Ephesians 3:14,15,18,19b Non-believers’ salvation is the church’s greatest blessing
For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that you… may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth,… that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
When non-believers receive salvation, the church will experience unprecedented blessings. This is what drive Paul’s resolve to preach the gospel to Gentiles. Despite Paul’s own imprisonment and troubles, he did not indulge in praying for his own release, but wastes no time by praying for Gentile conversions so that they may fill the earth with God’s fullness. He prays that Gentile believers may see God’s vision of evangelising the world around them; He prays that they may be filled with the Spirit to preach the gospel in their family and community through which the church will experience the fullness of God’s presence and blessings.
For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named.
Paul prays with all earnestness, the same way Jesus prays for all believers just before He goes to the cross, “Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see (and attain) my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.” (John 17:24). This is the prayer of one who is selfless and visionary; the kind of prayers that God will not resist.
That you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
Paul prays that you (Gentiles) may be filled with all the fullness of God. As Gentiles form the majority of the world’s population, it is only through them that creation may be restored back to glory. The “fullness of God” refers to the state where the peoples of the earth respond to the gospel and are adopted into God’s household. Habakkuk 2:14 says, “For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.” Therefore, it is through Gentiles and world evangelism that God’s fullness and God’s Kingdom may be restored. Paul says creation will receive its full restoration only at the revealing of sons of God, “For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God” (Romans 8:19). Jews play a role in leaving a heritage and model for holy living for the church so that all may walk according to God’s laws. However, Jews could not evangelize the world because their mindset and lifestyle are too exclusive. Hence, the Gentile race remains the key to worldwide evangelism so that creation may be filled with the fullness of God upon their conversion.
You may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth,
Paul has in mind a description of the physical dimensions of creation: the breadth and length and height and depth of creation. It is only through evangelizing the Gentiles can the world be restored to the fullness of God. He prays that his hearers may be empowered to visualize the movement of the gospel to all corners of the earth filling it with God’s truth and redemption. Prophet Isaiah sees a vision of a new world order where the fullness of God dwells, “For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth, and the former things shall not be remembered or come into mind… no more shall be heard in it the sound of weeping and the cry of distress… They shall build houses and inhabit them; they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit” (Isaiah 65:17,19,21).
1. When we pray for the concerns of God’s Kingdom, our personal concerns will be taken care of. The believer’s maturity can be observed through the prayers he makes. A person’s prayers reflect the prime concerns of his heart. Do his prayers constantly surround the cares of life, of health, of career, of coping with daily problems? Or is he more concerned about the bigger picture of God’s redemptive workings around him?; Of how he could better contribute to the organization or community? If a person has God’s concerns, God will certainly have his. Jesus teaches,
And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words. So do not be like them; for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him. Pray, then, in this way: “Our Father who is in heaven. Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:7-10)
We are not to repeat our life’s concerns in our prayers because God already knows our needs before we ask Him. Instead, we must seek to understand God’s plans on earth and be instrumental in fulfilling them. Jesus often prays for more laborers to enter into the harvest field of evangelism. Paul often prays for the doors of the gospel to be opened in different cities. When we pray for the concerns of God’s Kingdom, our personal concerns will be taken care of.
2. Unless evangelism becomes our lifestyle, we will still be waiting to experience God’s fullness of blessings in our midst. Paul asks believers to visualize the movement of the gospel in our world. Unless Jews include Gentiles in their community, they cannot experience God’s fullness. Likewise, unless we include non-believers in our community through evangelism, we will not experience God’s fullness in our midst. When we become focused on the vision of preaching the gospel where we are, we will experience abundant life in increasing measure.
1. Fill our prayer items with the things that concern Kingdom building, with the well being of others and less with our personal concerns. You will then see your needs being met in a miraculous way.
2. Ask God to show you who you could reach out to and write them on a list. Make plans to reach out to them with genuine friendship; to know them as a person and see how God leads you. And you will be pleasantly surprised by their openness to your friendship.
Dear Lord, give me the ability to build friendships with the people around me. Help me to be genuinely concerned about their welfare. Use me to speak encouragement and to heal their sickness and emotional wounds. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.