Summary: The riches we receive in Christ far surpass the riches that the world can give.
Praying For Riches
Text: Ephesians 1:15 – 23
By: Ken McKinley
Have you ever met someone who seems to always be trying to get something better or achieve more, and never realizing that what they already have is more than enough? There is a poem that sort of sums this kind of person up. It’s titled, “Smart” and I want to read it to you quickly.
My dad gave me one dollar –‘cause I’m his smartest son,
And I swapped it for two shiny quarters – ‘cause two is more than one!
And then I took the quarters – and traded them to Lou
For three dimes – I guess he didn’t know – That three is more than two!
Just then, along came old blind Bates – And just ‘cause he can’t see
He gave me four nickels for my three dimes – And four is more than three!
And I took the nickels to Hiram Coombs – Down at the seed-feed store,
And the fool gave me five pennies for them – And five is more than four!
Then I went and showed my dad – And he got red in the cheeks
And closed his eyes and shook his head – Too proud of me to speak!
That boy in the poem can be like a lot of people, never realizing that what he had at first was more valuable. It seems like today a lot of people only want more and more, and don’t stop to take a look at the riches that they already have.
In the passages just before our text Paul had just explained the wonderful riches we have in Christ, and then he says that he prays for us. He prays that we would know just how rich we really are; so that we won’t waste the wealth that we have as believers on the insignificant toys we think will make us happy.
Notice how Paul begins this paragraph of his letter to the Ephesians. In the NKJV it says, “Therefore…” The NIV translates it as “For this reason…” In other words Paul is saying, all of those things I’ve just told you in verses 3 – 14 are the reason I do not cease to give thanks for you and pray for you. Now remember what Paul has said in those verses? He said God has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in Christ, He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world so that we should be holy, He’s predestined us to the adoption, according to His will. He’s made us accepted in the beloved, He’s redeemed us and forgiven us according to the riches of His grace. He’s made known to us the mystery of His will, and sealed us with the Holy Spirit until the redemption of our bodies. It’s for these things that Paul gives thanks and prays. And we can take from that great comfort, knowing that because God is at work, we can pray with confidence.
So that’s what Paul does; he prays that we who are in Christ would be made aware of our riches in Him.
Now you might say, “Wait a minute Kenny. I am not rich. I can barely pay attention, let alone my bills.” But physical riches are not exactly what Paul is referring to here (despite what you might hear on TBN). That’s why he prays for revelation and wisdom for believers for knowledge of the Lord. So what Paul is doing is praying that believers would have a firm understanding of what he’s already said in the previous verses.
We need this, especially today. We need wisdom to know how to live out our victory in Christ Jesus.
So Paul is praying that Christians would have insight in regards to their relationship with Christ. The great Chinese military strategist Sun Tzu said, “Know yourself and know your enemy and you will have victory in every battle.” But the Bible teaches that if we know Christ we will have victory. I think that one of our great problems in the church today is that we spend so much time getting knowledge of self, rather than knowing Christ and we end up stunted in our spiritual growth. Paul is praying that we would know the Lord better, and by doing so we would know the hope, the riches, the power and the privileges that God has for us. Jesus tells us in the Gospels that we are to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. The mind is part of it. Christians should be thinkers. If you look at the church in ages past, Christians were some of the most brilliant people around. Men like Augustine, Martin Luther, John Calvin, Charles Spurgeon, Jonathan Edwards, the list goes on and on. But today many are more concerned with being entertained. Pastors are more concerned with creating an emotional feeling than they are with providing understanding of God and His will. That’s why for so long many Christians were unable to defend the faith against attacks like the lie of evolution, or why there is evil in the world. And the blame for this rests on all of us; on pastors for not equipping the saints for the work of ministry, and for laypeople for not demanding more from their pastors.