So this post will probably be a bit different and more disjointed than other posts – it is basically the notes that I used for my message this past Sunday. So if you were there on Sunday they will make perfect sense. If not, then they may seem a bit confusing. Essentially I am taking each verse and asking a question and sometimes posing an application to go along with it.
- 15 For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints…
Question #1 (v.15): What do people hear about me from others?
People are always watching and people will always talk! What do they talk about?
Question #2: What do people hear about our church? …faith? love?
Application #1: randomly ask people you know NOT connected to Ridgecrest what they hear about our church. Give them one of the fliers and an invitation. If you are a guest today – I’d love to hear what your impressions are or what you have heard that drew you here.
- 16 I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. I keep asking…
Question #3 (v.16): Aside from your family, who in the body of Christ are you thankful for?
Write down a name or two. Put a check mark next to their name if you have “remembered them in your prayers” this week.
Application #2: Write them a note this week and let them know that you are thankful for them and what you are praying for them. (That’s what Paul was doing here in his letter)
Question # 4: (v.17) “I have not stopped… I keep asking” How would you describe your prayer life? non-existent / religious / engaging / thrilling
Is there persistence in your praying? ” I keep asking….”
(Importunity is persistent praying until the answer comes)
E.M.Bounds “Importunate praying is the earnest, inward movement of the heart toward God. It is the throwing of the entire force of the spiritual man into the exercise of prayer. Isaiah lamented that no one stirred himself, to take hold of God. Much praying was done in Isaiah’s time, but it was too easy, indifferent and complacent. There were no mighty movements of souls toward God. There was no array of sanctified energies bent on reaching and grappling with God, to draw from Him the treasures of His grace. Forceless prayers have no power to overcome difficulties, no power to win marked results, or to gain complete victories. We must win God, ere we can win our plea.”
Let’s see how Paul was praying for his Ephesian friends and ask some questions along the way.
- 17 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.
Question # 5: Scale of 1-10 How much do you know about God? Scale of 1-10 How well do you know God?
I grew up when baseball was America’s favorite pastime. I could tell you a lot about my favorite player… Willie Mays.
(born 1931, played for the NY Giants, SF Giants, NY Mets, 660 HR, 3283 hits, 2 time MVP, 12 gold gloves, 20 allstar games)
But didn’t know him at all. If Iwas in crisis – he wouldn’t go to bat for me (pun intended)
Rodney Hicks, Randy Stewart, Bobby Salmon – I know them – they would go to bat for me.
J.I. Packer Quotes from Knowing God:
“Men who know their God are before anything else men who pray… If however there is in us little energy for such prayer, and little consequent practice of it, this is a sure sign that as yet we scarcely know our God.” (p.24)
“What makes life worth living is having a big enough objective, something which catches our imagination and lays hold of our allegiance; and this the Christian has, in a way that no other man has. For what higher, more exalted, and more compelling goal can there be than to know God?” (p. 30)
“ for knowing God is a relationship calculated to thrill a man’s heart.” (p.32)
Application # 3: What is one thing that you can do to get to know God better?
Be intentional about time in His Word. Join a SS class or Bible Study. Read Packer’s Knowing God.
If you don’t know Him – then click HERE and read about how you can know Him.
Question #6: (v. 17) What is the role of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer?
Francis Chan calls the HS “The Forgotten God”
- 18 I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you …
News Flash: You’re going to die! So where is your hope? (See Matt Chandler video)
Question #7: Is your life hope-filled and hope-fueled?
I think that one of the major things that distinguishes believers is HOPE. Ridgecrest – A Place to Find HOPE.
- 18 I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints…
v. 18 – may know the riches of his glorious inheritance. What does this mean? Do we have an inheritance or are we an inheritance?
Wiersbe – “This phrase does not refer to our inheritance in Christ but His inheritance in us. This is an amazing truth – that God should look upon us as a part of His great wealth.”
To put it another way… You are a part of God’s portfolio!
Question #8: Where are you invested? In eternal things or temporal things? Are you squandering your life or as John Piper would say, “Don’t waste your life.”
Application # 4: Think! Maybe talk to an “investment professional” – Decide on one way that you can invest your life that will pay solid eternal dividends.
Quote: “It does not take a lot of money to build great wealth, it takes time to build great wealth” What does this mean? Invest a little over a long period of time for the best results. AWANA workers… Nursery caregivers…. Prayer warriors….
- 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength,
Japan is experiencing what it is like to be without power.
Hurricane Fran – power”less” – We were drawn to the places where we could find power. The world will be too. It is because the church has largely been powerless that people have turned elsewhere. – to wealth for their power, to status/position for their power, NOT to God for their power – the cost has been great!
Question #9: – What does power look like in the life of a believer and in God’s church?
- Power of the the resurrection and the gospel Eph 1:19-23
- Power of a transformed life Eph 3:7
- Power of love – Eph 3:16
- Power to battle temptation and the evil one – Eph 6
It is God’s power. Mt 17:14 story. God wants to use you to influence and change lives
Application # 5: Figure out WHY there is a “power shortage in your life” – get it fixed!
One possibility to consider: Verses 20-23 Is having power about you or about Christ? Is it so people will look at you or at Him?
Question # 10 – Is this the way that you pray? Why is this the way that Paul focuses his praying?
Application # 6 – Read Ephesians 2:1-10
Next Week’s Passage: James 1:2-8
Next Week’s Memory Verse: James 1:2-3