Summary: Paul prays for the Ephesians to open their eyes to the source of their power. . . the salvation found in Christ!
Focus: Paul prays for the Ephesians to open their eyes to the source of their power.
Function: to open the eyes of our church to the incomparably great power found in Christ!
Opener: Have you ever felt “empowered”?
A friend of mine recently told me of a time when he felt empowered. He had
been a lower level employee with little to no power over his organization or
decisions being made when his boss called him into his office. His boss had
only recently taken over the department and told my friend, “I want to make
this department the best and in order to do that I need to bring in the best
people. But I don’t know the best people out there, you do. Go out there
and get them to join our team.” My friend all of a sudden felt empowered to
make things happen for his organization- where he never had before. And
he did. He went out and began bringing in some of the very best in the field
to join their organization.
That power didn’t come from his position -he was a low level employee.
That power didn’t come from his personality -I would describe him as
particularly charismatic. That power didn’t come from his own power- he
had nothing to offer himself! That power came from above . . . well, his boss.
This morning we’re going to talk about POWER.
We’ve been looking at the book of Ephesians and seen that one of Paul’s
key emphases in the book is the changed life. Life “in Christ” looks different
than life “in the world.” But Paul also knows that the transformation of
lifestyle is sometimes a difficult one for people. We don’t change overnight .
. . and a lot of that has to do with motivation. Many of us became Christians
out of guilt or out of fear . . and I don’t believe that those are motivations that
sustain a changed life for very long. Paul doesn’t motivate that way . . . look
at 1:3 again
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed
us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.”
He then goes on to unpack this treasure trove of blessings . . . he has
chosen us . . . he has planned for our adoption as His sons/ daughters . . .
he has freely bestowed upon us His glorious grace . . . he has redeemed us
& forgiven us . . . he has revealed his will to us . . . he has planned us for a
purpose . . . he has marked us with the promised Holy Spirit guaranteeing
our inheritance! I believe THAT is a motivation that will stick! If I can
constantly remember WHAT God has done for me, I will want all the more to
LIVE for Him!
But, Paul also knows that motivation is simply not enough. Even the best of
intentions sometimes fail . . . as many of you may be experiencing with your
New Year’s Resolutions now that we’re in the fourth week of January. I
remember a saying from not too long back, “The road to hell is paved with
good intentions.” “Yes, Lord, I know that I need to make things right with my
wife, but if she’ll just give me a few more days, I’ll make it up to her.” “Yes,
Lord, I know that I need to mend my relationship with that person, I’ll get to it
tomorrow.” “Yes, Lord, I know that I need to be more involved at church. I’ll
sign up for a new ministry as soon as I finish this project at work.” “Yes,
Lord, I know I need to be more available to my kids. As soon as things settle
down at the office, I’ll be able to.”
Sometimes simple motivation is not enough to live the Christian life. We
need to be empowered from above! Paul knew that this was true for the
Christians to whom he was writing and so that is why he offers the prayer to
them that he does- Remember, we observed that while Ephesians doesn’t
talk a lot about worship or prayer, there sure is a lot of both in it!
15 For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and
your love for all the saints, 16 I have not stopped giving thanks for you,
remembering you in my prayers. (NIV)
Paul continues his opening to the letter by saying, “There’s two things I’ve
heard about you that make me proud!” (1) your faith (2) your love for the
saints What a neat observation! I would go so far as to say that faith in