“Power Through His Spirit in Your Inner Man”
For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family[a] in heaven and on earth is named, 16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. 20 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
Sermon Slide Are Available HERE.
Pastor Thom Rittichier
This morning, I’m going to make a term known to you. Maybe you already know it, Myoclonus. Have you heard of that term? Even if you haven’t heard of that term, you have probably experienced something that is termed by that name. Have you had the hiccups? The hiccups are Myoclonus. Here, let me put it up there phonetically for you, It’s a muscle spasm. Where are your esophagus slaps shut and your diaphragm contracts and you get that pleasant experience. One guy had it, Chris Sands, for three years. This thing is rather painful some times. It’s definitely irritating. And it is definitely annoying to have. But for three years! Can you imagine that? I don’t like it for 30 minutes, let alone three years. The term actually means, it’s a Greek term, and the first part refers to muscle and the last part refers to a violent, confused motion. And that kind of explains the hiccups, doesn’t it? And it explains a couple other things, like a charley horse or some back pain. As a matter of fact, I had one at 4:18 this morning, in the arch of my foot. And it sent me out of the bed! Now I had thought about and actually put this message together before I experienced that. But nevertheless it was annoying and irritating. There’s also the thing with the eye twitching, there’s actually a different term, Myokymia. That same thing, it’s muscle contractions. You know what gave rise to this is during the course of this week, I was sleeping and woke to a muscle in my arm, the bicep going crazy. And it contracted over and over and over. And then I had the arch of my foot thing, I don’t know what’s going on here. And while I was writing this, I had a twitching in my eye too. I don’t know if I was creating all this but anyway, there you go.
These spasms or contractions, while I was laying there or sleeping or working on this message, what’s the point of this? Why is this going on and on and on. It’s kind of pointless motion and action, it does nothing, it goes nowhere, and yet you get to experience, sometimes quite painfully, you get to experience it. Now the reason I bring it all up here this morning is not to give you a medical review. But to say some times that’s experienced by people in praying. It’s annoying, irritating, going on and on and on and on. And seemingly not accomplishing anything. As a matter of fact, Jesus spoke to that. When he was teaching his disciples to pray. It’s in Matthew chapter six, I’m just going to quote it here, you’re free to look it up. Jesus said, When you are praying, do not use meaning less repetition, going on, and on and on and on, like the Gentiles do. For they suppose that they will be heard for their many words, to say this over and over, and over and over. He said, Don’t function there. Don’t live there. So don’t be like them he said. And then he goes on and gives the positive instruction. He says, When you pray, then pray like this. And he presents to us. Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed, honored, respected, awed, reverence, be your name, your kingdom…and it goes on, you pray like this. And you know, when I was growing up, I was taught to pray that, in meaningless repetition, to go over it and over it and over it. Say four of these, Our fathers. And say four of these…and this will do you good. Amazing. Amazing. Don’t be like that, don’t experience this Myoclonus. So don’t live with that annoying way. Go somewhere in your prayer, accomplish something by your prayer, not meaning less repetition. And you know, going somewhere and accomplishing something in his prayer is exactly what the Apostle Paul does in Ephesians 3:14-21 and I want you to turn there with me.
In Ephesians chapter three, at verse 14, the Aposrle Paul sets out to us a prayer, a prayer that is intended to go somewhere. In that reference that I just made to Matthew 6, where Jesus teaches us how to pray, he prays, Our Father, who’s in heaven, honored be your name, your kingdom come, your rule come, your being in charge come, your will be done, here on Earth as it is in heaven. And the prayer was aimed not to get your will or my will done on Earth. It’s to get God’s will that gets done in the heaven, done on Earth. Praying that goes somewhere, goes after God’s will being done on Earth. And it includes our petitions, our requests, which are in accord with God’s will being done, Give us this day our daily bread, forgive our offenses, lead us not but deliver us. All of that is personal petition for getting God’s will done on Earth. Now wants you to know that Paul presents to us praying that’s going somewhere, and getting something accomplished exactly in line with what Jesus taught us about praying, getting God’s will done here on Earth, just like it’s done in heaven. And by the way, the way it’s done in heaven is really amazing, because you have angels that are waiting, there, just looking for, desiring instantaneously to carry out his expression of his will. Amazing, amazing. They are overjoyed with this.
