Summary: Teaching the reader to appreciate those who labor and pray with you.
THANKING GOD FOR THE PEOPLE OF FAITH
There is a terrible name that the world has put on the church, that accuses the church of being an entity that only cares only about its own financial position. Many believe that we are a selfish, money grabbing, judgmental people, with Rolls Royce driving, mansion living, diamond wearing preachers, who do not care about those who are financially challenged, but looks out for those who can solidify his financial base. Now I would be the first to say that in some churches this dark cloud does hover over them, but I can assure you that Salem is not one of them. Just the other day at church meeting we were made aware that one of the smaller ministries was interested in buying one of our vans, it was not in the best condition because it needed some work. The thing that made me glad was that the trustees voted to voted to give the van to the pastor and his ministry, rather than to sell them the van. This my brothers and sisters is one of the things that pleased my heart, especially when the people of faith invested in a smaller ministry, and by doing this it not only pleases me as the pastor, but I feel that it also pleased the Lord as well. You hear me say from time to time that “If we be a blessing, the Lord will make sure that we will always have a blessing to give” and from this act of kindness I promise you that the entire Salem Baptist family will benefit from it.
In this lesson we find the apostle Paul feeling as I do about the people of God. In fact we find him giving thanks to the Lord regularly in his prayers for their faith and their actions of love. I tell you nothing makes a church leader feel better than knowing that he is leading a people that not only have faith and love for the Lord, but they also love the people of the faith. So, Paul in his prayer is asking the Lord to give them the spirit of wisdom and the eyes of understanding through revelation knowledge.Now there are two prayers in found in this Ephesians: (1) he prays “that you might know,” 1:15–23; and (2) he prays “that you might be,” 3:13–21. The first prayer is for enlightenment, the second prayer is for enablement. Paul prays first that we might know what Christ has done for us; then he prays that we might live up to these wonderful blessings and put them to work in our daily lives.
So lets take a look at Paul’s prayer of enlightenment and discover the blessings that Paul through this prayer is asking of the Lord.
First of all he asked. . .
1. THAT GOD WILL GIVE THEM THE SPIRIT OF WISDOM AND REVELATION KNOWLEDGE (vv.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,”
Paul, having written that the church is the body of Christ, and that God the Father planned it, God the Son paid for it, and God the Holy Spirit protects it, recognized that the Ephesians wouldn’t be able to understand all this unless the Spirit of God was their teacher and opened the Word of God to them.
Only the Holy Spirit of God can reveal the knowledge of God. Dr. Ironside tells a story of a man that move here from Ireland and live at his parents place. As a young preacher he would visit this man because he had been greatly used of God in teaching the Word. While Dr. Ironside would sit with him, he would open up the Scriptures in such an amazing way that Dr. Ironside one day asked him, "Where did you learn that?" "Well, "I didn’t get it by going to seminary because I never went to seminary. I never learned it by going to college because I didn’t go there either. No one particularly taught me. Rather I learned these things on my knees on the mud floor of a little sod cottage in the north of Ireland. There with my open Bible before me, I used to kneel for hours at a time and ask the Spirit of God to reveal Christ to my soul, and open the Word to my heart. He said that the Lord taught him more on his knees on that mud floor than he could have learned in all the seminaries and colleges of the world." And that is so true that we can learn to understand the word clearly by seeking the Lord’s guidance, than seeking letters of academia. So Paul prayed that they would have wisdom and the revelation knowledge of God.