Ephesians: Wisdom is Knowledge

Ephesians  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  56:00
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This text reveals some important truths about prayer, emphasizing prayer for knowledge and understanding.
We need the Spirit’s help to grasp the greatness of God, the supremacy of Christ, and the rich benefits we have through Christ.
Verses 3–14 are a hard act to follow, but Paul does so with this magnificent prayer!
Verses 3–14 are about praise, and verses 15–23 are about prayer.
The first section is about the spiritual blessings of salvation, and the prayer is about grasping them.
Praise and prayer belong together, and they are fundamental to the interior life of the Christian.
By way of introduction, I want to first look at Pauls opening statement to this prayer.
In light of Pauls opening section about God’s work in the believers in Ephesus, Paul now expresses his gratitude to God for them.
He begins with a note of encouragement, reflecting on what he has heard about the Ephesian believers.
Due to the amount of time that he had been away from Ephesus, and due to the probable circular nature of the letter, he does not seem to know all the Ephesian believers who will be reading it.
Yet he is still praying for them. Here we see a combination of thankful prayer to God and public commendation to the people of God.
Paul prays to God, giving thanks. He lets the people know he is thankful for them.
Paul is thankful for two important characteristics of God’s people: faith in the Lord Jesus and love for the saints. Paul mentions faith and love in other letters, showing us the importance of these qualities (see Col 1:4; 1 Thess 1:3; 2 Thess 1:3; Phlm 3).
These are essential qualities of Christians.
What is a Christian?
Here is a good summary: a Christian has faith in the Lord Jesus and has love toward the saints.
These are basic Christian graces, with hope making up the triad, as mentioned in verses 12 and 18.
God’s people love one another. Jesus said, “By this shall all men know that you are My disciples, if you have love one for another” (John 13:35).
John mentions this as a proof as well several times in his epistles; for example, (1 John 3:16
1 John 3:16 KJV 1900
Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.
Paul also says he is constantly praying with thanksgiving (cf. 1 Thess 1:2; 2 Tim 1:3; Rom 1:9).
When Paul refers to his “prayers,” he could be referring to the Jewish pattern of three prayer times per day (morning, noon, and evening).
During these occasions and any other times, Paul is giving thanks to God for the Ephesians.
If Paul has this in mind, then here is another good principle for prayer: a good prayer life is both ongoing and planned.
In terms of ongoing prayer, we should “pray without ceasing” (1 Thess 5:17 ESV).
We can pray while we work and go about our days.
We also need times to get away, like Jesus, who got up before the noise of the day began and prayed.
I think it is good to have some place and time where you spend unhurried and unhindered in prayer.
In verses 15–16 we see a thankful, praying apostle.
I love how in 1 Corinthians, though Corinth is a troubled church, Paul can say, I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ; (1 Cor 1:4.
Paul even thanks God for the Corinthians!
How could Paul thank God for a people that acted like heathens?
He looked for traces of grace and found reasons for gratitude.
Let me remind you of the need to recognize grace in others. It is easy to be critical of others. It takes a mature believer to recognize grace in others.
Since it is mothers day, we could say that this is exactly what godly mothers do, they see grace in others, especially their own children. They see what we will be not what we are. Thank God for godly mothers.
like paul and godly mothers, Do you wear the glasses of grace? Do You see what others will be?
Or do you wear the glasses of self-righteousness or self-centeredness?
Let us thank God in our prayers for evidences of grace in God’s people—namely, faith and love—and let us also encourage the saints when we see traces of grace in their lives.
No Paul goes into his prayers for Gods people,