So in light of that, God’s will being done, I’d like you to cover with me, verses 14-21, where the Apostle Paul expresses his prayer. “For this reason”, he says, just like he started in verse one and then gave us that parentheses, that insert of information that we needed to know, “For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom the whole family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through His Spirit, in your inner person, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith-that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all of 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 with all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” So be that. Let that be the case. This is a prayer that goes somewhere. It’s a prayer to our Father in heaven. And it is designed that we participate. The primary aim of this prayer is right here, power through His Spirit in your inner person. That is the primary request that’s listed here. It’s going somewhere. As a matter of fact, as you look through this, we find the primary prayer request is given first, then the pointed petitions results, they are pointed, this is what is being petitioned for. And then finally, a purposeful praise, the remarks of an intentional praise is raised.
Now if you notice, I’ve alliterated this: POWER in your in your inner PERSON with PRIMARY PRAYER, POINTED PETITION and PURPOSEFUL PRAISE. I did that just to highlight for you that this prayer is going somewhere. It’s a primary prayer request. It has a pointed result in your life. And it’s purposeful. It has an intention of God’s will behind it for us. Now I need to add this to that outline. The primary prayer request for you ALL. Our English language does not have an English word for you plural and another for you singular, we use the same word like…you over there behind the camera/singular/one person or you in the assembly this morning, which is plural, all of you. This prayer request is for all of those in Christ, you all, the pointed results are for you all. And the purposeful praise that God is taking us to is through us all. It’s intended to be inclusive of us all. There are no super hero Christians. There are no super saints who walk above the Earth. This prayer that is going somewhere, not meaningless repetition. It’s going somewhere, bringing the will of God to pass, is for us all.
Father in Heaven, as we embark on looking into this prayer, I pray like you taught us in Scripture to say, that the eyes of our heart may be enlightened, that we may know the width, the length, the height and the depth of this because that’s your will to be done, on earth as in heaven. In Jesus name. Amen.
First off, we’re going to talk about this primary prayer request for you all, verses 14-16. The Apostle Paul has reason for asserting this prayer. He says “For this reason, I bow my knees.” Now the reason, we’ve already been told Ephesians one, is what God has done before the foundation of the world, God chose those who would be in Christ, he chose them. He adopted them as sons. He redeemed them through Jesus Christ, and he sealed them with the Holy Spirit until there is the fulfillment of the promise, that God has done. It has been done by God, initiated before you were even here. Done deal. That’s amazing. God did this. And then Ephesians chapter two, when you were dead, he made you alive in Christ, not by what you’ve earned or done, but he did it by grace. For by grace you are saved, through what? Through faith, through trusting him, that not of yourself, it is a gift of God, not of works, so that no one gets inflated, there is no bragging, there are no super saints, there are none. There are none. It is all by his grace, going to this end, look with me at Ephesians chapter two, verse 22. “In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.” That’s what’s going on. He is building you into a place where God dwells by his Spirit, and it’s going on with all, us all together. That’s being accomplished. Then chapter three, he pointed out the mystery and the wisdom of this, where he makes these human beings all related to him through Jesus Christ. It’s all through Jesus Christ, it’s in Jesus Christ we have this, because he was the perfection of the life that a human being should live. And he gives us that when we trust him. It’s absolutely amazing. And the Apostle Paul then says, this wisdom is not just for time here on Earth. It’s to the principalities and the powers in the heavenly place. Forever. This is being done for that reason. It’s for that reason, Paul says that he submits. It’s for that reason that he bows, bends his knees.
