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Church of Christ Sermons and Lessons from Ephesians

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Bobby Stafford Paul's Prayer for Better Vision        Ephesians

Paul’s Prayer for Better Vision

Introduction:

Paul prays for the Ephesian Christians that their eyes of understanding would be enlightened. With this better vision, they would more clearly see several important spiritual truths.

Text: Ephesians 1:15-23

Body:

I. Paul’s Reasons for Praying

(Verses 15-16) Verse 15 A few years had passed since Paul was in Ephesus. Many had been converted during that time and the church had continued to “fight the good fight of faith.” Paul had heard about their trust and conviction in the Lord Jesus. There’s that phrase again. His faith had been demonstrated in their lives and was accompanied by their love for all the saints. Love is the desires and works toward the ultimate good of others. All saints (James 2:8-9) Verse 16 Paul loved these faithful saints in Ephesus and was grateful for them. They were all “in Christ” and as a result shared in all the blessings he had mentioned in verses 3-14.

Benjamin Franklin (1812 – 1878): “There is a community called, in the New Testament, ‘the kingdom of God’ (John 3:30); ‘the church of the living God’ (I Timothy 3:15); ‘one body’ (Ephesians 4:4). To be in this body, church, or kingdom, is the same as to be in a pardoned state. To enter into it, is to enter into a state of justification or pardon. In entering into that body, we come to the blood of Christ, which cleanses from all sin; to the Spirit and to the life of Christ, all of which are in the body. If we enjoy pardon, the benefits of the blood of Christ, the Holy Spirit, the life of Christ, we must be in the body. God and Christ dwell in the church, which is the temple of God and the ‘pillar and support of the truth.’ To dwell with God and Christ, enjoy the cleansing of the blood of Christ, the remission of sins, the impartation of the spirit of God, and the new life, we must be in Christ, or in His body – the church. To be out of the church is to be separated from God, Christ, the Holy Spirit, the blood of Christ, the life of Christ, and justification. It becomes a matter of momentous importance, then, to know that we are in Christ; or in the church.” (Pioneer Sermons and Addresses, F. I. Rowe, Publisher, 1908, pp. 259-260) The Spiritual Sword, Volume 45 – No. 3, April 2014, Publisher: Getwell Church of Christ, Memphis, TN

Paul regularly thanked God for them. When was the last time that you thanked God for “faithful” brethren, for those who rejoice in the truth?

II. Paul’s Petitions to God

(Verses 17-18a) Paul now makes special requests to God for the brethren. Verse 17 Paul addresses to God the Father. (James 1:17) He’s the glorious Father, worthy of praise. Paul prays they would have a “spirit of wisdom and revelation.” These Christians in Ephesus had received the revealed information Paul had preached to them [as well as through inspired prophets]. They had heard and believed the Truth. The word, knowledge, here in Greek denotes exact or full knowledge. Thus Paul prays that they would come to a greater understanding of the gospel. Notice a similar prayer in Colossians 1:9. Bet this would require a certain kind of spirit, a disposition and attitude of heart and mind. (I Peter 2:1) One must be willing to put forth the effort to gain this full knowledge. (Hebrews 5:14) Verse 18 “enlightened eyes” The heart is the symbol of man’s intellect and will. Our physical eyes help guide the outward man. The “eyes” of our heart help guide the inward man. “Enlighten” is to illuminate, to give light. The thought then is that these saints would have “better vision”; would increase in their understanding and comprehension, being instructed by God’s Word. Recall Psalm 119:105. This is Paul’s request for them.  

III. Desired Results of Paul’s Prayers

(Verses 18b-23) “Know the hope of His calling.” They were called by Christ through the gospel as Thessalonian Christians were. (II Thessalonians 2:14) This gave them the hope [expectation, desire] of eternal life. (Titus 1:2) This hope motivates. “Know the greatness of God’s power.” Paul desires that the Ephesians know more of God’s awesome power – “exceeding.”

· This power is seen in the creation of the world.

· This power is seen in the preservation of the nation of Israel for the coming of the Messiah.

· This power is seen in revealing and recording of the gospel with the miraculous powers used by the apostles and others until the gospel was put in written form.

· This power is seen in His power to save us from our sins. (I Peter 1:5)

· This power is seen, specifically in our text, that God’s power is seen in raising Jesus from the dead and seating Him at the right hand in heaven. Note first Hebrews 2:14. By following the One who is seated at the right hand of God in heaven, we will some day dwell there also. (II Timothy 2:11-12a)

Verse 21 God’s power is further seen in Christ’s supremacy over every conceivable authority. He is “King of Kinds and Lord of Lords.” (Revelation 17:14) Read Daniel 7:13-14. Verses 22-23 The Father placed all things under the feet of His Son. This emphasizes His exalted position. Christ is also “head over all things to the church.” He is the center and source of life to the church. His headship shows His authority. There is only one Head! (Colossians 1:18) “to the church” There is a difference between being the father of a child and being the father to a child. Christ acts in the best interest of His church. He loves it and cares for it. There is only one body, only one church. And it is in the church of Christ, His body, His church, that all the blessings in this chapter are to be found. He fills the church with all blessings. So we see it is impossible to be in Christ without also being in His Church!!! When we obey the gospel, we are added to the one body, the Lord’s body, Christ’s church, the church of Christ. 

Invitation:

 Paul’s prayer was for these Christians to have better vision, a clearer understanding of God’s word, to know the divine truth. My prayer is that this lesson has helped you to see more clearly the relationship between Christ and His one church. I pray that some today will desire to become a part of it.

Bobby Stafford

April 13, 2014

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