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16 do not
giving thanks (PAPMSN)
for you, while
mention of you in
to you a
knowledge of Him.
Today weíre going to be looking at
Ephesians 1:16, 17. Weíre going to be talking about a prayer for deeper understanding.
Paul is going to pray for these Ephesian believers. Heís going to pray that they might
have a deeper understanding, not just of the Word of God, but of the God of the Word.
If you were to come to me and say,
"Wayne, if you had one chapter in the Bible that a new believer should be studying and
should understand, what chapter would it be?" I would have to say the first chapter
of Ephesians because in that chapter everything that God has done for us is very carefully
outlined. It shows us His grace. It shows us His love.
Verses 3-14 (Ep 1:3, 4, 5, 6,7, 8, 9, 10, 11,
12, 13, 14) tell the
wonderful story. I wonít read all the verses. Iíll just pull out what weíve been studying now for
several months. He blessed us with every spiritual blessing in Christ Jesus. Heís
already done that. Theyíre not material blessings. "Well, now why wouldnít He put material
blessings in there?" Because they donít last. He gave us what is eternal and what is
internal and what we really need in Christ. He chose us before the foundation of the world in
Christ Jesus. He predestined us to adoption as sons in Christ Jesus. Thatís a work of
grace. We lost our right of relationship. By grace He has come back to redeem us. Thatís the
next thing. He redeemed us through the blood of Jesus Christ. He forgave us of our
sin. In fact, the Scripture says He lavished forgiveness upon us. So often in life we forget
this. We cannot live a life of lawlessness. His Spirit lives within us. However, when we do sin,
we never sin beyond His ability, His desire and His capacity to forgive us. He has
lavished forgiveness upon us. He made known to us the mystery of His will, how everything
is summed up under the headship of Christ. The world thinks itís falling apart. Oh no!
Itís coming together, and itís all up under the headship of Jesus Christ. He let us in on that
mystery. The world canít understand it, but we can. He sealed us with the Holy Spirit so
that we might be kept until the day of redemption, absolutely, totally, eternally secure in our
salvation. He gave us the Spirit as an earnest of our coming inheritance. Every victory we
have as a result of the Spirit of God living in us is nothing more than the earnest of the
full payment thatís coming later on. I donít know about you but that tells me something
good is on its way.
Well, what else could He have done to
show us how much He loved us and how much He wanted to show grace to us. The
new believer should spend hours and hours and hours asking God the Holy Spirit to
help him understand these truths in a deeper way. Paulís focus is totally on God, not
on what man has done, but what God has done. Thatís the uniqueness of our salvation. Itís
not of our works lest any man should boast. But itís by grace that we are saved through
faith. Well, in verse 15 and 16 Paul is encouraged when he hears about these Ephesians.
Now why would he be encouraged? He
says in verse 15-16a,
"For this reason I too, having heard of the faith in the Lord Jesus which exists
among you and your love for all the saints, do not cease giving thanks"
Remember, Paul spent over three years of his life with these precious Ephesian
believers. He planted the seeds of real faith and of love for one another that
are now blossoming in their lives. Heís in prison. He hears about them, and it
encourages his heart. He thanks the Lord for those believers that are willing
to. live faithfully for the Lord Jesus. He says, "...while
you in my
prayers." Now heís going to pray for them, and
in his prayer he brings out things that I think we need to really take time to look at,
things we need to understand.
A PRAYER FOR A
His prayer, if you put it in a simple way, is a prayer for a
deeper understanding for these Ephesian believers. They know all about what God has done, but
now they need to know God in a deeper, more intimate way. What Paul is praying
here is that these Ephesian believers will get to know God in their walk.
Knowing God and fearing God is very crucial to the Christian life. So many of us
can whip out our spiritual knowledge. Oh man, weíve studied this book, weíve
studied that book, weíve got facts in our heads, but we havenít got a clue about
the God of the Word. What heís praying for here is that they might have a deeper
understanding of God Himself and some of His attributes that will come later on
in his prayer.
main focus for us now is Ep 1:17:
"that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ the
Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the
knowledge of Him."
Thatís what heís praying for these Ephesian believers. Letís look at it, take it apart, and
see how far we can get with it.
First of all, we want to see to
whom heís praying. He
makes a statement here that some religions love to pick up on and say that Jesus
is really not God. He says, "..."...that the God of our Lord Jesus
Christ,..." Now that statement can throw you if you donít understand a little
bit about the terminology in that phrase that makes it look like Jesus is less
than God. When you speak of "Jesus" you are speaking of the earthly name of the
Son of God. When you speak of "Christ" youíre speaking of His resurrected name,
the anointed name, the role He came to fulfill in our life and on this earth.
When you speak of "Lord," youíre speaking of His authority and benevolent
authority as ruler over all. That authority was given to Him because of what He
did on the cross for us on this earth. So, youíre not speaking of someone who is
not equal with God. Youíre signifying with that statement the role that Jesus
played in our redemption. So, it says, "...the God of our Lord Jesus Christ,..." Who is this "God of our Lord Jesus Christ?" Well, itís Christ
Himself. Let me show you four ways we know
First of all, Heís the God
Whose work Christ came to do.