Now, he’s not talking about this in the sense of it being the accepted position for prayer. Although it surely is a good one. It’s not that, he’s talking about what we have inside as a result of that bended knee. It’s for that reason, Paul submits to the will of God being done on Earth, as it is heaven. Like we’re to pray. You, my disciples, you pray like this. Your rule come, your will be done, here on Earth like it’s done in heaven. And he submits his will to that. And he’s going to tell us what the primary request is, in a moment, but this reason puts him in a place to submit, I’ll voluntarily surrender and lineup behind you. I want you to know, that is going to be essential to go somewhere in prayer, rather than it be just a muscle spasm that seems to go nowhere and accomplish nothing, but to go somewhere and accomplish what God has in mind in praying.
Then he begins to pray to the Father as Jesus taught us, he bends the knee, he says, to the Father. And the Father, very interestingly, is identified here, as the Father who has given the whole family, in heaven and on the earth, his name. We carry his identity, we bear the identity of God. Those who are believers, those who have gone on before us, they’re bearing his identity now in heaven, and up there is Martin Luther, and up there is the Apostle Paul, and up there up there is a dear one from our own congregation who just died this week, bearing the identity of God! This is amazing. And also the ones who are bearing this identity on earth. And if you’re a believer, that’s you. That’s you! He’s put his name on you for you to bear his identity. Where you go, God is represented. What you do is the actions of his ambassador on earth. This is God’s will. The one Jesus has taught us to pray to has given his name to the whole family, in heaven and earth. And then he states the primary prayer request.
Now these prayer requests are all listed very clearly with the word “that”. It means, that which is the intended purpose, this is the will, this is where this is going. And it’s very, very clear, it comes out clear in the English, but it is much, much clearer in the Greek. Because each time “that” is stated, he is saying this is the petition. And this is the primary prayer request, the primary prayer request for you ALL. No super saints. none who walk above the earth and the rest of us just kind of shuffle along in the dust. None of that, none of that here. Because there is no place for boasting. This is all accomplished by his grace. But there is a place that he’s going to show us about our participating with him. And the primary prayer request for you all is this, verse 16, there’s the “that” statement of purpose, “that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner man, your inner.” And “man” here is not male, it’s human being, in your inner person, in who you are inside. This is the primary prayer request, that you’ll be strengthened through his Spirit in your inner person as you carry his name, his identity, that it may be according the riches of his glory. He grants this. He grants this according to the riches of his glory.
What are you aiming for? Are you aiming to go through life and just really have the best time possible? Whoot! Whoot! Do you just want to make the most of your time? You only go around once you know, and you got to grab all the gusto! Is that what you are living for? What are you living for? I’m living just just to have a good time. I’m living just so I can be comfortable and everything peaceful and settled. What are you living for? I’m living for making the most money and just being as happy as I can. What are you living for? Are you living for giving a good opinion of God in where you go, and in what you say, and in what you do, in how you treat people, in the way you respond? Are you living to give a good opinion of God and get that spread about?
Paul is praying to God that you would be strengthen through power, through the Holy Spirit in your inner person, that God would power you according to the riches of His glory. It’s so his glory, and riches of that glory, is spread, for that reason, he’s empowering you. He’s strengthening you through His Spirit in your inner person to that, according to that, according to the riches of His glory. He’s not strengthening you, with his power in your inner person by His Spirit, so you would be the best football player ever, so you would be the smartest person who always knows how this is gonna go, so you always got it all put together. He’s not doing it to that end! He’s doing it so that His glory is spread. It’s according to the riches of His glory he is strengthening you. And by the way, his statement is “may”. Notice how he said that. His statement is that he “may” grant you to be strengthened, because if the aim isn’t spreading the opinion about God around, this strengthening isn’t coming down. The strengthening is according to the riches of His glory, that he “may” strengthen you through His Spirit in your inner man. That’s the aim. And that’s the primary prayer request here. That’s what it’s going after. It’s available to us. It’s there. It’s what you’re living for. And yeah, and I know, like me, like you, that changes…what’s on our mind, what we want right then. But it has to keep coming back to this…God, and the opinion of him being spread.
