The church is greater than its own resources

By 
Ministerial Association By Jim Squires
Sunday, April 25, 2021
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Our God wants His people to be strong. It takes strong men and women to live the gospel and to preach the gospel. That strength must be in the inner man, strength to resist Satan, and then to stick to our task.

Paul records his fervent prayer for the church in Ephesians 3:14-19. This is the second prayer for the church in this letter (see 1:15-19). Two other prayers are mentioned before the letter closes (5:20; 6:18-19). Evidently Paul believes God is attuned to supplications for His people.

Because in Christ and through faith in Him, the church is given freedom and confidence to approach God in prayer (3:12).

Christians can have confidence - knowing the church has a right to ask, and that God has the power and disposition to answer.

What did Paul ask for in his prayer? He prayed to God that they might be strengthened with power. That He may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being.

That power has been displayed by God in the resurrection of Christ. It has been shown effective in the redemption of the church from sin. It is still available to the Church in the pursuit of its mission of preaching to the lost.

The inner being relates to the spiritual, rational, and even emotional side of man. Not external power, muscular or physical. Perhaps power to perceive human needs, grasp the implications of their lostness and the greater wisdom in the saints to honorably teach and model the truth.

Paul also petitioned God that they might be indwelt by Christ. So that Christ dwells in your hearts through faith. Dwelling suggests a constant awareness of His presence, as promised in Matthew 28:20.

Paul asked that they might have power to grasp the love of Christ. To grasp is the ability to comprehend, to capture the concept of divine life. To know the immeasurable love, he has manifested toward his people.

That love is four dimensional: wide and long, high and deep, therefore the prevailing and adequate source of human redemption. That they might know the unknowable. To know the grandeur of his love is to know it experientially, practically, and usefully in living under that love.

That they might be filled to the full – to be filled to the measure of the fullness of God. The church is already filled with Christ (1:23). This prayer is that it might be filled with God.

The church is further admonished to be filled with the Spirit (5:18). This implies that all the limitless resources of all heaven are made available to the church in the pursuit of its mission.

Paul is confident that God’s disposition is to grant requests and to use His power to enable the church to fulfill its mission to the lost.

The prayer continues; it does not end until the amen. The prayer is addressed to God who is able to do immeasurably more than we imagine.

God is not limited by our asking. God, in His ability to assist the church, is not limited by its disposition to verbalize its needs for His help. God is not limited by our own resources.

The intent of Paul’s words is to embolden the church in its prayers to God. This assures the church that God can accomplish fabulous things through its ministry of gospel preaching.

The mission of the church is greater than its own resources. God never intended the church to be limited to its manpower. The church has the limitless powers of God to draw on in the execution of its assignment.

The church is a source of glory to God: As it carries on its mission of redemption. For His accomplishments that made redemption of mankind possible.

Beyond time and judgment, both Christ and the church will be a fountain of glory to God.

Was Paul praying for you?

Jim Squires preaches at the church of Christ in Glendive. He can be reached at csquires@midrivers.com.

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