the fullness of God.
The natural question is, How can this be?
Paul answers it in a prayer request of praise- this final request!

Every believer can understand how Christ enables them by observing Paul’s requests.

Request #1– Inner strength. V.14-16
Request #2– Indwelling Christ. V.17a
Request #3– Incomprehensible love. V.17b-19a
Request #4– Fullness of God. V.19b

Request #5– God’s Glory. V.20-21
(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.

This “in Christ” reality that leads to this “in Christ” enablement where we are able to be strengthened, and indwelled, and loved, and filled up with all that God is and wants for us leads to a life that glorifies and honors God.
How can this be?
God is the one who can do it.
He can do above…
He can do abundantly above…
He can do exceeding abundtly above….all that we ask or think…
How?
According to the power that worketh in us?

The Power that created the world….
The Spirit of God that moved upon the face of the waters…
The Power of God that raised Jesus from the dead…
This is the power that works in us…

His doing this in us and through us brings Him glory!
Where? In the assembly… In this new man, this new habitation, this new thing that God is doing.
When?

Throughout all ages.
World without end.

World without end? What does he mean?

Revelation 21:1-4

(1)  And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.

(2)  And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

(3)  And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.

(4)  And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

 

Revelation 22:1-9(1)  And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.

(2)  In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.

(3)  And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him:

(4)  And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads.

(5)  And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever.

(6)  And he said unto me, These sayings are faithful and true: and the Lord God of the holy prophets sent his angel to shew unto his servants the things which must shortly be done.

(7)  Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book.

(8)  And I John saw these things, and heard them. And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which shewed me these things.

(9)  Then saith he unto me, See thou do it not: for I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God.

 

And he prays that God would do this in the local assembly forever and ever!
Imagine with me, if you will, a group of people (a church) so submitted to Christ that they continually:

Let Christ strengthen their inner person
Let Christ dwell in their hearts on a daily basis by understanding and obeying God’s Word
Begin to fathom the love of Christ for them and refect that back to Him and to others
Grow in Christlikeness through this ongoing continual process until they all together
Bring Glory to God more and more!

That would certainly be beyond anything we could ask or think!
What could happen in a community with a body of believers like that?
It can only happen as each of us submit individually to God’s work in or lives!

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