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Ephesians 1:15-23 - Praying With Heaven on Your Side

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Thomas S. Myers

 

THE PRAYING WITH HEAVEN ON YOUR SIDE

Ephesians 1:15-23

 

FIRST – SPIRITUAL GROWTH IS NOT AUTOMATIC

Ephesians 1:17
that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him.

Ephesians 1:17 (NIV)

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.     

Notice what Paul prays for:

Ephesians 1:17
that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him
.  

Paul prays, "God, give the Christians wisdom and revelation that they may know you better." 

How do you gain “…a spirit of wisdom and revelation in knowing God.”?

 

 Ask people to pray for you. 

Ask them to pray that you would understand God Word and grow in faith. 

Let me tell you how you will not gain “…a spirit of wisdom and revelation in knowing God.”  

You will not gain a “spirit of wisdom and revelation” by having an angel appear to you telling you secret doctrines.  You will not grow spiritually by having special secret dreams.  Spiritual growth does not happen that easy.  Just read the life of King Saul in the Old Testament or Judas in the New Testament.  They had special encounters with God and their life was a mess.  

Do you want to grow in your faith?  Then get into the Word of God and ask others to pray for you.  Ask God to open His Scripture, and the Word of God to come alive to you. 

Paul does not take it for granted that spiritual growth will happen automatically. 

 

Even the Psalmist, a writer of Scripture prayed in Psalm 119 verse 18,

Psalm 119:18
Open my eyes, that I may behold Wonderful things from Your law.

Let me give you a principle for studying God’s Word, the Bible.

The first thing to realize is that there is a big difference between reading the Scripture and feeding on the Scripture.

The Bible is not merely a book to read.  It isn't merely a book from which to get ethical guidelines.  Primarily and supremely, the Bible is designed to lead you into the presence of God.  That you may know Him, love Him and to grow in your relationship to Him.  That is what the Bible is for.  And there is no other book like that.  I want to tell you something.  Jesus Christ can step out of the pages and be a living presence in your life and heart.  Pray and ask God to give you the spirit of wisdom and revelation. 

Ask God to open your eyes and your heart to His Word. 

This will not be a one time prayer.  Do you want to see how often the apostle Paul prayer for understanding the word of God?  Look at verse 16.

Ephesians 1:16
I do not cease giving thanks for you, while making mention of you in my prayers;

Ephesians 1:17 (NIV)

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.     

Paul says he prayed over and over again never their eyes might be enlightened.

Now I want to give you a warning, particularly you new Christians.  Beware of someone who says to you, “You want all of Jesus don’t you?”  Now that sounds good, doesn’t it?  You want all of Jesus don’t you?  Usually the person who will ask you that question is really trying to pull into false teaching.  That person most often will tell you they have some extra books of the Bible that you need.  Or they will have some extra teachings that usually come from a cult. 

FIRST – SPIRITUAL GROWTH IS NOT AUTOMATIC

There is something else that Paul prays for.

SECOND - It isn’t enough to know BIBLE doctrine.  You need to get YOUR HEART INVOLVED. 

EPHESIANS 1:18

I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know...

 

 

Ephesians 1:18
  I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, SO THAT YOU WILL KNOW...

 

Notice in Ephesians 1:18 the phrase, "The eyes of your heart...,” Isn’t that a strange expression?  Did you know that your heart has eyes? 

Eyes can be very expressive, can't they?  They can be full of tears showing sorrow.  Our eyes can be full of joy.  Our eyes can be sad showing discouragement.  I have been to the hospital where I have seen eyes expressing hope.  Our eyes are very expressive. 

So what does the Bible mean by “eyes of our heart…?”  Let’s see if I can illustrate it. 

It is much like experiencing the live music of an orchestra, or.  The “…eyes of our heart…” is much like taking in beautiful sunset, or a like eating very delicious dinner.  You must experience them to fully enjoy them. 

You can represent these things logically and analytically if you so choose.

A marvelous symphony can be represented by the notes on a page.  But that is not experiencing music.  Looking at notes on a page doesn't thrill you like being surrounded by the music soaring to its heights.  

Likewise, you can describe color of a sunset mathematically.  But you must see a sunset to really know how magnificent it is.

