October 12, 2014
"Brings Us To Our Knees"
Pastor Kenny Lee
"Brings Us To Our Knees"
Pastor Kenny Lee
If you are new to this congregation, we are going through the book of Ephesians. Ephesians is written by apostle Paul. Last week, we did Ephesians 3:1-13. Paul is talking about the immensity of God. He’s talking about how wonderful God is. That we’re chosen, how the father loves us. Then as Paul is thinking these thoughts, how the Bible is so perfectly written, he gets off topic a little bit. There’s a caveat to his thought. That was last week. Now Paul is back on track. This portion starts off with, “For this reason I bow my knees before the father”.
What brings us to our knees?
By way of introduction, if you’ve lived long enough, you know that life can be hard. Life can be tough. But at the same time, life is delightful too. For example, when I was a child I really wanted a bike. I really wanted a bike for a long time. So my dad would go around and my dad worked really hard. And then somehow, he found a bike. It had a pink banana seat, purple all around. It was a girl’s bike! And someone was throwing it out. I looked at that bike and I was like, “Dad, this wasn’t what I had in mind”. So the very next week, my dad presented me with a bike. It was different. It was dark green. The banana seat was all of sudden shiny black. So basically my dad had painted it and was like, “How about now??”. But the tires were still girly so he put on knobby wheels. Thick, dirt wheels on a girl frame bike. Needless to say, I didn’t get down on my knees. But I did ride it for a long time. Complaining. My friend had a BMX dirt rider. My bike could do some of the things the BMX did but it didn’t quite have the same flair in it. But I still rode it. Then one day many years later, I came back home from school. It was right around my birthday. I would come back home and opened the door – lo, and behold a white and red bike. It was beautiful. It was a dirt bike. I thought my eyes had deceived me. It was white framed with red seats and rims. BMX handles and knobby tires. On the side it said, “Haro”. Woa! And it had three speeds! One speed would have been good enough but it had three! I got on my knees and screamed. That was the day joy drove me to my knees. I was so happy back then.
Thanks be to God, that nothing tragic happened in my life. I didn’t have anyone that close to me, so far die. I’m very thankful for that. But I know that soon enough, that will happen. I’m getting up there in age. My parents are getting up there. My aunts and uncles too. But I’ve seen footage, I’ve seen my friends’ parents pass. I’ve seen the way they react. And for my friend whose mother died, I saw go on his knees. The weight of the sorrow was just too much for him and he just went on his knees. And if you are old enough, you know that emotions can do that. Emotions are extremely powerful. We live in an emotionally driven world. In this world we applaud emotions. We have sayings like, “Follow the desires of your heart. Your dreams will come true.” Somehow we applaud this. But we also know that emotions can lead us into a bad situation. It’s very confusing. We’re in a world that applauds emotions but we’re also in a world that know we ought to be kind and cautious. How do I know this? The philosophy of the world is in pop culture. Christina Aguilera said, “Oh, my body says let’s go but my heart says no”. Somehow my emotions says “let’s go”, but my heart is saying – “Woa! That could lead us into a bad place!”. We have Christians that claim to be born again but often our Christian walk mimics the world’s way of thinking, rather than scripture’s way of thinking. We get so caught up in our emotions, that there is no room for God in my decision making. There’s no room for the church to say, “Hey, maybe you shouldn’t think that way.” There’s no room for true accountability. We tend to get overwhelmed by our emotions. And whenever we’re in thought, we tend to peace out. Dip out. “I’m having a rough time. I need to be by myself. Does that make sense?” No, not really. We base our thoughts. We base our decisions by our emotions. By our environment. With me at the center and no room for God. No room for scripture.
What brought Paul to his knees
Why do I talk about this? In our chapter we see Paul is really emotional right now. He’s overwhelmed by emotion. So I’m not saying emotion is bad. Emotion is good! I myself am an emotional guy. I teared up when Old Yeller died in the movie! I’m not a stoic person. So emotions are not bad. That’s not what I’m saying. So today we’re going to see what drove Paul to his knees. What drives Paul to his knees? We see verse 14 “For this reason I bow my knees before the Father,”. Isn’t Paul supposed to be on his knees? He’s an apostle. So he’s supposed to be on his knees, right? But you have to remember, that Paul is a person. And number two, Paul is a Jewish man, a Pharisee. And one thing Pharisees know how to do is pray. Now, in the Jewish culture there are five positions in prayer. The most common position is hands in the air. Standing with your hands in the air. Second is standing with your hands on your waist. Third, is being prostrate – laying down and praying. The other is just sitting and praying. Five, there’s kneeling. That’s what I want to concentrate on.
Jesus fell on his knees to pray. When did Jesus kneel down and pray? Jesus describes in Matthew 18 when a servant fell on his knees to pray. The servant fell on his knees before his master and pleaded “Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.” This servant goes before a king, falls on his knees and begs. In Luke 22, Jesus withdrew a stones throw beyond and knelt down and prayed “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him. 44 And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground. So what does it mean when Paul is on his knees? First of all, it’s the immensity of God’s word that drives Paul to his knees. It’s the immensity of God’s word that drives him to his knees. He talks about the apostles’ words. The prophets’ words. That’s scripture. And upon realizing God’s word. Upon realizing the immensity of God’s word, that brings him down to his knees. And that’s the reason why Bible study is so important. That’s why quiet time is so important. That’s the basis of our church. So get plugged in. It’s really important. If you’re not part of a Bible Study, gosh. We study mathematics. We study English. We study all these things to become a career oriented person. But how about just becoming a person? You think somehow becoming a doctor will make you a person? No, it’ll just make you a doctor. Knowing God’s word. Knowing how you were created. That’s what makes you a person. So please, that’s why it’s important to be part of a Bible Study. Because if you’re not part of a Bible Study, how can anyone keep you accountable?
