Like all good pastors and missionaries, the apostle Paul loved Christ’s church. He labored and loved and prayed with all that he had to see Christ formed in God’s people. All Paul wanted was to see every Christian experience the same kind of passionate, personal walk with Jesus that he had been blessed to enjoy. As we see again in today’s passage, Paul was constantly talking about God’s great love for His adopted sons and daughters, praying on his knees that they would truly understand that love with their minds and hearts and feel the strength of it in their souls every day. It surely distressed and burdened Paul whenever he heard of Christians not living in the joy of the Lord, not walking by faith in the Spirit, returning to their old lives of worry and doubt, of sin and selfishness. Paul’s heart was burdened by the very same thing that burdened His Heavenly Father’s heart – the spiritual condition of Christ’s church. Inside Paul there ever burned a fire to see Christ’s people be all that they could be in Him, that they would really be “filled with all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:19).
Your pastors, Bible study leaders, teachers, and many of your parents feel this same spiritual burden for you. As a Christian school, we desire to help your families and churches to train you up in the fear and knowledge of the Lord. We do not want you to wander through your years at NRCA and beyond being tossed about by the lies of this world and Satan, but to truly become “rooted and grounded in love” and to really “be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man” (Ephesians 3:17,16). Developing a strong, joy-filled, consistent walk with Jesus as a teenager today is definitely difficult, but with God’s help it IS POSSIBLE! We are believing God that all of you can be filled with God’s fullness if you really want it. If you are willing to obey the Lord in faith, to put in the time to chase hard after God and let Him work in your life, you can enjoy the spiritual power and joy of the abundant life that Jesus wants for you. May God give you His love, strength, and fullness today!
The Text (Ephesians 3:14-19)
14 For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom every family 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. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, 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.
Questions to Think About
- What might be holding you back right now from enjoying an abundant and joy-filled Christian life?
- Think about your friends and classmates. Which ones seem to be “rooted and grounded” in the love of Jesus, and which ones seem to be always drowning in the muck of sin and worldliness? What do you think causes students in the same Christian school, exposed to the same daily spiritual opportunities and challenges, to be so different in their words, actions, thoughts, and desires? How can you truly be part of the group that follows hard after God?
- We should take Paul’s words in verse 14 about bowing his knees before God literally. If an aging, imprisoned, beat down man like Paul could get down on his knees before God, certainly most of us as students and teachers can find times to get down on our knees and even our faces before the Lord in prayer. The kneeling or prostrate posture communicates humility and submission before God and total dependence on Christ in a very powerful way, not just to others but to our own hearts. Try getting physically low before God in prayer this week and see what happens!
- The reference in verse 15 to “the whole family in heaven and earth” would include believers alive on earth, believers alive in heaven with the Lord, and possibly also the whole angelic host. Christians and angels alike bow their knees before the Lord Jesus Christ, whose name is right now honored by all in heaven and by some on earth. One day, though, ALL of the earth and hell will bow their knees before that name which is above every name, some people and spirits in joyous victory, and others in reluctant defeat (Philippians 2:9-11).