VB047: Eph. 1:15-23

[VB047 Podcast Notes]

Our Example Prayer for Enlightenment (Eph. 1:15-23)

There are two prayers in Ephesians: The first is for enlightenment, (1:15-23), and the second for enhancement, in chapter 3:13-21. Paul prays first that we may know what Christ has done for us; then in chapter 3, he prays that we may live up to these wonderful blessings and put them to work in our daily lives.

Open your Bible and follow along, beginning in Ephesians 1:15.

[15] Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, [16] do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers:

Therefore: (for this reason) “Therefore” is connecting the previous text as the reason to pray. The believers have acquired every spiritual blessing – including election, predestination, adoption, grace, redemption, forgiveness, wisdom, understanding, knowledge of the mystery of His will, the sealing of the Holy Spirit, and inheritance – and now Paul prays that his readers might know God personally and intimately.

Faith and Love for all the saints: This outgoing love is the evidence of genuine faith, working through love (Gal. 5:6). Two more pertinent reasons to pray.

This letter of Paul’s is to all the saints, including you and me.

  • Where Paul begins to pray is where we oftentimes cease to pray.
  • When one begins to walk in faith is when spiritual effectiveness causes the enemy to attack – that’s when we should be active intercessors.
  • Praying that the person continues to be enlightened with wisdom and knowledge of God. Being watchful… with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints (Eph. 6:18).

Making mention: mneia (me-na´-ah) Vine’s Words: Mention, Remember, Remembrance, Reminded.

This is one place that we get, “remember me in your prayers.” The NIV and others rightfully used “remember” here. The problem is that folks today do not remember. It’s just another cliché tossed around among adolescent Christians. Most of these good intentions are forgotten at the next drive through, or text message.

When someone asks me to remember them in prayer, I’ll say, “Let me pray for you right now, so I wont forget.” It usually catches the person off guard as they quickly begin to hear the Word of God spoken in faith over them.

Paul begins praying – That God may give you spiritual understanding (v. 17-18a)

[17] that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, [18] the eyes of your understanding being enlightened….

Spirit: (small “s”) Pneuma, is used in different ways in Scripture. Primarily denotes wind. To breathe, blow. Like the wind is invisible, this is the invisible, immaterial, powerful part of man. God wants our spirits to be full of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him. Wisdom and revelation are a product of the knowledge of God’s Word.

The word “spirit” can also describe a “mental disposition” (Strong’s 4151). We would probably say, “attitude,” as in “team spirit.” That is the way Paul was using “spirit” here and also in Ephesians 4:23, “and be renewed in the spirit of your mind,” (see also 1Thes. 5:23).

The Eyes Of Your Understanding: This is a reference to your soul or mind. True illumination or revelation takes place in the mind, not the spirit. Verse 17 tells us we are to have a spirit full of wisdom and revelation. However, in verse 18, we are told the eyes of our hearts have to be enlightened.

Revelation occurs when the wisdom of God, which resides in our spirit, explodes across our conscious mind. Illumination occurs when the mind and the spirit agree. We knew it all the time in our spirit, and it finally dawned on our minds. Usually, when this occurs, we say, “I see it!” We do not mean we see it with our eyeballs, but we “see” it with the “eyes of our spirit.”

Understanding: dianoia (diy-a’-noi-a) deep thought, contemplation. The mind (or its disposition), the faculty, (by implication) its exercise, i.e. purposeful mental activity.

Spiritual truths must be spiritually discerned (see, 1Cor. 2:9-16), and this understanding can come only from the Spirit. The Holy Spirit wrote the Word, therefore He is the best teacher of what it says.

Paul continues to pray – That you might know the hope of God’s calling (v. 18b) The middle part of the verse

[18] …that you may know what is the hope of His calling….

Right now we have a dual citizenship, the natural and the spiritual. Spiritually we are before the Father, holy and without blame, but naturally we are on the earth and stuck in Satan’s domain. But there is coming a day when we will get new bodies, just like Jesus has. We will have resurrection bodies with no earthly limitations (see, 1Cor. 15:53). This is called a hope since it is in the future – “the blessed hope” (1Thes. 4:13-17; Titus 2:13). The world has nothing to look forward to, but we can lift up our heads, because our redemption draws near (Lk. 21:28).

Because God chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world, we have a blessed hope for all eternity that depends not on our goodness, but on His grace. Look again at verses 4-6, where this calling is summarized.

The Christian must know three areas of his call to be able to walk worthy of his calling.

  • his high calling (Phil. 3:14)
  • his holy calling (2Tim. 1:9)
  • his heavenly calling (Heb. 3:1)

Paul prays – That you might know the riches of God’s inheritance (v. 18c) The last part of the verse

[18] …what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints,

Our needs in this life are supplied “according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:19). We have learned that His riches are inexhaustible, and we can never bankrupt the account He has set up for us (Eph. 1:7). We have often thought of His riches in glory as meaning His riches in heaven. But when God supplies our needs here on earth, He does it through a human channel.