Now maybe we
can put it this way and somebodyís mind will turn on to finally understanding these
phrases. Look over in Colossians 1:19-note. Now Jesus is the fulness of the Godhead bodily. If you
want to see God, look at Jesus. Thatís what Heís saying. Christ came to reveal Him and
to do a work for Him. He is God, but He came down to take upon Himself a body. Now
He is not only uniquely God, but He is also the God-Man. Alright? Look in Ep 1:19.
"For it was the Father's good pleasure
for all the fullness to dwell in Him"
Look at Colossians 2:9-note. It explains it more fully.
"For in Him all the fullness of Deity
dwells in bodily form." (Spurgeon's
devotional on Col2:9)
Had it not been for our Lord Jesus Christ we
would have never known God. God said, "I want the world to understand who I am.
I want them to know I love them. Therefore, Iím going to come down." So He came
down in the person of Jesus Christ who, as the God-Man, walked in complete
submission to His Father while He was on this earth. Thereís a tremendous
picture here, but itís hard for the mind to grasp it, isnít it? You see, the
prayer that Paulís going to pray even has to be prayed when we mention phrases
like this. God has just got to help us understand that unique relationship with
the Father and the Son.
second, Heís the God by Whom
Christ was sent.
Christ is God, but He was sent by God. Look in
John 4:34. Iím
telling you, the Word of God to me is like a well that. has no bottom. If anybody says to you
that heís absolutely got it all down pat, you had better back off and pray for that
individual. Itís like a well. Oh, itís unsearchable. Itís impossible to search out all the riches of Godís
Word. Iím grateful for the work of the Spirit. Look at verse 34.
Jesus said to them, "My
food is to do the will of Him who sent Me & to accomplish
(to carry through completely, to finish, to add what is yet wanting in order to
render a thing full, to bring to the proposed goal)
Although He is God He came to accomplish that work on this earth. He came to die
for our sins. That was the visible expression of the love of God.
Third, He is the God of Whom Christ
Now the world did not know the nature of God. They did not know that
God was a benevolent God, a God that was like a Father, until Jesus came. Jesus came
to reveal the heart of God. Itís because of Jesusí coming that we know God to be a
Father. That automatically softens our understanding of who He is. Yes, He is a heavenly
Father, but He gives us an understanding of His care and concern for His creation. Look at
John 6:44. It picks up both
ideas, the fact that Heís sent and the fact that He came to reveal the Father.
one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him
up on the last day.
So we see He is also sent to reveal the Father.
John 5:18 says,
this reason therefore the Jews were seeking all the more to kill Him, because He
not only was breaking the Sabbath, but also was calling God His own Father,
making Himself equal with
So we see the fact He is God, but He came to reveal the nature of God
which is God the Father. Heís the one whom God sent to this earth.
Fourth, Heís the God to
Who is this "God of our Lord Jesus Christ?" Heís the God to whom
Christ has returned. Look in Hebrews 1:1, 2-note. They pick up the whole
God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers
in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken
to us in His Son, Whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He
made the world.
That tells you about His
preexistence. Christ created everything. Then He came as the God-man.
Hebrews 1:3-note says,
And He is the radiance of His glory and
the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of
His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand
of the Majesty on high.
Where did He go? Right back to where He came from. Who is He? Heís God.
"Wait a minute, Wayne. I thought you said He was Christ." He is. "I donít understand
that." I donít either. If we could understand it all, He would be no bigger than our brain,
and He wouldnít be much of a God.
The first point is that He came. Paul
is praying to a God that was so concerned about us that He sent His own Son to this
world to die for us. Heís concerned for you. He cares about you. Heís the Father of glory,
Paul said. In other words, Heís the One to whom glory belongs. The same nature and glory
that goes to the Father goes to the Son for they are equal. They care. Theyíre
compassionate. This is the heart of the One that you come to when you pray.
We could just pick up right there and
go on, couldnít we? I have a heavenly Father who cares about me. How do I know He
cares about me? He sent His Son into the world. Heís already manifested His care and
His grace for me. Now He bids me to come to Him in the name of His Son.
Well, Paul shows us then that God is
concerned with us. He loves us, and has shown His grace towards us. This is the one
He addresses, "...the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory,..."
Secondly, letís look at the main
focus of his prayer. There are three ingredients to. his prayer. The main focus of His
prayer is that the Ephesians come to a deeper under-standing of God. Again look at verse 17,
..that the God of
our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom
and of revelation in the knowledge of Him."
Now folks this
is not an easy Scripture. Please understand that. As a matter of fact I think
chapter 1 is one of the most difficult chapters that Iíve ever studied. What
does he mean by "a spirit of wisdom and a spirit of revelation?" Many, many
conservative scholars think that he refers here to the Holy Spirit. I donít
agree with that, directly. Certainly heís including Him in his thought, but heís
not speaking directly of Him because it says God will give you a spirit. The
Holy Spirit is God. Secondly, thereís no definite article here. Itís not "the
spirit". Itís "a spirit" as the New American Standard brings it out. He prays
that God will give them a spirit of wisdom and of revelation. They already have
the Holy Spirit.
