Understanding Our First Blessing

Bible Book: Ephesians  1 : 15-35
Subject: Spiritual Perception; Prayer; Prayers of Paul
Introduction

Have you ever noticed how easy it is to get used to a blessing? For example, you get a new car and you are so happy. You don't think you will ever want another. You just thank God for that car. You know it is a blessing from Him. After all, every good and perfect gift comes down from Him!

However, after a few months, you start spotting other vehicles that you could have bought. You begin to find some things about your car that you don't like anymore. After a couple years you begin to look for something else.

Though some people may not relate to this illustration, I will assure you that there are blessings that God has given you which you now take for granted. This is true not only of material blessings, but of all blessings. There are some couples that take their spouse for granted. There are some children that take their parents for granted, and vice-versa. Some of you have begun to take your job or career for granted. Once you were so thankful for the job God opened up for you. Now you complain about having to work. It is a sad truth that we often take God's blessings for granted.

Sadly, most believers even take the spiritual gifts we have in Christ for granted. Paul wanted to make sure that the Ephesians Christians did not take their blessings for granted. He wanted to remind them of the great gift of spiritual perception which they had as believers. Lets consider this truth and allow God to speak to us as we look at the first message in a series of messages on Ephesians.

Paul offered a prayer in this first chapter. We shall three important elements in this prayer.

I. The Occasion For The Prayer v. 15

"wherefore" - for this cause - on this account

A. Loyalty To Christ 15a

We need a good testimony to the world concerning our faith - not the initial act of faith, but constancy of faith, day by day.

B. Love For Men 15b

When faith is existent, love will be exhibited. William Barclay said, "However orthodox a church is, however pure its theology, and however noble its worship and its liturgy, it is not a true church in the real sense of the term if it does not love souls."

II. The Objective Of The Prayer v. 16-19

The believer has access to so much but is often satisfied with so little.

A. Perception 16-18a

The Ephesians believers had been given the ability to understand the unsearchable riches of Christ; that we may have spiritual insight, a fuller comprehension of the scope and character of God's work of redemption in their behalf. Indeed, this gift has been given to all those redeemed by Christ. In v.18a we read about the "eyes of your heart." This speaks of the inner man, including emotions, mind, and will. In Matthew 13:13, we read, "They seeing see not and hearing they hear not." Here the Scripture speaks of the person without Christ. Their problem is not the a fault of intelligence, but of the heart. As it has been often said, the heart of the problem is the problem of the heart.

Wisdom is not synonymous with knowledge. Rather, it is the product of the spirit. Some things in life cannot be learned, those things must be given by the Lord.

Once there was a wealthy miner who had an intelligent son destined to take over the business and inherit the father's fortune. The father sent his son back east to study in the finest engineering school and to learn all he could about managing mines. The young man studied hard and proudly received his degree and diploma. Returning to the mines he reported to his father, "Dad, I'm ready to go to work. Give me your best mine, and I'll show you how to run it." The father replied, "No, son, first you must change into your work clothes and go down into the mine. There you will gain experience. You may start at the bottom and work your way up." But," the son insisted, "Look, father, I have been to school. I have received my diploma. I know more about mining than you will ever know, with all due respects. And if you will just give me your best mine I will prove it to you." The father, against his better judgment, gave his son the most productive mine. For a while it did well, but then one day the father received a letter, stating, "Dad, you know that the mine I am working is backed up to the lake. Well, the water is seeping in. We've shored it up, but the shoring does not seem to hold. What do you think we ought to do?" The father did not answer. In a few more weeks, the son wrote again. "Look, dad, this is serious. We are not able to stop the water. What do you think we ought to do?" Still no answer from the father. Finally the son frantically wired his father: "If you do not give me an answer soon we are going to we are going to lose the entire mine. What should I do?" The father wired back: "Shove your diploma in that hole."

B. Person v. 17

"In the knowledge of him" - this speaks of intimacy.

  • Know him personally - salvation John 17:3
  • Know him progressively - sanctification Philippians 3:10
  • Know him perfectly - glorification I Corinthians. 13:9-12
C. Prospect v. 18b

Ephesians 2:12 states, "no hope" - new hope - blessed hope - Oh, what hope his calling has brought to us.

D. Provision v. 18c

This does not refer to our inheritance in Christ, but his inheritance in us. Jesus has made an investment in us. Someone has asked, "Is our cost based on our worth, or our worth based on our cost?" It is based on our worth to God. Outside of Him, we have no worth. In fact, God deals with us on the basis of our future - not our past. For example, Jesus said to Simon, "Thou shalt be called Cephas."

E. Power v. 19-20

"exceeding" - more than enough

John D. Rockefeller lived on crackers and milk because of stomach troubles caused by worrying about his wealth. Guards stood constantly at the door. He was wealthy but he was miserable.

The Holy Spirit gives enlightenment and enablement. Real joy comes in the power of Christ to live a meaningful, and fulfilling life.

III. The Omnipotent In The Prayer v. 21-23

What God did in Christ, He did for us!

  • He raised him from dead - we were dead.
  • He exalted him - He raised us to sit in heavenly places. He gave Him to be head of Church - we will rule with Him!

In this passage we have been reminded how precious we are as the inheritance of Christ. God sees us as such. Paul was seeking to remind us of this truth. When we know who we are and what we have in Christ, we are better prepared to live daily for Him!