You can describe taste of a German chocolate cake by reading a recipe.  But isn’t better to taste a German chocolate cake?  You can describe the chemical reactions which occur when we bite into a cake.  But you will never experience the incredible taste until you bite into it.

What I am saying is this, We can describe God theologically.  We can list all His attributes, and describe His work in choosing us before creation.  We can describe forgiveness by what happened to Jesus as he hung on the cross.  But it is much better to have the eyes of our heart are opened so we can taste and see and experience God.  It is so much better to take the pages of Scripture off the written page and have them enter our heart.  It is so much better to experience what it means to be chosen by God.  The Bible says

Psalm 34:8
”O taste and see that the Lord is good…”

This is what we need.  This is what Paul is praying for.  It is so much better have truth in our heats than just to have truth in our head.

You will know something with certainty when the heart has been touched. 

What I’m saying is this:  It isn't enough simply to learn biblical truth.  It isn’t enough to learn Bible doctrine.  It isn’t enough to have a Bible class in which you are learning Scripture. 

The apostle Paul knew that.  You need to get the heart is involved. 

Now notice what Paul prays in verse 18.

 

I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know...
1:18b 1:18c 1:19
“What is the hope of His calling...”    

 

 

What is Paul praying for?  He is praying, that the eyes of their heart would taste and see and experience what it means to have hope in God.

A.  Hope:  Is Knowing That God Will Work Out His Will in my Life Even When Life Doesn’t Make Sense.

Ephesians 1:18
I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling…

Paul’s prayer is that you will experience hope.  Not just know about hope.  That is, when you have a difficulty, when you’re in trouble, when you have a problem, or obstacle that you will know with total confidence that underneath will be the everlasting arms of God.  

Deuteronomy 33:27
“The eternal God is a dwelling place, And underneath are the everlasting arms; 

The point is this, since God has called us, since God has chosen us long before the world was ever created, since God has forgiven us, since God has given us His Holy Spirit, we can have total confidence that God will work out his will in our life.   

Even when our life is turned upside down we can have total confidence that God will work out our heart ache. 

 

Paul is praying, O Lord, please help the believers to know in their hearts.  That there is definite hope in the time of adversity. 

Hope is not just something written on the pages of Scripture.  Hope is something you can have in your heart.   

 

Carolyn knew what it meant to sit before a piano and allow her fingers to fly up and down the keyboard.  She’d fill the house with soaring gospel music.  Needlework, cooking, even something as simple as tying the ribbon on a package; all these things flowed through her hands, and she had taken them for granted—she knew that now.

But her hands were only the beginning of what Carolyn lost.  When she suffered a stroke, it was a miracle she even lived; the doctors didn’t believe she would make it to morning. Though she did survive, Carolyn had to make a new start on nearly everything.  She had to learn how to read, to write, even to speak, as if she were a small child.  How could so many simple things disappear so quickly?

The stroke had come like a thief in the night and robbed Carolyn of nearly every ability, except the ability to cry.  There seemed to be no hope for Carolyn.  But there was tremendous hope that was available. 

Because God is still on His throne.  Because God has chosen her before the creation of the world there was hope.  Because God had forgiven her there was hope.  Because God had placed His Holy Spirit in her life there was hope. 

Paul is praying that eyes of our heart would be open to see that in spite of present circumstances there is hope.

It was clear to Doretha that her husband drank too much.  But what could she do about it? Whenever she confronted him about his problem, he would fly into a rage—which only made the drinking worse.  Since there didn’t seem to be any viable options, Doretha simply tried to ignore the problem and concentrate on raising their son.  She focused everything on motherhood.

Soon, that wouldn’t be an option either.  One autumn evening, Doretha’s husband was in a drunken rage shot killed her son.

With her husband in jail, Doretha was left to the silence and despair of an empty house. She no longer had any real desire to live, but she was also afraid to die.  Doretha remembers there were times when she would climb into her car late at night and driving for hours in the hope that maybe she’d drift off to sleep and quickly be delivered from her waking nightmare.

There was Doretha, living as if there was no hope.  But hope was less than inches away.

Because God has chosen  Doretha before the creation of the world there was hope.  Because God had forgiven Doretha there was hope.  Because God had placed His Holy Spirit in her life there was hope.  Somehow, someway God would meet Doretha needs. 

