Summary: Sermon focuses on how God has fulfilled His purpose in our lives through Jesus
“If You Only Knew”
Ephesians 1:15-23 October 19, 2008
OPEN: Ill of Randolph Hearst, wealthy newspaper publisher who spent a fortune collecting art treasures. He read of a particular rare piece of artwork which he determined he must have – His agents were sent abroad to find it. After months of searching and agent reported back that he had found the treasure It was in Mr. Hearst’s warehouse. Hearst had been searching for something he already owned. Had he opened his eyes and read the catalog of his treasures, he would have known it was already his.
This is a passage of Scripture that talks about opening our eyes so that we would know all that God has done on our behalf. Paul says in verse 18 – “I pray that the eyes of your heart would be opened in order that you would know…” It’s interesting that Paul would use these words – they echo the commission Jesus Christ gave to him on the road to Damascus.
“I am sending you to them to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power
of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.” (Acts 26:18) I can’t help but to think that as Paul was writing to the Ephesians that his mind went back to the time when he first met Jesus and heard these very words from the Lord.
It’s the responsibility of every bible believing church to be involved in a ministry of spiritual ophthalmology. The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. (2 Cor. 4:4) Satan takes delight in causing spiritual cataracts to form over our eyes and our hearts. Paul makes an impassioned plea where he says “Of if you only knew…” In this section of Scripture that we are going to be studying today, Paul is just rejoicing in the blessing that God has given to us. He thanking God and overflowing with praise. – And this isn’t just what Paul wanted for the Ephesians – it is recorded in Scripture for a reason – it is what God wants for each one of us.
- a powerful prayer. - I think that so often so much of what we pray is often routine and dull. “Now I lay me down to sleep. I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake I pray the Lord my soul to take.” “God is great. God is good. Let us thank him for this food. By his hand w all are fed. Thank you Lord for this daily bread. Amen” Routine prayers that we have memorized and kind of recite without really putting much into them. This prayer isn’t like that at all. It is flowing out of a heart that is just overflowing with praise and gratitude for who God is what he has done.
The Reason for the Prayer For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and
your love for all the saints, I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. (Eph. 1:15-16) Now note what Paul says is the reason for his prayer for them. “For this reason” points backward to this what he has just said in the previous verses. The long extravagant explanation of what God has done for us. His eternal sovereign saving purposes. God has flooded their lives with unimaginable blessings.
God The Father: Has Blessed Us - Has Chosen Us. Has Predestined Us To Be Part Of His Family.
In Christ We Have Redemption and Forgiveness - We Experience Lavish Grace - God’s Will is Revealed. The Holy Spirit Has Sealed Us. Guarantees There Is More To Come
Why is he praying? Because God is fulfilling His purposes in their lives. He’s not praying because he needs something – he’s not praying because he needs to inform them of something – he’s praying because the work of God is being effective in their lives. He’s thanking God for what God is doing in their lives. You see the first 14 verses of this chapter is talking about how God has blessed us – blessing from the Father – Blessings from the Son – blessings for the Holy Spirit and when he comes to verse 15 he says you know I just can stop thanking God not only for the blessings in we have in Christ – but the fact that the work of God is actually being effectual in your life.
What they really needed was the work of God in their life. Paul knew that they needed something way beyond anything he could offer them as an apostle, a teacher, a leader – they needed Christ. All any Bible teacher ever does is to point out the problem – (you don’t have enough of Jesus in your life) and the answer (you need more of Jesus in your life). If you want to know the secret of biblical counseling there it is. So if you want to meet in my office afterwards and talk about some deep problem you are struggling with here’s what I’m going to tell you. I’ll listen for a while and say, “Here’s the problem – you don’t have enough Jesus in your life. Here’s the solution – You need more of Jesus in your life.” You’ve all just been certified as biblical counselors. Now it might not be quite that simplistic but at the fundamental level that’s it. What the Ephesians needed more than anything else was more of Jesus and Paul says “I thank God because I see that growing in your life.” He’s talking to a church that is about fours years old at this point and he’s saying as I look back over the past four years – I thank God that I can see the evidence that you are responding to God’s blessing over your life. – They had grown over the last four years – That’s what Paul was thankful for.