I. That They May Know The Person of God

v.17 is not only where we get our title for todays message, we all so see I think probably the most needed thing in christianity today,
D. A. Carson says, “What is the greatest need in the church today?… The one thing we need in Western Christendom is a deeper knowledge of God. We need to know God better” (Call, 15).
Paul tells his readers in Colosse, Col.1:9-10
Colossians 1:9–10 KJV 1900
For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;
What kind of knowledge is this
This, of course, is the highest knowledge possible. It is Wisdom
The atheist claims there is no God for us to know,
the agnostic states that if there is a God we cannot know Him.
But Paul has met God in the person of Jesus Christ, and he knows that a man really cannot understand much of anything else without a knowledge of God.
This willful ignorance of God led mankind into corruption and condemnation.
In Romans 1:18ff, Paul describes the stages in man’s devolution:
from willful ignorance of God to idolatry (substituting a lie for the truth)
to immorality and indecency.
Where does it begin?
It begins with an unwillingness to know God as Creator, Sustainer, Governor, Saviour, and Judge.
The believer must grow in his knowledge of God.
I believe this takes place in three stages:
1. To know God personally is salvation
John 17:3 KJV 1900
And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.
2. To know Him increasingly is sanctification
Philippians 3:10 KJV 1900
That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;
3. To know Him perfectly is glorification
1 Corinthians 13:9–12 KJV 1900
For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
Since we are made in the image of God (Gen. 1:26–28), the better we know God, the better we know ourselves and each other.
It is not enough just to know God as Saviour.
We must get to know Him as Father, Friend, Guide, and the better we know Him, the more satisfying our spiritual lives will be.
J. I. Packer, in his classic book, Knowing God, says that those who know God have four characteristics: great energy for God, great thoughts of God, great boldness for God, and great contentment in God (Knowing God, 27–31).
Let us pray that God will open our eyes that we may know the Person of God
Next, Paul prays:

II. That They May Know the Promises of God

Ephesians 1:18 KJV 1900
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,

A. Our Confidence in Him (the hope of his calling)

We have been “called out of darkness into His marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9), and have even been “called to glory” (1 Peter 5:10).
God calls us by His grace and not because of any merit that we may possess.
Paul wants us to understand the hope that is ours because of this calling (Eph. 4:4).
Some callings offer no hope, but the calling we have in Christ assures us of a delightful future.
Keep in mind that the word hope in the Bible does not mean “hope so,” like a child hoping for a doll or a bike at Christmas.
The word carries with it “assurance for the future.”
The believer’s hope is, of course, the return of Jesus Christ for His church (1 Thes. 4:13–18; 1 John 3:1–3).
When we were lost, we were “without hope” (Eph. 2:12); but in Jesus Christ, we have a “living hope” (1 Peter 1:3) that encourages us day by day.
Dr. Kenneth Chafin, a well-known Baptist author, tells about the pastor and deacon who were visiting prospective members and drove up to a beautiful suburban home surrounded by a velvet lawn and gorgeous landscaping. Two expensive cars stood in the driveway, and through the picture window, the men saw their prospect, lounging in an easy chair and watching color TV. The deacon turned to his pastor and said, “What kind of good news do we have for him?
How prone we are to confuse price with value.
Ephesus was a wealthy city.
It boasted the temple of Diana, one of the wonders of the ancient world.
Today, Ephesus is an archeologist’s paradise, but all of its wealth and splendor are gone. But the Christians who once lived there are today in heaven, enjoying the glory of God!
The hope that belongs to our calling should be a dynamic force in our lives, encouraging us to be pure (1 John 2:28–3:3), obedient (Heb. 13:17), and faithful (Luke 12:42–48). The fact that we shall one day see Christ and be like Him should motivate us to live like Christ today.

B. His Inheritance in Us (his inheritance in the saints)

This phrase does not refer to our inheritance in Christ (Eph. 1:11), but His inheritance in us.
This is an amazing truth—that God should look on us as a part of His great wealth!
Just as a man’s wealth brings glory to his personal name, so God will get glory from the church because of what He has invested in us.
When Jesus Christ returns, we shall be “to the praise of the glory of His grace” (Eph. 1:6
Ephesians 1:6 KJV 1900
To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.
God deals with us on the basis of our future, not our past.
He said to cowardly Gideon, “The Lord is with thee, thou mighty man of valor” (Judg. 6:12).
Jesus said to Andrew’s brother, “Thou art Simon … thou shalt be called Cephas [a stone]” (John 1:42).
Gideon did become a mighty man of valor, and Simon did become Peter, a rock.
We Christians act as if we live in the nasty now and now. We should be living in the future tense, the sweet by and by.
Our lives should be controlled by what we shall be when Christ returns.
Because we are God’s inheritance, we live to please and glorify Him.
Christ will be glorified in us (2 Thes. 1:10), and we will be glorified in Him (Col. 3:4).
Knowing this should lead the believer into a life of dedication and devotion to the Lord.

