Ephesians 3:14-21 New King James Version (NKJV)
Appreciation of the Mystery
14 For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
15 from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,
16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man,
17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— 19 to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. 20 Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, 21 to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
Paul is praying for families "in heaven and earth."
--For mothers - godly mothers, dads, and children.
--For your family. My family. All families of God.
--All need prayers. Love, oneness; Jesus as Savior.
--"To be strengthened .. through His Spirit" in us.
--Each, and as family, "to know the love of Christ."
Our Israel Tour Bus pulled up to the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem, a holy place around its former Temple.
--Our Guide Tony Gafni said, "Before you get out may I tell you how I became a believer - it was here!"
--A friend, Tony was our Guide for several years.
--He had long doubted God; here God made a convert.
Once as Tony was here an ambulance had to be called.
--A man collapsed. Rushed to Hadassah Hospital.
--Years ago, the man's son in a quarrel left home.
--Was not heard from for many years, despite effort.
--His wife growing ill, aggravated by her grief.
--They longed to see their only son. To make peace.
--Perhaps if the father went to Jerusalem to pray at the Wailing Wall, God would answer their prayers.
--They lived in Holland. So the father made a trip.
--A journey of prayer, to seek a long, lost son.
At the Wailing Wall between unmortared, huge stone, people place hundreds of written, rolled prayers.
--This father came to pray, placed his rolled prayer.
--As he did, one of the prayers there dropped out.
--Just placed there, it quickly unrolled before him.
--It was his son's prayer! His writing! His name!
--His son was alive! In Jerusalem! Had stood there!
--The father collapsed; in the hospital explained.
--The Jerusalem Post put his picture and story on its front page .. the son saw it .. came to the hospital.
--Tearfully and joyfully, the two were reconciled.
--When father was able, they returned home together.!
Tony said, "Only God could do that, there is a God!"
--He enumerated many miracle. He's now a believer!
--My dear friend, God is still working miracles.
--Still blessing godly families! We need God in us.
God says, "I will be - want to be, out to be - the God of all the families .. My people" (Jeremiah 31:1)
--This tells us God is seeking families to be His.
--God has a pretty large family - not jjust since Pentecost, but saved folks long before the church.
--And still there is room for more - for you.
--Yet, there are those living today, not His family.
What does it take, then, for one to be God's family?
--Well, first of all, we "must be born again" (John 3)
--That is, Jesus said we need to "Repent. To follow Him." To believe in His death to pay for our sin.
--To trust Christ's proven resurrection, to be ours.
The Apostle Paul in Ephesians 3:14 amplifies this by an emphasis on earnest prayer, "I bow my knees."
--So individuals and families must prioritize prayer.
--For "the whole family in heaven and earth" (v 15).
--What are we especially to pray for? He tells us.
First, "To be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man" (v 16). What does it mean?
--That you and I might be people possessed by God.
--Filled with His Holy Spirit. Seeking His will.
--Being at our best spiritually and physically.
--Humbly receiving all as God's gift of grace.
--Giving Him the glory. Being a glove in His hand.
--Realizing it is His hand, doing it, not the glove.
Next, he prays "that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith" (v 17). To let the Lord direct us.
--Paul says, "Christ lives in me, and the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God Who loved me and gave Himself for me" (Galatians 2:20).
--What joy, when "Christ is in us." We "in Christ."
--Not as a visitor occasionally, but to "dwell" in us.
Then he prays especially, "that you being rooted and grounded in love." Let's never forget this prayer.
--Not only "to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge," (v 19); but to love one another!
--No one can match Christ's love, but let us try.
--In His breatdth of love that reaches all the world.
--In its length, "that endures .. and never fails."
--Love in its depth, that recalls Christ's death on a cross, so great is His love for all humanity.
--In its height, that reaches up to heaven in praise.
--The Holy Spirit must lead us to such enjoyment.
Paul ends his prayer, glorifying God "Who is able, to do.." asking for God's "power that works in us" (20).
--What power? The power of Jesus in His Holy Spirit!
--Discerning evil and expelling it. Purifying lives.
This is for our homes, families, and each life.
--And also for the church, "To Him be glory in the church by Jesus Christ to all generations, forever."
--To be concerned about "all generations" in a church.
--Showing love and care, to all people, and all ages.
--Without jealousy, division, misunderstanding.
--Our church family as loved ones, in Christ, also.
--That's the way to bring "glory to God" in a church.
I've known some families, for three godly generations.
--Their faith, Christ-likeness and practice, passing from generation to generation, growing strong.
--All because of spiritual mothers; born-again dads.
--Truly, these are indeed families of God.
And I've known others, neglecting the Lord, and church and the Bible and prayer - children did the same.
--God says, "I want to be the God of all families.
Look at the Scriptures. Genesis - God in the home.
--What is Genesis about? God, and the families!
--All families, to have this God, as their God.
--Exodus, the second book, is of God and the nation.
--In Genesis we note God was concerned about Hagar as well as Abraham and Sarah - for He loves us all.
God says, "You shall have no other gods before Me."
--But my friend, we do. Too often. "Other gods."
--So many religions. Which is the One? The right?
--For me, it is the God that Jesus revealed, and is.
--No other in all history can compare, or did as He!
When "born again" in God's family, it is forever, as the Holy Spirit "has begun a good work" in us.
Value your birth, you Mom and family; it is always.
--Families are forever. To be kept close, in love.
--God we cannot see, but mothers we can see, and can make God's love and presence visible, to us all.
--Thank you, O God, for godly mothers .. and dads.
--I beg you, bring your family close .. to God.
We'll have disappointments. Displease, but make up!
--Always communicate. Be patient. Forgiving.
--Jesus said, "Blessed are the peacemakers."
--"Train children the right way .. they won't stray."
--Give lots of hugs. Saying, "I love you," often.
Satan has a thousand ways to rob, destroy, families.
--To make us picky. Neglectful. Hurtful, too busy.
--God says, "As one whom his mother comforts, I will comfort you" (Isaiah 66:13). Comfort one another.
A little girl said, "My mom is the best mom, because she is the mom that God gave me." Tell her so.
--The best way to show thanks is to live for God.
Psalm 127:1, "Unless the Lord builds the house - that is, the life or family - they labor in vain that build it." So let's not build without the Lord!
--Growing up in our home was a plaque, "Christ is the Head of this house, the unseen Guest at every meal and the silent Listener to every conversation."
All through the Bible God is concerned for families.
--May I ask, How concerned are you for your family?
--Do you bring them to church? To the Savior?
--Have family grace at meals? Prayer, Bible study?
--Ready to listen to them? Give compliments out?
--Or ready to apologize, and forgive one another?
--To be born again? Offer helpful counsel or help?
--In John 17:21, Jesus prays, "that they all may be one ... that the world may believe You sent Me."
When Jesus healed a man - body, mind, soul - He said, "Go home to your family and friends, and tell them what the Lord has done for you" (Luke 8:39).
--We see, with Jesus, the Gospel begins at home.
--It begins with you and me. Your home, and mine.
--Let's begin today.
Dr. Wilbert D. Gough ThD. DD. 758