Ephesians / Ephesians 1:15–23
• Paul invites us to see the world and Christ as they truly are through the lens of prayer.
• Paul is showing us what things are really like.
• We easily lope through life and miss the power and victory that Christ brings. That He still offers hope to our world, He still moves amongst His people. He still reconciles and works. But it can be easy to miss. Paul is bringing us a prayer that brings the reality of that truth right into our face.
We are called to see and trust Christ as the God within us and the God victorious.
See and Know Christ in us
Ephesians 1:15–18 ESV
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,
• But Paul is clear to whom He is praying and what for.
• Paul asks for a spirit of wisdom and of revelation
• That we would have wisdom
• and of revelation
• in our knowledge of Him
• Where have you seen God provide wisdom and revelation in your personal growth of your knowledge of Him? How has God shown Himself to you in your growth as a Christian?
• This is great news. The God of the universe dwells with His people.
• Paul begins in the self
• And that is good because that is where we begin. Honestly we have no other starting place.
“The point in saying that Jesus is lowly is that he is accessible. For all his resplendent glory and dazzling holiness, his supreme uniqueness and otherness, no one in human history has ever been more approachable than Jesus Christ.” Dane Ortlund Gentle and Lowly
• Look back through Ephesians 1 and point to places He is shown to be glorious and where He is shown to be accessible.
John 14:26–27 ESV
But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.
• God begins where we begin. We need Christ who has come to us to be in us. We need the work of God not out there somewhere for us to find but in here, where we can know Him personally in our lives.
• Paul has no problem beginning in the self. That’s where we begin anyhow. We always begin with the self. We are severely motivated to do so.
• But we aren’t left there. Paul moves us past that.
“The war that rages in all our hearts is a war between the awe of God and the awe of self.” Paul David Tripp. Awe
• But he doesn’t let us stay. We often try to look for Christ as we see Him. But we have to find Him as He reveals Himself.
• how is it sometimes difficult to follow God when He moves us beyond ourselves?
See and Know Christ in power
Ephesians 1:19–21 ESV
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.
• One of the themes of Ephesians is that Christ is victorious. It shows us again and again the sufficiency of Christ over and above anything else. Is Christ enough to overthrow sin? injustice? Is He enough to be Lord in our relationships and in our lives?
• What has Christ gained victory over?
• By the time we get here, we have left the inner self. Paul is reminding us of Christ’s complete victory over sin and death. And the fact that we have a foot in it means that we are included in that victory.
• We are given victory through Christ’s victory. Over sin and death. Over injustice. We are given His hope. We are given His celebration
2 Corinthians 2:14 ESV
But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere.
• What does it look like in your life to be led in triumphal procession in Christ?
See and Know Christ in the church
Ephesians 1:22–23 ESV
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.
• Paul concludes this prayer by stating, “do you want to truly experience this Christ?” Then the fulness of Him will be found in the body of Christ. The church.
• We would prefer a fragmented Christianity. But if this prayer teaches us anything is that God Himself, the only one who does not need anything else from anyone, still approaches us and brings Himself near.
• Why it is always easy to try and attempt to succeed at being a Christian on your own?
• The passage tells us that the fulness of Christ is seen through each other, together. Not distant but connected.
• If you want to experience the fulness of Christ, we have to be in relationship with each other.
• Where have you seen the fulness of Christ in the church body?
• But the way we experience the reality and closeness of Christ is the closeness of the church.