Sermon: Open Our Eyes, Lord

Ephesians 1:18-23

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18 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, 19 And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, 20 Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, 21 Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: 22 And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, 23 Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all. (Ephesians 1:18–23)

 

INTRODUCTION

 

We left off talking about Paul praying for the Ephesian Christian Church to grow in their knowledge of Christ. In verses 18-23, he gets specific about what knowledge he wants them to grow in regarding Christ. He prays that…

 

Ephesians 1:18a The eyes of your understanding [διανοίας] being enlightened [πεφωτισμένους];

18 πεφωτισμένους τοὺς ὀφθαλμοὺς τῆς διανοίας ὑμῶν,

εἰς τὸ εἰδέναι,

 

Now, remember, Paul is writing to Christians. So this isn’t about them getting saved, it’s about Christians growing deeper in their understanding of spiritual things.

 

Sometimes Christians are content with a Sunday School education. That’s sad. There’s so much to learn about Christ, and if you really love a person, don’t you desire to know them deeper?

 

Christians today seem to be more interested in finding out what practical things they can do to live a good life, than they are in discovering more about the Lord Jesus who saved them. 

 

They want to know how they can have success at work or in their families; how they can be comfortable or at peace with themselves. There’s nothing wrong with all that, unless the Christ behind everything is ignored or only studied for practical benefit. As in, how can Jesus help me have a better life?

 

So Paul prays for the Ephesian Christians to be enlightened about Christ and spiritual matters. What exactly does he want them to know better?

 

Paul prays that they would…

 

I. KNOW THE HOPE OF HIS CALLING

 

Ephesians 1:18b that ye may know what is the hope of his calling,

ὑμᾶς τίς ἐστιν ἡ ἐλπὶς τῆς κλήσεως αὐτοῦ,

 

Every believer has had a sense of God’s calling them to salvation. Often we can remember, if not the details, then certainly the tug on our hearts as we listened to a sermon, or a testimony, or read a tract. That tug, that convicting force in our hearts, was the call of God to our salvation.

 

What Paul prays for Christians to know is the “hope” that comes with “his calling.” Hope is the opposite of despair. I remember that before God called me and I responded, I was deathly afraid of death and what came afterwards. Now, as a Christian, I have hope in life after death.

 

Because of our calling, we can have hope of eternal life, an assurance of salvation, an expectation to be with the Lord forever. We know that we will one day have bodies that don’t sin, don’t decay. That is our hope since we have responded to the calling of God.

 

Why does Paul feel the need to pray for believers to understand better the hope that comes with our calling?

 

Probably because we are easily weighted down with the worries of this world. We worry about finances; we worry about politics and government intrusions; and many, many other things.

 

Check yourself: what do you think about most? Your worries or your hope? It’s easier to think about our worries, so we must battle to think about our hope. 

 

That’s why Paul prays for believers to know their hope better, and that’s why we should also.

 

Paul prays that they would…

II. KNOW THE RICHES OF HIS INHERITANCE

 

Ephesians 1:18c and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,

καὶ τίς ὁ πλοῦτος τῆς δόξης τῆς κληρονομίας αὐτοῦ ἐν τοῖς ἁγίοις,

 

Inheritance is a word that is associated with families, because usually it’s your parents or a rich uncle from whom you receive an inheritance. Inheritance should always remind us that we are part of God’s family as believers.

 

Paul’s prayer is that believers would appreciate more the value that God places on them. He has adopted us! All the riches he has we will inherit! Think of the future riches that we will have in Christ!

 

When you are discouraged or despondent, it would be good for you to meditate on the inheritance that you have in Christ. It would be good to remind yourself that you are an adopted son or daughter of the Lord. Your future is not this little bit of a hard time that you are experiencing right now. 

 

It would be good to remind you what the Lord Jesus has in store for you…that you can make it just one day more until you meet him.

 

Paul prays that they would…

III. KNOW THE GREATNESS OF HIS POWER

 

Ephesians 1:19 And what is the exceeding greatness of his power [δυνάμεως] to us-ward who believe,

according to the working [ἐνέργειαν] of his mighty [ἰσχύος] power [κράτους],

19 καὶ τί τὸ ὑπερβάλλον μέγεθος τῆς δυνάμεως αὐτοῦ εἰς ἡμᾶς τοὺς πιστεύοντας

κατὰ τὴν ἐνέργειαν τοῦ κράτους τῆς ἰσχύος αὐτοῦ

 

Our Lord God is not weak! He has exceeding great power. Paul actually uses four different Greek words in this verse to describe the power of God for believers.

 

(1) δύναμις (power) is the word from which we get dynamite (although God’s power isn’t explosive and destructive) and dynamo. Dynamo might be a good description of God’s power—a constant source of energy.

 

(2) ἐνέργεια (working) from which our word energy comes. The Spirit energizes us to live the Christian life.

