Paul’s Prayer of Enlightenment
April 10, 2022

Paul’s Prayer of Enlightenment

Preacher:
Series:
Passage: Ephesians 1:15-19
Service Type:

Paul’s Prayer of Enlightenment

Scripture:  Ephesians 1:15-19

Subject: Prayer

Central Theme: Prayer of Enlightenment

Objective Statement: Paul's prayer to God for the enlightenment for the Ephesians church is my prayer for our church.  Let's look at three dimensions of this prayer.

Keyword: Dimensions.

  1. The Occasion for the Prayer (v.15-16)
  2. The Theme of the Prayer (v.17-18a)
  3. The Purpose of the Prayer (v.18b-19)
    1. That they would know what is their hope in Christ.
    2. That they would know what is their riches in Christ.
    3. That they would know what is their power in Christ.

 

Introduction:

Connection:

  • Have you ever found yourself in the precarious position of not knowing what you already have?
  • It has been an exciting past few months for our church having Corey on our church staff.
  • Corey is organized. He is our next generations pastor which means he is helping oversee the student ministries as well as the children’s ministries.
  • One of the things he has been doing this past month is just surveying what we have at our church in the children’s ministry.
  • He’s been going through closets and cabinets.
  • One day a few weeks ago he brought a big white board into his office. I asked, “Where did you get that?”  Come to find out it was in a closet somewhere.
  • I bought one last year, and here we had one the entire time.

Tension:

  • Warren Weirsbe tells of a gentleman named…

…William Randolph Hearst, who invested a fortune collecting art treasures from around the world. One day Mr. Hearst found a description of some valuable items that he felt he must own, so he sent his agent abroad to find them. After months of searching, the agent reported that he had finally found the treasures. They were in Mr. Hearst’s warehouse. Hearst had been searching frantically for treasures he already owned! Had he read the catalog of his treasures, he would have saved himself a great deal of money and trouble.

  • In the last few sermons I’ve been trying to convince you who are saved to know that in Christ you are rich.
  • Spiritually speaking, you and I who are born again, are born rich.
  • The implications of this truth are profound and far reaching.
  • When we share the Gospel with someone, we often talk about what happens to us after we die.
  • We talk about heaven, and what that will be like.
  • We talk about hell and the lake of fire. We want people not to go there.
  • We share the truth that those who are in Christ will not have to face God’s wrath, but will be with him in heaven.
  • So, when I say, “You and I are rich” or to speak about an inheritance, there is a tendency to think, “Yeah. When I die and go to heaven I will be rich?”
  • I believe that this is at least somewhat in the mind of Paul when he begins to pray a prayer for the Ephesians in 1:15-19- today’s text.
  • The riches that we have in Christ are not just for “someday”, they are for today.
  • In today’s text, Paul let’s the Ephesians (and us) know the content of His prayers for them.
  • Paul wants the Ephesians to know the possibilities and potential that are available to them as those who are in Christ.
  • Today, I want this prayer to be so encouraging to you.
  • I want you to walk away from this message realizing what you have in Christ.

Body:

Paul's prayer to God for the enlightenment for the Ephesians church is my prayer for our church.  Let's look at three dimensions of this prayer.

Dimension #1- The Occasion for the Prayer. (v.15-16)

Ephesians 1:15-16

(15)  Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints,

(16)  Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers;

Explanation:

  • “Wherefore”
  • This word ties what he is about to say back tow what He has already said in verses 1-14.
  • He had called them “saints in Christ Jesus”.
  • He had expressed a praise anthem to God because of how He had blessed these Ephesians who were in Christ.
  • He had praised God for how they were blessed by the Father in Christ, Blessed by the Son in Christ, and Blessed in the Spirit in Christ.
  • In verses 3-14 he had firmly expressed their identity!
    • In Christ we are chosen to be:
      • Holy
      • Without blame.
      • Adopted
      • Accepted
      • Redeemed
      • Forgiven
      • Destined
      • Sealed
      • Heirs
    • Since this is the identity of those who are in Christ, Paul says to the Ephesians that H eis praying for them.
    • “after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus”
      • Who did he hear it from?
        • Personal Interaction- Acts 19:10
          • His initial ministry there.

