Summary: Ephesians 1 b
Ephesians 1b - Paul’s Prayer for the Light to Go On - July 16, 2006
Good morning. Join me in turning to the book of Ephesians, chapter 1. We have just begun going through this wonderful epistle of Paul the Apostle, written to Christians in the town of Ephesus, the capital city of Turkey or Asia Minor as it was known back them. Paul writes to those who have left idol worship -- as the town was the center of the worship of the goddess Diana or Artemis -- to those who have come to trust in Christ for salvation.
We mentioned last week that chapters 1-3 deal with doctrine, and chapters 4-6 deal with duty. 1-3 deal with who we are, and 4-6 with how we live. Ephesians has a lot to say about relationships, and chapters 1-3 talk about our relationship with God, and 4-6 with our relationships with each other.
Last week we looked at verses 1-4, in the Greek one single sentence, and we saw the key idea expressed in verse 3 - we are blessed with every spiritual blessing in Christ in the heavenly realms. We mentioned that we live on a spiritual plane, and we look beyond just the blessings of health and money and family. We see that on a spiritual, supernatural level God has given us many blessings.
We saw that the Father chose us for salvation. The Father is the one who initiated our salvation and made it possible. And then He is also the one who made it come about, he predestined, He ordained beforehand that we would receive an “adoption”, the legal ceremony whereby a child received all rights to the father’s inheritance.
We saw that we also have blessings from Jesus Christ, God’s son. It is Christ who has redeemed us, offering us forgiveness by dying in our place on the cross. And it is also in Christ that we come to fully understand the will of the Father, whose desire is for everything in heaven and earth to be obedient to His Son, Jesus Christ.
We saw also that we have received blessings from the Holy Spirit, we has sealed us. The spirit identifies us as a Christian. Anyone who has not received the Holy Spirit is not a Christian. The spirit does not come as a “second blessing” but at the moment of salvation. The Holy Spirit is also our guarantee, our downpayment, our security that we WILL receive all that God has promised we will receive.
And because of all of these blessings, our response is to give praise to God. To load him down with our praises. I trust that you have been spending time this week giving praise to God for all that he has done for you. That is what we covered last week. Today we go on to the second half of chapter one. READ 1:15-23. PRAY.
As we saw last week, we are blessed with every spiritual blessing in Christ. But knowledge alone puffs up, it builds pride in our lives. Instead, we need to DO something about it. It is not enough to know your blessings, but we must put them into action in our lives each day. James reminds us in 1:22 - Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. After considering all the blessings he has, Paul thinks about the Ephesian believers and what God has done in their lives, and he is moved to thankfulness and prayer. Paul has heard of their faith and their love - he saw results of their faith lived out in their lives, and this motivates him to pray for them.
Sometimes when we see little progress in an area, it can be hard to keep on praying. You pray for an unsaved boss, coworker, or family member, and they show no interest, so we end up making only a token prayer. But when we see someone who shows some interest, who is asking questions about the faith, who wants to know more, it makes us all excited. When we see God at work in our lives, it motivates us to pray all the harder. Paul has seen the faith and love of these Ephesians believers put into practice, and so he prays all the harder for them. Now let’s look at Paul’s prayer for them today. Because it is the same thing that we need to pray for ourselves today.
You’ve all seen optical illusions. We look at a picture, and over time we notice things we hadn’t seen at first glance. For example, look at this picture. What do you see? **show lady picture - an old lady or a young lady? How about this picture? **duck/rabbit What do you see, a duck or a rabbit?