Look back in
In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your
salvation --having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of
They already had the
Holy Spirit. That word
without the definite article, can refer to several things.
One of the things it can refer to is a special work of the Holy Spirit in the spirit of men that
have been redeemed, that have the attitude and the willingness to let God do a work.
Now there are two things implied in
that. Heís asking God the Holy Spirit to give a spirit of wisdom and a spirit of
revelation concerning the knowledge of God to the Ephesian believers. Included and implied in
that is a heart that has been made tender and is willing to let that happen. In other words,
God does it, yes, but we make the choice. All of life is just saying "Yes" to God. When weíre
willing to say "Yes" to Him, the Spirit, as another work of grace, can give us a spirit
of wisdom and a spirit of revelation concerning the knowledge of God.
The word for
is the word
epignosis (word study), which
means more than just fact. Heís already given them facts. He says, "Now I want something deeper for you. I want you to know God. I want you to have a deeper
understanding of God." That word
epignosis (word study)
means "the fullness of knowledge." It means
to not only know it but to understand it and literally, if you please, to
experience God. In other words, it means to be drawn into God Himself and not
just the facts about Him.
How many people do you know who come
to church and quote
v3-14 and never miss a word, but do not
have the deep understanding of what that means in their life? Thatís not something a man can
get on his own. Itís a work of Godís grace as I bow down to Him, as I surrender to Him.
Then the Holy Spirit, who is God, gives me a spirit of wisdom and a spirit of revelation so
that I might grow in that knowledge, not of His Word so much, yes, thatís important, but of
Him, the God of the Word.
"...the whole key of the Christian life is what Paul is
To me the whole key of the Christian
life is what Paul is praying here because we need to know God and fear God. When a man
begins to know God he begins to see himself. He knows Him through His Word. Itís
the Holy Spirit that gives that wisdom and revelation. The word for wisdom there refers to
the practical knowledge that only comes from above. James says all wisdom of God
comes from above (Jas 1:17-note). The Holy Spiritís got to give it. That teaches a man how he can relate
to God, how he can experience God. Thatís wisdom. I hear people all the time telling
me, "You know, the Word just doesnít meet my problem. I mean, God doesnít understand me. I
pick up the Word of God, and itís like a news-paper." Oh yes, it does meet your problems.
If God gives you wisdom He takes that same. Word that you thought didnít apply
and supernaturally shows you how the Word meets every need of your life. Not only
that, it leads you into a deep, deep understanding of that by letting you experience what Godís
saying in that Word. Thatís what the Holy Spirit does. You see, wisdom is very important.
How is this wisdom received? By revelation. This to me is one of the real keys of
Paulís prayer. These Ephesian believers are not that old in the faith. These Ephesian believers
were influenced by the Greek thinking of that day that said everything you do you have to do
yourself. You have to intellectualize. You have to figure it out yourself. As a result,
Paul is praying, "Oh no, you canít do it that way. Iím praying that God will give you a
spirit of wisdom and revelation concerning the knowledge of God."
To me itís very similar to what goes
on in Colossians chapter 1, if youíll look there with me. You know, Colossians is really a
commentary on Ephesians. I really saw a connection here in
Col 1:11-note. Thereís a
very similar thought. Paul is praying for the Colossian believers just like heís
now praying for the Ephesian believers. He has the same heartbeat. Look what he
says in Col 1:9:
"For this reason also, since the day we heard
of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled
(caused to abound, be liberally supplied, be filled to the top or the brim so
that nothing is wanting) with the knowledge (epignosis) of His will in all
spiritual wisdom and understanding (assembling together of facts into an
organized whole & thus the ability to assess any situation & decide what
practical course of action is necessary) so that you will walk in a manner
worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good
work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all power,
according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and
patience; joyously giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in
the inheritance of the saints in Light. -- (Col 1:9-note,
Only the Holy Spirit of God can take the Word of God and make
you wise as to your salvation and give you understanding as to what God wants to do, of who He
is and of how to relate to Him.
at Col 1:10-note:
so that you will walk in a manner worthy of
the Lord, to please Him in all respects"
Then Paul uses some present
Present tense means while youíre working on it
Godís doing something else. Itís going on at the same time. While Iím walking worthy,
filled with knowledge that I could not get with my own mental faculties, but that God the
Holy Spirit using my mind transforms it to understand, God turns on and begins
to do something in my life. I begin
"bearing fruit in every good work" in
Look at the second thing it says.
Itís another present
passive participle. Iím not doing it, Godís
doing it. It says, you start what?
in the knowledge (epignosis
How am I going to get this knowledge of God?
