Summary: You need hope to cope. Where can you find the hope you need in this mixed-up world? Paul tells us in Ephesians 1:15-23.
A Study in Ephesians:
WHERE TO FIND THE HOPE YOU NEED
The Ephesians were exhibiting ample amounts of faith and love but were coming up short in hope.
Paul praised the Ephesians for their faith and love but prayed for their hope.
As a believer we need all three Christian virtues. We need faith, hope and love.
The Ephesians had two of these but were evidently weak in hope.
So Paul prayed for them to have hope. As people emerging from a dark life of occult practices, the Ephesians would need to be taught some basic truths and doctrines.
Living under the lies of Satan had kept them in the dark about the truth. Satan kept these people under his power by deceiving them and telling them lies.
Now, Paul knew they needed to be reinforced in the truth.
Satan works in overt ways and covert ways. Overtly, Satan works through witchcraft, séances, Ouija boards, etc.
But covertly Satan works through false doctrine. Since these Christians had come out of lives of Satan’s overt activity, Satan would surely try to continue working their lives covertly, through continuing to try and convince them of his lies.
“The most obvious activity of Prince Lucifer in our present age is that form of activity that can be seen, his overt activity. As a consequence, even the public press is filled with accounts of Satan worship, witchcraft, occult practices, spiritism, pagan religious rites, and many other evidences of Satanism. Millions are addicting themselves to fortune-telling, palmistry, astrology, and tarot cards. From cemetery séances to Ouija board parties, the story of the occult revival continues to grow. These viewable forms of satanic activity are frightening evidence that Prince Lucifer is continuing, even expanding, his work in our “modern” world. There is, however, a form of satanic activity that is more deadly than witchcraft. Serious damage has been done in naïve personalities because of overt spiritualist activity, but far greater havoc has been wrought by another kind of Satanism, the covert production and propagation of false doctrine. The enemy has produced a significant triumph when he can spread in our society a broad set of false views about God, Christ, the Holy Spirit, sin, and the purpose of life, and other imperative points of Christian doctrine. For every one person who is subverted by Satan worship, thousands are enmeshed in Satan’s more deadly trap: doctrinal error. People who are otherwise perfectly rational, who would not dream of attending a séance, are, nevertheless, the more thoroughly undermined simply because they believe the wrong thing.” – David Breese, Satan’s Ten Most Believable Lies
Since these Ephesians had come out of a life of Satan’s overt, obvious activity, now Satan would try another tactic with them: the tactic of false doctrine.
Did you know that Satan is a theologian? Satan has a systematic theology that is coherent and convincing.
“Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons…” – 1 Timothy 4:1 (NKJV)
Paul says that God’s Spirit told him that there was coming a day when people would be led astray from true faith in Christ by spirits who deceive them and convince them to believe “doctrines of demons”.
The word doctrine implies that Satan has a theology and a system of belief that appears logical and true.
However, it’s not true and only appears to be true.
Paul wanted to counter Satan’s lies by teaching these Ephesians the truth of God’s Word.
And he wanted this truth to infuse the Ephesians with a sense of hope.
• HOPE IS NOT FOUND IN SATAN’S LIES BUT IN GOD’S TRUTH!
When we find the truth we find hope. When we stay deceived we have little hope.
Where do we find hope? How does God give us hope? Let’s look at Paul’s prayer and see what it is he prayed for for the Ephesians.
4 Ways God Gives Me Hope:
1. I have hope in knowing God’s Identity. - V. 16-17
“(I)…do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers: that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him…” – Ephesians 1:16-17 (NKJV)
Paul prayed that the Ephesians would be given “wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of” God.
Paul wanted the Ephesians to accurately know God; to have a correct view of God, of who He is.
One of the ways that Satan had kept these Ephesians from coming to Jesus Christ and being saved was by blinding them to the true nature of God.
It’s what we just talked about. Satan kept these Ephesians in the dark using false doctrine; a false view of God.