Strengthening the Inner Man

Praying Through Paul’s Prayer List – Part 1

Ephesians 3:13-19


Pastor  Craig Ledbetter

3 August, 2008 AM

Bible Baptist Church, Ballincollig, Cork, Ireland


I.       Introduction (Ephesians 3:14)


A.    The theme this month is Bow the Knee as Disciples – The need to become like our Master – like Jesus

B.     That is what a disciple is – a follower, a copy of Jesus Christ!

C.     Discipleship is not something for a select few, but for all believers

D.    Discipleship begins with change


1.      From physical emphasis, to spiritual

2.      Not to the outer man, but in the inner man!


E.     The apostle Paul prays for five things in the live of every believer that would revolutionise their lives if they were allowed to take effect


1.      For Strength in the Inner Man

2.      That Christ would dwell in our hearts by faith

3.      That We would be rooted & grounded in love

4.      That We would comprehend the love of Christ

5.      That We would be filled with the fullness of God!


F.      The next five weeks is going to be awesome!


II.    Background – Developing A Christian’s True Strength (Ephesians 3:16)


A.      Not external, or physical power - A Christian has strengths available to him that are not connected with his muscles, health, money, or abilities

B.      It is a strength that is found in “the inner man” – a spiritual strength in the invisible part of you


1.       We all know what it means to be strong – to be able to carry heavy things, lift weights, able to handle physical attacks

2.       The question is how to be strong spiritually

3.       Not found naturally in ourselves – only found spiritually, only when spiritual, not physically strong


C.      It is a Strength to do what?


1.       To Speak up in the midst of opposition, and against all obstacles! Witnessing, and even finding the strength to say, “I forgive you!” to people that have so hurt you!

2.       To Support burdens (Gal 6:2) – carry other people’s problems, along with your own

3.       To Stay faithful – against the flow, against popularity, against demonic attack

4.       To Stay free from sin’s power and guilt – who wants to get free from a sin only to become enslaved again, and again, and again?

5.       To Sing and praise God when everything is falling apart! What a power!

6.       More on these things next week when I talk about Moving and Removing Mountains


D.      There is not a person in this room that doesn’t need THAT kind of a strength!

E.       Let me show you why Paul prayed for believers to have this kind of strength


III.   Message


A.      Getting Under the Skin – The Trinity of Man (1Thes 5:23)


1.       There is more to you than just mind and body (Prov 23:7) – there is a heart in here!


a.       There is an outer man – my body

b.       There is an inner man – my soul (Rom 7:22)

c.        It is hidden from our eyes, but is just as real (1Peter 3:4)

d.       There is a spirit in man


1)       It is where Jesus Christ wants to dwell

2)       Until Jesus is in there, it is a graveyard, full of unclean spirits and demonic powers

3)       When your spirit is “born again” you become a spiritual man!

4)       More on this next week!


B.      The Priority of the Inside (Mark 8:35-37)


1.       Physically, our “insides” are more important than our outside


a.       Which is more important:


1)       A spot on your face, or a spot on your lung?

2)       A mis-shaped nose, or a mis-shaped colon?

3)       A limping knee, or blocked artery?


b.       Just “touching up” our outsides will not help what’s inside


1)       If you have a broken bone, will a plaster do?

2)       If your appendix is about to burst, will a new pair of shoes make it all better?


2.       Yet, when we face life’s problems, we usually have all the Wrong Emphasis today…


a.       Body-building is no help for heartaches and sorrows! And yet, people put so much time into their outer man!


1)       Loads of emphasis on everybody eating right

2)       Sleep well

3)       Dress to impress

4)       New and fancier hairstyles

5)       New clothes

6)       New car

7)       Better friends

8)       New pub

9)       Different drug


b.       All try and make me feel better about myself from the outside-in


3.       Our body (outer-man) matters very little compared to our inner man – see even Jesus (John 6:56,59,60,63)


a.       If you had a relic of Christ’s body, it would do you no good at all

b.       Only the words of Jesus have value and power!!!


4.       Jesus only works from the “inside-out”


C.      How Peter Was Turned Inside Out (Luke 22:31-34)


1.       Jesus intended to make Peter STRONG on the inside


a.       Strong in faith (Rom 4:20)

b.       Strong in spirit (Luke 2:40)

c.        Strong in the Lord (Eph 6:10)

d.       Strong in grace (1Tim 2:1)


2.       Peter started out Strong on the Outside, and very Weak on the Inside


a.       He could fish all night – but he could not stay up and pray all night

b.       He would fight at the drop of a hat – not afraid of anyone – yet when a young girl pushed him about being with Jesus he crumbled and ran like a coward!


3.       Peter, like all of us was under constant spiritual attack


a.       Demonic thoughts and lies (Matthew 16:21-23)

b.       Confusion

c.        All calculated to ruin Peter

d.       And it would have because Peter was only strong on the outside

e.        But as you well know, the enemy was already on the INSIDE!


4.       Yet Jesus Has a Battle Plan


a.       Prayer – a great shield of protection comes only by prayer


1)       If it were not for the Lord being on our side (Ps 124:1-8)

2)       If people were not praying for me…


b.       A Pattern – Jesus constantly said, “watch Me fight against Satan” – not with fist or fury

c.        Perseverance – just staying faithful and full of faith, even when all your outer man’s strength is gone, is the key (2Cor 4:16)

d.       Complete Conversion – Turning Peter Inside-Out (Luke 22:60-62)


1)       Pressures revealed just how weak he was

2)       Defeat revealed just how sinful he was

3)       Remorse revealed just how broken he was

4)       The cross revealed just how loved he was

5)       The resurrection revealed just how changed he could be

6)       Peter was never the same after the resurrection!!!


e.        Impact – Affect the people around you for God


1)       Praying for, and encouraging them – what incredible protection there is when we pray for one another!

2)       Showing them a pattern by YOUR life – so lacking in Christianity today


IV.    Challenge


A.      Everything that’s important is on the inside


1.       Without the new birth, all the body-building, all the self-help, and self-confidence will not change you nor truly help you – and will end you up in a devil’s hell

2.       But according to Jesus, once you lose your life (you plans, your emphasis on the outer man), you will finally find it (real life, eternal life), and it will only grow as it is tested, stretched, and strengthened!

3.       Are you born again?

4.       Are you even growing?

5.       All you allowing your faith to grow?

6.       Are you feeding only the outer man, or feeding more the inner man?


B.      Paul’s first prayer request for us is that we become strong in the Lord, and in the power of HIS might

C.      Try a new diet


1.       Four chapters a day in the Bible – food for the soul!

2.       Praying for spiritual strength – asking God to make you strong in your spirit

3.       Don’t hide your weaknesses! Rely on God’s spiritual strength – quit leaning on your own abilities, and inabilities

4.       Believe God instead of your feelings – just trust God’s promises

5.       Get faithful doing what God says, and stay faithful at it for a while

6.       SEE if God is a liar or not!

D.    And it all starts with out prayer-life!

E.     Paul teaches us some of the Basics of Prayer


1.      Who We Pray To…

2.      How To Pray…


a.       Bowed

b.      Begging

c.       Believing


3.      The Power of Praying!

4.      The Riches we have Access to!


F.      Every week this month, I only hope to enable every believer in here to experience true discipleship, through that kind of prayer!




Craig Ledbetter |  Pastor  |  Bible Baptist Church  |  021-4871234  +353-21-4871234  |