 

(3) ἰσχύς (mighty) means to be powerful; to have ability to do something. It has to do with the capability to do something. We could say that Steve is a mighty mechanic, because he is able to fix most anything. 

 

God is able to do anything, as we sing in the song:

 

He is able, more than able

to accomplish what concerns me today.

He is able, more than able

to handle anything that comes my way.

 

He is able, more than able

to do much more than I could ever dream,

He is able, more than able,

to make me what He wants me to be.

 

(4) κράτος (power) is the power to direct, the power to govern. Sometimes the KJV translates this word as “dominion” (e.g., Jude 25).

 

Now those words are probably just Greek to you, but I wanted you to see how Paul struggled to describe God’s great power. Truly we have a Lord God who can do anything!

 

Yet it is important to remember that this power can be muted if we don’t walk in fellowship with the Lord. The Bible says,

 

30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. (Ephesians 4:30)

 

So keep a clean slate with the Lord: when you sin, confess the sin and repent from it right away. Keep your fellowship close with the Lord and his power will be evident in your life.

 

Paul doesn’t stop with using four great words, he goes on to describe events where God’s power was shown or will be shown or is being shown right now.

 

A. GOD’S POWER SHOWN IN CHRIST’S RESURRECTION

 

Ephesians 1:20a Which he wrought in Christ,

when he raised him from the dead,

20 ἣν ἐνήργησεν ἐν τῷ Χριστῷ,

ἐγείρας αὐτὸν ἐκ νεκρῶν,

 

Today we have great medical technologies that help us fight against cancer and other diseases. We can take a dead person’s heart and put it into another human being. There is much we can do to prolong life and prevent an early death.

 

But death still comes. It is inevitable and unstoppable. It’s one of the greatest powers known to man. But there is a greater power. God has the power to raise someone from the dead, and he did so with the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

 

Now, if God can raise the dead—certainly he can take care of any problem you may have! We all get discouraged from time to time, but we need to pray for God to remind us of what he is able to do.

 

B. GOD’S POWER SHOWN IN CHRIST’S HEADSHIP OVER CREATION

 

Ephesians 1:20b and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,

Ephesians 1:21 Far above all principality,

and power,

and might,

and dominion,

and every name that is named,

not only in this world,

but also in that which is to come:

καὶ ἐκάθισεν ἐν δεξιᾷ αὐτοῦ ἐν τοῖς ἐπουρανίοις,

21 ὑπεράνω πάσης ἀρχῆς

καὶ ἐξουσίας

καὶ δυνάμεως

καὶ κυριότητος,

καὶ παντὸς ὀνόματος ὀνομαζομένου

οὐ μόνον ἐν τῷ αἰῶνι τούτῳ,

ἀλλὰ καὶ ἐν τῷ μέλλοντι·

Ephesians 1:22a And hath put all things under his feet,

22 καὶ πάντα ὑπέταξεν ὑπὸ τοὺς πόδας αὐτοῦ,

 

When you close your eyes and try to imagine Jesus, what do you see? Is it a carpenter on the shores of Galilee? Is it a baby in the manger or the man on the cross? Those are all historical imaginings of Jesus, but they aren’t where he is now.

 

God’s power has seated Jesus at his right hand in the heavenly places. Far above “all principality, and power, and might, and dominion. These refer to angelic and spiritual powers…no demonic power is greater than Christ.

 

We can walk through this life in this world knowing that no challenge we face will be greater than the Lord Jesus who saved us.

 

C. GOD’S POWER SHOWN IN CHRIST’S HEADSHIP OVER THE CHURCH

 

Ephesians 1:22b and gave him to be the head over all things to the church,

καὶ αὐτὸν ἔδωκε κεφαλὴν ὑπὲρ πάντα τῇ ἐκκλησίᾳ,

Ephesians 1:23 Which is his body,

the fulness of him that filleth all in all.

23 ἥτις ἐστὶ τὸ σῶμα αὐτοῦ,

τὸ πλήρωμα τοῦ πάντα ἐν πᾶσι πληρουμένου.

 

Christ is over all Creation, and he is also over the Church as well. The same power that rose him from the dead and made him King of Creation also appointed him to be head of the Church.

 

The Church is “his body,” and his “fulness” fills the Church (some take this to mean the Church fills Christ, but why would Christ need the Church to be fulfilled?)

 

As head of the Church, Christ fills the Church with his power and with his blessings. But we as believers have to live our lives in submission to the Head, Jesus Christ. He won’t fill us with blessing and power if we are living out of fellowship with him.

 

Jesus said:

 

4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. (John 15:4)

 

CONCLUSION

 

God is so ready to fill us with power and blessing, but sometimes as believers we walk around blindly, not understanding what he wants to do through us. 

 

O may the eyes of our understanding be enlightened that we may see the hope available to us, the rich inheritance we have waiting for us, and the power of the God who loves us and watches over us!

 


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