III. That They May Know the Power of God

This third request is the climactic request in the prayer. That is made evident by how Paul expands on power in the following verses (vv. 20–23) and by the incredible labels Paul applies to God’s power: “exceeding (immeasurable) greatness,” “power” (dynamis) where we get our word dynamite, “working” (energeia) where we get our english word energy, and “mighty power meaning (vast strength).”
Paul says God’s almighty power is available to His saints!
Only by God’s power will we be able to engage in the spiritual battle described in Ephesians 6.
Only by God’s power will we arrive safely into His heavenly kingdom, and His power is given to “us who believe” (v. 19).
Think about where some of these Ephesians were coming from.
Some were formerly caught up in magic, the Artemis cult, astrology, and emperor worship.
Their lives were dark and perverted (Eph 4:17–19) until Christ saved them.
The people of this culture lived in fear of hostile spiritual forces (O’Brien, Ephesians, 138).
Paul is assuring them that God’s power is supreme over all their enemies!
We need not fear when we have superior power. The power of the risen Christ is ours to do battle against worry, temptation, doubt, and demonic warfare.
Why do we often fail to rely on this mighty power?
Added to the exalted view of self and diminished view of God is the failure to understand the spiritual battle in which we are engaged.
The evil one and his host hate us. They hate our faith. They hate the church, our marriages, and our mission.
That is why paul prays to God that His people would know about the power of God. Paul covers three of those powers here in these last four verses of chap.1.

A. God’s Saving Power v.19

Romans 1:16 KJV 1900
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
God has the power to save the vilest to the cleanest of sinners. It doesnt matter if you are the vilest murder and rapeist or the most upstanding citizen, God can save you.
Hey, if God can save this ol boy he can save you.
Next Paul prays that they would know Gods

B. God’s Resurrecting Power v.20a

God, with His infinite wisdom and power, has done what no man can do.
He raised Jesus from the dead!
Death is no little bug to squash; it is a bitter enemy we will all face.
Yet because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, we do not have to fear death.
Jesus has crushed it!
In his famous chapter on the resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15, Paul closes by saying,Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord. (1 Cor 15:58)
Because of the resurrection, life has meaning.
Our labor is not in vain.
The resurrection of Jesus testifies to the fact that Jesus is the Messiah.
The resurrection gives believers enormous hope and sufficient power for living a life of service to God.
Paul is paving the way for Ephesians 2:4–7 where he says of believers, “and hath raised us up Together, and made us sit together in heavenly places with Christ.”
The resurrection is a truth we need to meditate on every day.
The resurrection of Christ from the dead and our resurrection from our dead man to our newness of life should encourage each of us and give us the boldness to face anything that comes our way, because we serve a God that has saving power and resurrecting power.
That is why we must lean into Christ and pray that we would know His resurrection power in order to strengthen us and empower us to live for God’s glory.
But, just incase that is not enough to encourage the saint,
Paul goes on and prays to God that His people would also know about...

