Summary: Paul has set forth the amazing and unlimited blessings of being in Christ. In the verses that follow, Paul prays that the believers he writes to will come to fully understand and appreciate those blessings.
Date: May 9th, 1999
Title: Our Resources in Christ
Text: Eph. 1:15-23
Intro: Six-year-old Thomas McAlley recently visited Calgary’s fire department headquarters. While there he was given a chance to dress up in a fireman’s uniform and ride on a fire truck. A photographer snapped him as he sat on his perch on a boot rack at the fire station.
That is a thrilling experience, we are sure, for a boy, but if there was a fire, none of us would wish someone who was merely playing games to be in charge of putting the flames out. We would want the experienced, adult firemen.
Many Christian workers are merely playing at putting the fires of sin and lawlessness out. They have the uniform, but they do not have the ability to help bring a burning world under control.
In verses 3-14 Paul has set forth the amazing and unlimited blessings of being in Christ. In the verses that follow, Paul prays that the believers he writes to will come to fully understand and appreciate those blessings.
In this prayer he focuses on believers comprehension of their resources in their Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. In verses 15-16 he praises them, and in verses 17-23 he makes petitions to God for them to know and experience Christ’s power in their lives.
I. Christians Bring Praise To God As They Live In Faith and Love. (vss. 15&16)
A. Paul heard about the Christians in Ephesus.
1. From letters, as well as through personal reports from friends who visited him in prison.
2. He heard two things that indicated the genuineness of their salvation. The proof to Paul that they were truly followers of Christ.
a) A true Christian-faith in Christ.
b) A love for other Christians.
c) What Paul said was that the reality in the believer’s life in verses 1-14 was confirmed as these folks acted in accordance with that truth!
3. Those two dimensions of spiritual life are inseparable.
B. Paul praises them for their faith.
1. Not just any faith but rather a faith in the Lord Jesus.
a) The lordship of Jesus is the object of that belief.
b) Some Christians seem like to underplay Christ’s lordship almost to the point of denying it.
c) Others would like to accept the term Lord only as a reference to deity, not sovereignty.
2. The truth is that the New Testament does not separate Jesus as Savior from Jesus as Lord.
a) He is both, or He is neither.
b) Paul says, "If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved" (Rom. 10:9;).
c) Jesus becomes Savior when He is accepted as Lord.
3. Paul is giving praise here because he has heard of their new life in Christ.
a) This causes him to pray prayers of thanksgiving.
Trans: But even if Paul had some sneaking doubt about whether these folks were truly allowing Jesus to be Lord of their lives. He says in the next part of this verse the second key to knowing if someone is truly a Christian. First is faith and second is love.
C. Paul praises them for their love.
1. A second mark of genuine salvation is love for all the saints.
2. Christian love is indiscriminate; it does not pick and choose which believers it will love.
a) Christ loves all believers, and they are precious to Him.
b) By definition, therefore, Christian love extends to all Christians.
3. Jesus goes so far as to tell us that we show a watching world just how much Jesus is Lord of our Lives as we love one another!
John 13:34-35 (NIV)
"A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."
4. Always in the New Testament true spiritual love is defined as an attitude of selfless sacrifice that results in generous acts of kindness done to others.
a) It is far more than a feeling, an attraction or emotion.
b) When the Lord had washed the feet of the proud and self-seeking disciples, He told them that what He had done for them was the example of how they were to love each other (John 13:34).
c) John emphasizes the same truth: "We know love by this that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. (1John 3:16).
5. It is unfortunate that some Christians have a loveless kind of faith.
a) Because it is loveless there is reason to doubt that such faith is even genuine.