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ES005. Ephesians 1:15-23

Ephesians  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  24:45
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Ephesians 1:15-23

Ephesians 1:15–23 NIV
15 For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all God’s people, 16 I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. 17 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. 18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength 20 he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.
What is the therefore there for? For this reason. What reason? So starts our passage today and this therefore or this reason, then, refers to the previous two sermons which I know you remember completely and utterly and can repeat them back to me word-for-word, right? Well, I can’t do that either but here is a summary:
In the first sermon we found that all praise and glory goes to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit and that we have been blessed with every spiritual blessing, that we are heirs and regents with Christ. Then, in the second sermon, last week, we found out that we have been redeemed, paid for at the cross of Jesus and by His divine power He set us free and we are now God's inheritance and He is ours. We are saved past, present and future. There is no escape from our destiny in Christ. So, we did not cover much ground last time!
Paul had received news about the Ephesian Christians and it made him overflow in prayer. Why?
First, they had put their faith and trust in the Lord Jesus. And Paul was overjoyed for all that means for them, that they are fellow sojourners and recipients of the blessings of God.
And second, they were showing love to one another and for all the saints. They were putting into practice the royal law: to love God and love one another.
Because of the way Paul prays we get an insight into the way we should also pray for one another.
He is praying to the Father of glory. Father of glory. That word glory is δοξα where we get the word doxology. It means splendour, brightness, amazing might, praise, honour, greatness, glorious being, majestic, fame, recognition, radiance. The word contains so much about the amazingness of our God. He is the glorious Father. Getting the right perspective on God before we pray will go a long way to praying right. After all, as I said on Wednesday, this is how the Lord's Prayer starts: Our Father who art in Heaven. Hallowed be your name. He is in Heaven, we are on earth. The wideness that there is there is enormous. And He alone is to Honoured and respected; hallowed.
Paul is praying that the Ephesians’ knowledge and revelation of Jesus will grow and that they will gain greater insight into all that He has done on their behalf, that they will understand more fully the great blessings that God has poured out on them. In other words Paul seems to be saying:

“I know that you are saved, that you have had the blinders of the devil removed; because of this, I can now pray that you will fully understand and see the light of God’s glorious revelation.”

“Since you are enlightened by God’s Spirit, I pray that you may comprehend the hope to which he has called you, the spiritual riches that await the saints in glory, and the spiritual power that is available to the saints now.”

