Lesson 3

Paul's Letter to the Ephesians

World English Bible translation

 Today's Scripture

1:15 For this cause I also, having heard of the faith in the Lord Jesus which is among you, and the love which you have toward all the saints, 1:16 don't cease to give thanks for you, making mention in my prayers, 1:17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him; 1:18 having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope of his calling, what are the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, 1:19 and what is the exceeding greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to that working of the strength of his might 1:20 which he worked in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and made him to sit at his right hand in the heavenly places, 1:21 far above all rule, and authority, and power, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come. 1:22 He put all things in subjection under his feet, and gave him to be head over all things to the assembly, 1:23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.

Today's Lesson

This passage contains one of the great prayers of scripture. Paul writes that he is praying for those who will receive this letter because he has heard two things about them. The first is that he has heard about their faith in the Lord Jesus. The second is the love that they have for all the saints. Very often, Paul acquaints the salvation experience in believers' lives with the love that they have for other Christians. Love is an essential fruit of the Spirit.


Paul's prayer is addressed to "…the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory…" The request is that God will give them a spirit of wisdom and revelation, a supernatural agency, to know more about Him. Knowledge of God is the greatest blessing that a Christian may have. To know God is our highest honor and goal. This spirit of wisdom and revelation would enlighten the "eyes of your heart". This would be an odd expression today, but easily understood in the ancient world. The heart was the seat of all emotion and understanding. To enlighten the eyes of their heart would be equivalent to the modern day phrase, "open their mind".


This enlightenment should allow them to see three things. First, they would know the hope of His calling. God's calling brings hope into otherwise hopeless lives. And, a life without hope is scarcely worth living. Second, the enlightening would allow them to know how rich was the inheritance they had been given. The extent of the inheritance is so vast that only divine intervention can allow us to understand it. Third, it would show them the greatness of the power that God is focusing on those who believe. The majesty and power of God is beyond our mortal comprehension. Only through His Spirit may we begin to fathom it.


This power that God is concentrating on believers is the same power that God showed when He raised Christ from the dead. And, not only was He raised, He was exalted. He was granted a position of authority. The right hand of the sovereign is the position of power and influence. He was granted a position higher than any: rule, authority, power, dominion, and name. Paul uses words that would have meant to his audience that the position of Jesus was not only higher than any earthly authority, but it was higher than any heavenly or angelic authority. It is the same idea that the writer of Hebrews expresses in chapter one of that book. Jesus Christ is exalted greater than all created beings to a position of sovereignty. It is so now, and in the future.


All creation has already been placed at His feet. And Paul says the crowning glory bestowed on the Christ was that He was made head over all things to the assembly. This word "assembly" is the same word that we use for church. He was made or ordained Head of the Church. This assembly, this church, is His body. And this church is the "fullness" of Him. Just as Christ was the "fullness" of God (the complete physical expression), so the church is the "fullness" of Christ.


Paul's prayer is that we might realize that the same power that raised Christ and glorified His sacrifice works in us and for us to keep us holy. We are not without resources. The power of God is protecting me and working in my life the same as it did in the life of Jesus of Nazareth.


Oh Lord, give us a spirit of wisdom and revelation so that we might see your power at work in our lives and the riches of the inheritance you have for us in Christ!


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