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Paul on His Knees . . . Again, Part 2

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll
The Truth Network Radio
October 21, 2020 7:05 am

Paul on His Knees . . . Again, Part 2

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll

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October 21, 2020 7:05 am

Becoming a People of Grace: An Exposition of Ephesians

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Are you given to discouragement? You're living in a realm surrounded by self, me, myself, and I. Your life is now submerged underneath the needs that have come from the horizontal.

Get beyond the horizontal or you'll never make it into any phase of the life God has planned for you. The global pandemic that blossomed earlier this year continues to threaten our health and welfare to this day. And for many of us, we're getting a little stir crazy waiting for the crisis to pass. Losing heart is another way to say it. Today on Insight for Living, Chuck Swindoll is teaching from Ephesians chapter 3, where we find an uplifting prayer that's especially relevant for our times. It was offered by the Apostle Paul on behalf of his friends in Ephesus who were deeply discouraged and losing heart.

Chuck titled today's message, Paul on His Knees Again. I want to analyze discouragement and show you how remarkably Paul answers all four of them. When we are discouraged, four things happen.

I analyze this in my own life and I think I speak for you. Something happens physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. And in each case, we lose something. We lose energy physically.

Usually you're not very productive when you are discouraged. You lose inner motivation physically. Emotionally, we lose reality. We lose touch with reality.

We don't feel like we're loved, cared for, even known by God if our discouragement is great enough. Mentally, we lose our memory. We lose our memory. Things we once knew so well, we don't call to mind. We forget. We lose our memory. Spiritually, we lose intimacy. Physically, emotionally, mentally, physically, and therefore we lose heart, which is the Bible's favorite word for the inner person, the core of our inner being.

It's who we are. Interesting, in Paul's prayer, all four are addressed. In this order, we lose our physical strength. And so, not surprisingly, the very first thing he prays for, for his friends in Ephesus, is that he would grant, he as the father, would grant you to be strengthened with power through his spirit. By the way, it's a great prayer to pray for yourself when you're discouraged, or for your friend, or one of your kids, or one of your parents when they are. I pray that God would grant you to be strengthened with power through his spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts.

Physically, we can lose energy, so we need strength. We pray for that. Emotionally, we can lose touch with reality.

Haven't you had that happen? Nobody cares. This is the end. Someone said, if this is the first day of the rest of my life, I'm in for a dismal future. Those little sayings don't work, because you don't feel loved and you don't feel lovely. You don't feel wanted, you don't feel needed. It can happen after you've reared your family and you're now back to the empty nest.

And they're going on, they don't need you like they used to. Now, look at his prayer, that you being rooted and grounded in love. I love that. Rooted is a botanical term, grounded is an architectural term.

Just as you would find in a tree the deep roots that give it stability, and in great structures a fine, solid foundation that give it stability. So love does that for all of us. So his prayer is that you would be rooted and grounded in the soil of love and in the foundation of love. And that's so valuable, when you don't feel loved. That's why it's an emotional thing. You can't go by your feelings. Some days you don't feel loved. Take a marriage, some days I don't feel married. Now I am, I don't feel like I want to cooperate with this plan. Worse, sometimes Cynthia feels that way.

That doesn't mean we're not married, doesn't mean we don't go with it, it means we don't feel like it. Sometimes you don't feel like being a great parent. You don't feel like you mean that much to God.

When you're discouraged you especially are like that. So he said, I pray that they'll be grounded, rooted, and may be able to comprehend with all the saints, I love this verse, what is the breadth and the length and the depth and the height, I think of a cross when I read those words. The breadth and the width, the depth and the height, broad enough to cover whomever, long enough to go beyond any barrier, deep enough to touch any need, any sin, any hurt, high enough to take us all the way to glory. It's all there and it's all surrounding us in His love.

And so mentally he prays that we'll be reminded of that, we'll comprehend with all the saints, and we'll know, verse 19, a love that surpasses knowledge. Isn't that an interesting way to put it? It's beyond knowledge, it's not just something you read in a book and say, oh, I memorized that and it's now a reality.

