Lord's Day Evening Meditations March 7, 2004

Ephesians 3:14-21

A Wonderful Prayer

I've had this portion before me for some time and so would like to speak on it tonight. We are in the closing days of the time of grace, a "day of small things," and we need to enter more and more into the joy of the Lord. Satan wants to draw us after the things of the world, and if we get taken up with that we lose sight of our Saviour and the joy we can have in Him. In this passage the Apostle Paul takes a special view of our place in Christ. It is a prayer in which he asks that the believers at Ephesus might understand and enjoy these special blessings that they had in Christ. This desire and prayer is also for us.

"For this cause (for this reason) I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ." The Ephesians needed to enter more into the place that they had been brought into. Paul here is an individual person, looking to increase in others, the knowledge and the enjoyment of their blessings in Christ. What a blessing it is that we can pray for one another like Paul did! This is a privilege that is available to us - we can have desires for one another's blessing and bring those desires to the Lord in prayer. So Paul says, "For this cause I bow my knees," and he goes on to say: "That He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory " "The riches of His glory" - how can we even begin to explain or to understand this? It is according to those riches, Paul reminds us, in chapter 1, that He has "blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ." What blessings are ours! Stephen looked up into an opened heaven and "saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God." We are given these little glimpses, but we don't hardly begin to understand that glory. However, we can desire to know more of it in order to be more like Christ.

His first request for the Ephesians was that they "be strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man." v. 16. This is not strength in the flesh, for "They that are in the flesh cannot please God." No, this is strength by the Holy Spirit, and "in the inner man," our new nature.

"That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith." This is a personal thing with each one of us. We can't go on someone else's faith. We must each have our own enjoyment of Christ. He isn't looking for some great things from us; He isn't holding a rod of iron over us, filling us with fear of not meeting His standards. He wants us to be full of faith and joy, and for this He Himself dwells there and works there. Paul's prayer is that the Lord may be more real to us, that we might appreciate Him dwelling and working in our hearts, and that we might have a deeper joy in Him Who loves us so much.

"Lord, what is man, that Thou takest knowledge of him! or the son of man, that Thou makest account of him!" Ps. 144:3. Who are we that He should love us? We are nothing in ourselves, but God has chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world. He set His love upon us, and that love remains unchanged.

Lord, in all Thy power and glory,

Still Thy thoughts and eyes are here;

Watching o'er Thy ransomed people

To Thy gracious heart so dear.

He wants to reveal Himself to us, and this love that He reveals should attract us to Him. Paul here prays for this in this simple prayer: "For this cause I bow my knees."

"That ye being rooted and grounded in love." We've been saved from hell and set on the solid Rock. Paul asked that we might be shown these blessings that love has acquired for us, that we might enjoy them, that we might rightly value them, and that we might be kept from those things that would blind our eyes to them. We should be found in prayer, as we have here, that Christ might be more real to us, that we might be more occupied with Him, and that we might be more useful to Him.

"May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge." v. 18 - 19. The words "with all saints" remind us how we need one another. We are "members one of another," and we should take every opportunity to be together and to speak of Christ. This is not a law; it is the Lord looking for a response to His love in our hearts. It was this love that worked in Paul's heart, causing him to pray and seek the best interests and greatest profit of the saints at Ephesus. They needed, and we need, to rightly value the place that the Lord has brought us into.

"To know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge." What a love it is, that love for us, even when we were sinners! See how He showed that love when He allowed Himself to be mocked, beaten, and nailed to the cross where He bore "our sins in His own body on the tree." Doesn't His love for us pull our hearts strings? He loved us from a past eternity; He knew we were sinners and that we needed a Saviour. He loved us before time began. This is the greatness of His love-"the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge"-what a blessing it is! What a blessing it is to have that love in our hearts, to be found sharing it with one another, and to be occupied with that love "which passeth knowledge." His love is still the same today; He still has his eyes upon us. He is still looking down on us in love.

"God hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son, Whom He hath appointed heir of all things, by Whom also He made the worlds; Who being the brightness of His glory, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins." Heb. 1:1 - 3. See how the Lord of glory was made a man and nailed to the cross to purge our sins. What a thing that is! That glorious Person is the One Who came down and did what was needed to save our souls; He did it Himself! How good it is to be occupied with Him. It was this love that caused Paul to bow his knees and ask the Father to help us to enter into the knowledge of these wonderful things, and to appreciate them. If we did, it would also draw us closer to one another.

"That ye might be filled with all the fulness of God." v. 19. In Acts 20:27 the Apostle Paul said to the elders of Ephesus: "I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God." What a blessing it is for us to enter into "all the counsel of God"! Here, Paul's prayer was that we might be filled with "all the fullness of God." What a blessing that is! It is hard to explain and understand, but in the next verse we see the power of prayer: "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, unto Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen." vs. 20 - 21.

Paul wrote to the Ephesians and told them how he was asking these things for them. He enjoyed Christ, and he wanted them to enjoy Him also. These things need to become more real to us also: what the Lord has done, and what He is still doing for us. Following Paul's example, we also can pray and ask for these things for ourselves and for others: to know the love of Christ, to know our position in Him, and to enjoy these things in company with our brethren. Our Saviour wants to have us in the enjoyment of His love. Our old man, our flesh wants to hinder that. May we ask for the enjoyment of Christ, and the knowledge and enjoyment of our blessings in Him. Besides, if we are not enjoying Him, we are not in a condition for Him to use us.

May we have Him direct our lives so that we can be used of Him for the encouragement of others, and for the accomplishment of His purposes in this time of grace. According to the example of this prayer before us, may we ask for ourselves and for others to know and enjoy Christ so well that He will be honored and glorified in us. May our whole being be in tune with what the Lord has done for us. r J.F.