Summary: God’s plan for Growth comes from the 1) Prayer 2) Person 3) Promise 4) Power & 5) Position that believers have in Christ
If you are following the international monetary systems around the planet, markets are described as very skittish. There are wild swings in valuations and many investors are worried about the fragile growth expectations amidst some fragile economies. What we lack is a plan for growth based on economic fundamentals.
In Ephesians 1:3–14 Paul talks about the foundation of God’s plan and he set forth the amazing and unlimited blessings believers have in Jesus Christ, blessings that amount to our personal inheritance of all that belongs to Him. In the remainder of the chapter (vv. 15–23) Paul prays that the believers to whom he writes will come to fully understand and appreciate those blessings.
Where do you want to grow in your life? What stands in your way? Do you know what God wants of you? Do you know how he wants you to do it? If you come to understand what God has provided you, the task will be guaranteed successful, for it will be what God wants and how He wants it.
In Ephesians 1:3–14 Paul focuses on believers’ comprehension of their resources in their Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. God’s plan for Growth comes from the 1) Prayer (Ephesians 1:15-16), 2) Person (Ephesians 1:17), 3) Promise (Ephesians 1:18), 4) Power (Ephesians 1:19-20) and 5) Position (Ephesians 1:21-23) that believers have in Christ
1) Growth through the Prayer. (Ephesians 1:15-16)
Ephesians 1:15a For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, (ESV)
Please turn to 1 John 2
In light of their marvelous inheritance in Jesus Christ (For this reason), Paul now intercedes for the possessors of that treasure. His audience included not only the believers in Ephesus but probably those in all the churches of Asia Minor.
Traffic by sea was brisk in those days; visitors were allowed to see the famous prisoner, Paul, in Rome; the bond of Christian fellowship was very strong. For all these reasons it is not surprising that although about four years had now elapsed since the apostle carried on his labors in Ephesus — labors from which the people of the surrounding territories also benefited (Acts 19:10, 26) — he had been kept well informed. That is how he could say that he heard. From letters, as well as through personal reports from friends who visited him in prison, he had received considerable information from and about the churches. He heard two things that indicated the genuineness of their salvation, and for those two cardinal marks of a true Christian—faith in Christ and love for other Christians—he affectionately praises them. Those two dimensions of spiritual life are inseparable (cf. 1 John 2:9–11) (Hendriksen, W., & Kistemaker, S. J. (1953-2001). Vol. 7: New Testament commentary : Exposition of Ephesians. New Testament Commentary (95). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.)
1 John 2:9-11 Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness. Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling. But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes. (ESV) "KEEP YOUR PLACE IN 1 JOHN"
• The love of God and the love of others is the basis for all godly growth.
a) Paul praises their faith:
Ephesians 1:15bFor this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints,
The emphasis here is on true saving belief, with the lordship of Jesus as the object of that belief. Coming to Christ in faith means submitting to him (cf. Matt. 8:19–22; 9:9; 10:37–39; Luke 9:57–62), willing to give up all we are and have (cf. Matt. 13:44–46; 18:3–4; 19:16–26), and to leave all and follow Him (Matt. 19:27).
Paul is not praising the Ephesians for some later, supplemental act of faith but for the original faith that brought them to saving submission to the sovereign Lord. The same saving faith with which they entered the Christian life and in which they were continuing to live.
b) Paul praises their love:
Ephesians 1:15cFor this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints,
Turn over from where you were in 1 John to chapter 3
A second mark of genuine salvation is love for all the saints, and because of such love Paul offers thanks for the Ephesian believers.
1 John 3:16-18 By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. (ESV)