Connect Notes: Know Your Strength
Bible Verses: Ephesians 3 (focus 3:10-21)
We want our people to know they have the strength and power to overcome any situation they face in life. Paul shows that the Church is to portray the manifold wisdom of God to the rulers and authorities (3:10) and Paul prays that the people would be strengthened in power by the Spirit (3:16), have the power to grasp how wide Christ's love for us is (3:18) and to know that he can do immeasurably more according to His power at work in us (3:20).The greater our knowledge of His might and power that we have in Him, the more confidence we have when situations come against us.
Paul’s instructions are very poignant because there is a long list of trials he dealt with: culture clash, earning a living, being arrested, being physically attacked (beatings and stonings), being in jail, natural disasters, vehicular accidents (in his case it was a boat), being wrongfully judged, disagreeing with friends, and physical illness. And he lived through and overcame it all, faithful to God, after having a transformative meeting with Jesus and then carrying on with the Old Testament and prayer.
Weekly Outline: Ephesians 3:14-21
14 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, 16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
20 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, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
Paul shows that the Church is to portray the manifold wisdom of God to the rulers and authorities (3:10). Paul prays for spiritual strength of the believers. That they are:
- strengthened in power by the Spirit (3:16)
- have the power to grasp how wide Christ love for us is (3:18) and
- to know that he can do immeasurably more according to His power at work in us (3:20).
Paul writes in Ephesians 3 his prayer for believers - all believers, for the past 2,000 years and counting - and his technique/template for letting God transform you in the midst of all your circumstances.
- Strengthened in the Spirit
Paul is clear, the strength you need for your life comes from the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 3:16). As we pray the Holy Spirit strengthens us, equips us and empowers us. I love that the whole book of Ephesians is that kind of prayer, repeatedly Paul states “I have not stopped praying’ ‘I keep asking’ ‘I kneel before the Father.’ The key to your strength is the ability to humble yourself in prayer.
As Paul is praying and as we read throughout the book of Ephesians, the Holy Spirit gives him revelation of how powerful and incredible God is (Ephesians 3:15-16). Paul in his lifestyle of prayer in Ephesians shows us the example of being strengthened and getting fresh revelation from the Holy Spirit. How does Paul know who God is, who Jesus is? He doesn’t have a New Testament to read - he prayed! His lifestyle of prayer is the catalyst where the Holy Spirit can reveal the Father and Jesus Christ to him.
Follow the example of Paul and commit to spending time in prayer, talking and listening to the Holy Spirit. He is God, He has all the wisdom and strength that you need, so keep your relationship strong. Just spending time with a friend in a crisis makes you feel stronger, and He is the ultimate friend.
- Strengthened in the knowledge of His love
Ephesians 3:17-19 …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, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
If you need strength today, then get a fresh revelation of God’s love. Paul shows that we need to be rooted and grounded in love and to comprehend how incredibly deep, long and wide the love of Christ is. It goes beyond our knowledge. Strength comes when we are filled with the fullness of God and his love!
When troubles come, knowing that God loves you can be the first big doubt that comes your way. We can gloss over what Jesus did for us because it didn’t happen before our eyes, or like some great act that someone did for us in the past, it can slip from our attention. But love is who God is. Every day we can seek a fresh revelation of how much He loves us and fill our hearts up on His fullness.
- Strengthened in His mighty power
Ephesians 3:20-21 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, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
The greater our knowledge of His might and power that we have in Him, the more confidence we have when situations or problems come against us. Strength comes from knowing he can do more than we ask, think or imagine according to HIS power at work in us. We don’t need to be all knowing and doing everything in our own strength, because when we are weak, He is strong (2 Cor 12). When we are weak, He is glorified in displaying His power.
2 Corinthians 2:9-11; Psalm 28:7; Jeremiah 32:17
Connect Group Discussion Questions:
- Why is having a revelation of God’s love going to strengthen us?
- Discuss ways anyone has ever felt God strengthening them.
- What do you pray for your fellow believers when they are facing great trials? Does it match what Paul prayed for us here in Ephesians?
- Is there any area you lack confidence that God has the strength and power to come through for you? How can you increase your confidence in Him in this area?
- With your group decide on a next step, such as making a plan, of when and where you will spend time with (and listening to) the Holy Spirit this week, to increase your confidence in His strength and power.
- How could we pray for people not yet in a relationship with Christ to become aware of Him; enlightened by Him of His reality?
- How would you describe to someone the way in which God is your strength?