This sermon was based on Ephesians 3.
The Mystery of the Gospel Revealed
1For this reason I, Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus on behalf of you Gentiles— 2assuming that you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace that was given to me for you, 3how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have written briefly. 4When you read this, you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ, 5which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit. 6This mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.
7Of this gospel I was made a minister according to the gift of God’s grace, which was given me by the working of his power. 8To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, 9and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God, who created all things, 10so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. 11This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord, 12in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him. 13So I ask you not to lose heart over what I am suffering for you, which is your glory.
Prayer for Spiritual Strength
14For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, 16that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
20Now 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, 21to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
What is Intercession?
- Intercession is acting or intervening on behalf of another.
- Daniel sees the state of his people — broken and lost – and he stands before the Lord to act on their behalf: Confessing their sin; Praying that the Lord will bring the exile to an end; Ultimately Daniel is praying for their restoration
- Daniel was standing up on behalf of those that couldn’t or wouldn’t. That is intercession.
Why is it Needed?
- Our world is broken. There is war, climate change, all sorts of prejudice, injustice, exploitation, corruption. There’s people who are broken and lost. We need to see our world restored. Not to an earlier simpler time, but to what it was intended to be.
- Like Daniel, as an exile people we have 3 choices, and what goes in from the world around us will determine which of them we choose.
- The three choices we have are: to hide in our bunkers – become protectionist, the chief motivation is fear, Christians in a bunker have forgotten their mission: to assimilate – to blend in and become unrecognisable, the chief motivation is to be accepted, Christians who assimilate have forgotten their identity: to be faithful, to chose to love the people around us but stand apart, to stand int he gap, the chief motivation is love for God and a desire to see his kingdom come.
How do We do it?
- Jesus is the announcement and the coming of the kingdom of God — the one through whom we can be fully restored.
- Jesus stood between two worlds. He stood in the gap between mankind and God, but did so on the cross, taking all the sin and shame that was ours upon himself.
- We were so much worse than we could ever have imagined. Yet despite this, we are loved more than we could ever have dared to believe. Once this truth takes root and we allow it to shape us and our thinking, we can choose to faithfully stand in the gap ourselves.