Ephesians Chapter 1 Part 5
“For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints (the people of God),” (Ephesians 1:15) tells us, as it does in Colossians, that after Paul and the other Christians heard of the faith of the Ephesians, they prayed. So we know information was passing through the churches and reaching his ears, as well as those of the Christians. The tongues were wagging in the Lycus Valley. All the churches had information about what was going on in the other churches.
Once Paul was aware of the depth of the Ephesians’ love for Jesus, and their love and concern for each other, he thanked God for them. Why?
A: Jesus was the center of their affections. He was the One they depended on for everything. They made their petitions to God through Him. They claimed Jesus as their Savior, and let others around them know it. It was very difficult in those days to share their faith. It was somewhat like sharing it in the Middle East now-a-days. You can do it, but at risk of life and/or limb. The families of those Christians also disowned them. We remember the blind man who was healed whose parents would not speak out for him in the synagogue because they were afraid to be thrown out (John 9:1-41). Let’s just read V V 18-23. "But the Jews did not believe concerning him, that he had been blind, and received his sight, until they called the parents of him that had received his sight. And they asked them, saying, Is this your son, who ye say was born blind? how then doth he now see? His parents answered them and said, We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind: but by what means he now seeth, we know not; or who hath opened his eyes, we know not: he is of age; ask him: he shall speak for himself. These words spake his parents, because they feared the Jews: for the Jews had agreed already, that if any man did confess that he was Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue. Therefore said his parents, He is of age; ask him."
It has never been easy for Christians in Asia to speak out for the Lord. Steven was stoned, Peter hung upside down, Paul beheaded, some Christians used as human torches to light the coliseum at night, and others were thrown in to fight the lions.
B: The Christians’ deep love for Christ gave them a new love for their brethren. They didn’t care what place they held in the community, or whether they were wealthy or poor, sick or well. They didn’t judge each other by what level of gifting they had. They just loved everyone, and let them live and work where GOD had put them. And they gave to others with a loving hand. So, their love was directed both vertically to the Lord, and horizontally to each other. (Proverbs 17:17, “A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.”)
“I do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers” (verse 16). Let’s read Romans 1:8-10, “First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world. For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers; Making request, if by any means now at length I might have a prosperous journey by the will of God to come unto you,” and Colossians 1:9-12, “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; Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness; Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light.”
Paul and the apostles did not cease giving thanks for the Christians of those churches because of their love for God and each other. This love is given by the grace of God. When you have faith in God, and love for His people, you can’t hide it. It shines from within. You become giving, caring people, just like Jesus is. We are to model Jesus, and this is a good way to begin.
Also, Paul mentions that he prays for the Christians all the time. What does that mean to us? We need to pray for each other every day. James 5:16 tells us that our prayers for each other can bring healing. That is spiritual as well as physical healing. We should be excited that we have opportunity to pray for each other. It’s another gift we give to God’s people. Apparently Paul was a praying man who did "...make mention of you always in my prayers.”
“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:” (Verse 17) Now let’s look at why he prayed so much for them. It was so that the God of Jesus (John 20:17) and the Father of Glory, the Author of perfection (He is righteous and unchangeable), the Father who has shown so much love to us may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation. The spirit spoken of here is not the Holy Spirit, but a gentle spirit we need in order to learn to love God and man. Let’s read Isaiah 11:1, 2, “And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord.” If we’re to be like Jesus, we need this spirit wisdom and understanding.
Walvoord says, “Wisdom (Sophia) gives insight into the true nature of things, and revelation is the unveiling of the object discussed, namely, God Himself.” He says that having this wisdom and revelation is so that we may know God better. This is not that we may have an abstract knowledge of God, or objective facts about Him, but that we can know Him personally and intimately. The world tells us to get to know ourselves intimately, the Bible teaches us to get to know God intimately. So God gives us of His Spirit so that we can develop a spirit of wisdom and knowledge.
“The eyes of your understanding being enlightened;” (verse18a) John Gill suggests that the phrase “that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened” should be in parentheses because it’s more and explanation of what Paul was saying in verse 17 than a request made on their behalf. The “eyes of your understanding” is your heart. Since it is believed that the heart is the center of one’s personality, it is there we would need the understanding. What we need to understand is what we are without, and that is Christ in our lives. What we come to understand is the doctrines of the Gospels. It is our new knowledge of how glorious and righteous God is, and how unrighteous we are without Him. Gill says that “the eye of the understanding” is Rabbinical and often found in Jewish writings, and that the Vulgate and Asian version read, “The eyes of your heart.”
“that ye may know what is the hope of his calling,” (verse18b) The calling he speaks of here is not our calling as in gifts and talents, but of our righteousness in God. II Corinthians 5:21, "For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him."). Jesus was without sin, and perfect. And because He was, He was the chosen sacrifice, the only acceptable one. The hope of our calling in Christ Jesus is to salvation. By grace we have been saved by the will of the Father of Glory, so we will see eternity in heaven. So, this enlightenment of the heart is that we can know Jesus more fully.
“…and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,” (verse18c) We are God’s saints who will inherit not only the kingdom along with Jesus, but the glory that belongs to those who have been saved. As children of God, we receive glory on earth. That glory will be magnified in heaven. We will be perfected, no longer tempted by sin. Paul‘s prayer is that we come to know in our hearts what the calling of God on our lives truly means. It means no more pain, suffering or tears ever again once we pass into eternity. We have only a vague idea of what heaven will be like, but even that shadowed glimpse is enough to make me want it.
May the God of glory shine His everlasting Light on you.
More studies at http://www.newbeginmin1.org/BIBLESTUDYOPENING.html
About: I am a pastor, wife for almost 43 years, mother of a son and daughter, grandmother of three boys and one girl. As pastor of New Beginnings Ministry, it is my daily task to work on our two websites as well as monitor our chat rooms. We have a weekly Bible study on Sunday and Thursday nights at 8:00 eastern time in the chat rooms. Everyone is welcome to join us. I also write revsnotes which are occasional studies or musings I send to a list of people who have signed up to receive them, write guest articles for www.Ciloa.org and blog here at praize.Back to Blog | Add to Buddy List
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