Reflections of a Broken Man


Sermon – Thinking Big, Praying Big by StephenMac
November 4, 2008, 10:45 pm
Filed under: Sermons | Tags: ,

I feel a little self-conscious about posting sermons online, especially as I make no claims about how good they are. But I would love your thoughts. The sermon is the sixth I’ve preached, given to the morning congregation at Liverpool South Anglican Church (http://liverpoolsouthanglican.net.au). Its on Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians in Eph. 3:14-21.Ephesians3 I think that Paul is, among other things, encouraging us to think big, to remember how big our great God is, and to pray accordingly, to remember that our God answers prayers in ways that we could not even comprehend! It was especially challenging, as prayer is something that I struggle with, and so by about my third or fourth reading of the text, when I was really beginning to understand what Paul is actually praying, I really felt the weight of this text. Anyhoo, the moral of the story: the first application in a sermon must always be to oneself (h/t HK for that tip. Thanks brother).

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EBHG

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2 Comments so far
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Some friends of mine recently went to visit a monastery-in the middle of Oklahoma, no less- and we were all floored by one of the monks comments.

They told me that he said that, as monks, they consider their work to be of extremely important power. They believe (and so do I) that as they pray they are doing spiritual warfare.

This is a great way to view prayer, and no matter how fervent or how quiet the prayer is, it is still spiritual warfare. For me, that was a great encouragement to pray more.

Comment by daniellephilippi

I think the two points that really struck me were in 3:16 (to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man) and in 3:20 (Now to Him who is able to do above and beyond all that we ask or think—according to the power that works in you).

The first refers to this great God that we believe in dwelling within us, and therefore strengthening us. So often I feel that I am a broken and sinful man, but I forget the flip side of God strengthening us, with His power, the power that He used to create all ex nihilo with a mere word, the power that he used to raise Christ from the dead. And this power strengthens me in the inner man – the core of my being. And I think this is where spiritual warfare fits in. Paul reminds us throughout Ephesians that there is a spiritual reality behind the worldly events. Being strengthened in the Spirit is the precursor to the battle language that is picked up in Eph. 6:10-20 (similar phrase in 6:10).

The second part reminds me that prayer is answered, and that it is answered in ways that I could never imagine. My prayers are the often so small… God does more than I imagine – why not pray big? Why not, instead of praying for 1 conversion, or my neighbour’s household, or my street, why not pray for the 50000-odd people in my area? Do I think that God is not powerful enough do reach them? And if this is the power that works in me, then do I really have an excuse for inaction?

I think, though, I would like to see prayer as spiritual warfare expanded out a bit more. Does prayer always have to be against something? Sure, my sermon took this passage and challenged our church to pray big in regards to outreach and evangelism, and in one sense, this is against the devil who holds many people in slavery. But what does it mean that prayer is spiritual warfare? Will this challenge the “materialist” society that we live in, where even believers see their faith in terms of tangibles (numbers saved/attending church etc…)?

Comment by StephenMac




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