And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. (Rom 5:3-6)

Let not those who hope in you be put to shame through me, O Lord GOD of hosts; let not those who seek you be brought to dishonor through me, O God of Israel. (Psalm 69:6)

Sunday, October 19, 2014

The Inner Man; Ephesians 3:14-22

Below you will find the sermon notes for Sunday October 19, 2014.
As posted these notes are in rough draft form, and may differ significantly from the actual delivered sermon.  When the sermon is prepared, often room is left for flexibility of delivery and time constraints.

The Inner Man Ephesians 3:14-21

Last week we covered Paul’s motivation and position of the heart to pray for the Church.
I do hope that this week you applied a likewise attitude, that you simply made room in your life to pray for the church.  This is crucial.  There has never been a more urgent time in North America to pray for the church.

Today I believe we need to take on Paul’s second concern of his prayer message to us, the need to be concerned with The Inner Man.

Let us read Ephesians 3:14-21

Paul’s concern is not about health, or even evangelism, but that as a man, one would be totally given over to God-in the Holy Spirit.  This is our goal.

The concern for the Inner Man is the concern for the spiritual.   It is well beyond the superfluous of the flesh.  It is a kingdom minded prayer that is concerned with the heart and very being of a man or woman.

Church fathers and Puritans called the care of the Inner Man- Soul care; the taking care of the very soul of people.  If you gain the whole world and yet lose your soul, you profit nothing.

What is the Inner Man?
The Inner Man is essentially who you are.  It is the seat of thought, emotion, and reasoning.  It is your heart nature and propensity toward sin or holiness.

People sometimes say, “I need to find myself,”  “I need to discover who I am.”  What this means is they are restless and empty.  They long to discover what will make them happy, what will take away their sorrow.  They try all sorts of manmade distractions.  Satan will even provide a few.  A self-seeker is usually on a course of finding how to best please the self. 

However, the inner man that Paul speaks of goes to the heart in a deeper fashion.  Paul addresses that longing of man, but he takes a short cut.  Rather than utilizing the resources of King Solomon to try every desire and be found lacking, Paul shows us in scripture that the only way of satisfaction in the Inner Man is to find Christ.  Paul shows that the heart is the root cause of all our longing, and by addressing the Inner Man one is made complete.

When we are born, our soul lacks Christ.  And we are helplessly unaware of that need.  This is the state of sinful man.  This person desperately needs Jesus;
  • ·         For faith
  • ·         To become rooted and grounded in love (Desire for Christ)
  • ·         For comprehension (Understanding of Christ)
  • ·         Knowing Christ (Experience)

The filling of Christ that is given prepares a man for verses 19 (complete in Christ) and 20 (Becoming a worshipper of Christ).

A failure to discipline the Inner Man , for the Christian, results in disaster.  As Christians, our Inner Man REQUIRES change.  The change from the old man to the new man requires action.

The Christian is quite the opposite of the fleshly man.  The Christian is completely aware of a need for Christ; the greater your spirituality, the greater your recognition of your need for Christ.
This is them evidenced in your soul by
  • ·         Reliance upon God
  • ·         Spiritual Fruits (Love, Joy, Peace, patience, Faithfulness, Gentleness, Self-control)
  • ·         Humility and an aversion to talking about yourself.
  • ·         A solid prayer life
  • ·         A desire for the word of God
  • ·         A life of worship.
  • ·         Perseverance
  • ·         And giving grace and mercy to even those who do not deserve it.

Soul Care of your Inner Man requires;
  • ·         Confession of sin
  • ·         Repentance of sin
  • ·         Expressing the heart in prayer
  • ·         Honesty before God
  • ·         Thankfulness
  • ·         Rest
  • ·         Faith in God
  • ·         Love at all possible levels of Agape, Philleo love
  • ·         Cleansing your life from sinful influences
  • ·         Seeking God for direction
  • ·         Focusing on important issues rather than trivial
  • ·         Hope being placed in Christ rather than on worldly desires
  • ·         Standing on the promises of God.

