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Got Any New Tools Lately?

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Mail Box #85

Got Any New Tools Lately?

An Assignment

Presented to

Dr. Peter R.H. Ralph

Canadian Theological Seminary

In Partial Fulfilment

Of the Requirements for the Course

PR 701 Expository Preaching

By

Wayne Regehr

March 14, 2007


Table of Contents

Introduction. 1

Exegetical Analysis. 2

Observation and Questions. 2

Word Studies. 4

Concept Linkages. 5

Sentence Diagrams. 5

Exegetical Big Idea. 5

Homiletical Analysis. 6

Initial Thoughts on Target Audience (TA) 6

Initial Thoughts on Homiletical Emphasis. 6

Developing the Homiletical Big Idea. 6

Homiletical Big Idea. 6

Sermon Outline. 8

Title: Got any new tools lately?. 8

Introduction. 8

Detailed Outline. 8

Conclusion. 10

Appendix A: Sentence Diagrams. 11


! Introduction

This paper presents the work involved in preparing to preach a sermon taken from Ephesians 1.15-23. The structure of the paper is in three sections: The exegetical portion where I work to understand what the passage means; the homiletical portion where I work to understand how this passage best applies to the target audience of the sermon; and finally, the message outline from which I will preach.

In addition, in this introduction, the English text of the passage is presented as well as my initial thoughts on the passage prior to beginning sermon preparation.

Ephesians 1.15-23

15 For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, 16 I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. 17 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. 18 I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, 20 which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.[1]

Initial Thoughts on the passage

Paul is praying for the believers at Ephesus so that they will know God better, to have hope, and understand the power we have as believers.


! Exegetical Analysis

Observation and Questions

Scripture: 15-16

15 For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, 16 I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers.

Observations

Paul has heard of their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Paul has heard of their love for all the saints.

Paul has not stopped giving thanks for the Ephesians.

Paul remembers the Ephesians in his prayers.

Paul tells the Ephesians how he has been praying for them.

Questions

What is the reason? Look back to preceding verses.

Is love for the saints confirmation of their faith?

Why not love of God?

What does Paul mean by all the saints that the Ephesians love?

Is giving thanks and remembering you in my prayers different?

How often does Paul pray for them?

How did Paul hear about them?

Scripture: 17

17 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.

Observations

Paul’s requests are of God.

Paul keeps asking.

Paul asks on the Ephesians behalf.

Paul asks for the spirit of wisdom and revelation.

Paul asks for the spirit of wisdom and revelation so that the Ephesians will know God better.

Questions

Is Paul speaking appropriately of the God of our Lord Jesus Christ when he says “the God of our Lord Jesus Christ”? Does that accurately reflect the relationship between Father and Son?

Is the spirit of wisdom and revelation the same as the Holy Spirit?

Scripture: 18-19a

18 I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe.

Observations

Paul prays for the eyes of the heart.

Paul says that enlightened eyes of the heart provide knowledge of the hope to which you were called.

Questions

What is meant by the eyes of the heart? Where does this term come from? See also 1 Clement.

What is the hope to which he has called you? ἐλπὶς τῆς κλήσεως Also see Eph 4.4

Which calling is Paul referring to?

What is meant by the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints?

What is meant by his incomparably great power for us who believe?

Why does Paul pray for the long term issues instead of short term issues?

Scripture: 19b-21

That power is like the working of his mighty strength, 20 which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.

Observations

The NIV uses a simile between the power available for the believer and the power of resurrection.

It was God’s power exerted in Christ.

The mighty strength raised Christ from the dead.

The mighty strength seated Christ at his right in the heavenly realms.

Questions

Why is the power reference a simile in the NIV?

Is the section “far above all rule and authority, …” a standard piece? If so, where does it come from?

Scripture: 22-23

22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.

Observations

God placed all things under Christ’s feet.

God appointed Jesus to be head over everything.

God appointed Jesus to be head over everything for the church.

The church is his body.

The church is the fullness of him.

The church is the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.

Questions

How does appointed Christ the head over everything benefit the church?

How is the church the fullness of him?

If the church is the fullness of Christ, how does this interact with “him who fills everything in every way”?

Word Studies

Calling – κλήσεως

Lemma - κλῆσις

New Testament Verses using κλῆσις

Romans 11.29 for God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable.

1 Cor 1.26 Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth.

1 Cor 7.20 Each one should remain in the situation which he was in when God called him.

Eph 1.18 I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints,

Eph 4.1 As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.

Eph 4.4-6  There is one body and one Spirit— just as you were called to one hope when you were called—  one Lord, one faith, one baptism;  one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

Phil 3. 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

2 Thess 1.11 With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may count you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may fulfill every good purpose of yours and every act prompted by your faith.

2 Timothy 1.9 who has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time,

Summary: In looking through these passages, it appears calling is used in a number of ways. Our modern use in the church is for ‘calling’ to represent a vocational call. Paul’s use of the term in Ephesians is more focused on one call for all the faithful (Eph 4.4-6). This suggests the ‘calling’ represents a call to salvation.

Concept Linkages

Resurrection and exultation (v20) seem to be linked to Paul’s writing in Col 3.1-4: Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

Sitting at the right ( v.20 ) and placing all things under his feet (v22) seems linked to Ps.  110.1: The Lord says to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.”

Sentence Diagrams

The sentence diagram of the passage is presented in Appendix A. The format used presents both Greek and English. The English is a very rough translation and is only presented to help with approximating the Greek text.

Exegetical Big Idea

Subject

How did Paul pray for the church at Ephesus?

Complement

…. By praying to God the Father with thanksgiving and that the Ephesian Christians might know God better and know better what he has provided through Jesus Christ.

Exegetical Big Idea

Paul prayed for the church at Ephesus with thanksgiving and that the Ephesian Christians might know God better and know better what he has provided through Jesus Christ.
Homiletical Analysis

Initial Thoughts on Target Audience (TA)

  • TA are fellow students in the seminary
  • All of the class intends to be involved pastoral ministry
  • How will the TA pray for those affected by their ministry?
  • When will they start praying for them?
  • Are most prayers of a pastor for the church ones of specific needs of day to day or for the spiritual development of the faithful?
    • Should we be praying primarily for sick kids and lost jobs? Or should spiritual development and maturity be our focus?

Initial Thoughts on Homiletical Emphasis

  • My initial thoughts are to teach this passage as strategic praying vs. tactical praying
  • I am going back and forth on whether to use deductive methods or inductive methods in delivering this sermon.
  • In thinking about approach, I came to the realization that in teaching about prayer, I am far safer to explore this inductively than to teach it deductively.
  • After mulling this over for a good week, I have finally achieved a certain level of comfort in using the Abraham Maslow quote – hammer and nail – and exploring this inductively.
  • I now have reworked the transitions and title to play off of the tool theme.

Developing the Homiletical Big Idea

Rather than focusing on the exegetical big idea that Paul was expressing to the Ephesians, we are going to explore his techniques of prayer and use them as a model to develop our own prayer life.

In this way, the Homiletical Big Idea and the Exegetical Big Idea are linked, but not as directly as a typical sermon. This is a risk I will take based on the class of seminary students.

Homiletical Big Idea

As we develop our prayer life, let us add the tools to our pouch that allow us to pray early and often in a way the changes lives and is build on a solid foundation.

Purpose, Desired Response, and Strategy

The purpose of the sermon is to broaden the approaches to prayer for my classmates and myself.  Prayer is a critical element of ministry and yet, I would suggest it is not stressed in the life of many students at CTS.

The desired response from the sermon will be that the listener and the preacher will look to prayer with a renewed sense of what it could be in their life and ministry. If they can apply one new aspect of prayer in their life, I would be ecstatic.

The strategy to get them to look at prayer again is to use the inductive method and ask questions that they have also asked of themselves. As we explore Paul’s prayer, I want to engage their curiosity and join the exploration with me.


! Sermon Outline

Title: Got any new tools lately?

Introduction

I was sitting in church a few weeks ago listening to what is called, “The Prayer of the People”. As the prayer progressed, we prayed through the list of sick and dying, we blessed the government leaders, and we requested help in our ministries. Although these are good things to pray about, I wondered if this was all there was to prayer: getting a list of needs, reciting them with the right tone and intensity; and using the right spiritual words to encapsulate the request. I wanted to look beyond this model. I needed a new approach. I wanted something more.

A wise man once said, “That if the only tool you have in your pouch is a hammer, you will tend to see every problem as a nail”.

In the next few minutes, I would like to explore, another approach to prayer and hopefully we can put some more tools in our collective pouch.  

 

Let’s turn to Ephesians 1:15-23 to examine the Apostle Paul’s approach as he prayed for the church as Ephesus.

Detailed Outline

Read Scripture

Ephesians 1.15-23

15 For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, 16 I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. 17 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. 18 I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, 20 which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.

Pray

Transition: If we are looking for new approaches or tools, I have a few questions that can hopefully start the exploration process.

When should we pray?

Do I wait until a problem appears and then pray? Do I need to know their detailed needs before I can pray for them? Can I pray for people I don’t know?

  • Early
    • 15 For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints,  16 I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers.
    • Illustration: My internship in the Congo - early prayer
    • Am I praying for my church soon enough? When I hear of their faith, their love, am I offering up thanksgiving for them?
  • Often
    • Not stopped – sounds like a lot.
    • Illustration: Airline – upgrade – “I said Thank You”
    • When we understand the significance of something, we don’t stop saying thank you.

Transition: We see that Paul used the tool of praying for the church early and often.

How should we pray for the church?

Is it just about the day-to-day issues in life - kids getting sick, husbands working too many hours and relationships faltering, job loss and the rest of life? Those are good things to pray about, but should it be more than that?

  • To Know God
    • 17 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.
    • Relationship
    • Illustration: Jan and spending time – not the grind of life – but us.
  • To Know what God has provided
    • 18 I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe.
    • Awareness of
    • Illustration: Gordon Brown – telling his kids about their riches

Transition: Paul was not praying just for day-to-day life, he was praying for the things that would change their life. That sounds like a great tool to add to the pouch.

                                                                                                                          

What should we base our prayers on?

Is it ok to ‘wing it’ when we are praying? Is it appropriate to make it up on the fly when we pray for others?

 

  • Solid Foundation
    • 19b That power is like the working of his mighty strength, 20 which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.
    • Illustration: Concrete pilaster – 2 inches short
    • Paul prayed with a solid foundation. He was not winging it. He knew his confession and that formed the support for his prayer.

 

The last tool we will look at today is praying from a solid foundation.

Conclusion

In conclusion, how then should we pray? As we follow Paul’s example, we see that:

  • Paul prayed for the Ephesians early and often.
  • Paul prayed for the church in ways that would change their life.
  • Paul prayed from a solid foundation.

HBI

As we develop our prayer life, let us add the tools to our pouch that allow us to pray early and often in ways the changes lives and built on a solid foundation.


! Appendix A: Sentence Diagrams


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