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Ephesians 3:14-21

Author: Dr. George M. Flattery

Ephesians 3:14-21

dirt road between green trees during daytime

Thoughts from Ephesians 3:14-21

My topic today, based on Paul’s prayer in this passage, is “becoming what you are.” When we believe in Christ, we become sons of God. However, we still have to experience all that being a son involves. We must become in our experience what we are by position.

We who believe in Christ are sons of God. Yet we do not always enjoy all that this relationship affords us. When we do not live up to our position, we are the losers. By enlarging God’s presence in our lives, we will gain greatly.

The main point of Paul’s prayer in our text is that the Ephesians would realize in their own experience all the fullness of God until the limit of their capacity was reached. This prayer applies very much to us today. Here, from the NIV is Paul’s prayer:

“(14) For this reason I kneel before the Father, (15) from whom the whole family of believers [Or from whom all fatherhood] in heaven and on earth derives its name. (16) I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, (17) so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. (18) And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, (19) and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. (20) Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”

We join our prayers with Paul’s prayer that all who believe will become what they are—sons of God living up to their position in Christ. More about this prayer in my next “thoughts.”

More Thoughts from Ephesians 3:14-21

Today, we will continue our discussion of the topic “becoming who you are.” Our text records a prayer for the Ephesians. His prayer helps us understand how we can grow in the image of God and have the experience of becoming who we are by position.

We learn from Paul’s prayer that our Father provides for our spiritual well-being. He does this “according to the riches of His glory” or, as another version says, “out of his glorious riches” (verse 16). He is able (verse 20) to do “far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think.” When we realize that God is at work within our lives, we can be assured that our maturity in Christ will be accomplished.

While traveling, I occasionally have asked people what the word “father” means to them. When they answer, it is clear that much depends on what their relationship with their earthly father was. A healthy response was given by Fred, a Nairobi shopkeeper. He said, “Father is the one we depend on. He takes care of us. He provides for us. Father disciplines us and sees that we do right.” Fortunately, many people have had an earthly father who excelled in doing these things.

Our heavenly Father sets the example for us. Moreover, He goes far beyond anything that earthly fathers can do. He loves us with His infinite love, provides for us spiritually and in every other way, and disciplines us when needed. We know that He is shaping us in the image of Christ, and we are becoming who we are—sons of God. As sons of God, we can rely fully on Him.

More Thoughts from Ephesians 3:14-21

We are discussing “becoming who you are.” When we believe in Christ, by the position we become sons of God. From that point on we begin to grow in the image of Christ and start the journey toward spiritual maturity. In our text, Paul prays for the maturity of the Ephesian saints. The prayer applies to us as well.

Paul is praying for people who are already Christians. They are already sons of God. Yet he prays that they may be strengthened with power through the Spirit in the inner man. Why? He prays so that Christ may dwell in them. From the moment they first believed, Christ dwelled within them. Nevertheless, Paul prays that He may further indwell this. We take this to mean that Paul prays that Christ will further shape their lives and have full sway in who they are and what they do.

No matter how long we have followed God, we must still be strengthened and there is still room for growth. When the Spirit strengthens us, we can develop in the image of Christ. Christ further dwells within us.

We notice that there is an upward spiral with regard to the indwelling of Christ and the Spirit. When we accept Christ as Savior, we are united with Christ, and we receive the Spirit. Moving forward, when the Spirit strengthens us, Christ increasingly indwells. When Christ further indwells, we are further empowered by the Spirit. The result is that we become who we are—sons of God.

More Thoughts from Ephesians 3:14-21

The apostle Paul prayed that the Ephesians might become what they were. They were sons of God by position and had the great privilege of becoming that inexperience.

The sub-points in this discussion are that God provides every blessing, the Spirit strengthens us spiritually, and Christ indwells. We know, of course, that all the mem­bers of the Triune God indwell us. But, here, Paul focuses on the indwelling Christ. Furthermore, he says that he prays that Christ may dwell in us “through faith.”

Our life with Christ is always “through faith.” Many things test our faith. We may fear nuclear war, economic collapse, and the collapse of our values. Values change in connection with our home, education, family, and other aspects of modern life. Yet, we are called to hold fast to that which is good. We have an unchanging Lord. By faith, we fasten ourselves to him.

Paul continues with this prayer: “and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God” (verses 17-19).

George M. Flattery, Ph.D., is the founder of Global University and Network211.

Excerpts transferred from a series originally posted on Dr. George's Facebook.

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