TEXT FOR THIS WEEK LESSON: EPHESIANS 3:14-21; PHILIPPIANS 1:3-11; COLOSSIANS 1:9-14
CENTER TRUTH: CHRISTIANS SHOULD PRAY FOR ONE ANOTHER TO KNOW GOD, SHOW LOVE, AND LIVE EXEMPLARY LIVES.
KEY VERSE: COLOSSIANS 1:9 FOR THIS CAUSE WE ALSO. SINCE THE DAY WE HEARD IT, DO NOT CEASE TO PRAY FOR YOU, AND TO DESIRE THAT YE MIGHT BE FILLED WITH THE KNOWLEDGE OF HIS WILL IN ALL WISDOM AND SPIRITUAL UNDERSTANDING ( KJV).
PAUL'S PRAYERS FOR CHURCHES
LET'S GET STARTED
Paul must have had a rich prayer life. He was in prison during the time in which he wrote the letters we are studying this week, yet he did not engage in self-pity. Instead, he wrote positive, joyful, endearing words to those he had ministered to, and he prayed for them. perfects we might be moved by his example to consider our own prayers. How much time do we spend in self-pity or in "me-first" prayers? Shouldn't our prayers include the needs of the people around us, those we encounter along the way, both past and present? Have you ever wondered whether or not the prayers you offer for yourself and others represent the priorities of God? As you reflect upon the apostle Paul's prayers for the churches to which he wrote and had ministered, consider the critical importance of these prayer emphases to your own life.
TO KNOW GOD IN FULLNESS
EMPOWERED TO UNDERSTAND GOD"S LOVE (EPHESIANS 3:14-19). Paul's highest priorities for the churches he established were eternal. He was concerned for the spiritual growth of believers, and he portrayed the Church as a magnificent mystery and cherished expression of divine love. Paul prayed that the Ephesians be strengthen with power by God's Spirit in their inner selves. Paul called upon God to established the Ephesians believers in love. Paul prayed that they would "grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge." ALL GLORY TO CHRIST (EPHESIANS 3:20-21). The apostle Paul's prayer in Ephesians chapter 3 ends with a doxology affirming Paul's confidence in God to accomplish that which is beyond all he not only asks but conceivers in his heart. There is no limit to God's power. The only limitations lie with humans, who lack sufficient ability to ask, or even imagine. The power inherent within Paul's prayers, and ours, is not an impersonal outside force. rather, that power is found in the workings of God within us as we pray and believe boldly and confidently. The power is due to the fact Christ lives within His followers and His Spirit can make the most bold requests a reality.
REACT ? How would you described God's love to an unbeliever? To a new Christian?
TO ABOUND IN LOVE
PAUL'S JOY AND CONFIDENCE (PHILIPPIANS 1:3-8). Paul wrote his letter to the Philippians from a Roman prison Epistles," Philippians is one of a number of Epistles known as "Prison Epistles." yet many of these letters are filled with expressions of joy. Paul's prayer began with thanksgiving and expressions of joy. Paul founded the church at Philippi at the beginning of his second missionary journey, and as he was writing this letter more than ten years later, their relationship with him was unchanged. Paul also expressed his confidence that God, who had begun a good spiritual work in them, could be counted on to finish it. He understood that the work of salvation was the work of God and not of mere people. KNOWLEDGE, DISCERNMENT, AND INSIGHT (PHIL.1:9-11). Following his expressions of thanksgiving and joy over the Philippians, Paul transitioned to prayer. he asked God to give them knowledge, depth of understanding and the ability to discern the pure from those things that would hinder them. Paul was praying for the church to understand the will, the works, and the ways of God. The word "discern" can be translated "judge," or "perceive," The "knowledge," "discernment," and "insight" referenced in this passage have to do with moral choices rather than mere intellectual understanding. Paul prayed for the Philippians" so they would be "blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that come through Jesus Christ,"
REACT ? How had the Philippians demonstrated love for Paul?
TO LIVE WORTHY OF THE LORD
COMPREHENDING GOD'S WILL (COLOSSIANS 1:9-10) The Westminster Shorter Catechism, written in 1646 and 1647 as an instruction for Christian life and belief, asked a key question; "What is the chief end of man?" The answer given is powerful. "Man's chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy Him forever." Paul prayed that God would fill the Colossians with the knowledge of His will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. TO SHARE IN THE INHERITANCE (COLOSSIANS 1:11-14) The apostle Paul reminded the Colossians of their spiritual qualification in Christ Jesus, declaring them to be qualified to share in Christ's inheritance. God's people have been made holy by Him, separated unto the Lord to be a people for His possession. We once belonged to the kingdom of darkness, but now are joint heirs of the kingdom of God's son Once we were under Satan's power, but now we are God's. The work of Christ on the cross has purchased fully our everlasting salvation. We have been fully reconciled to God. In response to His gift, we are now called to honor and reflect our kingdom citizenship. we must live worthy of our calling.
REACT ? How does the Holy Spirit help you understand Scripture and find God's will?
WHAT IS GOD SAYING TO US?
Paul always prayed for the spiritual growth of his readers. While God delights in meeting all of our needs, our first priority should always be to grow in Him.
LIVING IT OUT
(1) Set aside time each day to study God's Word and apply it to your life. (2) Pray that God will help you to grow in Him every day. (3) Provide spiritual encouragement to a new believer.
Monday That I May Know Thee Exodus 33:12-17 Tuesday Love the Lord. Deut. 6:4-9 Wednesday Find the knowledge of God. Proverbs 2:1-7 Thursday Exhortation To live Worthy. 1 Thess. 3:9-13 Friday Increase in Love. 1 Thess. 3:9-13 Saturday: Abound in the knowledge of God. 1 Peter 1:2-8
See You In Sunday School Next Week!!!!