Ephesians 1:15-23

His name was Victor, but he felt like a loser. He didn't do very well in school a when he was 16 years old, a teacher advised him to drop out of high school and get a job. He didn't do much better in the working world so that, by the time he was 32, he had failed at 76 different jobs.

But applying for job number 77 was to change Victor's life. As a part of the interview process, he was required to take an I.Q. test - a test designed to measure his intelligence. A score of 100 was considered to be normal. Victor scored 161. He had never before realized it, but Victor was a genius. The knowledge of that fact was transforming in his life. Victor Serienko went on to become famous for his research in laser surgery and to become president of MENSA, an organization for geniuses - all because a test said that he was special.

God has said some tremendous things about YOU. He has said that you are special to Him. And in this chapter, he calls you to open your eyes and see what it is that HE says about you.

We have already noted that the verses 3-14 are made up in the Greek text of one very long run-on sentence. Paul begins talking about the blessings which we have in Christ Jesus and he does not stop to take a breath until the end of verse 14. Verses 15-23 form a second overly long sentence, although our English translation breaks it up into several shorter sentences.





Blessings in Christ

Position and Possessions



Verses 3-14 give Paul's praise. Now verses 15-23 give Paul's prayer. He begins His prayer with thanksgiving to the Lord.



For this reason I too, having heard of the faith in the Lord Jesus which exists among you and your love for all the saints, 16 do not cease giving thanks for you, while making mention of you in my prayers (Ephesians 1:15-16).

When Paul says, "For this reason," he is referring back to everything he has said up to this point. The truth that we have been...

Because of all those things, Paul gives thanks. He has heard some news about the Ephesians. It is news that drives him to his knees in thanksgiving. He has heard news that makes him believe that Christ is working in the Ephesian church.

1. He has heard of their FAITH in the Lord Jesus.

For this reason I too, having heard of the faith in the Lord Jesus which exists among you... (Ephesians 1:15).

Notice that he does not say that he has heard of THEIR faith. He has heard of THE faith which was among them. You see, Paul had already warned the Ephesians that not everyone in the church would necessarily be in the faith. He warned that there would come a time when the world would get into the church. He told the Ephesian elders that men would arise within their own church "speaking perverse things to draw away the disciples after them" (Acts 20:30).

If you are a part of a local church, then there is faith among you today. But the key question is whether there is faith IN you. Have you entered into the riches of the blessing of Christ Jesus? Or are you an outsider looking in? There is a litmus test given by Paul. It is your love for other Christians.

2. He has heard of their LOVE for all the saints.

For this reason I too, having heard of the faith in the Lord Jesus which exists among you and your love for all the saints (Ephesians 1:15).

One of the signs of a true Christian is that he loves other true Christians. Why is that a sign? Because Christians can be rather unlovable. God didn't choose the most loveable people to be His. God didn't choose you because of any good quality that you possessed. He chose you freely and without cause.

Christians can be rather unlovable. But when you come to Christ through a heart of faith and repentance and when you recognize how much God has loved you, then your response is to begin to love other Christians.



...while making mention of you in my prayers; 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him. (Ephesians 1:16-17).

Having seen the evidence of their faith and their love, Paul proceeds to pray for the Ephesians. His prayer for them is that they might know something. That they might have a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in their knowledge of God.

This is the same prayer that Moses prayed for himself. In Exodus 33 God was giving a special blessing to Moses. And Moses asks of the Lord, "Show me Thy glory!" The Lord says, "You cannot see My face and continue to live, but I'll do this. I'll put you in a cleft in the rock and I'll cover you there with My hand and then I shall pass by with all of the radiance of My glory and when I have passed by, I will take My hand away and you will see My afterglow."

Paul prays the same thing for us. That as Moses saw the glory of God, that same Father of glory might show Himself to us. That we might be given a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of God - not seeing Him with physical eyes, but with the eyes of our heart.



I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. (Ephesians 1:18-19a).

