This Same Power: A Sermon on Eph 1:15-23


This Same Power
Ephesians 1:15-23

 I.H.S.

 May the grace of God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ flood your hearts with His glorious light so that we can understand and this confident hope that He has given us, that we are His people, Christ’s rich and glorious inheritance!

The forgotten prayer or… the prayer of our very lives?

When I first started to write this message, as I considered this epistle reading, my heart began to ache a bit.  Because when I think of who I am praying for, and for what, my mind goes to this prayer list insert that we have.  Or my version of it a list which has a few more names on it, with prayer requests I cannot share.

But I see here a different prayer of Paul, a prayer for people that wasn’t just a prayer for peace, for strengthened faith and healing. Those prayers are needed, and I will not stop them, but how often do we pray for each other as Paul does here?

I pray for you constantly, 17  asking God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give you spiritual wisdom and insight so that you might grow in your knowledge of God. 18  I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance. 19  I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. Ephesians 1:16-19(NLT)

I suppose I could ask the elders and deacons this too, how often have I encouraged you to pray for our people and each other this way.  It is our goal of our ministry; it is where we find the healing in Christ that enables us to help others heal, but is it the focus of our prayers as well?

And what if it were?

The early church knew that from our prayers come our faith, and from that dependence on God, comes our actions,  Lex orendi, lex credendi, lex vivendi is the formal name of that. We pray,  therefore we believe and therefore we have life! In this case, we know this revelation of God give us our life in Christ, yet, is it how we pray for each other?

So what would happen if this became part of our prayer life for each other, this prayer that Paul prays?  (Does this fit under the imitate me as I imitate Christ?)  Hear the prayer again,

I pray for you constantly, 17  asking God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give you spiritual wisdom and insight so that you might grow in your knowledge of God. 18  I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance. 19  I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. Ephesians 1:16-19(NLT)

Why don’t we pray this way?
While it seems obvious that this should be part of our prayer life, and it also seems obvious that God is, in fact answering that prayer, I think praying this way for each other would help us understand what God is doing in our lives.
So what stops us, what hinders us from praying this way for each other?

Is it just ignorance, and the demand of so many people in crisis and trauma? Is it that we too easily read over this passage?  Why don’t we think to replicate this prayer in our own lives?

As Paul explains that He prays the power of God is at work in us, He explains what that power is,

19  I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power 20  that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms.    
Ephesians 1:19-20 (NLT)

The power of God that is at work in you is the same power, the same dynamic that raised Jesus from the dead, that caused the ascension, and installed Jesus as our advocate at the Father’s right hand.

That is the power at work in you – redeeming you, reconciling you to God the Father, sanctifying you, preparing us for what Paul told the Colossian church,

26  This message was kept secret for centuries and generations past, but now it has been revealed to God’s people. 27  For God wanted them to know that the riches and glory of Christ are for you Gentiles, too. And this is the secret: Christ lives in you. This gives you assurance of sharing his glory.
Colossians 1:26-27 (NLT) /

This is where our hope lies, in this incredible promise of God, that we aren’t just going to be servants cleaning the bathrooms in heaven, or cleaning the streets of Gold, but we will be sharing in His glory, we will be celebrating the glory of that love, as the entire plan of God, His desire comes true

We will be His people, and He will be our God.
This isn’t just a transition that happens when everyone stands before the throne.  It is the promise that began as God worked to call you His own, as Christ died on the cross.  That point you entered this covenant relationship as God moved you to trust in Him, as the Holy Spirit cleansed you in baptism; and took up residence in you, sanctifying you, transforming you.

This is the power of God at work in you, right now – even as we remember our baptism, as we hear again that our sins are forgiven, as we continually hear that the Lord is with us and that Alleluia – He is Risen!

This is what we need to know – to know God is here, with us, in our lives, working in those very lives, that we are being transformed, that God

That is what we need to pray each other realizes, this incredible, glorious life-changing fact,  God is with us!

Heard the last  of the passage,

22  God has put all things under the authority of Christ and has made him head over all things for the benefit of the church. 23  And the church is his body; it is made full and complete by Christ, who fills all things everywhere with himself. Ephesians 1:21-23 (NLT)

We are made full and complete in Christ, who fill us with Himself….

Who dwells in us, who is our life, our abundant life.

AMEN!

About justifiedandsinner

I am a pastor of a Concordia Lutheran Church in Cerritos, California, where we rejoice in God's saving us from our sin, and the unrighteousness of the world. It is all about His work, the gift of salvation given to all who trust in Jesus Christ, and what He has done that is revealed in Scripture. God deserves all the glory, honor and praise, for He has rescued and redeemed His people.

Posted on May 8, 2016, in Devotions, Sermons and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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