This is truly amazing. I want all of us to be able to grasp the hope of glory that is and will be ours for this surpasses anything we can think of in an earthly way. When we talk of the glory of Kings and Queens this does not even touch the tip of an iceberg of all that will be ours in the future; the spiritual riches and spiritual power. When Irena and I were at Versailles in France a couple of years ago the opulence of the palace was ridiculous and this does not compare to our future.
Whilst we have to wait for this we have already been given spiritual power to live a life pleasing to God. How do we know? Well, it says it right here: in verse 20: this same power given to us is the power that raised Christ from the dead. Think on this. We have been given power to life a life pleasing to God with the same power that raised someone who had been dead for 3 days and enough power to prevent Him from dying again. Christ is already ruling in the Heavens with His resurrected body because of the Divine Power. That same Divine power is also living in all of us and one day we will have our resurrected body, too.
We have a glorious hope, a rich spiritual life and we have been given power to never fall down again. We fail, perhaps, because we don't remember or consider what is in store for us, that we are going to reign as kings. It does seem like unreality, that we will be on the council of God but this reality is more real than the world we are in that is going to disappear.
We have been given every spiritual blessing, more than any other created creature and whilst we will reign we will always remain created however God in the three persons of the Trinity is truly eternal and infinite. We do not become God but we will become like Him but we will never be Him. All things will be under the feet of Jesus including us, that is, He will always be the One in charge. And that is fantastic! Satan wanted to and still wants to usurp the throne of God but he has already lost.
So, let us live for God rather than for Satan, the world or the flesh. The revelation of what will become of us is that life here on earth is a prelude to the next. What we do here affects the responsibility we will be given and the rewards. We are called to live as wise not unwise and this means we need to consider our eternity with extreme carefulness. I want us all to have the best that we could possibly have for our true future.
Then Paul goes on to say that Jesus is reigning over all. Not just reigning but surpassing them by a country mile. Here we have a list of different names, and all of them have power and authority but in different ways and these are:
Principalities: these are supernatural beings exercising rulership good or bad. e.g. angels and demons and other spiritual entities
Power: these can be supernatural or human who has authority to rule e.g. angels, demons, presidents, kings, queens, etc
Might: these are those who have spiritual or physical strength to overcome others e.g. a boxer, an army, demonic possession
Dominion: is someone who owns land legally e.g. someone who owns their own house without a mortgage
There is a gradual decreasing in this list but just in case it was not clear to us that Jesus has the name that is above every name. And just in case we are only thinking about the here and now it is made clear that now and in the future there will never be anyone powerful enough to overcome Jesus. And in fact, they are all under His authority and have to do what He says whether they like it or not.
This was very important to write to the Ephesians for magical practices were a part of daily affairs (Baugh, S. M. (2015). Ephesians: Evangelical Exegetical Commentary. (W. H. House, H. W. Harris III, & A. W. Pitts, Eds.) (p. 133). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.) and they needed to know that Jesus is supreme over all competing forces. Still today magic is part of culture in places like Greece, Cambodia, Jamaica and even here in the UK. We have to know that whilst the powers behind these things can be fearful the name of Jesus makes them fear. That is why we read in Acts 19:19 the Ephesians who came to Jesus
“who had practised magic brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. And they counted up the value of them, and it totalled fifty thousand pieces of silver.”
A silver coin was a day’s wage so we could value it at £3 million at minimum hourly wage though there is only £88,000 worth of silver weight contained in the coins. Even so, that is a lot of books and a big fire. They truly were dedicated to turn from magic to Jesus.
We, just like the Ephesians, have nothing to fear from unseen forces at work and this is a theme that is returned to in chapter 6.
Then in verse 22 we told something extraordinary:
God has given Jesus to the Church. Jesus has been given to the Church. This would seem to give the Church authority over Jesus if it were not clarified further. God has given Jesus to us to be our head. That's right. Jesus is a gift from God to be the head of the Church. Not for us to be head over Jesus.
Now we really see the blasphemy of the Church of Rome and all those others who think they are the head of the Church. There can only be one head - two heads just does not work! In October last year Irena and I watched a program about conjoined twins. There were two babies conjoined at the head and they had to go through a 27hr operation to separate them. We know two heads is not normal. There is only room for one. That is Jesus. And we are His body. Now, what a body! At first glance...
The Church appears to be a human institution that serves religious purposes, but the Bible tells quite a different story.
First, the church is the congregation of all believers in Jesus Christ from all places and times (Eph. 2:19, 20; Heb. 12:23). It is all born-again men, women, and children called out of every tribe and nation (Rev. 5:9).
Second, the church is the bride of Christ, which will live and reign with Him throughout all eternity (Eph. 5:31, 32; Rev. 19:7).
Third, the church is entrusted with the mission of ‘world evangelisation’ during this age (Matt. 28:19, 20; Acts 1:8).
Fourth, the church exists in local congregations, which gather regularly for worship, instruction, fellowship, and outreach (Acts 2:42; 14:23; Rev. 1:4).
Fifth, the Holy Spirit gives the church leadership and spiritual abilities to bring its members to maturity in life and ministry (1 Cor. 12:4–11; Eph. 4:11–16). (The Open Bible: New King James Version. (1998). (electronic ed., Eph 1:23). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.)#
So, the Church is an amazing organisation set up by God with Jesus has its head.
There are two ways to understand the latter part of verse 23 'the fullness of Him who fills all in all. And both are completely true:
The first is that Jesus fills the whole universe entirely. Jesus is God and the universe cannot contain Him so plainly He fills the universe and more beyond.
The second way to understand this verse is that Jesus fills the Church entirely with His presence and power wherever it is found and in all time.
Jesus is intimately involved in the Church and we as His people are called to abide in Him:
John 15:1 NKJV
1 “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.
John 15:4 NKJV
4 Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.
To try to be the Church without Jesus being the centre is to be like a malteser with the honeycomb. The malteser becomes just chocolate but the Church without Jesus is nothing at all. We are completely reliant upon Jesus for if we are not then we can achieve absolutely nothing.
Jesus is our head and it is to him we owe all our allegiance.


Again we have covered a great deal but all we have done is followed Paul in everything he has said to the Ephesians. And what a lot he says very compactly. I hope that there was something for all of us to take away today
We are to pray to the Father of glory taking note of who God is.
We are to be a people of faith and love.
We are to pray for one another that we will gain wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him and the amazing things He has done for us.
Jesus has the name that is above all names and nothing can compete against Him and His authority.
Jesus is the Head of the Church and we are to abide in Him.


Matthew 28:18–20 NKJV
18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.
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