God and His word at the center of your life
So first it was the immensity of God’s word that brought Paul to his knees. Second, Paul has a good sense. Because of God’s word, he realizes who God is. He knows who he is talking to. He knows he doesn’t need a high priest. A good Hebrew man would go to the high priest if he wanted to talk to God. But what Paul knows now is that Jesus Christ is his high priest. You know that Paul is able to do? For the first time in his life, Paul is able to go to the father and pray. He is able to go to God himself and pray. Do you know what that means? And that drives him to his knees. Listen. “For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family[c] in heaven and on earth is named,”. See he knows the immensity of God. And what is Paul praying for? Paul is praying for, not his will but God’s will. Why is that important? He’s in jail. If you were in jail, would getting a 30 on your MCATs or getting a B average in school be that important? For man who is in jail, he’s going to pray for a crowbar to escape. But Paul doesn’t pray for that. Paul prays, not my will but your will. “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”. You try to make life work without God at the center, it will not work. And I guarantee you that. You know why? The Bible says that. Life will not work with you at the center. It cannot work. No way. You have a good job? A great spouse? Great parents? Good kids? It just won’t work. Without God at the center, your life will not work. You will fail. People have been trying it all along. God designed this world with Him at the center. Not you. Not me. That’s how God designed this world. And unless God and God’s word is at the center, your life will not work. Is that a simple enough application?
What Paul earnestly prayed for
How can Paul rejoice when he is in jail? How can Paul rejoice when he is in prison? Because God is at the center. How can there be joy when he is being beaten forty lashes, minus one? Because God is at the center. And what’s the heart of Paul’s message? Paul’s message is that, these gentiles may have faith -
17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. You know, my parents love me. I’m an only child. They love me. They came down here last week and I was so nervous. My parents are late comers to Christ. The thought of me becoming a pastor was not appealing to them. And that’s an understatement. Just imagine your one and only son being a pastor when you just think that the church is full of hypocrites. Full of not no nice people – because we’re sinful you know. My parents came to America and tried to raise a son into a doctor, lawyer, engineer – something good for society. But the son wants to become a pastor. So, my parents would came and I was so nervous because they’re finally seeing what I’ve been doing for the past five to ten years. It was nerve wracking being up there. Your parents are watching you and in the back of my mind I’m thinking – “I wonder what she’s thinking”. You guys know the feeling right? And I think my parents are still questioning God due to a combination of growing up in a Buddhist home, having a tough life. Somehow it hardened her stance with church and with God and God’s people. But even when it comes to the subject of their only son, my say they pray for me. They say, “The one thing that I pray for is you. I pray that you get a good job. I pray that you meet a good girl. I pray your children do well. I pray that you may prosper. I pray for you. I pray for you”. No other prayer. Just me. And that’s what we do right? We pray about things that mean so close to us. So dear to us?
What do you pray for? What do you ask from God? Paul prays 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.” So when you see that, we may be tempted to think. He’s an apostle. That’s what he’s supposed to do. But no. When you see who Paul is, Paul is a Hebrew of Hebrews. He’s a Pharisee. And he’s praying for people that used to make fun of him. Looked down on him. Used to look down on these gentiles. But Paul is in jail, soon to be on death row. But for Paul, there’s nothing more important to him than these Gentiles. Just like for my mother, there’s nothing more important than me. Do you know how he is able to do that? Do you realize how Paul is able to do that? The only way he can get out of himself is because he experienced something. He realized that in scripture, that God – the almighty God that he’s praying to, sent His one and only son. To die for him. That God’s son became human. Right now, if you see Jesus right now what do you think Jesus is? Jesus is a man. But He humbled himself. He became man. He was raised by people who He created. He was beaten in prison and eventually crucified. And the reason why Jesus Christ did this, is to seek and save a lost world. To seek and save you and I. Did Jesus Christ want to die? Does He have masochistic tendencies? Does He like to beat Himself up? NO! That’s why in Luke 22 it says, “41 And he withdrew from them about a stone's throw, and knelt down and prayed,42 saying, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” 43 And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him. 44 And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.” Because of the Father’s will, He would eventually go and die. But do you know what Jesus Christ prays for as He is dying? Jesus Christ, as He is being crucified, looks at the world – young and old, everyone. They were all gathered to crucify Jesus that day. Everyone. Jews and Gentiles – who hated each other had one thing in common – they wanted to crucify Jesus. They agreed on nothing. But on that day, they agreed that Jesus should die. As His hands are being nailed opened, He looks at the world and this is what He says, “Father, forgive them. Father, forgive them for they do not know what they do”. Paul knows that. And because of he’s been given mercy, he can give mercy. Do you know the mercy of God? Do you have a relationship with God? I pray that you know the grace of God. I pray that you know the mercy of God. If you don’t, come talk to me. I’m alright! I want to talk to you. Please come and talk to me or Pastor Brendon. And experience the love of God. Try it! Get off your stupid high horse. This is not the place to do that. This is a matter of life and death. Take off your pride. It’s alright. Be honest! You can say, “I just don’t believe. I have doubts”. That’s a good place to start. You say, “I believe but can someone overcome my unbelief?” That’s a great start too.