C. God’s Exalting Power vs. 20b-23

1. He Exalted Christ to Reign v.20b

Jesus is not only alive forevermore, but He is also reigning forevermore.
Paul notes here the exaltation of Jesus to his enthronement at God’s right hand.
In the early preaching in the book of Acts, the resurrection and Christ’s enthronement were emphasized.
They were the fulfillment of Messianic prophecies.
This is the declaration of (Ps 110:1
Psalm 110:1 KJV 1900
The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, Until I make thine enemies thy footstool.
To be at the “right hand” was a position of privilege, honor, favor, victory, and power.
This position belongs to Jesus Christ alone.
What does that mean for us? It means everything.
Everything is under the reign of the seated King!
The author of Hebrews says He is upholding the universe by the word of His power, and He upholds it all sitting down (Heb 1:3).
If He is doing this, then we can trust Him with our problems—both great and small. Our hope is not in a political election but in the seated King.
Not only was he exalted to reign, He was exalted to rule like the King He is

2. He Exalted Christ To Rule v.21-23

This is Christ’s Supremacy.
Christ, as the risen, seated King, is now superior to every competitor.
His throne is above the principalities and powers.
He is above creation.
He is above Satan and his system.
He is above everyone and every ruler.
Paul mentions His supremacy over all earthly powers.
He mentions Christ’s supremacy over every title or name (cf. Phil 2:6–11).
And then he mentions Christ’s supremacy over all His enemies with the phrase “under His feet.”
Paul is saying here that not only is every power inferior to Christ, they are also subject to Him (O’Brien, Ephesians, 145).
So we see first,

a. Christ is ruler over all Crowns v.21a

There is not one crown that is higher then Christ our king.
Psalm 89:27 KJV 1900
Also I will make him my firstborn, Higher than the kings of the earth.
David again and again proclaims how his Lord is mightier than any other king.
Soloman tells us that it is God that raises up one king and brings down another. All crowns are subject to our King.

b. Christ is Ruler Over all of Creation v.21b,22a

There is nothing that God created that is higher than Christ. All of creation was created for one reason and one reason only, to praise God.

c. Christ is Ruler Over the Church v.22b

Next, Paul mentions Christ’s headship over the church. Here we see the amazing connection between Christ and His church.
Only the church, not all creation, is said to be His body.
Consequently, the church should be important to us!
Jesus identifies Himself with it!
He is head over it.
Later in Ephesians Paul will expound on this relationship.
A lot of believers know this intellectually, but it seems that many think a pastor is the head of the church.
I know of one case in which one-third of a congregation left a church when a pastor left it.
The church is not about a man; it is about Christ.
He is the Head.

d. Christ is Ruler Over the Christian v.23

Paul also says that the church is Christ’s “fullness” (v. 23).
I take this difficult phrase in the passive sense rather than active.
We do not fill Christ. He fills us.
Paul is saying that Jesus, as Head over the church, is “filling [the church] each believer in a special way with his Spirit, grace, and gifts: it is his fullness” (O’Brien, Ephesians, 152).
As Lord over all things, He fills all things, but this filling of the church is different.
Only the church is His body, and He rules it and fills it in a special way.
What this means is that we as a church are entirely dependent on Christ.
What makes us something significant—indeed glorious—is our relationship to Jesus.
He fills the church with His presence.
He fills each born again believer with His presence
Since we are in Him and He is in us then that makes Him our Lord and King.
Do You know Him today?
Is He your Lord and King?
Do You know Him personally?
If not you can today.
I want to handle this invitation a little different, I want every eye open looking at me and every ear listening very closely.
Paul was praying to God for born again believers. What that means is that if you are lost without Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you cant know Him, you cant know His promises and you cant know His power.
If you are here this morning then that means God wanted you to hear this message. Salvation must come first before you can know God and all He has to offer.
Salvation does not come by a prayer, it does not come by your good works, it does not come by baptism, It only comes by way of Jesus Christ. Christ said I am the Way and The Truth and the Life. No man comes to the father but by me.
Christ is the only way to God it is by that way that you can know God and his promises and His power.
The Bible tells us if we confess with our mouth that he is Lord and believe in our hearts that God as raised Him Jesus from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
As Maddie comes to play, heads bowed and eyes closed but ears and hearts are open.
You say preacher Im not saved, I dont know God on a personal level, but I want to. If that is you today, would you raise your hand. I wont embarres you I would just like to pray for you.
You say preacher I am saved, but I want to know God better. I want to know more about Him and His promises and His power. Would you raise your hand I would love to pray for you.
Wont you come this morning and seek God’s face.
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