As we continue our studies in Ephesians we have learned of the great blessings that we have been endowed with when we come to Yeshua. Blessings that come from the God and Father of Israel who sent His Son to be our kinsmen redeemer as the prophets had foretold. We have learned that when we came to trust in the work Yeshua did on our behalf we were filled and sealed with God’s Spirit. We learned that God through His Spirit has revealed to us the mysteries of God, things that are revealed through the New Covenant.
Paul now proceeds to reveal what sort of things he has been praying for on behalf the Ephesians. Paul does the same thing in his letters to the Philippian and Colossian Believers. Philippians 1:9-11 And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, 10so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, 11filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Yeshua the Messiah—to the glory and praise of God.
And we see a similar prayer in Colossians 1:9-12. When we consider these prayers we need to remember that Paul is writing by the inspiration of God’s Spirit, which means that these things mentioned in these prayers were not just Paul’s desire for his readers, but God desire for us! And the concerns expressed in these prayers are just as applicable to us as they were to the original recipients of these letters. So with that thought in mind, let’s take a close look at this prayer in Ephesians 1:15-20
Beginning with a recognition of their faith and love (Ephesians 1:15) and a mention of his unceasing thankfulness for them (Ephesians 1:16), Paul then states that in his prayer and concern for the Ephesians is: That they might know God Ephesians 1:17 – To “KNOW” GOD IS OF UTMOST IMPORTANCE…Knowing God is more important than human wisdom, human power or glory, as the prophet Jeremiah told our fathers as they were about to be removed from the land of Israel in Jeremiah 9:23-24:
This is what the LORD says: “Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches, but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,” declares the LORD.
Moreover knowing God is eternal life itself! In John 17:3 Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Yeshua the Messiah, whom you have sent. Failure to know and abide in God leads to harm in our lives. We see this in 2 Thessalonians 1:6-9
This kind of knowledge comes through a close and personal association, with God through Yeshua and not just a casual awareness. The knowledge that leads to life God tells us in Ephesians 1:17 is by the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. Wisdom and revelation comes through the Word of God which is given by the Spirit. Paul refers here to that process where the Spirit of truth was guiding the apostles and early Believers. John 16:13 – But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.
Today, we have the full revelation of God in the pages of Scripture, where we can learn the truth about the mysteries of God, which were revealed to God’s prophets and later the apostles. But as you walk with Him yielded to His Spirit God will teach you wondrous things about Himself, His Ways and impart wisdom that will help you in all your dealings in life. Today there are many people who know “about” God, but it is God’s will that we come to know “Him”.
And we learn to know Him Through the Word of God. It is through the Word of God we receive the “spirit of wisdom and revelation”. It is through the Word of God that we receive the “saving knowledge” and power of God Himself! This is how God communicates to us so that we too can be as fruitful as the Apostles and prophets. God wants to use us to impact a lost and dying world and to do that we need wisdom and knowledge.
Paul’s concern for the Ephesians is found in Ephesians 1:18 – that their “the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints”. The Lord wants us to be anchored in our faith by knowing the hope of our calling, that those of us who have come to faith in Yeshua have been called by God. This “calling” occurred when we heard and responded to the Good News of Messiah also called the Gospel. This call is to enter and abide in His kingdom and glory. Just as Israel was called to enter the Land and Kingdom of God. You may remember that Israel was a theocracy, a government with God as King.
We see this truth when Israel wanted a King like the rest of the nations when Samuel was about to die in 1 Samuel 8:4 So all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah. 5They said to him, “You are old, and your sons do not walk in your ways; now appoint a king to lead us, such as all the other nations have.”6But when they said, “Give us a king to lead us,” this displeased Samuel; so he prayed to the LORD. 7And the LORD told him: “Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king.
We like Israel are a theocracy. We dwell in an invisible Kingdom. Our hope is not in a president, or government of this world. Our hope is in the King of Kings and Lord of Lord’s who rules and reigns forever. Like Israel when they were brought out of Egypt we too have been “called” out of darkness into God’s marvelous light. The Lord’s desire for us is that we might know the hope of our calling.
The word “hope” means in the original language a “desire with expectation”. What is the expectant desire of this “calling” by God? Paul has already revealed some of this hope in Ephesians 1:4-5. To be holy and without blame and to be adopted as sons and daughters of God. We will learn more of the nature of our sonship later in Chap. 2. Paul is helping to fulfill his own prayer by writing this letter to the Ephesians and indirectly to us.
Do we appreciate the “hope” of God’s calling? It is through the Word of God like this letter to the Ephesians, that we are able to have our own eyes enlightened and hearts assured concerning this great calling. There is no reason for us to be ignorant of the great “hope” we have! In addition to their knowing the “hope of God’s calling”, Paul prays that we might also know the riches of God’s inheritance Ephesians 1:18.
The fact that we were predestined to adoption as sons as we have considered in our previous studies in Ephesians 1:5 and that we have obtained an inheritance as recorded in Ephesians 1:11. The fact that the Holy Spirit was given as a guarantee of our inheritance as we considered last week in v. 14. Paul wrote more about on inheritance which we will learn about when we get to Ephesians 2, where we learn about how Gentiles can become “fellow heirs” with Israel.
There is one more thing that Paul wanted the Ephesians, and us to know and that is that we might know the Power of God. We see this in Ephesians 1:19-20. That we might know: His surpassing power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Messiah when he raised him from the dead and seated him at His right hand in the heavenly realms,
This power is described as incomparably great and is revealed to those who believe. Many of us don’t see His great power because our faith is weak, our belief is weak. If you are not daily in God’s Word your faith will be weak and if your faith is weak you will not see the power of God working in your life. You may wonder how does that work? I honestly don’t know how it works but I know that it does.
I really don’t understand how a car works but if I maintain it and operate the way it is designed to operate it works wonderfully. In much the same way when we read and study God’s word our faith is strengthened and our the eyes of our heart is opened and we begin to see and comprehend God’s power toward us who believe. This power is incomparably great. It is the same power that raised Yeshua from the dead! The power that seated Him at the right hand of God in the “heavenly realms.”
How can it be said that such power is available to us who believe? The next section tells us how. Paul gives us an example in Ephesians 2:1-6 describing how we were once “dead in our transgression and now through our faith in Messiah we have come to life.
We have been raised from the death to life. Those of us who have been truly born again can testify that we were spiritually dead and now have been made spiritually alive. Paul speaks of this in Colossians 2:12-14. The same Power that raised Yeshua from the dead canceled the written code, with its regulations that was against by nailing those right and righteous accusations on the cross with Yeshua.
Just as Jesus said when He raised the paralytic, “Which is easier…?” – 1) To raise the sick (and the dead), or to forgive sins and make the spiritually dead spiritually alive? Matthew 9:2-8 Both require Divine Power!Paul speaks of its source in Ephesians 3:16 that this power to transform us is through God’s Holy Spirit working in the inner man that we can be “strengthened with might”. In the same way we too we can be strengthened by the Spirit in our daily battles against sin as Paul wrote in Romans 8:12-22.
Paul speaks of this great power in Ephesians 3:20 where he says that this great power of God comes from Him “who is ABLE to do exceedingly, “abundantly”, “above all” that we ask or think! This ability, is “according to the power that works IN us” “through His Spirit in the inner man”. Finally, Paul charges the Ephesians to stand strong in this power. Ephesians 6:10 ff. By putting on the “armor of God”. Because we are in a battle against the devil and his forces.
We will of course talk more about this latter when we get there. But for now we need to understand that we are unable to fight this battle, and walk this walk in our own strength, we need the power of God’s Spirit. When Israel tried to fight the battles for the Promised Land in their own strength they were beaten and defeated – but when they went in the power and Spirit of God no enemy could stand against them.
So as we wrap up our study this morning Paul prayed that the Ephesians might know God and the hope of His calling and the riches of God’s inheritance and the power of God. We see Paul’s confidence in prayer, but How is our knowledge of God, the hope of His calling, His riches and His power imparted to us?
It is with our commitment to study God’s Word, as we are doing now in Ephesians, so that we can grow in all these things! But before growth can occur, there must be life. Have you been “made alive together with Messiah”? If not then today if you have heard God’s voice don’t harden your heart but respond to God by receiving His provision for life.