The Letter to the Ephesians Message Three
We have noted in the first two messages the Prologue, introduction, in verses 1 and 2, followed by the Praise in verses 3 through 14. Today we continue by looking to the –
III. Prayer. Ephesians 1:15-23
A. Things that we may affect in the lives of believers –
Ephesians 1:15,16 Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints, Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers;
Paul desired that they might continue to grow in grace and peace, knowing God more each day, realizing that they would be blessed and be a blessing to others, and that their testimony would be carried along according to the command of the Lord – “…to all nations…”
a. In Living – being a Godly influence to others.
b. In giving – your testimony in giving will encourage others to trust the Lord and be confident in giving.
2 Corinthians 9:2 For I know the forwardness of your mind, for which I boast of you to them of Macedonia, that Achaia was ready a year ago; and your zeal hath provoked very many.
2. Loving “…love to all of the saints….”
a. Witnessing – Loving God and others in sharing with them of their need of salvation.
b. Teaching them in learning of God through His Word.
c. Training – The Lord sent forth witness two by two that they may encourage one another and confirm the truth to those to whom they spoke.
Your testimony is an encouragement to others through your faithfulness and love in all of the areas of life, and then also you help them by teaching them about –
3. Dying – This is not a thought that occurs to us often, but our love for God and for others should encourage us to be a testimony in dying!
2 Timothy 4:6-8 For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.
How was Paul able to have this attitude –
Do you remember the first time you traveled by air? Were you nervous? Did you wonder why so many of the passengers were so calm, looking forward to the flight, enjoying the time? It is because they often traveled by air. The fear had been removed by experience. When we understand life as Paul did, we will view death as he, and multitudes of saints, did – Look at his testimony –
Galatians 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
1 Corinthians 15:31 “…I die daily…”
Philippians 1:21-23 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour: yet what I shall choose I wot not. For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better:
Paul had learned not to hold on to the things of this life, for they are only temporary. We should live for that which is of eternal importance. Faithful believers help us know how to be faithful, how to love God and others, and they even teach us how die well!
Remember – “fear hath torment”. It will stop us in our tracks!
This brings us to that which he was praying for them –
B. Things that we may know. The –
1. Sovereignty – Ephesians 1:17a That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory…
Praying that we may have –
2. Spiritual understanding –
Ephesians 1:17b ….may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him:
Praying that we know God working in us to the end that ye may know the and understand –
3. The Significance and Source of His grace and peace – Ephesians 1:18,19a
a. The eyes of your understanding (through) being enlightened;
b. …..what is the hope of his calling,
c. ….what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,
d. what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe….
All of these blessings of grace in our lives are from Him and about Him, and that this understanding should lead us to –
4. Submission – Ephesians 1:19b That we may recognize His grace and peace in our lives.
The power which He used creating all things –
….according to the working of his mighty power,
- is used in the salvation of each man, woman, boy, or girl who calls upon Him in repentance for forgiveness and salvation! It is the changed life, the very beginning of your resurrection from being condemned and dead in sins to life everlasting. Do you realize as a child of God that nothing has to be added to you, from the time of salvation to the moment of resurrection – we are on the way!
Colossians 2:9-10 For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:
Praise God –
1 Corinthians 2:9 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.
Through all of the working of His mighty power we may know the –
C. Things that we may receive with Him –
Ephesians 1:20-23 Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come; And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.
We see Who He is and where He is, and we should realize that we will be with Him –
John 14:3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
His Place – ‘…heavenly places…’
His Position – ‘…above all principality’ King of kings
His Power – ‘…and power and might…’ Lord of lords
His Presence – ‘…and dominion…’
His Praise – “…and every name that is named…”
And all of this only through His Power, infinite power!!
Paul reminded the Ephesians that God has changed us with this same power – Our salvation is being compared with this power of God, raising Jesus from the dead!!
We must admit that it is absolutely impossible for us to bring someone back from being dead, no matter how much we try, how much we desire, what we do, using every means available to us, we cannot bring someone back to life.
We also cannot bring ourselves back from death and we know that we are dead in trespasses and sins.
This is why the preaching of the cross without the preaching of the resurrection is fruitless.
Acts 4:33 And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all.
Romans 1:4 And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead:
1 Peter 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
Hebrews 12:2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Again, The same power that raised Jesus from the dead saves us from eternal separation from God. This is why it was so important to Paul to remind and encourage the saints, and us, that all we may know and all we may receive is through the power of God, that which no man on earth can accomplish.
Psalm 116:12-13 What shall I render unto the LORD for all his benefits toward me? I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the LORD.
Can you call Him blessed today? Is He your Saviour?