Soul Care requires that the inner man be of great concern.  Religion cannot do that, neither can a lazier fair attitude. 

Do you not desire for your soul, the essence of who you are- to be complete in Christ?  To find joy?  Then, you must work for it.  Fight, sacrifice, pursue, and God will make a way. 

The Inner Man must yield to Christ.  You cannot love Christ and the world.  Flee the world and pursue Christ.

Christ saves and begins working on the inner man- You have hope.
  • ·         Romans 12:2 Be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Essentially transformation of the heart.
  • ·         James 1 Ask of God and He will give you wisdom to stand under the trials of the day.
  • ·         Colossians, put off the old and put on the new.
  • ·         Pray without ceasing, is to keep your mind and heart constantly Kingdom Oriented.
  • ·         Philippians 4:8-9 Think on these things
  • ·         Mathew 6:33 Seek ye first the Kingdom of God.

The inner man finds his peace when He is mindful of the spiritual.  This is the bulk of Romans chapter 8.

All of these verses share the implied severity of a need to be disciplined in working our inner man to conformity with Christ.

Therefore, what will you do with your Inner Man?  How will you manage your own soul care?

Monday, October 13, 2014

Prayers of the Heart Ephesians 3: 14-21

For those interested, below are the notes from the sermon yesterday at Ekron Baptist Church.
They are in rough form, but contain enough information to jog your memory.

Prayers of the Heart Ephesians 3: 14-21

Paul bows his knees.
            More a heart position than a physical position.
            How do we address God?
                        We address God  based on two understandings.
·         What we know and believe about God
·         What we know and believe about ourselves

Think of Paul’s position, as a prisoner, yet praying for others.

Being one who intercedes for others he is not shy of telling them that he prays for them.
·         This encourages those whom you pray for.
·         It hold us accountable in prayer.
·         It gives us a chance for a rapport on the activity of God.
·         It leads to worship.  It is part of worship.
·         It opens prayer for and with one another.
·         It adds perspective on the relationships between each person.

His prayer is deliberate.
            Formal vs Casual
We can err on two extremes

Formal prayer- tends to focus on the right words.  It is fretful with constructs, methods, and being correct in all it says and does.  It treats God as someone who is distant.

Casual prayer- treats God like a common buddy. Lacks depth of thought.  Often is glib, forgetting the promises of God and our duty to God.

Prayer should be treated as a privilege to provide on someone else’s behalf. 
Prayer is a joy to seek out a holy loving God in order to express your love for someone in order to see their life grow even further.
·         It supports the weak.
·         It seeks holiness for all.
·         Prayer of this nature has great confidence in God, little in the flesh, but great hope for the future.
·         This prayer longs to have eyes to see and be awed by the working of God in His providence.
·         Prayer has a dependence upon God rather than on methods.

We can gather that his deliberate prayer is not once and a while, but persevering and repetitive.
Deliberate prayer takes its role seriously and believes it is essential to see God at work.

What does Paul pray for?
            Not himself.  He prays for the inner man of the Ephesians.
He prays for the things of the Heavenly Kingdom, the things spiritual, not physical.
            Too often we are caught up praying with our eyes on the world we can see, touch, taste, and experience.  But this world is not our home.  In prayer our eyes ought to be on the eternal.  We should be most concerned with the spiritual nature of man.
            Mind you, we do, can, and should pray for the physical.  But if that is all we pray for it seems that there is thus a lack of the spiritual in our lives. 
            What you pray about reveals the desires of your heart.
            An evaluation needs to be made.
·         How often do you pray?
·         How do you approach God, is it with bended knees of the heart?
·         What types of words do you use, formal or casual?
·         What is your concern in prayer?
·         Do you pray for sanctification?
·         Do you pray for things of the flesh?
·         Do you seek out the Heavenly promises?
·         Do you pray for your enemies?
·         Do you pray till the Spirit moves?
·         Do yu keep your eyes open afterwards to see the Hand of God move?
·         Do you use answered prayer to worship?
Paul prays that they would pray like him.  Thus he sets an example.