Paul requests – That you might know God’s power (v. 19-20)

[19] and what [is] the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power [20] which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated [Him] at His right hand in the heavenly [places,]

The very power that raised Christ Jesus from the dead is available for our daily lives! Jesus has already won the victory over sin, death, the world, and Satan. God’s people do not fight for victory but from victory! We are seated with Him in the heavenlies (Eph. 2:6). And we take our seat of authority with Him.

Eph 1:19-20 (NKJV) –[19] and what [is] the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power.

The King James Version – Power Factor:

There are five Greek words translated “power” in the New Testament:

  1. dynamis (doo’-nam-is) 1411 = Power, dynamo, dynamite.
  2. energeia (en-erg’-i-ah) 1753 = Energy, (effectual) working.
  3. ischys (is-khoos’) 2479 = Endowed power, mighty, strength.
  4. kratos (krat’-os) 2904 = Dominion, strength, ruling power.
  5. exousia (e-xou-siy’-a) 1849 = Authority, privilege, permission, the right to do something.

The first four Greek words for power are used in this verse! So we could call this the most powerful verse in the New Testament.

Here is verse 19 again with the Greek. “And what is the exceeding greatness of his [doo’-nam-is] power to us-ward who believe, according to the [en-erg’-i-ah] working of his [is-khoos’] mighty [krat’-os] power.”

[20] which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated [Him] at His right hand in the heavenly [places,]

It took more power to fashion the earth than the universe. And according to these scriptures, redemption, our deliverance from sin took more of God’s power than anything else. With His arm, He raised Jesus from the dead! I have heard it said the reason God used so much power to raise Christ from the dead was that every demon power was against Him. It is interesting that exousia, (authority) is not in Ephesians 1:19, the devil is NO match for God!

I believe Paul is praying for us to fully realize (in our hearts and minds) the power of all the spiritual blessings that are sealed in us with the Holy Spirit.

The 5th Power Factor:

[21] far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.

In verse 21, we have the fifth Greek word that has been translated “power,” that is exousia (e-xou-siy’-a). It is unfortunate that the King James translators used “power” rather than “authority” for exousia in some places. Through the work of our Lord Jesus Christ in His death, burial, resurrection, and ascension, we have been given authority over the devil! God has not given us power, but authority. Adam had authority on the earth, but he gave it to Satan in the garden. From Adam to the Cross, Satan had authority on the earth.

When Jesus was resurrected, He said, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. (Mt. 28:18). And in Luke 10:17-24, when the 70 returned to Him with happy results. They were delighted because even the demons were subject to the Name. He said to them, “I was watching when Satan was cast out of heaven. It was like a bolt of lightning! Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you. But don’t rejoice in the fact that the spirits are subject to you, instead, rejoice because your names are written in heaven.”

The reason Satan flees from the believer’s authority is that he doesn’t want to experience that power again!

Now Jesus is in no way rebuking these disciples. They had a successful mission! At that moment, Jesus rejoiced in the Holy Ghost and praised God for the whole situation. Then He told those disciples in private, “blessed are the eyes that see the things you see. …Prophets and kings have wished to see and hear the things you have seen and heard.” This is what Paul is praying for us to have, in Ephesians. To have eyes to see.

We have been given the right to use that name that is above all other names. The name that is above the name of any sickness, disease, problem, world leader, or any mountain in our lives. Believers have the authority to use that name to cast out devils, speak with new tongues, take up serpents, drink any deadly thing and not be hurt, lay hands on the sick and see them recover (Mk. 16:17-18).

The Body of Christ:

[22] And He put all [things] under His feet, and gave Him [to be] head over all [things] to the church, [23] which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.

If Jesus is far above Satan’s kingdom and Satan is under His feet, then something must be in between. That something is you and me, the church, His body. Jesus conquered Satan through His death and resurrection, and then gave us the rightful authority to use His name and watch the devil run from us. Thank God for the name of Jesus!

We have been left on the earth to stand in the place Jesus stood (2Cor. 5:20) and to see people come to know Jesus as Lord and Savior, Healer, and Provider. We learn to use our authority and to see ourselves set free, along with the lives of our friends and loved ones. Jesus has become the head over all things.

The church is described as Christ’s body (Col. 1:18). It is not only in symbol but in fact. Paul uses the same language later in this letter (Eph. 4:4,12,16; 5:30). The church is not an institution but a living being. It exists and functions only by reason of its vital relationship with the risen Lord, who is its head. The church is filled by Christ not only with His own life and presence but also with His gifts and blessings.

As the church manifests Jesus to the world, it can do so only as He fills it with Himself and with all the grace-gifts he bestows (Eph. 4:7,11; cf. 1Cor. 12:1-11).

To be continued:

God bless you my friend,