You donít get it by your own personal pursuit. You get it as you bow before Him,
cooperating with Him and surrendering to what His word says. The Holy Spirit of
God imparts wisdom by revealing it to you as He wills and in His own time and in
His own way. Itís by revelation. Man cannot discover on his own what God
has hidden. What God has hidden only God can reveal. Man can discover what is
hidden by man, but man cannot discover what is hidden by God. To me this is one
of the real root thoughts of Paulís prayer. Heís leading them to a deeper
understanding of God, but heís trying to show them that it doesnít come by their
own intellect. It comes by the revelation of the Spirit of God. Yes, the
intellect is needed because God gives understanding, but itís the Holy Spirit
doing it in a personís life.
As a matter of fact, let me show you
that. How would a natural man without the Spirit of God, go about doing it if he
wanted to know God? Well, he would do it the way he has done everything else in his life. Man
learns things by research. Thatís the way weíre programmed. You find all the facts
that you can. You compile all the facts, and then you draw a line and come to a conclusion.
Thatís the way a natural man would want to find out about God. He would get into the Word
and stack up all the verses he could find about Him. That doesnít mean he
understands, but at least he can find facts out about God. He would seek by his
own natural ability to discover God. I remember when I was in Chemistry
class in school. I used to love lab because you. got to fool around with stuff. I
remember all the things they told us not to do. I used to always have that little mischievous
something in me that I had to try it and see why they told us not to do it. I have burned
holes as big as a quarter in my textbook with acid. There are several other stories I
could tell you, but Iíd rather not. I remember one morning, when I almost blew up the Chemistry
lab, the teacher suggested that I might go into the ministry. The world might be a little
safer if I went that direction. Thatís the way man goes about
anything. We would always use the trial and error approach. We find a hypothesis. We
get our facts. We put them down, draw a line and come up with a conclusion. When it
comes to knowing God man canít do that, because he doesnít have a transformed intellect.
He doesnít have a saved intellect. He doesnít have a saved mind. The Spirit is not in
Let me show you that in 1Corinthians 2:11.
This is one of the greatest chapters I think of knowing God in the entire Bible.
Youíve got to have the right correspondence if youíre going to know something. God is
Spirit. Weíve got to have that which is spiritual to correspond with Him as Spirit. In verse 11 it
"For who among men knows the thoughts of a
man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no
one knows except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the
world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely
given (charizomai ~ "grace gift" or "gift of grace") to us by God" For who among
men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him?...
other words, Iím a human being. Youíre a human being. I know some
things about you. Look
in ," 1Corinthians 2:12,
"Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the
Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God
see, youíve got to have the right thing within you to correspond with God so you
can know God. I think what Paul is saying is, "Donít fall into the trap that a
lot of people fall into. You come out of a Greek mentality. You come out of a
Greek culture. Now that you know God, and youíve been saved, donít try to grow
in Him by your own mental faculties. Youíve got to have that renewed mind. Then
the Holy Spirit of God will give you wisdom by revealing to you the deep things
about God." Thatís the way you know Him. Itís through the Word, yes, but itís
not just the Word of God. Itís the God of the Word.
Sometimes the more I do know about
the Word the more confused I get. I look at a verse, and Iím thinking, "I know
thatís what it says, but what does it say?" Then God brings me to that realization of
frustration. I canít learn it. I canít even remember it if the Holy Spirit hasnít taught it. As I bow
down before what it is that Iím confused over, God with His Holy Spirit reveals it with the
spirit of wisdom, teaches me how to use it, how itís practical, how to relate to Him, and who He is
in light of it. Thatís what Paul is praying. A deeper, deeper understanding of just knowing
God. Thatís the key.
"Iím praying that you know
Him, and in that knowledge of Him I pray that He grows deeper and deeper and deeper."
It never will until your spirit has a brand new disposition and attitude of openness to Godís
Spirit about it so that He can rule and reign the truth in your life. Then He turns it
on, and that light clears up. There it is. Itís been there all the time. Man cannot learn this
apart from what God does.
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Related Resource: See in depth common on
Will you turn with me again back to
Ephesians chapter 1? Weíre going to be looking at verse 18 as Paul is praying for the
I had a teacher tell me one time that
the thing that they loved when they were teaching was when they saw in their students
that look of "Ah Ha! Thatís it!" I know I had several teachers that probably were very
disappointed with me being their student, especially in Algebra II. One day in class it just
turned on. Isnít that amazing? I knew all the facts and could tell about them, but for some
reason they had not sunk in. They had not fallen down in there in that seed of
understanding within me. I had the knowledge of it, but not the understanding of that knowledge. One
day the "Ah Ha" took place. Teachers love to see that.
The apostle Paul, being the teacher
that he was, is praying for that "Ah Ha" to take place in those Ephesian believers. He
has just told them about their salvation. "You know these things. Youíve read these
things. I wonder if itís fallen yet into that seed of understanding in your life and into your heart,"
Ephesians 1:16 do not
giving thanks (PAPMSN)
for you, while
mention of you in
to you a
knowledge of Him.