No, it's not like that. You have to get it. Louis Armstrong was once asked if he would please explain jazz, and he wiped his mouth with that familiar handkerchief and puffed his cheeks and said, man, if I gotta explain it, you ain't got it.

You can't get it. We refer to some people that they just don't get it, remember? It's not that they don't have a knowledge, it's just they don't comprehend. They don't have a clue, our kids tell us.

They don't have a clue. He says, I pray that they will understand your love that surpasses knowledge. Remember the great hymn, oh the deep, deep love of Jesus?

Listen to these words. Vast, unmeasured, boundless, free. Rolling as a mighty ocean in its fullness over me. Underneath me, all around me is the current of thy love leading onward, leading homeward to my glorious rest above. I pray that they'll grasp that kind of deep, deep love of Jesus. I pray that for you. I pray that for you. I want that for you who feel the most distance from God. I want you to understand that the one who knows you the best actually loves you the most, and you can't do anything to make him love you less.

If you never produced another thing of value in your life, it would not affect his love for you one, iota. Isn't that a great thought? You can relax in a setting like that.

It's the most comfortable place in the world to be. Interesting, we don't all become slobs as a result of thinking like that. We become incredibly productive, because in a setting where we are surrounded by this boundless, and unmeasured, and vast, and free love of God, we step up. He prays that that might become a reality. Spiritually, we lose intimacy.

It's one of my favorite words when I think of true worship. You've gone through the motions, haven't you, where it's been more perfunctory? Where you've sung the songs, or you've said the words, or you've taught the class, or you've gone through the course, or whatever, and it's like yawn. What time is it?

When's this over? And at other times, you have drunk at the fountain. Whom have we, Lord, but these? Soul thirst to satisfy.

Exhaustless spring, the water's free, all other streams are dry. John Owen, the great commentator, says, We are never nearer Christ, and when we find ourselves lost in holy amazement at His unspeakable love. That's why I think some of the best moments are in solitude. Look at how he puts it, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.

Pleroma, to the whole essence of God. As all of you know, my family and I lived for over 20 years, a 45-minute drive from the beautiful blue Pacific Ocean. As we were rearing our family while the children were small, we had a friend who provided us for a number of years with an apartment to stay in down at Laguna Beach, one of my favorite little spots in Southern California. Weren't many people there, so it was a great time to kick back as parents, and to watch the kids play in the surf, and make sandcastles, and hang out. We'd get a sandwich, we'd go to, kids loved it because in this little apartment, you'd push B, which didn't mean basement, it meant beach. So they'd say, let's go to the beach. So we'd go down, kids in their little swimsuits and sand all over them.

I remember on one occasion, our little Colleen, she was about six or seven. She was playing at the beach with her brothers and her sister, and having such a great time. We started on our way home, we had finished the day, and had a station wagon full of sand in the back seat, and the kids were asleep. Finally got home, and I didn't know it, but she had taken a quart jar of sea water, put the lid on it, and was carrying it home with her.

So when I tucked her in that night, I noticed it was sitting there on her dresser, and I said, sweetheart, what's this? She said, well, I just wanted to bring the ocean home with me, Daddy. We smiled, but that little jar was filled with the fullness of the Pacific. Of course, not all the Pacific, you can't contain it, but the essence of the Pacific was in that quart jar. And I pray that you will have the essence of God washing over you.

And when you do, there is an intimacy not even known in the husband-wife relationship. It's deep, unmeasured, boundless. Well, a great prayer like this deserves a grand benediction, and this one has one. This is one of my favorite verses in all the Bible. Not my favorite, I don't have a favorite.

People always want me to sign this and put my favorite verse down, so I sign it and put, I don't have one. It's like, which is your favorite child? Well, some days I want to cut the lips off of one of them, and the other day I'm just absolutely mad about them. So I don't have a favorite child.

I love them all. They're different. And this is one of those great verses. In fact, he began by bowing his knee to the father, and he comes back to the father. Now to him, notice the object of the whole thing is the father. The needs all began to dissipate.

