A Prayer: The Knowledge of Him (Ephesians 3:14-21)Dr Daryl Miller, September 21, 2016
Part of the The Prayers of Paul series, preached at a Midweek Meeting service
WEDNESDAY EVENING, SEPTEMBER 21
Title: A Prayer: The Knowledge of Him
Text: “The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling” (Eph. 1:18).
Scripture Reading: Ephesians 3:14 - 21
The first prayer in Ephesians is for spiritual revelation?—?“that ye may know.” The second prayer in this letter is for spiritual realization?—?“that ye may be.” Paul petitions that each believer yield to the indwelling power of the Lord by his Spirit. Interestingly, the prayer states its single request in two ways. Paul speaks of the indwelling Spirit in verse 16 and of the indwelling Christ in verse 17. He often uses these expressions of the work of God interchangeably (cf. Rom. 8:9?–?11).
I. The consideration of the prayer.
Paul anxiously prays that God’s people understand God’s work in their souls. A difference exists between “according to” and “out of” the riches of his glory. If wealthy people give ten dollars to a missionary offering, their giving is “out of” wealth. If people in a low income bracket give ten dollars to the same offering, their giving is “according to” their wealth. God always gives “according to” his wealth.
This prayer aims at the knowledge that the Lord Jesus lives in each believer’s life. Think of the magnitude of this truth: Jesus, the Son of God, lives in his people by the Holy Spirit, “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col. 1:27).
II. The consequence of the prayer.
Paul notes the results of realizing that Christ lives within us. We recognize his loving presence, and love in turn flows from us. “The fruit of the Spirit is love” (Gal. 5:22).
A. The confirmation of that love. When Christians know not only their commitment to the Lord, but also the Lord’s commitment to them, then they realize that the Lord loves them. To be “rooted and grounded” in love means learning to trust the Lord. Eugenia Price said, “Many people are suspicious of God because they are not sure that he loves them.”
B. The comprehension of that love. Spurgeon wrote that he had found such an ocean of merit in the death of Jesus that his plummet sounded no bottom and his eye discovered no shore. Walk as far as you will, and you will never walk beyond the boundaries of the depth, height, breadth, and length of the love of God.
C. The capacity of that love. The word “to know” also conveys the meaning “to personally experience.” As you grow not only in grace, but also in the knowledge of the Lord, you have more capacity for his love. And he will respond by pouring more love into your heart (Rom. 5:5). What a beautiful expression: “all the fulness of God.” What a grand dimension: “exceeding abundantly above all.” Words fail the inspired writer to tell of Christ’s love.
The apostle breaks into a doxology in verses 20 and 21. He attempts to record the unrecordable. He affirms that almighty God can do more than our fondest thoughts and highest prayers. God’s works bring glory in the church now and forever.
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