He prays that God would just turn on that "Ah
Ha." He can help you to see it, really see it. Once you have understood truth,
that motivates you in all that you do in life. If you just know it but donít
understand it, that may hurt you in your walk. God does that in His own way and
in His own time.
it really says the same thing. He says,
"I pray that the eyes of your heart may
Now remember the heart there
was not like it is in some cultures. The
heart (word study) is the seat of emotions in
some cultures, but in the Greek culture it was not. In the Greek culture the seat of
emotions would be the
intestines. If youíre bothered in those areas, youíre certainly emotionally
affected. That was their seat of emotion. The heart was the seat of understanding. So heís
praying here that your eyes might be enlightened, your
spiritual eyes might be turned on.
Photizo (word study), to give light to, to shine light
upon. Paul is still praying for a deeper spiritual
understanding, that "Ah Ha. Thatís what youíre telling me, Lord. I see it." In light of that
knowledge of Him, we can go on in our walk.
Ep 1:18 I pray that the
eyes of your
heart may be
so that you
will know (RAN)
what are the
riches of the
glory of His
inheritance in the
saints, 19 and
what is the
greatness of His
toward us who
in accordance with the
working of the
strength of His
There are three specific concerns
that Paul has in Ep 1:18, 19. Weíre only going to look at two of them now in verse
18. Paul feels like if they can understand these things, it will motivate their walk. They
will do wonders in their living for the Lord Jesus Christ. Verse 18 says,
I pray that the eyes of your heart may
be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling"
Now one thing we need to understand
about "the hope of His calling" is that when you see the word "hope" associated with
God and His children, His believers, it is never, ever like the hope that is in this world.
In this world when we say the word "hope" we mean something that we wish for but is
highly uncertain. Never in Scripture do you find that word. "hope," associated with what God has
promised and what God is doing, as meaning uncertainty. Oh no! Itís always certain. As a
matter of fact, the deepest level of assuring somebody of something is when you refer to
their hope. Paul is saying, "Iím praying that you will have a deep understanding and an
assurance of the
hope of His calling."
Now that word "calling" is the word
klesis (word study). It comes from the word
[word study]) meaning to
call. One of the ways it was used is to
refer to an invitation to come to something special. I like that. You send it out. You want them
to be there for something. Itís a special, special bidding, a special calling that is
being given. Here it is Godís invitation to man to accept the benefits of His salvation,
"the hope of His calling" which involves several things.
What is involved in
the calling of the Christian? If God has spoken in your heart, and youíve responded to that,
then it involves everything God has in store for you. Go back to Ep 1:3-14. Paul
is simply saying, "I just told you about your calling. I just told you about what
God has done for you. Now I want you to understand it deeply, deeply in your heart. It
involves not only the joy of being blessed with every spiritual blessing. It involves not only the
joy of being chosen by Christ before the foundation of the world. It involves being redeemed
by His blood. It involves being adopted as His Son. It involves being sealed in Him with
His Spirit, but it also involves the hope of His returning, and everything that is to come after
He returns for His church." That is the full payment of which we have the earnest right now.
So Paul is saying, "I want you to
understand the hope, the assurance of your calling. Your calling involves everything that
God has done, is doing, and wants to do one day regarding your salvation." Now you
say, "I donít know when I was called or when was I invited." Oh, the invitation was sent
years ago. Itís found in John 3:16. Will you say it with me?
God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever
believes in Him shall not perish (not
annihilation ~ basically that which is ruined & no longer usable for its
intended purpose) but have eternal
You got an invitation a long time
ago. God has initiated a calling. You may not have responded to it yet, but when
you respond to it, and you receive what God has said, then everything that
calling involves you need to understand spiritually.
Where else is that calling found in
Scripture? Look over with me in Romans 11. Here heís talking about the Jewish people.
This is in that very difficult passage where I believe heís really talking about a
demonstration of His power, not so much His election. In Romans 11:23-note, as he is referring to the
Jews, he sort of gets on the Gentileís case here. He says, donít be arrogant, folks. Donít
think Godís written off Israel. He has not. In light of that he says in Romans
for the gifts and the
of God are irrevocable
You donít repent of that. In other words, there
will be no changing of Godís mind. God called them, and Heís honoring that call. As a
nation they have not yet responded, but one day they will. Many of the remnant of Israel
have responded, but the calling of God is
irrevocable. Thatís one thing to remember. God
doesnít take back what He sends out. Heís given you an invitation. If youíve responded,
that response and that calling is irrevocable.
In 1 Cor 1:26, 27, 28, 29 it speaks of
calling. I donít want to get into the full context of this, but thereís something that
caught my attention here. Many times we think God is selective to people that are more
intelligent or more worthy than we think we are. Thank God He doesnít look at it that way.
