Summary: God has come to give us HOPE to walk in vibrant vision. RICHES to make us aware of our glorious inheritance and POWER to live the kind of live that brings life out of the stronghold of death.
Hope, Riches and Power – Ephesians 1:18-20
Intro.: The Ephesians were hopeless, impoverished and weak. No Christian escapes these struggles entirely. We often grow cold and apathetic. Paul knew they had lost sight of God’s promise. They knew it in their minds, but they had lost sight of it in their hearts. It was no longer alive and compelling to their souls. So Paul prays that the eyes of their hearts will be enlightened to produce three results.
I. That you may know what is the hope of your calling
NOTE: He doesn’t just say, "Lord, bless the Ephesians." Most of us pray non-specific prayers on everybody and expect God to work things out. But Paul knows they have lost their vision, their hope and had become indifferent. They know it as doctrine, but they lost the experience of it. They lost their hope of a future. This happens to us too. The rapture doesn’t turn us on like it once did. We know it as doctrine, but it doesn’t grip our souls. These people had come to that place. Paul wanted to awaken “the believer’s hope” in the Ephesians, as described in Romans.
READ: Romans 8:18-25
A. This is the hope many believers have in their MINDS
1. They know it academically
2. They know a day is coming, sometime…
B. You say, "that’s fine, but how does that help me now?
1. You’re caught in a meaningless routine
2. Life is going on and it’s not very exciting
NOTE: The Answer: Scripture doesn’t teach that all of this hope will come in one blinding flash at the end. Many Christians misunderstand this. This was part of the Ephesians problem. What the Scriptures actually teach had never dawned upon them, that HOPE is happening right now. The body is redeemed at a future time, but the new creation is taking place right now. Paul describes it in II Corinthians 4:16-17
Paul prays that these Christians will realize that God is at work in their daily lives, that, in the midst of the old creation, the new one is gradually taking shape.
C. Paul knew that many Christians go through a process of becoming dull
1. They experience the greatness of God
2. They get free from habits that held them in bondage
3. Without realizing it, they gradually drift toward death
4. They became established. (def.; inflexible and rigid!)
NOTE: Christians tend to back away from life and not get involved in real issues. They gradually fall into a rut. Paul sees this, so he prays this 2nd part of his prayer.
II. That you may know the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints
A. We belong to God, we are His property
B. It is his delight to use us
NOTE: If we make ourselves available to be used, then true fulfillment await us. But if we are afraid to let God use us, we will fall into this living rut of experience, and we will find that the Christian life gradually becomes drab, dreary and boring.
C. We need to understand the adventure that awaits us
1. The Lord has gifted you for a purpose
2. There is equipment in your spirit that you need to use
D. Here’s what you need to say, “Lord, I’m available."
1. As you step out, you’ll discover this brings great joy
2. Your life gradually becomes more:
a. Delightful in its adventure
b. Broad in its understanding
c. Rich in its varied experience.
E. Many of you are just waiting for God to tell you to do something
1. But the NT never instructs you to do that
2. Its says, "God is with you; risk something, plunge in, try something new
3. The result will be a fantastic enrichment of your life
III. That you may know the immeasurable greatness of his power in us who
A. Christians everywhere are often immobilized by fear
1. Many Christians suffer from insecurity
2. They fear failure, persecution, ridicule etc.
3. There is a sense of inadequacy & impotence in their lives
4. They don’t think they can do anything
B. The answer to fear is power
1. The minute you sense adequate power, fear is erased, power overcomes fear
C. Paul prays that Christians will open their eyes to the power available to them...
D. It troubles me when Christians seem to just give up
1. They feel that their struggles are just too much
2. They have lost sight of the One who gives power
NOTE: Paul details this thought because it is so important for us. He wants us to see that the power (Spirit) that raised Jesus from the dead dwells in us – Romans 8:11
E. It is RESURRECTION power
1. It is different from any other power