Perhaps you've heard of the liturgy of knowledge.

He who...

Thinks he knows what he does not know

is a Fool

Avoid him

Does not know that he does not know

is a Child

Teach him

Does not care that he does not know

is Lazy

Exhort him

Knows that he knows

is Wise

Follow him

Paul speaks of knowledge here. He knows that he knows and he wants you to know, too. He wants you to know three things.

I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know...




What is the hope of His calling

What are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints

What is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe

Position Principle: We have a position in Christ.

Possession Principle: We are the inheritance - shows that we are greatly valued.

Power Principle: This power is directed toward us who believe.

Wealth of the Christian

Worth of the Christian

Work of the Christian

1. Your Wealth: The hope of His calling.

In Ephesians 2:12 Paul will talk about how there was a time when you had no hope and were without God.

A number of years ago, off the coast of Massachusetts, a ship rammed a submarine. The submarine sank before anyone could escape. The entire crew was trapped. Ships rushed to the scene of the disaster, but there was nothing any of them could do.

Divers were sent down to evaluate the situation. One man put his helmeted ear against the vessel and listened for any sounds. What he heard was someone tapping in Morse code. Because he knew Morse code he could decipher the message. It was this: "Is - there - any - hope?"

The world is asking the same thing. In this age of evolutionary philosophy when our schools and our media are proclaiming that there is no God, no meaning and no future, the world is hungry for hope.

Hope. A confident expectation. But the point here is not merely a hope in hope. The point here is that we have something in which to hope. We have a hope into which we have been called. To what have we been called? To be like Christ. To be in Him.

Because He has eternal life, we have been granted eternal life. Because He is righteous, we have been declared to be righteous by the Judge of all men. Because He is the Son of God, we have been adopted into God's forever family as His children. Because He is the Heir to the kingdom, we have become co-heirs with Christ.

God deals with us on the basis of what He sees us to be in Christ. Do you remember the story of Gideon? He was the man from Israel who was called to deliver Israel from the Midianites. A job for a real warrior. But when God first came to Gideon, he didn't look like much of a warrior. He was hiding from the very Midianites whom he was being called to fight.

Nevertheless, the angel of the Lord appeared to him and said to him, "The Lord is with you, O VALIANT WARRIOR." (Judges 6:12). Why? Not because Gideon was acting in a brave manner. But because the Lord deals with us on the basis of the future. He deals with us on the basis of what He has called us to become.

And then He calls YOU, with all of your sins and your failings and your doubts and He calls you SAINT - set apart as a holy vessel for the Master's special purpose.

But that is not all. Our calling is not merely positional - it does not only relate to our position in Christ. It has ramifications on how I am to live TODAY.

I have been called to be holy - now I am to live in a holy manner. I have been justified - declared to by righteous by God - now I am to live a righteous life. I am a son of God - now I am to live as befits a child of the King.

Furthermore, I have God's promise that HE will bring forth the character of Christ in my life. This is the basis of my hope. It is God's work. For me. And to me. And in me.

2. Your Worth: The riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints.

When we talk about riches in the Bible, we are inclined to think about the riches which God has given or will give to us. But that isn't in view here.

Look at verse 18. Do you see what are the riches? The SAINTS! WE are the riches. God has not only given you an inheritance, He has also made you to become an inheritance. You are His prized possession. Not because you are so wonderful. But because of what He is making you to become. The church. Pure and holy. His spotless bride.

Johnny Lingo was a handsome bachelor in a village where the custom was that a man would pay a dowry to the father in order to be granted permission to marry the daughter. The average dowry price for a maiden was three cows, although an exceptionally beautiful girl might go for as high as five cows.

One day, Johnny Lingo went to the father of Sarita to negotiate a dowry. Tongues immediately began to wag, for it was well-known that Sarita was not very pretty. In fact, she was considered to be rather plain.

