Summary: Paul's prayer for enlightenment for the Ephesians included an His prayer request that they discover the assurance of their calling to eternal glory.
Paul’s Prayer For Enlightenment – Part 2
Ephesians - Live Like You Really Are
June 10, 2012
POWERPOINT: There is a PowerPoint presentation for this sermon available by requesting it from me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
TEXT: Ephesians 1:15-1:18 – Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints, 16 Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; 17 That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: 18 The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints.”
I was saved when I was twelve years old, but in my teen years, between girls, cars and motorcycles, my relationship with the Lord was sometimes up, sometimes down. It was between my freshman and sophomore years in college that I totally surrendered to God in discipleship.
With that surrender came a renewed sense of guilt for sin. I found myself experiencing more doubts about my salvation than ever before. When I didn’t live up to God’s expectations; when I gave in to a besetting sin; when I failed to have the desire for spiritual things because of the weakness of the flesh, I kept asking myself: If I were really saved, would I do these things? And if I’m still struggling with them, then am I really saved? I prayed the “sinner’s prayer” a thousand times until I really understood what Paul prayed for the Ephesian believers to experience in verse 18.
Paul had listed all the blessings the believers had in Christ in verses 3-14. And yet he knew that they would never be able to truly enjoy them and harness them for godliness and good unless they were enlightened about some things. This prayer by Paul is a prayer for enlightenment, that they would understand these truths so that they would grow up in Christ and live up to their calling in Christ Jesus.
So he prayed for four things for them.
I. We saw that the first one was that the Ephesians would KNOW GOD MORE DEEPLY in verse 17 – That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him.”
Illus. – Em Griffin in the Mind Changers tells how a kindergarten teacher asked her class to draw something that was important to them. In the back of the room Johnny began to labor over his drawing. Everybody else finished and handed in their picture but he was still drawing. So the teacher asked, “Johnny, what are you drawing?”
He didn’t look up, but just kept on working feverishly at his picture.
“God,” he answered.
“But Johnny,” she said gently, “no one knows what God looks like.”
He answered, “They will when I’m through.”
The believers in Ephesus needed a more thorough knowledge of God and Christ, so He prayed that they would receive enlightenment about this knowledge. But not through their own intellect, but by “the spirit of wisdom and revelation,” which we saw meant understanding God more deeply through the revelation of God’s Word, the Bible, with the aid of the illumination of the Holy Spirit.
No need to preach that whole sermon again, so let’s go to the second part of Paul’s prayer.
II. THE SECOND THING HE PRAYED FOR WAS THAT THE EPHESIANS MIGHT KNOW THE HOPE OF GOD’S CALLING. – Verse 18a – “The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling…”
To understand this part of the prayer, we have to understand two words: hope and calling.
• In English, hope often means something you wish will happen, but you have no real assurance it ever will. A soldier might say, “I hope I make rank this time around”; or a child might say, “I hope I get a bike for Christmas”; or a student might say, “I hope I get an A on my final exam.”
In each of these examples, hope is used to express a desire for something that might or might not happen, based on different factors. Bible hope, though, carries with it the idea of absolute assurance for the future.
Hold that thought for a moment.…
• What is meant by God’s “calling” in this passage? God’s calling for believers is defined in 1 Peter 5:10 – “But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus…” In other words, believers are “called to eternal glory.”