Summary: The quality of our relationships determines our quality life more than anything else. How can we know the best that comes with being children of our heavenly Father?
THE QUEST – TO KNOW GOD BETTER Eph 1:15-23
Last Sunday we were thinking about 2010 and the year that lies ahead and what developments we might like to see take place during the year.
And I made the case that what matters to us more than anything else is our relationships.
It is our relationships that determine the quality of our lives more than anything else, therefore we will be examining these over the next few weeks in order to be able to improve the quality of our lives as God intends, beginning with our relationships with God as our Father.
I quoted from the words of a contemporary Christian song that describes a longing that we have:
There must be more than this
oh breath of God come breath within
There must be more than this
Spirit of God we wait for you
Fill us anew we pray
Fan into flame
a passion for your name
Spirit of God
fall in this place
Lord have your way
So to recap, we considered that:
The best way to begin the New Year is to strengthen our relationship with God as our Father.
For in doing so we will find the direction for our lives that we are looking for.
• We looked at the blessings we have from God our Father NOW: Forgiveness, redemption, sonship and salvation, and the gifts the Holy Spirit gives.
• We gave thought to the special relationship we have with the Father as his ADOPTED children.
• Then we reminded ourselves of the security we have in Christ as those SEALED with the Spirit of God.
And I encouraged you to press in to that relationship with God.
TODAY WE ARE GOING TO DO JUST THAT.
There is no doubt that the apostle Paul had a rich and deep experience of relationship with God as Father that he wanted others to share:
READING Ephesians 1:15-23
POINT That’s great praying isn’t it.
And to the degree that we know God in the way described here, we too will pray like this, asking God our brothers and sisters in Christ may share the same experience of intimacy with God and its outcome.
What is this prayer?
1. IT’S A PRAYER OF THANKSGIVING v15-16
‘For this reason’ For what reason?
Paul is referring to what God has already done for them:
• Blessed with every spiritual blessing
• Adopted as his children
• Redeemed and forgiven us
• Sealed us by the Holy Spirit
• Guaranteed our inheritance
It is a great joy for any Christian worker, voluntary or otherwise, to see real evidence of the grace of God in saving, blessing and transforming the lives of others. It’s what we live to see.
At this time Paul was in prison in Rome and he had heard good reports of what was happening in Ephesus. He had heard about their
• FAITH in the Lord Jesus, and
• how they showed their LOVE for one another
He could see that they were making progress in their Christian lives and so he went on to pray:
2. THAT THEY MIGHT KNOW HIM BETTER v17-19a
Key text: Ephes. 1:17
I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.
In his prayer Paul asks that they might have a spirit of wisdom and of revelation that they might know him better.
This is the same prayer that Moses prayed for himself. In Exodus 33 God was giving a special blessing to Moses. And Moses asks of the Lord, "Show me Thy glory!"
And the Lord said, "You cannot see My face and continue to live, but I'll do this. I'll put you in a cleft in the rock and I'll cover you there with My hand and then I shall pass by with all of the radiance of My glory and when I have passed by, I will take My hand away and you will see My afterglow."
Paul prayed the same thing for them.
Just as with Moses – when we see more of the Lord – when we come to know the Lord better we are changed!
Moses himself was affected by the glow of being in the presence of God on the mountain, and Paul says that:
‘ And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. 2 Cor. 3:18
This is the difference between knowing about God in terms of theological truth and knowing God in personal experience.
In Ephesians 3:19 Paul prays that they may know ‘the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge’