February 12, 2023
Sermon Series: Spirit-Filled Living Is Essential For Christians
Book of Ephesians
Sermon # 5: Praying Powerfully
I have never met a person who took a test without wanting to know what to study. Nor have I met a soldier who was willing to go into a battle without his gun. Also, I have never met a pilot who wanted to lose power while still in the air.
But I have met Christians who were perfectly willing to live their lives without God’s power. Why is this so? Possibly, there are some who are ignorant of how to tap into God’s vast resource of power. Others know about God’s power but would rather supply their own source of strength.
If we as Christians fail to plug into God’s power, the results spill out in how we live: And the fruit within us spoils. We take our relationship with God and turn it into just a religion. Without the power of God, Christianity becomes an empty form (or as Paul told Timothy, “having a form of godliness, but denying the power” ---2 Timothy 3:5). Without the power of God, the joy of salvation is gone. The power of sin overwhelms us, and life becomes hard, not something to be enjoyed.
Do you want the power of God in your life, the power to conquer sin to become victorious in life? God’s power will come only when we learn to pray----to pray consistently and fervently.
This is the great prayer of Paul for the church and the believer. It is probably the second most important prayer in all the Bible, ranking second only to the Lord’s model prayer (Mt. 6:9-13).
In verse 14a of this passage, Paul said, “For this cause I bow my knees unto the father.” When we really mean business in prayer, we often kneel. Kneeling is not a required posture for prayer. However, it demonstrates a special spirit of submission, and acknowledges we in the presence of an awesome, holy God, who is much higher than we are.
In this passage, praying powerfully requires four elements:
I. SPIRITUAL STRENGTH v. 16
A. The word “strengthen” means to be made strong, tough, enduring. It means to have energy or force; to act, endure, or resist.
B. The word “power” means force, energy might.
C. The believer needs to be strengthened with power in the “inner man,” that is, in the deepest part of his being, in his soul, in his spirit---in the spirit that God has renewed. It is there that the believer must be strengthened with power. Why?
1. Because it is the only way he or she can overcome the flesh with all its weakness.
2. Because it is the only way the believer is to be everything God wants him or she to be.
D. Note the source of such conquering strength and power: the Holy Spirit of God. There is no other source that has enough power to conquer the severe trial and corruptions of this world.
E. Note the other thing: How do we know God will hear and answer our prayer? Because of what this verse says: “…according to the riches of his glory.” The “riches of God’s glory” is seen in Jesus Christ.
Our inner beings (our spirits) are strengthened by the Holy Spirit through spiritual food---the Bible---and spiritual drink---prayer.
II. SPIRITUAL STABILITY v. 17
A. The word “dwell” means to live in a permanent not a temporary dwelling. It means to take up permanent residence; to live in a home; to enter, settle down, and be at home. It is a prayer that Christ would take up permanent residence in the hearts of believers.
B. Believers need to be rooted and grounded in love.
1. Rooted, is an agricultural term that means “firmly planted.” Spiritual stability requires deep spiritual roots.
2. Grounded, is an agricultural term that refers to the foundation of a building. Plants without deep roots and buildings without good foundations are not stable. Don’t mis this! We need to be rooted and grounded in love. Spiritual stability gives us the ability to love everyone.
III. SPIRITUAL SAVVY v. 18-19
(Extremely intelligent, the apex of knowledge)
A. God has done so much for the believer that it cannot be measured. Therefore, believers must pray and seek God to increase their understanding of all saints. God’s love is wide enough to include everyone because God so loved the world in John 3:16.
The more we understand what God has done for us, the more we will reach out to take the love and salvation of God to a sin sick world.
B. It is utterly impossible to grasp and experience the love of Christ anywhere close to its full measure. We must pray for God to help us learn more and more of His love---and we must make the requests often very day (v. 19a).
C. We should pray that we and fellow believers might be filled with all the fulness of God (v. 19b)
ILLUSTRATION: Picture a glass filled half way with water. Is the glass of water half full or half empty? Some people would say half full; others half empty. Full is a matter of perspective in this case. Some Christians are content with either condition of being half full or half empty.
But the praying believer is not content with a partial filling of God. His heart’s cry is “fill me up!? Prayer gives the Christian the passion needed to seek the fulness of God. “O taste and see that the Lord is good” (Ps. 34:8).
IV. SPIRITUAL SERVICE v. 20-21
When we allow God to give us spiritual strength, spiritual stability, and spiritual savvy, we can experience exceeding abundantly more of God’s power than all we ask or think. In regards to spiritual service, we have three elements we can look at:
A. The fact: God is able (v. 20.
B. The source: God’s power in us (v. 20).
C. The purpose: That God might be glorified in the church through Jesus Christ (v. 21).
Responsive Reading: Ephesians 3:14-21