The significance of the agenda horizontally begins to fade when the father is in emphasis. To him, to him, you've almost got to read this prayer, I mean this benediction backwards to appreciate the way he writes it. Let's do that. To him who is able to do more than we think. That's a lot right there. Let's add another. To him who is able to do far more than we can think. That's not enough. To him who is able to do far more than we could ask or think.

Now we're involved in this. Him who is able to do the maximum because he is the infinite God now stands ready to hear what we have to say. Able to do far more than we could ask or think, and now able to do far more beyond all that we could ask or think, and if that isn't enough, far more abundantly beyond all we could ask or think. You're like, good night, Chuck, you are super irrigating that verse.

No. It's just full of every possible preposition and adverb he can think of. These superlatives are running off the page because it is impossible to contain an infinite God. So you live with the quart jar size, and you wish for the fullness of him in essence as you bring to him these needs, and please observe the benediction includes according to the power that works within us. What power is that? Verse 16, power through his spirit in the inner man. It is the dynamic that is at work within us and in the process of going through these things, that dynamic kicks in and takes us beyond whatever may be the hang up or the hardship or the current need.

I don't care what you would name. It isn't beyond all you could ask or think or far more abundantly beyond all he could handle. And if that isn't enough, he comes to his favorite word in the first three chapters, and that's glory. Remember we saw it in chapter one? Do you remember?

We got to go look at it again three times. Chapter one, verse six, he speaks of our being set apart, predestined, adopted as sons. Verse six, to the praise of the glory of his grace. Verse 12, to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ would be to the praise of his glory. Verse 14, who was given as a pledge of our inheritance, that's the spirit with a view, to the redemption of God's own possessions, to the praise of his glory.

Verse 21, chapter three, to him be the glory in the church. Of course, in the church. Why not the church? Why the church? It's the only place where two warring parties that cannot get along anywhere else can handle it. Jew and Gentile.

All the peace treaties they can sign, all the hopes that we can build, all the dreams we may desire will not work. But in the church, converted Jew, converted Gentile, in the church we can witness the glory of God at work. And for this, he says, we give him praise. To him be the glory in the church, and of course, in Christ Jesus, because he is the source. He is the one who makes the union between the two otherwise warring parties possible to all generations forever and ever. Literally, unto all the generations of the age, to the ages.

F.F. Bruce renders it, from one age, supervening upon another into remotest infinity. Don't even try to write that down.

Just hear it. One age, supervening upon another into remotest infinity. As far, as far, as far as you can even imagine. And multiple light years beyond that, in either direction, may the glory be to him forever and ever. And the people at Ephesus must have said at this point, Amen!

Wouldn't you think so? Let's hear it. Amen! Amen!

Eugene Peterson renders the last verse. Glory to God in the church. Glory to God in the Messiah. Glory down all the generations. Glory through all the millennia. Oh, yes! Amen! Oh, this is great.

I feel like a cheerleader standing up here right now. Are you given to discouragement? Then you've missed Ephesians 3, 14 to 21. You've missed the whole reason it was written. You're living in a realm surrounded by self.

Me, myself, and I. Your life is now submerged underneath the needs that have come from the horizontal. Get beyond the horizontal. Or you'll never make it into any phase of the life God has planned for you.

This whole third chapter is designed to turn the arrow from the horizontal to the vertical. Linking you with him in such power and confidence that nothing can dissuade you. Are you given to discouragement?

I have three suggestions from what we have read. First, claim his strength. It's not your strength, it's his. You've run out of strength. That's why you're discouraged. Or you're discouraged and therefore have run out of strength.

Claim his strength. Second, remember you're loved. There's a great country western song and I can't remember who sings it. But the great line in it as this singer finishes is that the greatest thing in life is to have been loved by you. That makes a great romantic line, but I turn it vertically and I say, Lord, the greatest thing on earth is to know I've been loved by you. You love me. You know all these rotten things about me, you know all the stuff that has filled my mind, you know the depth of my depravity, and you love me.

You know all the scars, you know all the stuff, and you love me. Remember it. You can't stay discouraged when you call that to mind. Claim his strength.

Remember you're loved. Seek his fullness. Seek his fullness. There's an old legendary story that goes something like this. The devil once decided to go out of business. It's just an imagine.

Yeah, hallelujah is right. So he offered his tools for sale. They were attractively displayed trickery, hatred, malice, deceit, rage, sensuality, and an assortment of other sharp tools, each marked with a price, but sitting in the center was a wedge-shaped, well-worn tool, priced higher than all of the others. What is that? asked a potential buyer. That is discouragement.

Why is it so costly? Because it can do my evil work best of all with it. I can make the lives of many folks seem of no value.

I can make them just lie down and give up and become useless and never realize I'm the one using it on them. Let's bow together. Let's close our eyes. I don't know where you are right now, and I couldn't possibly know the details of your life, but I know this. You're not that great because this earth really shoots us a crooked stick. You're not probably getting what you deserve. You're not appreciated as you should be. Maybe right there in your own home, you're going through a difficult, difficult, discouraging time. You may have discovered that your mate has had an affair, and you're now having to work your way through it. You may be the one having done so. You may be living in the backwash of an ugly divorce.

One of your own children may have told you to get out of their life. Whatever that old sharp tool of the enemy is at work, claim God's strength. Remember you're loved. Seek His fullness, the essence of God available to you. If you've never come to the person of Christ personally, this is the moment.

What in the world are you waiting for? You're surrounded by people who were just like you are right now, and they realized they needed to comprehend what they had never had a clue about before. Christ died to save people like you. By giving your heart to Him, you can become a part of His forever family. Lord, we need your kind of strength because ours is shallow and superficial, and it usually is conditional. We need the reminder of your love because we are by nature prone to wander, prone to leave the God we once loved. And certainly we need the fullness that only you can provide of yourself, and we ask for those things. And we pray that through Christ our Lord, we might know personally what it is to be enveloped in the deep, deep love of Jesus, vast, boundless, unmeasurable, and free. In His name, I pray.

Amen. You're listening to Insight for Living and the Bible teaching of pastor and author Chuck Swindoll. Today Chuck has presented a message called Paul on His Knees Again. To learn more about this ministry, visit us online at insightworld.org. It's been encouraging to focus our attention on a book like Ephesians during a season in world history that's marked by fear and anger.

2020 will be forever remembered as the year of the global pandemic, devastating hurricanes and wildfires, and social unrest in our major cities. So how much better to give ourselves to the one who makes us complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God? Well, to that end, Chuck handpicked a book that he found both uplifting and helpful. On his short list for recommended reading is this inspirational book from pastor and radio Bible teacher, Philip de Courcy.

Before entering the ministry, Philip served on the police force in Belfast, Northern Ireland during intense political upheaval. His book, Take Cover, was written for our times. Chuck said your family needs this, you need this, our country needs this, especially now. To purchase a copy of Take Cover, Finding Peace in God's Protection, call us.

If you're listening in the United States, dial 1-800-772-8888 or go online to insight.org-slash-store. In closing, let me say a word of thanks to our monthly companions and all those who give generously. You're accomplishing far more than you'll ever know because your gift not only allows us to provide these daily visits with Chuck, a small portion is multiplied overseas in our ongoing pursuit of Vision 195. Vision 195 is our stated mission to reach all 195 countries of the world with God's amazing grace. So to become a monthly companion, call us. If you're listening in the U.S., dial 1-800-772-8888 or go online to insight.org-slash-monthly-companion or to give a one-time donation today, go to insight.org. . Tomorrow, Chuck Swindoll continues his study in Ephesians called Becoming a People of Grace right here on Insight for Living. The preceding message, Paul on His Knees Again, was copyrighted in 2000, 2001, and 2009, and the sound recording was copyrighted in 2009 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights are reserved worldwide. Duplication of copyrighted material for commercial use is strictly prohibited.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-02-03 00:21:04 / 2024-02-03 00:30:48 / 10

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