Heís not a respecter of persons. Beginning in v26-29
"For consider your
calling brethren, that there were not
many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; but God has
chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the
weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base
things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so
that He may nullify the things that are so that no * man may boast before God"
In this calling God is not moved by
the status of men. I was thinking about the way man goes
after learning about God. He does his research, stacks up all his information, comes
to his conclusions, but he never can find what heís looking for. Iím grateful for
that because if God would have only come to those who were intellectually capable, I would
have been left out a long time ago. You know, a lot of third world countries and people that
are illiterate would have too. We would have to say, "Donít bother to take the gospel to
them because God favors the academic and those that are strong and those that are
intelligent." Oh no! The people who respond usually are the ones who are willing to admit that
theyíre poor. Theyíre poor in spirit. He chose the weak things. Heís not selective in His
calling according to the status of men.
Ephesians 4:1-note. I think itís
found three times in Ephesians. Weíll just look at this other one. Your calling,
what does it involve? Paul says in verse 1,
I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner
worthy of the calling with which you have been
called (word study)"
Now, what does that tell us? That
tells us thereís a responsibility if youíve responded to Godís invitation. If
youíve responded to His call then there is a worthy walk that Heís looking for you to live.
Your response begins something. It doesnít end something. The walk begins at the time you
respond to His invitation. (Ed: on
"calling" see Torrey's Topic specifically the subtopic "To
Look at 2Th 1:11. Who is
it that determines whether our walk is worthy? Iím grateful that itís not you
To this end also we pray for you always, that
our God will count you worthy of your
and fulfill every desire for
goodness and the work of faith with power,"
Who is it that makes us worthy? Who
is it that determines that walk? Itís the Lord Himself. Thatís another act of
2Timothy 1:9-note (Spurgeon's devotional) we find that
calling. He tells us itís a holy calling. Letís look at verse 8 to catch the
who has saved us, and called us with a
calling, not according to our works, but
according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from
all eternity, but now has been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Christ
Jesus, who abolished death, and brought life and immortality to light through
So itís a holy calling not based on manís works, but based on Godís grace. Isnít
that a precious thought?
Hebrews 3:1-note tells us itís not only a holy
calling, but itís a heavenly calling.
"Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of a
calling consider (Put the mind down on ~
give very careful consideration & attention & continuous observation) Jesus, the Apostle and High Priest of our
Thereís one more place in
2Peter 1:10-note. He says that this calling can be
certain". In other words, you can know that
itís there. This is where a lot of people trip up. The way that you know that itís there is by
God letting you know in His own way. Romans says His Spirit will bear witness with your
spirit that youíre a child of God (Ro 8:16-note). So often we make ourselves think that weíve got to understand
every little facet of it. Oh no! As a matter of fact, the older I get the more Iím
wondering how much of it I do understand. One of the ways that He bears witness
in your life that He is there and makes you certain of your calling is the
chastisement He brings and the conviction that He brings when you sin. One of the best ways of
knowing that youíre Godís child is that, when you sin, God wonít let you get away with it.
(Heb12:5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11-notes)
"Therefore, brethren, be all the more
diligent (exert intense effort & motivation being zealously persistence to
accomplish the goal) to make certain (firm, stable & which can be relied upon or
trusted in) about His
calling and choosing you; for as long
as you practice these things, you will never stumble."
So Paul sees that one of the things
they need to fully understand and to deeply realize. is the hope of their calling. He had
just told them what their calling involved. Now they need to understand the hope of their
calling. It is all wrapped up in the destiny and the glory of the believer that is coming in the
upcoming kingdom. We need a deeper understanding
of our calling.
You know, we try to remind one
another quite frequently, not only in the preaching of the Word, but by having the Lordís
Supper. What is that? Itís a reminder of when we received the invitation of the Lord one day
and entered into that covenant with Him. Itís a reminder of who we are. Do you
realize folks, when you walk outside the church walls, in a sense you lose your identity? You
donít lose it, but you feel like you do. Youíre on your own. Youíve got to be reminded all
the time, "Wait a minute. Iím not my own. Iím bought with a price. Iím Godís property.
Iíve got a calling. I responded to His invitation, and I know Godís doing a work in my life. He
chose me, blessed me, adopted me, redeemed me, all these things Heís done, and I canít
live out in this world like I want to live. This calling involves a walk. Iíve got
"to walk...worthy of the
calling" Thatís what itís all about. We try the best we can to remind each other
and encourage one another, but Paul says he wants them to come to a deeper
understanding of the hope of their calling. We voice this hope in a hymn we sing
all the time. Itís one of my favorite hymns, and Iím certain itís one of your
(The Solid Rock)
My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
but wholly lean on Jesus' name.
When darkness veils His lovely face,
I rest on His unchanging grace;
In every high and stormy gale,
My anchor holds within the veil.
His oath, His covenant, and His blood
Support me in the whelming flood;
When all around by soul gives way,
He then is all my hope and stay.
When He shall come with trumpet sound,
Oh may I then in Him be found.
Dressed in His righteousness alone,
Faultless to stand before the throne
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand,
All other ground is sinking sand.
When you begin to understand what is
the hope of your calling, the assurance of it, when you begin to realize that now we
only have the earnest of that calling, that one day weíll have the full payment, then
whatever comes your way you can stand on what God has done in your life. You can stand on
who He is and His faithfulness and love towards you. Paul felt like that was important for
them to understand. He said, "I pray that you will have that deeper understanding through
wisdom and revelation of the hope of His calling."
