So then I had a thought, stuff it, I'll just post what I scribbled down yesterday for my sermon this week. This is basically step 1 for how I prep sermons. I look at each individual verse/passage and jot down what first comes to mind OR I write what I want myself to do/look further into for this particular verse (those parts are written in italics). This is what I wrote.
Preliminary Thoughts on Ephesians 3:14-21
“For this reason I bow my knees before the Father…”
1) Paul is praying… again. He is praying because of what he previously said earlier in ch.3 Quick recap of what he said. Why is he praying? What is he praying for?
“from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named…”
1) God is the Father of EVERYONE – the righteous and the unrighteous, believers and non (e.g. like the brothers in the prodigal son). Everybody belongs to God whether they know it/believe it or not. We all have a personal relationship with God. But we need a saving relationship.
“that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 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 the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God…”
1) God gives out of his glory to get… more glory. Whatever strength/power/spirit/faith/understanding/fellowship/love that has been given to you through Christ, God MUST get the glory for it. ALWAYS. What separates a true Christian from the world is that he will give God all the glory. Why? Because anything we get from God has been provided to us FROM the riches of God’s own glory in the first place… nowhere else has it been obtained.
2) Love surpasses knowledge. Ephesus was one of the most intellectual and learned towns in the ancient Roman world. The Apostle is the smartest person to walk the streets of Ephesus and he says something astounding and, what they would have thought, foolish. He says to a bunch of intellectual snobs that the love of Jesus surpasses all their intellect – all their knowledge. Today this would be akin for me to walk up to Richard Dawkins or, if he were still alive, Christopher Hitchens, just anyone who prides themselves in their intellect, in their knowledge of things, and say, ‘Forget all that! The love of Jesus surpasses your knowledge!’ I would be mocked. I am very glad and am happy to announce that to belong to Jesus you don’t need to pass an exam; His love surpasses that!
3) Apparently you can be full with all the fullness of God. What does that mean?
“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.”
1) It is when we get V14-19 right, it is when we LIVE in that, BY that, FOR that, it is then that we live V20-21 AND more. We can only comprehend a little bit of what God does. When we see God doing one thing, He is actually doing a thousand things… and more. He always does more through our actions later through the generations to come. Always has. Always will. Focus in on these examples (throw stories out there from the old and New Testament, hopefully in a way that leads into Jesus triumphal entry. Some examples post New Testament from church history could be useful too, story of amazing grace reaching central Australia, etc). Jesus came through the line of generations; the Old Testament – people who lived this stuff. And today he continues to work His way through the generations to come. This truth is existent in all times. The keywords in V21 are “throughout all generations.”