Summary: When God opens our understanding, amazing revelation follows
EPHESIANS # 2
From the first part of Chapter 1, we learn these transforming truths.
“I am blessed... with every spiritual blessing!”
“I am included in God’s family by His design and will.”
“I am valued because He invests His grace in me.”
“I am at rest because I am included in Christ.”
I hope you reviewed those declarations throughout the week. We are what we think and when we think God’s thoughts about us, life changes for the better!
Our text for today launches from those thoughts.
TEXT - Ephesians 1: 15-21
When I was pastoring in Massachusetts, in the 1990's, I worked a few hours each week for a local agency called Construct. Their mission was helping people build new lives. One of the things I did was teach computer skills to people who were retraining for new jobs. In one of my classes, there were two men who had been working in factories as laborers. Both realized that the way forward was to understand technology. With each week, I found delight in seeing them begin to grasp how to compose an email, how to do an internet search, how to find information. In a simple way, I opened their eyes to things they could not even conceive.
On several occasions I have visited major art museums. I see the work in front of me and appreciate something of the color and form, but lacking any real education in art, I know that I am not really ‘seeing’ all of the art! Were I to stand in front of the same painting or sculptures with Melina Zagra, who has a degree in Fine Art, my eyes would be opened to a whole new appreciation of the work!
Paul’s prayer for the Church is a prayer for growing knowledge of this way of life and of Christ Himself!
Did you ever find out something that once you learned it seemed so obvious? The truth is that “we don’t know what we don’t know!” It’s one of the things that makes the trip from youth to maturity hazardous. We just don’t know how much we have to learn. Maybe that’s a good thing.
If any of us knew how costly it would be to take a child from infancy to adulthood, would we choose to become parents?
If we knew how the difficulties of marriage (or even the disappointment that love can bring our way) would we risk giving our heart away?
This prayer seeks that we come to know Christ better!
Re-read v. 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." (Ephesians 1:17, NIV)
"My prayers that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him." (Ephesians 1:17, ESV)
Is Paul asking the Lord to give us the Holy Spirit to work deeply in us OR is he praying that God will stir our spirit, our inner person, to gain greater knowledge of Him? It can be read honestly both ways. What is clear from other passages is that the truths of God cannot be understood apart from the work of the Holy Spirit in us. The Bible teaches us that we have received “the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words. The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him.” (1 Co 2:12-14)
What we accept by faith is this: we can never figure God out on our own.
That is why Paul prays for two works in our inner person.
First, he prays for wisdom.
Wisdom is the ability to apply what we have learned! Knowledge is NOT the same as wisdom. Most parents go through the experience of dealing with their child gaining some knowledge before they pair it with wisdom.
ill.- When Christine, my youngest daughter, was finishing up her Master’s degree in counseling, she regularly advised me about life. One of the funniest moments was when she offered to enlighten me about our ‘family system.’ I am not demeaning her knowledge, and she did offer me some valuable insights. However, today, after a few years on the job, she has a new level of wisdom to go with her knowledge. Our discussions are even more valuable now.
Second, he prays for revelation.
Ever heard anyone call the last book in the Bible, which we generally refer to as the book of the Revelation, the Apocalypse? That word comes to us from the Greek of the NT, and it means, ‘unveiling.’ The same word is used here. Paul prays for God to unveil the Truth, to strip away the layers that obscure Him.