Rabbi Schneider - Strengthen Your Faith
Now many of you know what the term Messianic means. I just introduced myself as Messianic Rabbi K.A. Schneider. The term Messianic, the way that we use the term, beloved, simply refers to a Jewish believer, in this case teacher, in Jesus. Some people are still trying to figure it all out. Beloved, I am a Christian. I'm a Jewish Christian. I receive Jesus just like Gentiles receive Jesus. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God, that He's God in the flesh; that He's the prophesied fulfillment of the Tanakh, or the Old Testament; that He is the Messiah for both Jew and Gentile alike. Paul was a, was what you would call a Messianic Jewish believer. Peter, the apostles, beloved, Jesus Himself, right, came in the flesh as a Jew. And so what we're doing here through this ministry is we're helping believers, Gentile and Jew alike, understand the New Testament Jewish roots of their faith.
Even as we're looking today in the Book of Ephesians, we read many different innuendos that Paul speaks of in the Book of Ephesians concerning the mystery of how Jew and Gentile become one in Messiah. Jesus is the fulfillment, beloved, of all that God prophesied in the Old Testament when he spoke about the seed of Abraham coming to the earth and blessing the whole world. Jesus is that seed. And so as we continue today down this journey to understand the Jewish roots of our Christian faith, we're looking here at Apostolic Prayers.
And we're continuing this series on Apostolic Prayer today in the 3rd chapter of the Book of Ephesians. I encourage you to get this entire series because the truths that I'm teaching in this series, beloved, are truths that are good to be reminded of over and over again as long as we're on this earth because Paul teaches us through the prayers that he prays to the Father on our behalf, those things that are most central in God's heart for our lives. And whenever you're praying God's desire for it to be fulfilled in your life, you can be assured that as you ask Him to fulfill His desire for your life He is gonna do it. He's gonna complete what He started in you; very, very critical and very important.
So without further ado, I'm gonna jump into Ephesians, chapter 3. I'm gonna pick up where I left off last week. I'm gonna begin reading in verse number 14. I covered some of verse 14 last week, but I want to read it to put things in context for where we're gonna go today. The grass withers and the flowers fade, but the Word of God abides forever. Hear beloved, now the Word of God: For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man. I want to pick up today on a concept that I didn't spell out last week.
Notice that Paul uses the word 'glory' here. He's asking that Father God would grant us, through the riches, get it now in verse 16, of His glory to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man. Think about this. Paul is asking that we'd be strengthened, get it now, by the very glory of God. I'm asking, Paul said, that through the riches of His glory that He would strengthen you with power in your inner man. Again I want to encourage you to get this entire series because I talked a lot about some of the key concepts here last week. But today I want us to focus on this word 'glory' which I didn't speak of last week. Glory is most often seen in Scripture when God makes His power, listen now, manifest in our lives on the earth, in a way that's experienced. In other words, more often than not, when we see the term glory used in Scripture, it, it has to do with God visibly making Himself seen or experienced in human beings' lives.
And so what Paul is asking for here is that you would experience the power of God. Paul said, Through your glory, which again is God's manifest power in such a way that you and I experience it. Paul is saying here, I'm asking that they would experience Your power in their inner man. This is not just something that we think about. It's not just a doctrine. It's not just somebody that we wish for. Paul is asking that we would be brought into the very experience of His power on the inside. You see, beloved ones, God, our God, the God of the now is not just to be studied in terms of what He did for people in the past. We don't just relate to our God through what He did for Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Peter, James and Paul. And we don't just look to our God for what He's gonna do when He returns. But our God is the God of the now. And because of His glory working in the lives of His people, now we can experience Him now. He's not the God of yester year, and He's not just the God of tomorrow. He's the God of the now.
And so when Paul prays that He would strengthen us through the richen, riches of His glory in our inner man, Paul is asking that our lives would be changed here and today. See this is so critical. People that are alive for Christ, people that are excited about Jesus in this world, they're experiencing the God of the day; the God that is making Himself known to them in the present. And this is what Paul was asking, that as we journey with Him in our present experience, we'd be brought into a deeper and deeper relationship with Him that would be felt. Let's continue on. Paul says once again: ...that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit... The Hebrew word for spirit is Ruach. It means breath. Jesus breathed on His disciples at the end of the Gospel of John, and then He said, My peace I give to you. Receive the Ruach HaKodesh, the Spirit of God.