And then he begins to present these pointed petitions. And he’s going to do this with…so that-vs 17…that you-vs 17…that you-vs 19. And he states this is where this is going. This is what this is accomplishing. This is bringing God’s will to Earth. This primary prayer request of your aim of spreading around a good opinion of God… whether you eat, drink, or whatsoever you do, you do all to the glory of God… to give that opinion. It’s “so that”, there’s three of these, “so that Christ may dwell in your hearts, verse 17. Now notice this, this hearts thing. It’s plural here, because it’s not just to be one person, it’s to be everybody’s heart, that Christ may dwell in your hearts. And when we talk about heart in the Scripture, we’re talking about where our thinking goes on, that Christ dwells in my thinking. It talks about where your choices go on, your decisions are made, that Christ dwells in my decision making, that Christ dwells in my emotions, that my feelings are being taken along with the will of God, that Christ dwells in your heart through faith, through your trusting him. You hear his word, what he tells you to do in a circumstance, and you trust him. And he takes lordship. He takes the control, the directing of your life, that’s what he’s going after. That Christ may dwell in your thinking and your feelings, in your decisions that are coming out of all that, through your trusting in what he says, that he becomes Lord and is the director. That’s the aim of this major prayer requests, this pointed result, that Christ dwells there, through faith.
You know, as his bearers of his identity, when we go somewhere… for example, my daughter is in student teaching. She is actually at the observations stage, she will graduate next year. And she’s in the observation stage, and she’s pretty excited. She gets to go to Fairmount School and actually do what she’s been training for a long time to be doing, seems like forever. It’s been about four years, seems like forever. And when she goes into that school, they of course have her identified as a student teacher. And she’s got the IWU badge on. And the IWU instructor said to her, You know, you are representing us, the school. Just as we are bearing the identity of God. I was in Menards this past week, had a couple of things that I had to get accomplished at the house and I had to go there, you know how it goes. Whenever you do a home project, you go there once, it’s not what is needed and all that is needed, and you go back again. So I was in there and I was over in the lighting section and coming through and some guy comes up to me as I’m carrying this, and he says, Hey, where are the…I’m standing there. I said, I don’t know. I don’t work here. So I thought, Oh, I must look like somebody who works here. So the next day I was back and I was coming out of where they moved what was in the lighting section over now to the garden section, and I was coming out of there and I turned and went down to the building materials area and as I was going out, some guy says, Hey, hey, hey, do you work here? Okay, so I was wearing a completely different outfit. Okay, so what is it about me that makes me look like I work here? At menards? What is it? Maybe my gray hair? Okay, maybe that’s it. I’m not changing that. I’m going to keep it as long as I can. Okay, because the other option is something I’m not ready for that yet. Representatives, being representatives, we have this….that will identify us, there is something, something different. As a matter of fact, Peter tells us this is the basis of our testimony, what’s the reason for the hope that’s within you, this decision making.
And this really gets interesting here, “that you”, this is also in verse 17, “that you, being rooted and grounded in love.” This is the pointed result, that you are rooted in love, like a tree gets rooted. When a tree is a sapling, we have some of these that kind of get started around our house, especially from the black walnut trees. Those are awful. I was talking to my son and he tells me, Those are a great export for Indiana, they export a lot of black walnut. Well I wish they would export them all from my property, just all of them. My daughter’s had a great time this summer picking up the black walnuts. Do you notice those on the road too, when you’re driving, they’re all over the place. And they’re abundant. They are abundant. We’ve got three huge containers full of these. When that tree was a sapling, I could just go and pull it out with no problem. but now those dudes are rooted! And if you’re gonna take it out, it’s going to take a lot to get it out. And here in verse 17 it states, “that you, being rooted and grounded”. Dr. Stewart, not long ago, was showing us some pictures of their new foundation, you remember that? A little extra concrete was poured in some spots. But I noticed one thing, that foundation is strong! It is definitely there to stay. And it’s going to hold. You, like that building, are grounded in love, in love.
