Peninsula Community Church
Ephesians – Enlightened Heart
August 31, 2014
Ephesians 1:15-22 – For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.
Today, we will pick up where we left off last week where we reviewed the prayer Paul prayed as it related to the eyes of the church at Ephesus being opened to a greater understanding of God. Once again it seems that Paul’s purpose here is to encourage the church toward a continued, growing understanding of who God is. That is not to diminish the value of their current testimony but to encourage ongoing depth and growth. Remember, we talked about the difference between being “nominal” and “phenomenal.” This does not mean that we become world renown as individuals but that we do great exploits for God right where we are and where we have been called.
Last week we also discovered that Paul prayed for the church at Ephesus to have the Spirit of Wisdom and revelation. In the second part of this prayer, Paul prays that the eyes of their heart would be enlightened. It is interesting to note that Paul uses the term the eyes of the heart. As we noted last week, the eyes are often used as measure of a person’s inward character and life. It has been said that the eyes are a window to the soul. The eyes can betray us or they can provide a testimony to the purity of our walk. In writing these words, it is possible that Paul is reminded of the writings of Solomon who stated Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life (Proverbs 4:23). Think about it for a moment. How many sins do we deal with that involve the eyes and our emotions which are seated in our hearts? I can think of a few off hand: lust, covetousness, pride, anger, hatred, and others.
The focus of the prayer was to know God better and to get to know Him better by understanding what He has accomplished on our behalf. You see Paul understood a key reaction to knowing God better and that is that they would be motivated toward godly living by way of the application of truth. The fact is, throughout Paul’s writings there is a tone of encouraging the body to do more than just know facts about God. While facts are good and facts can be good discussion starters, we need the facts to bring change and new direction into our lives.
For Paul this was not a do as I say but Paul was actively involved in growing in His knowledge of God. Listen to the words Paul wrote to the Philippians: I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead (Philippians 3:2-11). What is Paul saying here? He is saying I have all the head knowledge I need, and I have all of the degrees and pedigrees I need, but the greatest desire and need I have is to know Christ by way of His resurrection and by sharing in His suffering. Paul understood that there was more to life than personal or social status. There was more to life than a grand list of accomplishments. Paul needed and he desired a deeper understanding of the work of God in His life. That is what he is praying here for the Ephesians.
The heart is one subject that is dealt with through Scripture. Our hearts can be open to the workings of God or they can be hardened so that the word of God cannot penetrate. Listen again to Paul’s words in Ephesians 4:18-24. They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. But that is not the way you learned Christ! — assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.
Paul seems to insinuate that there are some in the body of Christ who have allowed their hearts to become calloused and hardened by the events and issues of life. We sometimes believe that only unbelievers can have calloused hearts but Christians can succumb to calloused hearts as well. I love his phraseology here. He says, “but that is not the way you learned Christ.” You see Paul did not want a hardened and callous heart to be their testimony. Instead he wanted them to visualize and understand the work that God had done on their behalf. For that reason he focuses on three outcomes of an enlightened heart. First, the enlightened heart will know the hope to which you have been called to. Secondly, they will know the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints. And, thirdly they will know the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe as evidenced by the resurrection.
Paul wanted the Church at Ephesus to know that they had been called to a great hope. They needed a perspective of hope rather than one of fear or desperation. How many would agree there is already too much in the world that brings discouragement and desperation into our hearts. But Christ gave us hope. Listen to the words of Peter in I Peter 1:3-5. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
Paul wanted the church to know the hope they had been given but he also wanted them to understand the inheritance that awaited them and he wanted them to understand the power that God had given them. We have a hope, we have an inheritance, and we have power in and through Christ. Paul in essence is saying look guys I am praying that your perspective about life will change and that you will have an eternal perspective about what you do or what you seek to accomplish. I pray you are shaken from the doldrums of life to one that has a hope. When we know His hope, His inheritance, and His power we have a new outlook on life.
Notice that the greatness of His power is immeasurable. Notice here that Paul piles up words to attempt to define the God’s power that is at work in us and for that matter for us. Paul says that His power is immeasurably great. There is no way to measure how great it is because we have not fully experienced all of His power to date. There is no way to calculate the value or depth of His power which is revealed by way of the resurrection of Christ. This is the testimony of His great power…the resurrection and God and as we see the positioning of Christ at God’s right hand. Paul’s goal here was not to impress the Ephesians with a just sense of Divine grace as much as it was to give them an exalted views of the glory of Christ’s kingdom.
For audio of message, go to PCCministry.org
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