Zion Baptist Church
Saturday, March 24, 2018
Baptist Missionary Association of America
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Paul’s Prayer for the Church


Understanding the Riches of Grace

Ephesians 3:14-21
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.
V 14- “I bow my knees” is indicative of the intense earnestness and the unusual emotion which Paul felt as he prayed in behalf of the Ephesians believers so that might enter fully into the privileges of Christ.  “The Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” has reference not so much on God’s relationship to Christ but His relationship to His redeemed people.  Paul was praying to God the Father in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.  John 16:23 And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you.  Jesus is teaching that we are to direct our request to the Father in the name of Jesus.  If we were to pray directly to the Father we would rob ourselves of an intercessor.  To pray in Jesus name means we go to God the Father with a prayer that the Lord Jesus Himself can lift to the Father for you and me.
V 15- “Whole family in heaven and earth” includes all the redeemed being in the family of God.  Some people think that their local church or denomination is the family of God.  However, God saved people long before the church came into existence.
V 16- “According to the riches of his glory.”  Sometimes we seem to pray fearing that we might ask too much of God.  We approach Him timidly, as though we are not sure that God can meet our needs.  We can never strain the resources of God.  He does not give grudgingly or in meager portions, as if He were afraid He might exhaust His wealth.  He gives according to the measure of His infinite fullness. “That he would grant you” is a request for inner power.  Paul is not referring to the coming of Christ into the heart at conversation because Paul is writing to believers in Christ.  Christ’s presence in the believer has its degrees.  A believer’s life may be truly Christian and yet far from fully Christian.  It is what distinguishes one Christian from another.  Some have made a little room for Christ, some give Him more, and in some He has the whole house.  Or, viewed from another standpoint in some Christ is just present, in others He is prominent, and in others He is pre-eminent.  “In the inner man” teaches us that the spiritual life of the believer needs prayer as well as the physical body.  The inner man needs the Holy Spirit to help us live the Christian life so that we can grow in God’s grace and develop into full Christian maturity.
V 17-19 is a request for comprehension. It is a prayer that believers, as a consequences of the Divine strengthening and indwelling may have the spiritual capacity for understanding the love of Christ.  “May be able to comprehend,” indicates that there are two conditions for knowing this love.  1) That we be rooted (securely settled) and grounded (deeply founded) in love and 2) that we be endowed with supernatural power.  The thought of the petition revolves around “to comprehend” and “to know.”  The idea is to be able to apprehend in such away as to make it one’s own.  To say that “passeth knowledge” means that we can never hope to have an absolute and complete understanding of the breadth, length, depth, and height of God’s love.  “To know” denotes knowledge gained by experience.  “With all the saints” indicates that no one individual will be able to take in all the love of God, but together each can comprehend a little and together we may explore its measureless riches.
V 19-is a request for the fullness of God.  “Fullness of God” seems to be an expression standing for the sum total of all the energies, powers, and attributes of God.  Paul is not suggesting that mortal men can ever contain within themselves the fullness of divine essence.  Solomon declared that 2 Chronicles 6:18, But will God in very deed dwell with men on the earth? behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house which I have built!   Paul is praying that the whole being may be filled with God’s presence and power.
V 20-21-Paul’s Confidence in God’s Ability to Answer the Prayer.  Whatever our requests may be, we can never exceed God’s ability to answer.  He is able to do superabundantly more than we ask, more even than our imagination can conceive.  This He does “according to the power that worketh in us.” 
The chapter closes with a reference to the church as the sphere within which the glory of God is exhibited.  The glory of God is the end for which the church exists.
Created and Researched by Pastor Dennis Baker
Zion Baptist Church
3485 New Baumgartner Rd. - St. Louis, MO 63129 - Phone: 314-846-1867