Summary: Thanksgiving & Prayer. (PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request - email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Reading: Ephesians chapter 1 verses 15-23.
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.
• 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).
• Kathy wears glasses to bring things into focus,
• Without them she could not see clearly.
• 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.”
• 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.