For This Reason I Bow My Knees Before the Father
February 3, 2019
The portion of God’s word that we just read is a prayer. It is a prayer of God’s servant the Apostle Paul. It is a prayer for God’s people the church. And it is a prayer that is so encouraging and meaningful for us today.
Brothers and sisters, it is so encouraging to know that God is our Father. We are family to him. We have his name. He loves us. And he hears us when we pray to him for help. Think about how we ask our earthly fathers for so much in life. Where would we be without them? Daddy, I have to go poo poo. Daddy, can you teach me how to ride a bike? Dad, how do taxes work? Dad, I just got into a car accident. Dad, when did you know you wanted to marry mom? Dad, can you be the one to walk me down the aisle? Father, let’s have dinner tomorrow night. Just you and me. Father, I don’t know what to do. How did you get through it? The relationships that we have with our earthly fathers are special. The relationship that we have with our God is special too. Because he is our heavenly Father. So dear child, be encouraged and go to God when you need help. Bow your knees before the Father with dependence and trust. You are family to him. You have his name. You are loved by him. Pray to him if you need help. Father, I am heartbroken and I don’t know what to do. Father, please teach me wisdom. Father, how on earth am I going to be able to evangelize to my friends? Father, I want to be more like Jesus. Praise the Lord that God is our Father!
Brothers and sisters, it is so encouraging to know that God strengthens us with his power. When Jesus comes back to establish his kingdom in the new heavens and new earth, we are going to be perfect and without sin. But Jesus in his wisdom decreed that the remaining days of our lives on this old and fading earth would be a time of sanctification and growth. This is mind blowing. God did not decree that once we repent and believe in Jesus that we are instantly perfect and sinless. Instead, God decreed a process, a workmanship, a sojourning through a long wilderness, a time of suffering and even persecution, a new creation that amazingly works as a process in the overlap of the ages of the already and the not yet, all for the praise of God’s glorious grace. So since this the way it’s going to be until Jesus comes back, we therefore need to be strengthened with power. The power to be more like Jesus in holiness and righteousness and be filled with all the fullness of God. The power to love and forgive and serve and fellowship with others. The power to deal with our sins. The power to keep going and endure in our faith. It is so encouraging to know that we have the power that we need for all of this. And, thankfully, this power comes from God and not from our own selves. The Holy Spirit renews our inner being, our inner self, day by day (2 Corinthians 4:16). The Lord Jesus Christ has made a home in our hearts. Our King has moved in to take ownership of everything that we are: our thoughts, our emotions, our words, our decisions - everything. The Holy Spirit is not a wimp. And the Lord Jesus Christ is not a wallflower. You are strengthened by God’s power. This is the same power that was used to created the heavens and the earth. This is the same power that was used to split the Red Sea. This is the same power that was used in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. So dear saint, be encouraged and know that you are strengthened by God’s power. You will grow. You will change. You will be more holy and more righteous than you are right now. You will be filled with all the fullness of God. You will be better in relationships. You will read your Bibles more. You will be able to forgive and move forward. And you will see the difference in the span of your lifetime before Jesus comes back. Because God will strengthen you with his power. Praise the Lord that God strengthens us with his power!
Brothers and sisters, it is so encouraging to know that God will help you to know the love of Christ. One of the most important things in the Christian life is knowing that Jesus loves you and knowing how much Jesus loves you. And one of the most amazing things about the Christian life is that Jesus loves you so much that you’re actually going to need strength from above in order to comprehend his love. An amazing vacation experience can require an amazing energy and stamina just to take it all in. An amazing gift registry response may require an amazing logistical effort and endurance just to receive it all and say thank you to everyone. The amazing salvation love of Christ will require an amazing strength just to comprehend it all. God’s love in Christ is so wide and so long and so high and so deep that you’re actually going to need help receiving it and experiencing it. It’s almost kind of funny. God’s love is too much. The love of Christ Jesus is just too much for us to handle on our own. But the good news is that God helps us to know and understand and comprehend the love of Christ. So dear church, dear Bride of Christ, be encouraged as you grow in the knowledge of his love for you. You are being rooted and grounded in the love of Christ. Like a plant firmly rooted in a good soil, like a home built on a firm foundation, you will for sure know the love of Christ. Praise the Lord that God helps us to know the love of Christ Jesus!
Brothers and sisters, it is so encouraging to know that God is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think. When we read Paul’s prayer word for word, we have to admit that it is a lofty and ambitious and grand and far-reaching prayer. Paul is talking about the power of the Holy Spirit and the love of Christ Jesus. And yet Paul states that even though we ask or think about great things, God is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think. The riches of God’s grace is lavish. The greatness of God’s power is immeasurable. There is no such thing as hyperbole or exaggeration when it comes to describing God’s salvation for us in Christ. This reveals who our God is. The character of our God is such that he does and gives and answers abundantly. And when we realize that the goal is nothing less than conformity to the image of Christ, nothing less than the royal and majestic fruit of the Spirit, nothing less than glorification, then we are greatly encouraged. So dear weary traveler, be encouraged as you wait for the Day of the Lord. Praise the Lord that God is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think!
So this is what Paul wanted for the church. And this is what God wants for us. Therefore, let our prayers reflect this one here in Ephesians 3. Prayer is an important part of the Christian life. And there are many things that we can pray about to our Father in heaven. But it seems that most of us are good at what I can only describe as small prayers and big prayers. We are pretty good at praying before our meals and giving thanks to God. And we are pretty good at praying to God in times of emergency or serious trouble. But what about the prayers in between? Small prayer: God, please give me strength as we eat this food. Big prayer: God, please give me strength as we bury the dead. In between prayer: God, please give me the strength to know the love of Christ. God, may your Spirit strengthen me in my inner being. God, may Christ dwell in my heart. God, please help me to be rooted and grounded in love. God, help me to comprehend with all the saints the breadth and length and height and depth of the love of Christ. God, please help me to be filled with all of your fullness. Brothers and sisters, let us pray like this. Use the words of Scripture when you pray to God. Pray to God according to his will that he has written down here in Ephesians 3. This is a teaching moment for us as we pray to our Father in heaven.
In closing, may God receive all the glory in the church and here at Highland. God is providing children for our married couples. But even more so, God is ushering our married couples into a new chapter of spiritual growth and maturity in their lives. Glory to God! God has brought each and every one of us here to be a part of this community. But even more so, God is leading our community to greater love and service and unity. Glory to God! God has given us this prayer of Paul in Ephesians 3. But even more so, our Great High Priest is at the right hand of the Father and is indeed interceding for us and praying for us now. Our God gets the credit for all good things here at Highland. For this reason, let us bow our knees before the Father.