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The Lord’s Supper as a Means of Grace (4)

Nov - 27 - 2011
Richard Barcellos

Part 1 can be read here.

Part 2 can be read here.

Part 3 can be read here.

Q: How do the benefits of His death become present? That leads us into our next consideration.

Two texts which speak about the ministry of the Holy Spirit in relation to our exalted Redeemer in bringing mediatorial, redemptive benefits to the souls of believers (Eph. 1:3 and 3:16-17).

Part 3 discussed Eph. 1:3. Now let’s consider Eph. 3:16-17.

16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, (Eph 3:16-17 NAU)

1) Specific Essence of Paul’s Prayer – “to be strengthened with power,” or to fortify with power, to invigorate with strength. We might say that Paul is praying that God would give the Ephesians infused invigoration. Prayer is a means whereby God does something to and in souls.

2) Divine Mediator of Paul’s – “through [or by means of] His Spirit” It is the ministry of the Holy Spirit to invigorate Christians, to infuse power into them. Eadie, 244, “He has free access to man’s spirit to move it as He may, and it is His peculiar function in the scheme of mercy to apply to the heart the spiritual blessings provided by Christ” [emphases mine]. He shall take of mine, Jesus said. The Son of God is the mediator between God and man. The Spirit of God is the mediator between the exalted Redeemer and His people!

3) Desired Location of Paul’s Prayer – “in the inner man,” in the soul, in that part of our being that cannot be seen, cannot be touched; but can feel, be weak, be strong, be empowered, be invigorated, be infused with strength from heaven, and be conformed to the image of our heavenly Mediator. The Holy Spirit does something to souls through prayer.

4) Intended Result of Paul’s Prayer – “so that Chirst might dwell in your hearts through faith” Since the Ephesians were already Christians, Christ already dwelt in their hearts. But, Paul prays that they would be strengthened so that Christ might dwell through faith in their hearts, they, having been rooted and grounded in love for Christ. Lincoln 206, “The verb indicates that the focus of the prayer request is not on an initial reception of Christ but on believers’ experience of his constant presence.” Therefore, the indwelling of Christ must be a thing of degrees. It can be experienced by Christians at different levels and at different times.  By the way, God is said to dwell in places where His presence is uniquely and especially manifested, Ps. 9:11; 2 Cor. 6:16. The goal of Paul’s prayer is that Christ might find a welcome place in the hearts of the Ephesians to make His presence known, felt, and experienced; that their faith might be refreshed and renewed by His Spirit so that they might know the experiential presence of Christ.

1 Corinthians 10:16 along with Ephesians 1:3 and 3:16-17 give us a clue as to the nature of the Lord’s Supper and how the Spirit of God functions in the midst of the Supper in relation to our exalted Redeemer. Believers are united to Christ by faith. Faith is a means through which the Spirit of God brings to the souls of believers the benefits of union with Christ.

One Response so far.

  1. Wayne Conrad says:

    Thanks so much for sharing this teaching. One of the weaknesses of the Zwingli reform was the devaluation of the Lord’s Supper when it becomes only a stirring of a person’s mind to call to mind Jesus death.

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