Well, thereís another thing that he
mentions here in verse 18. Paul is talking about, not only what the hope of His
calling is, but also "what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the
"...so that you may know" The word
eido (oida) is used there. Itís the word that means
not so much by experience as intuitively.
I mean, it drills into your heart. Eido is
that perception, that being aware of, that
understanding, that intuitive knowledge that only the Holy Spirit of God can give.
There are several views as to what "the
riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints" means. Before I go too
far, remember heís writing to Gentiles. This is his mission, to let them know that they can be in
on this inheritance.
Look in Acts 26:18. Paul is talking
about his ministry, and I want you to see what he says here. Heís giving his testimony,
and he says in verse 16 when God talked to him, God said,
"But get up and stand on your feet; for
this purpose I have appeared to you, to appoint you a minister and a
witness not only to the things which you have seen but also to the things
in which I will appear to you; 17 rescuing (delivering, drawing or
plucking out) you from the Jewish people and from the Gentiles, to whom I
am sending you, 18 to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness
to light and from the dominion (the right & the might) of Satan (adversary
= opposes God's purposes) to God, that they may receive forgiveness (basic
idea of sending away from, release from bondage or imprisonment,
deliverance w/ canceling out of all judgment) of sins & an inheritance
among those who have been sanctified (note: perfect tense = past action to
set apart at time of salvation w/ continuing effect of remaining set apart
or holy) by faith in Me" (Acts 26:16, 17, 18)
Now what are we talking about in our verse in Ephesians? "... that the eyes of
your heart may be (opened) enlightened." This is the ministry that God
gave to Paul on the Damascus road,
to open their eyes so that they may turn from
darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, that they may receive
forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by
faith in Me.í
That was the ministry of Paul that God had given to him. Here he is carrying out
that ministry from prison, and he says to the Ephesians there, the Gentile
believers, "Iím praying that your eyes might be opened, that you have a deep
understanding of the riches of His inheritance in His saints." What is he
saying? There are several views on this. One of the ways this might be viewed is
that Paul prays that the believers in Ephesus could have their spiritual eyes
open to the inheritance thatís coming to Jesus of which they can be a part.
Look in Ro 8:16, 17-note. This is one
view. He talks about the fact weíre heirs. What is an heir? It means weíve got an
inheritance coming. Who are we joint-heirs with? It says in verse 16,
"The Spirit Himself testifies with our
spirit that we are children of God and if children, heirs also, heirs of
God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we
may also be glorified with Him"
In other words, we have a share in that inheritance that is promised to Jesus.
Some people look at "His inheritance in the saints" as being His own
inheritance, that which is coming to Him to which the saints can also partake.
Just think of the fact that we are given a share of whatís promised to Jesus
weíre joint-heirs with Him.
The second view thatís used there in
Ephesians 1:18 when he says "what are the riches of the glory of His
inheritance in the saints," refers to the saints being Godís inheritance. Not only is He our inheritance, but
weíre His inheritance. Thatís a true statement. Deut 32:9, speaking of Israel,
refers to the Lordís portion as His people (Spurgeon's devotional) . I have a problem sometimes thinking about God
needing an inheritance because He owns everything. But in that light it says the Lordís
portion is His people.
1 Peter 2:9-note, referring to believers,
says that we
are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY
NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God's OWN POSSESSION so that you may proclaim the
excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light
Some people view this that the saints themselves are His
inheritance. Thatís true. Whether heís saying that here or not, itís still a truth that we need to
understand. I belong to Him. Iím His own possession. He considers me as His portion. Isnít
that a great thought? I belong to somebody, folks. I have His mark on me. Do you know what
it is? Itís within me. Itís the Holy Spirit of God in my life and in your life.
Another view, and I think this is the
view that perhaps heís alluding to, is that "His inheritance in the saints" refers to
all that is in reserve for us when we get to heaven, that which is coming, that we have not yet
experienced, that which we have the earnest of, but we havenít yet seen whatís coming.
Look in 1Corinthians 2:9. I believe this is what heís
alluding to here:
"but just as it is written "THINGS
WHICH EYE HAS NOT SEEN AND EAR HAS NOT HEARD, AND which HAVE NOT
ENTERED THE HEART OF MAN, ALL THAT GOD HAS PREPARED FOR THOSE WHO LOVE HIM
Now think about whatís coming. Just
think about it. Weíre going to have glorified bodies. Have you looked at yours
lately? When I look in the mirror in the mornings Iím thinking, "Thank you, God, for that inheritance
I have not yet received. This one is falling apart." What else is coming? Well, weíve got
a mansion in heaven. Remember in Revelation 21:1-note when the new city came down
finally. Well, it says that itís His house, and weíre in there with Him. I donít know what itís
going to look like. You see, itís 1500 miles wide, long and high. If every family since Adam was
there, we would each have 198 square miles in which to live. I like that, because I like
to be by myself sometimes.