Acts 19:17

(17)  And this was known to all the Jews and Greeks also dwelling at Ephesus; and fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified.

Acts 20:31

(31)  Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.

  • The Testimony of Others
    • Timothy had stayed at Ephesus because of Paul’s instruction.

1 Timothy 1:3

(3)  As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia, that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine,

  • However he heard of their faith, it was clear that this was the occasion for which he was praying for them.
  • Their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and their love for all the saints was evidence of the fact that they were “in Christ”.
  • The previous 14 verses were not merely theological or theoretical.
  • He was telling them that this was their identity.
  • And the evidence of that identity was born out through that faith in Christ, and through their love for the saints.
  • What happened after?

(15)  Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints, (16)  Cease not to give thanks for you,

  • It may seem a simple thing to point out, but Paul was giving thanks for them.
  • To who?

making mention of you in my prayers;

  • It is clear that the prayers that Paul had been praying were prayed to God!
  • He was thanking God.
  • He was thanking God for their salvation, for their identity, for the evidence of His working in them seen in the love that they had for all the saints.
  • What was the occasion of the prayer?
    • Paul was essentially saying, “You all are in Christ. There is evidence of it.  I have heard of your faith in Christ.  That faith is producing a real love that is evidence of the fact that you have this identity.  The right response to what God is giving is to thank God for you in prayer!

Application:

  • Paul’s prayer for them was not primarily physical, financial, or temporal. Paul’s prayer for them was based in the spiritual and the eternal.
  • When you see someone growing in Christ, do you notice?
  • When you see someone growing in Christ, do you thank God?
  • Dad,
    • what excites you most about the development of your kids? Are you more excited about their grades, or their stats than you are their spiritual growth?
    • Their grades in school or stats from the ball field are only eternal in that they reflect what is going on with them spiritually.
    • Their ability to shoot a basketball is not as important as their walk with the Lord.
    • What is celebrated is repeated.
  • Husband,
    • Do you pray for your wife?
    • Does she know what you are thanking God for in her life?
  • Church member,
    • Are your prayer requests only for the physical needs of our church family?
    • Are you praying for the lost to be saved?
    • Are you praying for the faith of people in our church to grow?
    • Are you praying for the love for each other to grow?

Transition Sentence:

  • What was the occasion of Paul’s prayer for them? Evidence of their “in Christ” position identity being expressed.

Dimension #2- The Theme of the Prayer. (v.17-18a)

Ephesians 1:17-18

(17)  That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him:

(18)  The eyes of your understanding being enlightened…

Explanation:

  • The theme of the prayer is enlightenment.
  • Paul wanted the Ephesian believers to know what it means to be in Christ.
  • But the kind of knowing that He is talking about is a kind of knowing that is coming from God Himself.
  • He is praying that the “God of our Lord Jesus Christ”….
    • ….This God who has chosen us to be Holy and blameless, and given us His Son, and sealed us with with His Spirit…
  • “may give”…
    • “Spirit of wisdom”
    • “Revelation in the knowledge of him”
    • “the eyes of your understanding being enlightened”
  • All three of these three expressions are speaking of a kind of knowing.
    • Wisdom is not just knowledge. Wisdom is the ability to apply knowledge.
    • What knowledge is he talking about- “revelation in the knowledge of Him”.
    • He speaks of the “the eyes of your understanding being enlightened”.
    • What is light to the eye?
      • Light is the thing that is needed for the eye to see.
      • No light= No vision.
    • The theme of the prayer is that this “in Christ” position and provision is something that should invade every part of the way we see our lives.

