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Summary: Thanksgiving & Prayer. (PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request - email: gcurley@gcurley.info)

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Reading: Ephesians chapter 1 verses 15-23.

Ill:

On January 6, 1822,

• Heinrich Schliemann was born.

• He would one day achieve world renown and great wealth.

• When Heinrich Schliemann was seven years old,

• A picture of ancient Troy in flames captured his imagination.

• Contrary to what many people believed,

• Heinrich argued that Homer’s great poems,

• The Iliad and the Odyssey,

• Were based on historic facts and he set out to prove it.

In 1873, he uncovered the ancient site of Troy,

• Along with some fabulous treasure which he smuggled out of the country,

• Much to the anger of the Turkish government.

• Schliemann became a famous, wealthy man

• Because he dared to believe an ancient record and act on his faith.

The message of Ephesians is just that:

• We believe an ancient record that contains a modern message,

• And having believed, we are to act out, live out our faith.

When you became a Christian:

• Emphasise “When”.

• NO-one is automatically born a Christian, it’s a decision you make.

• When you were ‘born again’:

• You were “born rich”, you became a spiritual millionaire.

• Too many Christians have never “read their spiritual bank books”

• To find out the spiritual wealth that God has put to their account through Jesus Christ.

Ill:

• They are like the late newspaper publisher, William Randolph Hearst,

• Invested a fortune collecting art treasures from around the world.

• One day Mr. Hearst found a description of some valuable items that he felt he must own,

• So he sent his agent abroad to find them.

• After months of searching, the agent reported that he had finally found the treasures.

• They were in Mr. Hearst’s own warehouse.

• Hearst had been searching frantically for treasures he already owned!

• Had he read the catalog of his treasures,

• He would have saved himself a great deal of money and trouble.

You and I as Christians:

• Must realise that like William Randolph Hearst,

• We have great riches, great treasures at our disposal.

• These are not meant to be locked up in a warehouse, or locked up in a book,

• But they need to be unearthed and used and God’s glory.

(1). Introduction to our verses:

The apostle Paul was under house arrest in Rome:

• During this time he wrote a number of New Testament books,

• Some of those books e.g. Ephesians, Philippians and Colossians, contain prayers,

• Two prayers of Paul are contained in this letter,

• Here and in chapter 3.

When Paul prays for these Christians:

• He never requests material things.

• His emphasis is always on spiritual things and on Christian character.

• Verse 18 in the N.I.V. contains our title for this study;

• And Paul’s desire for his readers: “That you may know”.

• Paul does not ask God to give them what they do not have,

• Instead he prays that God will reveal to them what they already have.

Before we study Pauls four requests in this prayer notice two things:

First: enlightenment comes from the Holy Spirit.

• With his natural mind, man cannot understand the things of God.

• He needs the Spirit to enlighten him (1 Corinthians chapter 2 verses 9-16).

Ill:

• Kathy wears glasses to bring things into focus,

• Without them she could not see clearly.

Ill:

• Simon Peter’s declaration in Matthew chapter 16 verses 16-17.

• That Jesus was the Christ.

Second, this enlightenment comes to the heart of the believer (chapter 1 verse 18).

• This verse literally reads,

• “The eyes of your heart being enlightened.”

Ill:

• My wife that I lover her with all my heart,

• Obviously not the pump, the organ that sends blood around my body.

• We think of the heart as the emotional part of a person,

• But in the Bible ‘the heart’ means much more than that.

• In the Bible, the heart means the inner person,

• And includes the emotions, the mind, and the will.

The Bible teaches:

• The inability to see and understand spiritual things is not the fault of the intelligence

• Many intelligent people can’t understand and see the simple truths of the Bible.

• The ability to see and understand spiritual things has to do with the heart,

• People of all races, cultures, social status and intellects;

• Have had the eyes of their heart opened by the Spirit of God.

In this section of the letter (verses 15-23):

• Paul prays that the Ephesian Christians,

• Would have their eyes opened to see four spiritual truths.

(1). That They Might Know God (verse 17b):

17I 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.

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