What would we be if we could really see…
- …the hope of our calling? Unbreakable optimism.
- …the riches of our inheritance in Christ? Deeply contented.
- …the power of God towards us? Radical faith.
Theme Today: God wants to unite us to reality through prayer for enlightenment concerning three realities, but especially concerning Christ and His power.
United To Reality — Through Prayer For Enlightenment (15-18a)
15 For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, 16 I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, 18a having the eyes of your hearts enlightened,
Paul had a reason to pray for the Ephesian believers — the blessings of God (1:3-14) and the faith and love of the Ephesians (1:16). Years after beginning the church in Ephesus, Paul, in prison, hears of their continued faith in Christ and love for the church.
Stop to consider what is about to happen here. We are going to learn of Paul’s deepest wish for God’s people. He is going to pray for their hearts, their affections, their inner person.
Paul wanted a growing knowledge of Christ to invade their hearts.
- He is the foundation of all wisdom and knowledge.
- He is the sphere of all wisdom and knowledge.
- He is the means of all wisdom and knowledge.
- He is the goal of all wisdom and knowledge.
Paul knew this had to come by the Holy Spirit working with our spirits to turn on the lights.
- 1 Corinthians 2:12–13 (ESV)—12 Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God [who has comprehended the thoughts of God], that we might understand the things freely given us by God. 13 And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual.
- 1 John 2:27 (ESV)—27 But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as it has taught you, abide in him. It is one thing to read these truths and seek to comprehend them with your mind, but quite another to partake of them in your heart.
United To Reality — Concerning Three Realities (18b-19)
18b that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might
Paul prayed for them to connect — truly — to three realities.
The hope to which He has called you: Definition — a confidence brought on by knowing His call.
- Your past — He called you.
- Your eternity past — He chose you.
- Your future — He’ll call for you.
The riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints: Definition — a conviction our inheritance is the most glorious.
Christ in us, the greatest treasure — Colossians 1:27 (ESV)—27 To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
The immeasurable greatness of His power toward us who believe: Definition — a certainty of God’s power towards me.
If these were fully realized in my life, what would become of me? How would I behave? What might our church look like?
- Unbreakable optimism — hope related to His calling.
- Deep contentment — riches of His glorious saints.
- Radical faith — greatness of His power.
United To Reality — Especially Concerning Christ And His Power (20-23)
20 that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. 22 And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.
Paul will now unpack the last reality he’d mentioned — God’s power. He goes straight to where God’s power was most powerfully exerted.
Power — Christ ascended.
This is an appropriate example because this is the same power released for us!
- Romans 6:4 (ESV)—4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.
- Romans 6:11 (ESV)—11 So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.
Power — Christ is superior.
Rule / authority / power / dominion: Might be human rulers or political structures, but are more likely various degrees of angels and demons, cosmic powers.
Satan has a stranglehold on this world — Ephesians 2:2 (ESV)—2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience…
Agendas, philosophies, movements are often driven along by him. But Christ is superior!
Colossians 2:15 (ESV)—15 He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.
Power — Christ has authority.
- All things: Over all things.
- The church: Over His people.
- Our description: The fullness of Him who fills all in all. We are to connect to our head, Jesus Christ, and follow His lead.
Prayer: Ephesians 1:17 (ESV)—17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him…
Seek Him for this.