We need to pray like the apostle Paul that the eyes of our hearts would be open to see  

Ephesians 1:18
”...what is the hope of His calling…”

GOD IS BIGGER THAN ANY PROBLEM YOU HAVE.

Psalm 46:1-3
1  God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble.
2  Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change And though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea;  3  Though its waters roar and foam, Though the mountains quake at its swelling pride.

This is our hope because of our calling.

Because God chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world, we have a blessed hope, we have a security.

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus’ Name.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

 

A.  Hope:  Is Knowing That God Will Work Out His Will in my Life Even When Life Doesn’t Make Sense.

 

But that is not all that Paul prays for.  In verse 18 he prays that    

 

b.  God deals with us on the basis of our future, not our past.

 

 

I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know...
1:18b 1:18c 1:19
  What are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints  
  Possession Principle: His inheritance shows we are valued.  

 

RICHES:

EPHESIANS 1:18B

that you will know...what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, 

This phrase does not refer to our inheritance (Eph. 1:11), but God’s inheritance of us.

This is an amazing truth—that God should look on us as a part of His great wealth!  Just as a man’s wealth brings glory to his name, so God will get glory from you and I because of what He has invested in us.

…WHAT ARE the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints,

 

You may not be aware of this, but as Christians live in the future tense, our lives controlled by what we shall be when Christ returns.

Judges 6:12
He said to cowardly Gideon, “The angel of the Lord appeared to him and said to him, “The Lord is with you, O valiant warrior.”

I can just see Gideon looking around and saying, “Who, me?” I can just see Gideon looking around and saying, “Who, me?”

John 1:42
...Jesus looked at Simon and said, “You are Simon the son of John; you shall be called Cephas” (which is translated Peter).

If you and I are believers in Jesus we are God’s inheritance.  And God sees us in the future. 

When you adopt someone you change their name.  Alex.

You know how precious a thing becomes when you love it. It is a beloved keepsake, and you would not part with it.  It may have little value to others, but if it’s yours becomes precious and dear to you.  

Let me tell you something, God has loved his people so intensely, with such an unbounded love, that there is a wealth in them to his heart.  

 

There are not enough words to describe the inheritance that God has for us.  When you and I finally get an understanding of our inheritance, then we will suddenly realize who we are.  We are children of the living God. 

Psalm 139:17-18
17  How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How vast is the sum of them.  18   If I should count them, they would outnumber the sand.

 

C.  WE ARE SECURE BASED ON GOD’S POWER, NOT OUR OWN POWER.

 

THE GREATNESS OF HIS POWER.

 

I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know...
1:18b 1:18c 1:19
    What is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe
    Power Principle: This power is directed toward us who believe

 

 

The very power that raised Jesus from the dead is available for our daily lives! Christ has already won the victory over sin, death, the world, and Satan. God’s people do not fight for victory but from victory!

 

Notice the description of God's power.

 

Paul did not pray for power to be given to believers.  He prayed that we would be given a divine awareness of God’s power.

 

Ephesians 1:18
  I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, SO THAT YOU WILL KNOW...

 

 

Ephesians 1:19

...what is the surpassing greatness of His power...

 

Notice the kind of power that Paul is talking about. 

Power that is so powerful, that it can raised Jesus from the dead. 

Ephesians 1:19-20
19 and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might
20 which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places,

Think of that power, to just speak and a dead man rises from the grave.  And when that person is raised from the grave, they are clean.  There is no sign of death upon them. 

 

The Greek word for "POWER" is dunamis, from which we get our English word dynamite.

1 John 3:2
Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is.

How powerful is that?    And if that don’t get the picture that God is all powerful, look at verse 21.

EPHESIANS 1:21

far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come.

 

John 10:28-29
28 and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand.   29  “My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.

A group of kindergarten children visited the local police station and viewed the pictures of the 10 most wanted men.  One child pointed to a picture and asked if it really was the photograph of the wanted person.  The policeman guide replied that it was.  The youngster enquired, "Well, why didn't you keep him when you took his picture?

1 Peter 1:5
YOU are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know...
1:18b 1:18c 1:19
What is the hope of His calling What are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints What is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe
Position Principle:  His calling gives us hope. Possession Principle: His inheritance shows we are valued. Power Principle: This power is directed toward us who believe

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