Temple Baptist Church - 10-20-2010
A. As we end the Positional division of the Book of Ephesians, it is of no casual interest to this pastor that the Holy Spirit ends these chapters with a threefold exhortation through the prayer of God’s man. We can certainly thank God every day for our position in Christ Jesus: saved and eternally secure. But, we also need to realize that we live in this present evil world during the most perilous times that have ever existed.
1. Paul tells us of the ever present, strengthening power of the Holy Spirit. Verse 16
2. Paul tells us of the unsearchable, incomprehensible love of God for His children. Verses 17-19
3. Paul tells us of the unlimited, available power of God that works within and for us. Verse 20
B. Paul ends the Positional portion of Ephesians with both a prayer and a doxology of praise. His fear is that the Ephesian believers might become discouraged and quit because of what Paul had suffered. God’s man is often attacked because if Satan can smite the shepherd, the sheep will scatter. Though the pastor is just a man, he is invaluable to the local church. The church cannot properly function without him. God made it that way. I know it seems that I am “blowing my whistle” for a moment but I cannot over emphasis the importance of the pastor in the local church! People often fail to realize the value of the gift that has been given to the church, them personally, and to their family.
C. When God’s people watch the pastor’s family suffer, they can be easily discouraged and the weaker believers may choose to leave the church. For this cause, the Apostle Paul “bowed” his knee in prayer to the Lord for the church’s steadfastness. A pastor’s desire is never to burden the church but to be a blessing.
D. I know that the past 3 ½ years has been a burden upon our people but you have handled it well and, when all is said and done, you—as well as my family—will be stronger for it. Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians is my prayer for you.
1. Paul prayed for the church to be strengthened - – Vs. 14-16 The Pastor needs to know where their help comes from. It is the pastor’s desire to be a source of stability and strength for the church but, ultimately, the Lord is going to be their strength.
Proverbs 24:10 If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small.
Psalms 27:5 For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock.
Psalms 37:39 But the salvation of the righteous is of the LORD: he is their strength in the time of trouble. (The best thing that I can do is to continually point you to a personal relationship with the Lord. The joy of the Lord is still our strength. This is an inner strength, not bodily strength. Strong men often fail spiritually when faced with prolonged adversity.)
a. Strength that enables them to perform their duties when they do not feel like doing so.
b. Strength that enables them to resist temptations. Temptations to either quit or to indict God. A strength that enables them to both hold on and hold out until the end.
c. Strength that enables them to bear their crosses daily. Do right if the stars fall from the sky. Just do right.
2. Paul prayed for their faith to be enlarged – Vs. 17 Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Faith will keep you when you do not know what lies ahead.
a. Faith to trust the Lord when you do not understand - Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. (One of the toughest positions to be in is when your heart cries, “Why, Lord?”)
b. Faith to move mountains of opposition - Mark 11:22-23 And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God. (23) For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. (Either real or perceived mountains. Objects or circumstances that seem insurmountable.)
c. Faith to stand when having done all - Ephesians 6:13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. (When there is no place to go and nothing else that you can do.)
3. Paul prayed for their rooting and grounding in love – Vs. 17-19 Now abideth faith, hope, and charity but the greatest of the three is charity. Love is greater than faith or hope because it brings about spiritual understanding as to our relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul wanted them to understand the incomprehensible love of God for them.
a. The love of God that desires only the best for His children - Romans 8: 28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
b. The love of God that protects His little children in every circumstance - Romans 8:35-37 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? (36) As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. (37) Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
c. The love of God that goes beyond all of our faults, failures, and fears - Romans 8:38-39 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, (39) Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
4. Paul prayed for the fullness of God in their lives – Vs. 19 To be filled with God is to be emptied of the world. To be filled with the world is to be emptied of God.
a. The fullness of His grace to Live - 1 Corinthians 10:13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
b. The fullness of His comfort to suffer hardship - 2 Corinthians 1:3-5 Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; (4) Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. (5) For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ.
c. The fullness of His peace to rest in Him - Isaiah 26:3-4 Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. (4) Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength: