I. "WHEREFORE I DESIRE THAT YOU FAINT NOT AT MY TRIBULATIONS FOR YOU."
A. At the beginning of the chapter he called himself a prisoner of Jesus Christ for the Gentiles.
1. Much of the persecution against Paul was over the fact that he preached the gospel to the Gentiles.
a. He even had problems with those in the church.
b. Many in the church who had a background as Pharisee's, felt that you could not be saved unless you became a Jew.
c. They felt that salvation was for the Jews only.
d. James had suggested to Paul to avoid any controversy that he demonstrate that he was still a Jew by going through Jewish rite of purification.
2. The Jews who were not Christian's could not stand it that Paul had gone to the Gentiles with the gospel.
a. When Paul declared that Jesus had sent him to the Gentiles it created a riot among the Jews.
b. They had already tried to kill him because they thought that he brought a Gentile in the temple.
B. This was behind Paul's being in prison in Rome awaiting his appeal to Caesar.
C. In his second Corinthian epistle he recounted some of tribulations he endured for taking the gospel to the Gentiles.
Of the Jews five times received I forty [stripes] save one.
Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep;
[In] journeyings often, [in] perils of waters, [in] perils of robbers, [in] perils by [mine own] countrymen, [in] perils by the heathen, [in] perils in the city, [in] perils in the wilderness, [in] perils in the sea, [in] perils among false brethren;
In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.
Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches.
Who is weak, and I am not weak? who is offended, and I burn not?
If I must needs glory, I will glory of the things which concern mine infirmities.
The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is blessed for evermore, knoweth that I lie not.
D. Paul said, "Which is your glory."
II. "FOR THIS CAUSE I BOW MY KNEES UNTO THE FATHER OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST."
A. Paul's prayer life.
1. Kneeling is a sign of submission.
2. There are many scriptures that speak of kneeling before the Lord.
And it was [so], that when Solomon had made an end of praying all this prayer and supplication unto the LORD, he arose from before the altar of the LORD, from kneeling on his knees with his hands spread up to heaven.
For Solomon had made a brazen scaffold, of five cubits long, and five cubits broad, and three cubits high, and had set it in the midst of the court: and upon it he stood, and kneeled down upon his knees before all the congregation of Israel, and spread forth his hands toward heaven,
And at the evening sacrifice I arose up from my heaviness; and having rent my garment and my mantle, I fell upon my knees, and spread out my hands unto the LORD my God,
O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the LORD our maker.
I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, that unto me every knee shall bow and every tongue shall swear.
Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime.
And he was withdrawn from them about a stone's cast, and kneeled down, and prayed,
And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.
But Peter put them all forth, and kneeled down, and prayed; and turning [him] to the body said, Tabitha, arise. And she opened her eyes: and when she saw Peter, she sat up.
For it is written, [As] I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.
That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of [things] in heaven, and [things] in earth, and [things] under the earth;
B. Paul's prayer list.
Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers;
For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers;
I thank my God upon every remembrance of you,
Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy,
We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you,
We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers;
C. Note that Paul's prayers were to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
1. In the 12th verse Paul speaks of the boldness of access we have in coming to God through Jesus.
2. In speaking of prayer Jesus said, "And whatsoever you shall ask the Father in My name, that will I do that the Father might be glorified in the Son."
3. I do not make a legalistic thing about this, but it would seem that our prayers should be addressed to the Father, to whom we have access through Jesus.
4. In the gospels many requests were made to Jesus.
a. The Canaanitish woman who said, "Lord, have mercy on my daughter." and who finally cried, "Lord, help me."
b. The blind man that cried, "Have mercy on me, thou Son of David.
5. An interesting thing to me is the Jew who has such reverence for the name of God that he will not seek to pronounce it, and in writing will not even write God in his letter but leaves out the vowel, writing G-D. Yet he dares to approach this holy and awesome God in his sinful state seeking to be justified by his good works.
D. Jesus was often claiming that God was His Father. We are studying the eighth chapter of John this week, and look at how many times in that chapter alone He refers to God as His Father.
And yet if I judge, my judgment is true: for I am not alone, but I and the Father that sent me.
Then said they unto him, Where is thy Father? Jesus answered, Ye neither know me, nor my Father: if ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also.
Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am [he], and [that] I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things.
I speak that which I have seen with my Father: and ye do that which ye have seen with your father.
Jesus answered, I have not a devil; but I honour my Father, and ye do dishonour me.
Jesus answered, If I honour myself, my honour is nothing: it is my Father that honoureth me; of whom ye say, that he is your God:
III. "OF WHOM THE WHOLE FAMILY IN HEAVEN AND EARTH IS NAMED." WE BELONG TO THE FAMILY OF GOD.
A. This is not a verse that supports the doctrine of the universal Fatherhood of God.
1. That is, that all men are the sons of God. Some are bad sons and some are good sons, but nontheless sons.
2. Jesus said to the Jews, "You are of your father the devil, and his desires you do."
B. The reference to the whole family is the whole family of God made up of both Jews and Gentiles who believe in Jesus Christ.
And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.
For ye have not received the spirit of again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
C. Jesus made it very clear to Nicodemus that just being born a Jew did not automatically make you a son of God, you must be born again to become a part of the family of God.