God literally is breathing His own life into us. The Bible says we've been made, listen now, we've received an impartation of His divine nature; that you receive, beloved, His divine nature imparted into your life. When Jesus breathed on His disciples and He said, My peace to you, He was speaking into their inner man, rooting and grounding their inner man, get it now, in Shalom, which is the Hebrew word for peace, meaning completeness and wholeness. You see, God, in strengthening us in our inner man, which is what Paul is praying for here, that He would grant you according to the riches of His glory to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man; by being strengthened in our inner man by His Spirit, which again is what Paul is asking Father to do for us, by having this happen in our lives, listen now, we become comfortable, hear me, in our own skin.
Many of you have heard that expression before. Someone's comfortable in their own skin, meaning they're comfortable with themselves. You see, the world outside us is coming at us so intensely and from so many different directions. There's so many things pulling for us, so many things calling to us, so many of us have been brought out of ourselves. We're looking to the world for affirmation. We're looking to the world for our cues. We're looking to the world to affirm us. We're measuring ourselves by the world so that we're not really comfortable in our own skin because we're living from the outside in rather than from the inside out.
You see, Paul says, I am asking Father to strengthen you in your inner man by His power through His Spirit. What Paul is asking for here is that you and I would come to dwell, listen now, on the inside where Christ is, and that we would live lives, get it, from the inside out rather than from the outside in. Do you know, as we become aware of our thoughts, as we become self-aware by the Holy Spirit, we'll begin to see how often times we're not living life from the inside out, but we're living life from the outside in. We're thinking if we go over there we'll be satisfied. If we eat this we'll be satisfied. If we call this person on the phone we'll have more peace. People that smoke cigarettes, if I take that cigarette it will give me peace. If I get that job... Whatever it is, if you'll really become self-aware and get discernment, you'll realize that a lot of the way we function as human beings that have not been transformed is we function as those that are living from the outside in rather than from the inside out; looking to the world to affirm us, looking to the world to give us identity, looking to the things of the world to give us peace rather than living from the inside.
Paul was praying that you and I would be strengthened on the inside so that we could dwell on the inside where Christ is and abide in His peace and become comfortable in our own skin. I remember years ago I was with a young person, actually one of, someone that is, is part of our extended family. And they, you know, they wanted to go to this place. They were so, you know, anxious wanting to get to this place. And then as soon as we got to that place, it wasn't 10 or 15 minutes that they got real anxious. They wanted to go to the next place. And then we got to the next place, and in 10, 15 minutes they were so anxious. They wanted to get to the next place. And the delusion that they were operating under that many of you perhaps operate under, is that when I get there, I'll have peace. And people are continually running, thinking that if I can get that or when I get there, I'll have peace.
Here's the problem. Wherever you go, there you are. Let me say it again. People are under the delusion thinking that they could just get this, if they could just get there, they'd have peace. But as soon as they get that or get there, again they're looking to get to the next place or to the next thing because the anxiety never leaves them. And the delusion is if we can get there we'll have peace. But the problem is, wherever we go, there we are. We carry that same anxiety with us. So the truth that Paul was praying for is that we will be strengthened in our inner man by God's Spirit and find true peace that is within us, and it's not of, beloved ones, the world.
Let's continue on: ...so that Christ might dwell in your hearts through faith... We're strengthened in the inner man. This causes us to have a supernatural faith. ....and that faith, he said, will be rooted and grounded in love. Let me put it in context. I pray, he said, that He would grant you, that God would grant us, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ might dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of God which surpasses knowledge, so that you will be filled up with the fullness of God. And so, this strengthening of the inner man results first in faith, and then in love.
You know, Jesus said all the gifts of the Spirit would pass away. All the gifts are gonna pass away. What's gonna remain is hope, faith and love. It's interesting to note here that being strengthened by God's Spirit in the inner man results in faith. You see, faith is a thing. The Bible says faith is. Faith is a thing. Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the assurance of things not obtained. Faith is, faith is a thing. Faith has substance. Faith has substance. It is real. It has a spiritual fiber, if you will. Faith is a real thing. It's power. It allows us, beloved, to think God's thoughts and to believe what God believes, and to desire what He desires. And it comes from God's Word. But it also comes from being strengthened on the inside. When someone is strong inside by the power of God's Spirit, they automatically have faith. There's a life within them that exudes out of them that gives them faith. And this faith connects us to love, because faith believes all things.
