Summary: Who we are meant to be as shown by the book of Ephesians
I Am Destined
Series: Becoming Who We Are (Engaging Ephesians)
Brad Bailey - January 19, 2014
Do you have hope? I don't mean simply hope about what you might do today or tomorrow....I mean ultimate hope.
Do you know your ultimate destiny?
> That is what I believe God wants to speak into us today as we continue engaging the Bokk of Ephesians.
The Book of Ephesians captures the Divine Drama.
> Our stories are a storyline within a storyline.
We are living in the intersection of the eternal and created realms.
Without knowledge of the bigger reality... we try to find meaning in these stories....but what if the separation was pulled back....what if the writer entered the play...
> He did...in Christ.
God entered Paul's story as a religious man... and it changed him. He realized he was fighting the playwright...in vain of course.
> The playwright has come to reveal the bigger drama... the bigger story of the end of the play as it exists forever...as it defines the acts that we may be in.
> That is what Paul presents.
Last week... Paul begins this letter declaring that in Christ we have received every spiritual blessing. And now he continues....
Ephesians 1:15-23 (NIV)
15 For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, 16 I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. 17 I 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. 18 I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, 20 which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.
Again lofty...it's hard for me to fully get hold of what he is saying in one read.
Let me offer a few observations and then drill into the central word God has for us.
He has spoken of the blessing they have "In Christ"...and now begin to express that he GIVES THANKS for them.
Ephesians 1:15-16 (NIV)
For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers.
Paul has been praising God for the spiritual blessings that are ours...and now he is drawn toward praying. Throughout Scripture, we often see praise preceding prayer. In the Lord’s Prayer, for example, we see the disciples asking Jesus to teach them how to pray....Jesus says a good way to begin is Our Father who art in heaven, may your name be made holy..." Prayer flows most naturally from praise.
And as he tells them of his prayer... he "gives thanks to for them." He expresses his appreciation for their faith and love. These are lives that he was once in community with...for possibly two years. He is hearing of how much with faith in Christ...and love for others. And he wants them to know that is something he is thankful for.
It may not seem significant...but consider that Paul had been suffering more than anyone...and was likely writing from prison. Paul’s gone from freedom to imprisonment. He has gone from a position in the culture where he had dual citizenship, and he was able to speak multiple languages, and highly educated under the leading rabbi, Gamaliel, he was highly honored, possibly a member of the Sanhedrin. I mean, this is a very successful man. Now he’s broke, single, hated, and in prison. Is he consumed with bitterness? Cynical and critical? What he expresses is gratitude...appreciation for these people.
> It's a great example of the significance of expressing our appreciation to those who do well to us or others. Paul had every reason to focus on his own hardships...but he focused on others ...and expressed his appreciation.
Grumbling never helps us find satisfaction and strength. Appreciation blesses everyone.
It's an encouraging example to all of us to stop and express our appreciation to those who serve us ..as well as whatever faithfulness we see to Christ...and love is expressed to others.