Bible Topics In The Christian Library
 
PAULíS PRAYER FOR THE EPHESIANS
Ephesians 1:15-23

INTRODUCTION: Warren Wiersbe tells a story of how William Randolph Hearst once read of a valuable piece of art and decided that he must add it to his collection. He sent an agents all over the world to find and secure the art object. After many months his agent came back and told him that he had found the object. It had been stored all the time in a warehouse of Hearst. It had been purchased years ago by Hearst and forgotten! 

Christians often forget about the blessings that God has given to His people. In Ephesians 1:18 Paul prays that we might have a full appreciate of what God has done for us and the greatness of our God. But first he begins by praying for us to fully understand Godís will.
 
 

BODY
 
 

I. HE PRAYED THAT GOD WOULD GIVE THEM SPIRITUAL UNDERSTANDING (VERSES 15-18a).

A. God is the source of all spiritual understanding.
1. God is the fount of all good gifts.
a. James 1:17 - "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning."
2. Paul expects God to give answer to his prayer and help the Ephesian Christians to grow spiritually.

3. It is only though a relationship with Jehovah God that we can hope to have true spiritual enlightenment and wisdom.

a. Jeremiah 9:23-24 "Thus says the LORD: "Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, Let not the mighty man glory in his might, Nor let the rich man glory in his riches; 24- But let him who glories glory in this, That he understands and knows Me, That I am the LORD, exercising lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth. For in these I delight," says the LORD."
B. Paul gives two ways that God would help Christians have spiritual understanding - "the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him."
1. The "spirit of wisdom" is simply the ability to discern the truth and apply it to our lives.
b. God has never promised instant revelation (new truth) for all his saints. In fact, very few Christians in the first century, when the final truth was being revealed had privilege to have revelation given directly to them. Jude 3 teaches us that the truth has been completely revealed to mankind.

c. The Lord does, however, promise wisdom to every child of God who will seek it from Him.

d. James 1:5-6 "If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. 6- But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind."

2. "Revelation in the knowledge of Him"
a. Does this passage have a first century connotation? Is it referring to a miraculous revelation? Even though revelation was not yet completed, it seems likely that Paul was referring to something that all Christians could have access to. The revealed will of God that had been provided by Inspired writers.

b. What is Paul praying that the Ephesians would do? He prays that they would have the wisdom to go to Godís revelation to receive a knowledge on God.

c. How do we receive the knowledge of Godís revelation? By diligently studying that revelation and applying it to our lives.

i. 2 Timothy 2:15

ii. Acts 17:11 - "These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so."

B. He asks God that Christians might have that understanding of Godís will - "the eyes of your understanding being enlightened."
1. "The eyes of understanding" seems to be equivalent to the inner man, the heart, or mind.

2. This is quite possibly simply a poetic restatement of what Paul has already prayed for. It is possible for the "eyes of understanding," or mind, to be closed to the truth.

a. Matthew 13:15 - For the hearts of this people have grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, And their eyes they have closed, Lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, So that I should heal them.'

b. Hebrews 3:12-13 "Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; 13- but exhort one another daily, while it is called "Today," lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin."

3. How are we enlightened? He has already told us. It is through wisdom, which God supplies, and a searching of Godís divine revelation.
 
Connecting sentence: Paul has encouraged the Ephesians to seek understanding from Godís will. He will now tell them what he wants them the fully appreciate concerning that will.
 
 

II. HE PRAYED THAT THEY MIGHT KNOW THE HOPE OF HIS CALLING (VERSE 18b)

A. Hope in the New Testament is a full assurance of what God has provided for us.
1. is firmly rooted in the truth of Godís Word. 
a. Hebrews 6:18-19 "that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us. 19- This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil,"
b. 1 Peter 1:13 - Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;

c. Romans 15:4

2. This is the great hope that we have in our hearts.
a. Romans 5:5 - "Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us."
B. Look at the beauty of Godís calling for His people.
1. The call to obtain the glory of Christ.
a. 2 Thessalonians 2:14 - to which He called you by our gospel, for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
2. The call to peace
a. Colossians 3:15 - And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.
3. The call to receive eternal blessings.
a. 1 Peter 3:9 - not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing.
 
III. HE PRAYED THAT THEY WOULD KNOW THE RICHES OF HIS INHERITANCE (VERSE 18c).
A. What a grand, rich inheritance we have reserved for us and every faithful child of God.
1. Romans 8:17 - and if children, then heirs; heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.

2. Hebrews 9:15 - And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.

3. 1 Peter 1:4 - to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you,

B. We can Know the riches of that inheritance.
1. 1 John 5:13 - These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.

2. Actually 1 John 5:13-15 is a passage that should build our confidence in the inheritance which we have been promised. He use the word know three times and the word confidence once. 

 
IV. HE PRAYED THAT THEY WOULD KNOW GODíS POWER (VERSES 19-23).
A. It is the working of Godís power in us.
1. Look at the words the inspired writer uses.
a. Power - from dunamis, "the ability to accomplish, the cognitive verb means, "I am able."

b. Working - from energeia, "power at work, not mere potential power but active power."

c. Strength - from kratos, "the power that rules, has dominion, especially over rational beings." 

d. Might - from ischus, "inherent strength, or might. Has more to do with potential, intrinsic might, whether active or not."

B. The might power is toward "us who believe."
1. Godís power to salvation has the power to reach out to the most wicked and make them accepted with the heavenly Father.

2. Romans 1:16

3. Colossians 1:13 - He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love,

4. 2 Peter 1:3 - as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue,

C. The power of God is illustrated by two events.
1. God raised Jesus from the dead. 
a. Acts 17:31 - "because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead."

b. 1 Peter 1:21 - who through Him believe in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.

2. God seating Christ on His right hand.
a. Acts 2:33 - "Therefore being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He poured out this which you now see and hear.

b. Matthew 28:18

c. 1 Peter 3:22 - who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, angels and authorities and powers having been made subject to Him.

 
CONCLUSION: In the Summer of 1945 America tested the first Atomic Bomb. They stood with amazement at the awesome power of that first bomb. But the atomic bomb pales in insignificance to the power of God. As Christians, we should always remember that our God is truly an awesome God!
 
 

Copyright 1999 by Grady Scott may be reproducted for non-commercial purposes at no cost to others.


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