Summary: We need to come to a knowledge of who we are and what we have in Christ.
Knowledge In Christ
Text: Eph. 1:15-23
1. Illustration: A sailor once took a group of young people boating for the day. One young man bragged the whole way about all he knew about the sea. Every time the sailor began to give instructions this young man would interrupt with his supposed knowledge. After some time a squall blew up. The sailor began to hand out lifejackets. “Where’s mine?” cried the know-it-all. “Don’t worry son,” replied the old sailor. “You don’t need a life jacket. With a head as full of hot air as yours you will float forever!”
2. The prophet Hosea tells us, Hosea 4:6 (NIV)
"my people are destroyed from lack of knowledge. "Because you have rejected knowledge, I also reject you..."
3. Paul, being a pastor at heart, prays for his people to have knowledge. He prays that they have:
a. Knowledge of Hope
b. Knowledge of Power
c. Knowledge of Authority
Propostion: We need to come to a knowledge of who we are and what we have in Christ.
Transition: We need to come to a...
I. Knowledge of Hope (15-18)
A. Spiritual Wisdom
1. After describing the glorious blessings given to believers (1:3-14), thoughts of the great promises of God led Paul to give praise and to pray for the church—the people chosen to receive those blessings (Life Application New Testament Commentary).
2. He says that he is thankful to the Lord for their "Ever since I first heard of your strong faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for God’s people everywhere..."
a. Paul was thankful because he had received encouraging reports about them concerning two important aspects of the Christian life.
b. He uses the expression, faith in the Lord Jesus, because Christ is the aim and object of faith (Calvin’s Commentaries).
c. That is the reason that faith is so powerful, because its object is so powerful.
d. Faith means "to have confidence; to have assurance; to have reliance; to have conviction.
e. Faith also means both to believe and to be faithful to the belief (Practical Word Studies in The New Testament).
f. So Paul is saying that he is thankful for their trust, confidence, and conviction about Jesus as Lord, and because they had remained faithful to that belief.
3. The proof of their faith is their "love for God’s people everywhere..."
a. Faith and love always seem to go hand in hand.
b. Jesus said if you love me you will keep my commandments, and He also said, "I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other."
c. You cannot say that you have faith and not have love for other Christians. That would be a contradiction in terms.
d. Likewise, you cannot say you love and not have faith because if it wasn’t for Jesus we wouldn’t know anything about love.
e. It is no accident that they often appear together in Scripture for faith and love are foundational principles for all Christians.
4. It was for these reasons that Paul tells them "I have not stopped thanking God for you."
a. Can you imagine someone saying to you, "I have not stopped thanking God for you?"
b. What an encouraging thing that would be for us.
c. Paul was thankful to God for what He was doing in the lives of these fellow believers.
5. Paul adds that because of his thankfulness he never stops praying for them. His prayer is that God would "give you spiritual wisdom and insight so that you might grow in your knowledge of God."
a. The intent of Paul’s prayer is clear: that people will receive revelation to know what they have in Christ (Snodgrass, NIV Application Commentary, New Testament: Ephesians, 72).
b. Throughout this letter Paul makes constant reference to "spiritual" things, and the wisdom that he is praying for here is "spiritual wisdom."
c. It is not worldly wisdom, but it is spiritual wisdom with a spiritual purpose, specifically to know God better.
d. Spiritual wisdom and insight can only come from the Holy Spirit (Bruce, NICNT, 269).
e. He gives us wisdom and insight so that we can see things from God’s perspective.
6. Paul adds, "I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance."
a. For the Jew, the heart was the core of personality, the total inner person, the center of thought and moral judgment.
b. The imagery of hearts flooded with light pictures an ability to see the reality of our wonderful future. (Life Application New Testament Commentary).
c. In other words, the apostle prays the lights will go on inside people so that they know God and understand the benefit of the gospel.