Sermon Notes - He Is Able

God is Able

Ephesians 3:14–21 (NIV)

Main Idea In this second prayer of intercession, Paul prays that God will impart his power to these believers and touch their hearts deeply with a greater awareness of the divine love for them. Paul directs his prayer to the Father and seeks the Spirit’s help in pouring out the divine power and love to the people. At the same time, Paul earnestly desires that the resurrected Christ will be close to them, imparting his power and love to them and reigning in every area of their lives. – Clint Arnold

Ephesians 3:14–21 (NIV)

14 For this reason I kneel before the Father,

15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth
derives its name.

16 I pray that out of his glorious riches

  • he may strengthen you with power
    1. through his Spirit
    2. in your inner being,
  • 17 so that Christ may dwell
    1. in your hearts
    2. through faith.
  • And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love,


18 may have power,

  • together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp
    1. how wide
    2. and long
    3. and high
    4. and deep
    5. is the love of Christ,
  • 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge


—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.


20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.



Pray for the Power of God Pray for God to strengthen our lives with his power. As a prelude, however, it is important to pray that God will expand our awareness of his ability to intervene and help. This is part of Paul’s burden in the doxology when he praises God as the one who is so mighty that he can accomplish things in our lives far beyond what we can even imagine by virtue of his incredible power (3:20). This is also his prayer in the second request, when he uses the four dimensional terms to describe the vastness of God’s power and asks God to strengthen the readers in order to grasp the extent of his power. Because this was also the central concern of the first intercessory prayer, Paul regards this knowledge of God’s incredible power as a foundational part of the Christian life.  Why is this the case? Because there is supernaturally powerful opposition struggling against all that God is endeavoring to accomplish in and through his people (6:10–12). This is the reason it is important that we entertain no doubt that God is infinitely more powerful than these malicious foes. It is also the reason why it is of paramount importance that we depend on the power of God and not on our own sense of strength. Paul thus prays that God will strengthen these believers with his mighty power. We need his power to resist the evil one, to rid ourselves of sinful patterns of behavior, to appropriate the virtues of Christ, to build up the community of believers, and to fill the world with the good news of the gospel. Those believers who lived in Ephesus and along the west coast of Asia Minor would have had a keen sense of their need for divine power. Having turned to Christ from a background of experiences in knowing the power of spirits to cause harm and wreak havoc, they needed reassurance about the vastly superior power of the new God they now served. They would have been aware of their need for God’s power to live the life that God has called them to live. The cultural situation of people living in the West is substantially different. There is not the intuitive awareness of the power of the devil and the working of evil spirits. In fact, the Enlightenment influence has created widespread doubt as to whether, in fact, the powers of evil even exist. Because of this, it may be appropriate also to pray that fellow believers will become increasingly aware of the evil supernatural realm, the threat it presents, and how it works. In the rugged individualism of the West, our temptation is to think that we can live the Christian life in our own strength. Thus, the proliferation of “self-help” books, seminars, and media presentations appeals to our sense that inner resolve and determined effort are all that really matter. This approach, however, lacks the biblical and real perspective that there is a uniquely spiritual dimension to life that must be acknowledged and taken into account. Paul’s message for the Ephesians and for us is that we are weak, vulnerable people who were once dominated by the power of sin and the power of the evil one, but now have been rescued from these overwhelming influences by the powerful, redemptive hand of God. Yet we remain weak and vulnerable people in and of ourselves. We desperately need the power of God to repulse the influence of sin and the devil in order to live as the sons and daughters of God in the midst of a perverse generation. (Clint Arnold)