Think about whatís coming, folks. We
will receive that inheritance that we only have the earnest of right now. You say, "
You mean all the glorious victories weíre having now are nothing compared to that?" Youíre
exactly right. What men pursue down here weíll walk on up there. Our value system is
going to be so turned upside down weíll walk on streets of gold. Can you believe
that? I mean, all of thatís coming.
There are forty-something commands
from Ephesians chapter 4 to chapter 6, but weíre not in chapter 4 yet. Weíre in
chapter 1, and for three chapters Paul lays down what God has done, who God is, who you
are, and what you have. Then in chapter 4 he says, "Alright, now do you understand it? I
pray you do, because now youíre going to have to live like you understand it down here
on this earth." Why is it we need that deep understanding? Because folks, some of the things
some of us are pursuing down here are not worth the time of day even thinking
about in light of eternity.
I think of the man who came from Campus
Crusade one time. He drew a line all the way across several blackboards that
were put together. He drew a huge line, and he said, "That represents eternity.
I donít have enough chalk to draw it far enough because it would never end." In
the middle of that line he put a dot, and he said, "Listen, God wants us to live
for the line, not for the dot because that dot is so small compared to
eternity." Folks, a lot of people donít understand...
the riches of the glory
of His inheritance in the saints.
What do they do then? They wake up tomorrow morning, go out and
beat themselves to death to make another dollar. I love Psalm 127:1, 2, 3, 4, 5
(notes). He says itís vain to
rise up early and work late and try to get it. You canít ever get it. God gives to His beloved
in their sleep. I just love that. He says, "Go on. Try that. Help yourself. Iím not going to
follow you around. If thatís your choice, help yourself." Sometimes I think we ought to have a
Thursday night service and hang a big dollar bill from the ceiling. Everybody could come in,
bow down and sing choruses to it. Thatís what most people are worshipping. Why? Theyíre
living for the dot. Theyíre not living for the line. They donít understand the riches of
His glory in His inheritance thatís in the saints. Thatís why Paul says, "Youíll never
figure this thing out. God the Holy Spirit by revelation will give you wisdom. Itíll sink deep
inside of you. It will become one of the roots of your motivation that makes you walk
worthy of Him." Then it starts dawning on you what God has done, and what God wants to
do, and what He will do one day in your life.
Look at Colossians 1:12-note. I want you
to know that youíve been qualified for that inheritance. Itís talking about people walking
worthy. This is the only time you understand this. If youíre not walking worthy
you donít have this understanding. Paul says in verse 12,
giving thanks to the Father, who has
qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light.
In other words, we have been
qualified. We didnít qualify ourselves. He qualified us, and thatís very, very
1Co 15:19 is another verse that I think
ought to be brought in when weíre talking about "the riches of the glory in His
inheritance in the saints." It falls right in that context.
If we have hoped in Christ in this life only,
we are of all men most to be pitied.
Do you see what heís saying? The
whole context is on the resurrected body thatís coming that we have not yet experienced. Oh
woe to the person who only hopes in Christ for now. He says, "Oh man, Iím praying youíre
going to get a deep dose of this Ah Ha! Thatís what youíre talking about."
The Spirit reveals to your spirit
whatís coming, and folks, itíll make you jump up in the morning. You might not jump up. I
donít usually jump up. I stagger up, but once you finally get your eyes open, itíll
dawn on you that whatever youíre doing tomorrow is in the power of the Holy Spirit of God.
Every victory that you have tomorrow in this world, is nothing more than God saying, "Thatís
just an earnest. Enjoy my earnest today because Iíve got something coming thatís full
payment that eye has never seen nor ear heard." Itíll motivate your walk like nothing else
in the world.
Who you are, whose you are, what you
have in Jesus Christ. That our eyes may be open that we might see and know.
the text that we looked at just the other day, says itís guaranteed. It is going
to come. You have already been qualified if youíre a believer. You should not be
hoping in Jesus just for now. You ought to be looking for whatís coming.
Ephesians 1:14 says that inheritance is absolutely guaranteed. All that
salvation encompasses is guaranteed one day to all of His believers. "...the
riches of the glory" refers to one thing: It refers to the fact that Paul
doesnít have enough words to continue on to describe it. Itís unspeakable. Paul
doesnít have anything else he can say about it. As a matter of fact, heís just
sort of at a loss for words. Heís probably seeing something as the Spirit is
revealing it but has no human language in which to express it. So he just says,
"...the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints."
Well, "Ah Ha!" God loves us,
absolutely loves us. He has given us everything necessary for life and godliness. He has given
us everything we ever could need all by grace. Not only that, oh folks, it has not even
begun yet in the sense of whatís coming. Thereís so much more yet to come. If we could
just wake up in the morning and realize that. "...the riches of the glory of His
inheritance in His saints," and "...the hope of a calling." Who in the world could ever describe
that? Paul says that when you see it you wonít have any trouble with chapters 4 through
6, but until you see it you may struggle a little bit.
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