Application:

  • The theme of Paul’s prayer for theme is my prayer for us.
  • God give these people a vision of “in Christ” ness that impacts their view of:
    • Our past, Our present, Our future
    • God’s love for us
    • Our vocation in Christ
    • Our relationship with the local church
    • Our view of this present age
    • Our politics
    • Our kids
    • Our parenting
    • Our Money
    • Our Homes
    • Our Jobs
    • Our identity
    • Our neighbors
    • Literally everything about us…
    • Christ is the lens through which we see the world. He impacts everything about us.
  • Here’s what we do:
    • We compartmentalize our lives.
    • Work life. School life. Church life.  Financial life.  Sex life.    Politics.
    • We think that the church part is God’s, and the giving part of my finances are Gods, and Sunday is God’s… but every other part is mine.
  • Paul’s prayer is that we would see differently.
  • Because of what God has done by putting us “in Christ” every part of our lives should be viewed by this identity and position.
  • You are like that newspaper man. You’re looking for resources all over the world, and the resources you need are in your wearhouse.  You’re need a whiteboard and there is one in your closet.  You’re looking for a tool, and you have a home depot distribution center in your garage!

Transition Sentence:

  • What was the occasion of the prayer? They are in Christ.
  • What was the theme of the prayer? That they would be enlightened- That they would be wise.  That they would see the world by this “in Christ” vision…
  • What did that look like?

Dimension #3- The Purpose of the Prayer. (v.18b-19)

Ephesians 1:18-19

(18)  The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,

(19)  And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,

Explanation:

  • Why was this the theme of His prayer?
  • What did he want them to know about being in Christ?
  • He prays for three specific requests:

That they would know what is their hope in Christ.

that ye may know what is the hope of his calling

  • If you are “in Christ” you have hope.
  • Outside of Christ we have no hope.
  • In Christ we have all kinds of hope.
  • What hope does the believer in Christ have?
    • Salvation
    • Heaven
    • But there is not just hope for eternity. There is hope for today.

That they would know what is their riches in Christ.

and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,

  • You have every resource that you need to be everything that God wants you to be.
  • You have the Word of God.
  • You have the Holy Spirit of God.
  • You have the family of God.
  • You have a new identity.
  • You have an eternity with Christ, forever.

That they would know what is their power in Christ.

(19)  And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,

  • God has made His power available to you who believe.
  • This power that is available to us is not just for eternity.
  • It’s for right now.
  • Are you dealing with an addiction? Are you dealing with some temptation- some sin that is difficult to resist?
    • God’s power is available to you to help resist that temptation.
    • You are not going to defeat that thing on your own.
    • You need the power of God.
    • You need the riches that He provides.
    • The truth is that the hope that you have in Christ is that He is providing all of these things so that you can be everything He wants you to be.
  • This hope is not theoretical.
  • These riches are not just for later…they are for now.
  • This power that is available to us is not just one day…it’s for today!
  • When you ask according to God’s will He wants to answer, and He is capable of answering.

Application:

  • What are you dealing with today?
  • What struggles are you facing?
  • The truth is that everything you need to do everything that God wants you to do are available to you.
  • There is hope in Christ. You are rich in Christ.  God is powerful and will work his mighty power in your life.
  • I’ll even give you a preview of next week- This mighty power that is available to us is the same power that raised Christ from the dead according to verse 20.
  • These subject of these 3 requests…
    • The hope of His calling
    • The riches of His inheritance
    • The working of His mighty power
    • …serve as the table of contents for the rest of the letter to the Ephesians.
  • I feel a tension about expounding on all three of these in one sermon.
  • The truth is that we are going to explain the hope of his calling, the riches of his inheritance, and the working of His mighty power in us in the entirety of the rest of the study.

Transition Sentence:

  • What was the occasion of the prayer? They are in Christ.
  • What was the theme of the prayer? That they would be enlightened- that they would have a vision of what it means to live “in Christ”
  • What was the purpose or the prayer? That they would know the hope of His calling, the riches of His inheritance, and the greatness of His power to those who believe.

Conclusion:

Application:

  • Let me ask you a question:
    • Are you living your life this way?
    • When you are making decisions, are they wise decisions informed by the wisdom of the Holy Spirit?
    • Are you living a defeated spiritual life? Are you a slave to your appetites?
    • If you know Christ, it doesn’t have to be that way.
    • You have every resource that you need to live a victorious Christian life.
  • If you do not know Christ, I want to share this with you.
    • Outside of Christ there is no hope.
    • Outside of Christ your inheritance is the wrath of God.
    • Outside of Christ you do not have power to defeat sin.
    • Today is the day of salvation….

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