It's impossible to have faith and fear together in the same spot. In other words, faith casts out fear. Love casts out fear. Fear is the opposite of faith, and faith is the opposite of fear. So when we have faith, it's because we're believing that we're safe. It's because we believe in God's goodness. We believe that God is good, that we are safe and protected. And faith assures us of His good purpose and His protection in our lives. In other words, if you look at a young child that's raised in a safe home, they feel safe. They trust in their mom and dad's love. They have faith that tomorrow's gonna be a good day. And because they feel safe, because they are experiencing the goodness of their mom and dad, because they know that they're loved, these little children that grow up in this type of environment are loving.
And so when we believe by faith in God's goodness, when we believe in His promises, when we believe in His Word, when we know that we're safe, and we know that we're protected, when we know that we're loved, when we know that we are loved, rather, when we know that we're loved, what's gonna happen is love is gonna come from our own life. The opposite is true, right. If somebody has a mindset they don't trust anybody around them, they feel unsafe, they feel like unless I take it no one's gonna give it to me, they're not gonna walk in love, right. They're gonna walk in self-protection, and be defensive in aggression and ambition. They're not gonna walk in love. But someone that knows that they have everything like Jesus in John, 13, it says there: Jesus knowing that He had come from God, knowing that He was going back to God, and knowing that the Father had given Him all things, He girded Himself with a towel and began to wash the disciples' feet.
John tells us, before Jesus washed the disciples' feet that Jesus knew that He had come from God, that He know He was going back to God, and that He knew the Father had already given Him everything. And because of that He knew He was loved. He knew He was safe. He knew where He was going. He knew He had everything. He was free to love and free to serve. And so for you and I, when we're strengthened in faith, we believe God's good, we believe we're going to God, we believe God's gonna supply all our needs, it gives us the ability, beloved, listen now, to open up in love and to care about other people. And the older I get in faith, the longer I grow in Christ, the more I realize that love truly is the answer, and the central, and the aim to everything. After all, our faith culminates, in Revelation, 19, with the marriage supper of the Lamb. What is marriage? It's the divine celebration of love.
And so Paul prays here in Ephesians, chapter 3, that we'd be strengthened in our inner man, and that being strengthened we would have faith, it would produce love, and that we would know the height and the depth and the breadth and the width of the love of God. What is more satisfying, beloved ones, than to know the love of God? What's more satisfying than that? Truly love satisfies. You see, we were created for relationship. And when you and I know who we are to the Father, when we know how precious, how special we are, when you know that you're chosen, when you know that Daddy's gonna take care of you, when you know that His goodness will surround you all your life, when we know that He will supply all our needs according to His riches in glory, and when we really believe these things because we've been strengthened by His Spirit in our inner man and now have the power to take ahold of these things and really believe them, when we really believe these things because we've been strengthened by His love on the inside, we're gonna be free.
You see the Bible says, beloved ones, that Jesus came to set us free. Jesus said you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free. I want you to be free today. As you focus on praying for yourself and for others that know the Lord that you love, these same prayers, beloved, that the apostle prayed, I want you to know, you're gonna grow in freedom. You're gonna grow in love. Your faith's gonna be strengthened. And you're gonna become a greater and greater blessing to other people. Many times people focus many of their prayers on temporary things; things that are important but things that are only temporary; things that are happening right now.
I want to ask you, would you shift your prayer life and focus your priority prayers on those things that matter forever; those things, beloved, that will affect your walk with God until the day that you leave this world? The things that we're talking about today; things like being strengthened by His Spirit, things like knowing His power at work in your life, things like being strengthened in faith, things like being released in His love. Paul ends this prayer by saying, I pray that you would know the height and the depth and the breadth and the width; that you would know the fullness of God's love at work in your life. Beloved, what could we want greater than that?
Father God, we love You today. Thank You, Father, for giving us purpose and hope. Father, we pray right now that You would continue to open us up to Your love; how deep, how wide, Father God, is the love of Your people in Jesus. Father, I ask right now that you would bring all of us into a new dimension of understanding how much You love us and how deep it is. Father, we love you today. Thank You for all these things in Yeshua's name.