On the other hand, Johnny Lingo was known for being such a sharp negotiator that some speculated that he might be able to obtain Sarita for as low as one cow. However, Johnny Lingo did nothing of the sort. He marched up to Sarita's father and offered eight cows for her hand in marriage.

Eight cows! It was unheard of! No one had ever paid such a high price for a bride. And for such a plain woman as Sarita!

But after the wedding, a strange thing happened. Sarita began to take on a noble bearing. Her head was held high. Her eyes sparkled. She beamed with an inner glow. And in the years that followed, she became renown as the most beautiful woman in all the village. People would come from afar to see her as her radiant grace became almost legendary.

One day, Johnny Lingo was asked why he had paid such a exorbitant price for a wife. He replied, "I loved Sarita and wanted to express the high value of our marriage. Her self esteem has been greatly elevated as she realizes that her dowry price was higher than any other woman in the village." Then with a grin, he added, "But the other reason I had was that I wanted to marry an eight-cow wife."

God paid the highest possible price for you. Not merely in cows, but in His only begotten Son. And that makes you a prized possession of inestimable value.

3. Your Work: The surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe.

There is now a power principle at work in my life. It is the same power that reached into a sealed tomb and made a dead man get up and walk.

These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might 20 which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. (Ephesians 1:19b-21).

When Paul wants to present the greatest of all possible manifestations of God's power, he points to the cross - specifically to the resurrection of Christ.

Christ's resurrection is the forerunner of our own. He is our assurance of a future resurrection. Because He rose from the dead, we shall also rise.

But that is not all. Because He rose, we have a new life NOW. And the power that was involved in making a dead man get up and walk is the same power that is involved is saving you and in bringing about your growth as a Christian.

Paul does not stop at the resurrection in defining the power of God. He goes on to show four areas where that power is manifested:

Here is the point. The same power that accomplished all of those things is available to you. It is available for your salvation. And it is available for your continued growth.

You need to know this because it is impossible to live the Christian life without the power of God. Do you ever feel powerless? Like you want to obey the Lord but you just aren't up to the task? I love the prayer of second chances that goes: "Lord, here I am - again." Do you feel that way? Good! Because it is only when you come to the end of yourself that you are ready to experience the power of God.

"I've tried to be good and I just can't do it."

"It's impossible."

God's vocation is in the realm of the impossible. And in the same way that He raised Jesus from the dead and seated Him in the heavenlies and is going to bring all things in subjection to Him, so He shall raise you up to a new life.



Was raised from the dead

Are risen to a new life in Christ

Seated at the right hand of God

Seated with Christ in the heavenlies

Lordship in this age and in the age to come

Co-heirs with Christ

Head over the church

The body of the church

Verse 22 is the first actual mention of the church. That is US. It is in the realm of the church that Jesus is exercising His Lordship today.

The church is His body on earth. It is to grow and develop as a healthy body. It is to do the work of ministry under the leadership of the head (that is what bodies do).

He has sent His church into the world to make disciples of all the nations. The result will be a called out assembly of every nation and tribe and people. That is what the church is. And your responsibility is to BE the church, not just to attend one. But you can only do that as you are connected to the head - Jesus Christ.

There is a saying in the fire service that states the buildings God didn't want to burn were sprinklered. Yet even in cases where the sprinklers are connected, there have been problems in systems when there was an obstruction. This took place in the early 1990's at the 38-story high-rise building known as One Meridian Plaza in Philadelphia. Fire broke out on the twenty second floor and fire fighters responded and made their way up to the floor of the fire, only to find that the standpipe system was restricting the water pressure to their lines. The water was there; the standpipes were there; but the pressure relief valves had been improperly set and these cause an obstruction to the flow of water.

The fire consumed eight floors and killed three fire fighters before its advance was halted by a small handful of sprinklers on the thirtieth floor.

Are you connected Christ? Is there anything obstructing your connection to Him? He is the living water - the source of all life. His resurrection power is available to you - but only if you are connected to Him.

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