That’s the pointed result of his prayer, that you are rooted and grounded in making decisions that are best for other people, regardless of how you feel, regardless of the consequences, because that is “agape” love, the love of decision to do this, that you rooted and grounded in that love, that you may have the strength, that competency not everyone has this competency. Not everyone who is a believer, but it’s not because they are super saints and non super saints. It’s because of the compliance with the aim of their life to glorify God not to get something for themselves that they haven’t had yet that they really want it. This gives them a competency to understand the width and the length and height and depth and to know the love of Christ. This is interesting. You see this phone here, this phone has width, it has high and it also has depth. But where’s the length of this thing? That depends on how long this phone lasts. That’s the length. And when he’s talking about this, he’s talking about the width, the width of Christ love. How wide is Christ love? His love is wide enough to include every human being with every sinful action that could possibly occur. His decision to do what’s best for them is included in that. It’s that wide! And how high is it? It’s so high that it takes these people like that into the very presence of the eternal God, who is perfect. It’s the highest of the highest of the heavenlies. That’s how high it is. And what’s the length of it? It is so long that it goes on from before the foundation of the world. It goes on forever and ever. That’s the length. And it is so deep that God should die for it. That’s how deep it is. It’s that deep.
Now, we know of three dimensions, width, height, depth. But there’s this fourth one of length. That’s forever. And now he adds a fifth one. He says in verse 19, “and to know this love of Christ that surpasses knowledge.” It exceeds what can be known and experienced. It’s beyong what you can learn. It’s comprehended by His Spirit in your understanding, it makes you competent to grasp that. There are no super saints, there are none. This is for all believers. Oh, to know the love of Christ.
And this last one, also. Are you ready for this? This is one of those mind blowing ones. Verse 19, “that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” This isn’t only for those who are in heaven, but the whole family, in heaven and on the earth bears this identity. The ones on the earth, that you may be filled with everything that fills God, every thought that God has, that it fills you, not to the degree it does him but it fills you. Every emotion that he has, every decision that he makes, that this be what fills you, what fills him. Now listen to me. There are no super saints. This includes you. This is for you. And it hinges, it hinges on what you’re living for. Is it for him, for this good opinion of how good he is, being spread around? Or is it something that you want that you haven’t got yet, and life’s not perfect, and this person’s not nice to me and that thing’s not going my way. It depends on that, filled to the fullness of God.
Now the point of this, where he’s going the point of this “Now”, he says in verse 20, “to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think.” He says, God is able to do all that we ask him think, and he’s able to do more than we ask or think. Now, he says, Now to him, who’s able to do far more abundantly, he just stacks this up. It’s like exceedingly far beyond, it’s like way over the top. It’s like he’s able to do all of that and more, “according to the power that is at work within us.” This is the power that’s going on in within us. That’s what he prayed for. This is what he’s able to do thru that power in us. “Be”, he says in verse 21, “glory in the church.” Who’s the church? You and me, it’s us. And folks, we’re talking Bible here, this is the God breathed word out to us. Be the glory. Be this weighty heaviness, this stupendous, marvelous thing of God in the church, throughout all generations, in Jesus Christ. And not just in time, it’s forever and ever and ever, and ever. It’s forever. This is being done.
And then he ends by saying, amen. So be that. This is beyond me. This is beyond you. This is beyond, it surpasses knowledge. And it can only come to us by being strengthened with power through His Spirit, in your inner person. This is how you can say, I’m going somewhere with this, according to the will of God, I’m going somewhere! I am, I am. Brothers and sisters, there are no super saints. There aren’t any. It’s all of us. And you know, it’s really going to this. Because it does not yet appear what it is, that we’re called the children of God. Behold, how greater a love the Lord has bestowed upon us, that we should be called the children of God. And it has not yet appeared what we shall be. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him as He is. That 1 John 3:2-3 straight up, this is coming down. And 1 John 3:3 concludes by saying, Everyone who has this hope, this anticipation of the future, is in the process of purify himself, he’s in the process of cleaning up his life in a way that it becomes a winsome and wholesome, reflecting the proper idea of God to people all around.
Father in heaven, who is able for these things? Jesus! Lord, thank you for this truth, may it capture my heart, so that in eating and drinking and living, in talking and treating people and reacting to things, to being angry and being happy, and being sad and being joyful, that a good opinion of God, to the glory of God, is represented, identified. To God be the glory, amen.