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Stand-alone Sermon

Jul 14, 2019 | Matt Fike

Know Him

Ephesians 1:15-20

Connect:

Like playing paintball! One of the many joys in student ministry! Especially when it comes to playing arrogant, trash talking MS boys. Here me out now, I’m not saying that I enjoy shooting students with paintballs. But rather, I enjoy being used of God in teaching them humility that brings with it a slight sting. Of course, God has used them to humble me too. One of my problems in playing paintball though is the fact that I sweat…a lot. Mix that with wearing goggles and a facemark and you get a fogged up vision pretty quickly. Imagine running in the woods with a white blind fold on, complete with paintballs whizzing by and the occasional rock or deep whole while running at a sprint and you get the picture. So during the games, I have to periodically get behind cover, crouch down and wipe with a rag or my fingers my mask so that I can see clearly. Being able to see is extremely important in battle! Really sight is important all together in life.

Create Need:

 While our physical eyes are important, the Bible talks about having spiritual eyes and the importance of seeing with the empowering work of the Holy Spirit. Just like in my paintball game when I had to wipe the obstruction from my lens, we need to have our spiritual eyes cleared of the fog or outright obstruction as followers of Christ! 

How are your spiritual eyes today? Has it been awhile since you have had the Word of God wash them from the obstructions of business or the love of idols. Have you been running through the battle that is being waged against you without seeing who you are or where you are going?

The Apostle Paul has some great words for us in the Letter to the Ephesians about seeing clearly!

And I want to share that with you this morning:

 Let’s pray

Father, you are glorious! You aren’t just bigger and better than everything that has been created, you are the source of all glory and power! We come to you as small, weak men and women who are in desperate need of clear sight!

To see our condition.

To see your perfect and abundant love.

To see your certain hope and the value that you have placed on us as a treasure in Christ. 

Open our eyes to see!

That we will see the Glorious Father and the Exalted Son, King Jesus in His majesty! That your deep love, Father, for us will be felt by hearts across this room. That those who are blinded by sin and self will be shown the grace that you give abundantly and they would know the certain hope, value and power that comes from knowing and walking with You! Let what we see and grasp today be a sweet taste of your goodness that would drive us to you each day!

Read:

15 For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints,

16 I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers,

17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him,

18 having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you,

what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints,

19 and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might

20 that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places

Content:

         Context:

         -Paul is writing a letter from prison in Rome to churches in Ephesus & areas.

         -Ephesus was the capital of the Roman province of Asia (Modern-day Turkey).                   -known for the magnificent temple of Artemis (Hunting, wilderness) (1 of the 7 wonders AW)                                    

         -a harbor city - wealth with trade and Artemis shrines.

         -Paul stayed in Ephesus for 2-3 years preaching and teaching the gospel until some of these merchants and tradesmen started a riot that caused Paul to leave town.

 15 For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints,

16 I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers,

-For what reason?

         Points back to = Ephesians 1:3

3 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places,”

         Summary of the blessings described:

  1. Chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world (vs.4)
  2. Adopted as sons (vs. 5)
  3. Redeemed and forgiven by the blood of Christ (vs. 8)
  4. Reconciled in Christ / all of creation restored. (Mystery revealed)(vs. 10)
  5. Sealed w/ the Holy Spirit, guarantee of our inheritance. (vs. 13-14)

         And this is for all believers, which will include those from every tribe and nation, many races, united in Christ! Paul is writing to predominantly Gentile believers who are now included in the blessings of God in Christ…but weren’t before. (The reason I picked the slide background on the screens.)

         So Paul praisesGod in 3-14 for these blessings  and then, as we are about to see, Pray that God would give believers sight to grasp the fullness of these blessings!

- And bc Paul has heard of their faithin Christ and lovefor the saints.

What is true of all believers? They place their complete faith in Christ alone and they display a love for one another that is evidence of their faith in Christ!

“By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:35)

         So Paul has heard of their continued faith and love for one another and praising God for their lives! Paul is grateful and thankful to the Lord for these brothers and sisters. Some of whom he had led to Christ. And he says that he gives thanks for them continually when he prays. 

* When is the last time you gave thanks God for someone who is growing and loving Christ? 

         And then Paul writes his prayer for them and I’m so glad he does bc it teaches us how to pray others and ourselves.

You Ready for This, (Buckle Up):

17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him,

18 having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know 

  • “God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of Glory”

         Paul begins by adoring God! Yes, this just easily goes in one ear and out the other for so many of us who have been in church for a long time. We don’t even begin to think about what this means really. 

So let me ask, is the Sun bright?Uh yes it is. I could give you some stats but the best comparison is that it would take an astronomical amount of light bulbs which would weigh 10 times the weight of the earth to equal the brightness of the sun.

The beauty of a sunset at the beach can be breath taking but God’s beauty is the source of that too.

  1. The Glorious Father which means He is the Sourceof all beauty, brightness, and not just brighter and more beautiful. 
  1. The one who is more than qualifiedto answer any requests that Paul or any of His children might have! 

ie.) Like asking if  The Worlds Fittest Man, Rich Froning, can do 1 pushup…uh yea.

- may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him,

having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know

         Look at these phrases“spirit of wisdom”, “Spirit of revelation in the knowledge of Him”, “having the eyes of your hearts enlightened”and “that you may know”.

But to boil it down...

Holy Spirit must reveal how much God loves them and the privileges that He has given them in Christ or they won’t see it!

To really know. 

         Not just an intellectual knowledge of God’s love but a deep grasp of God’s love so that they feel it in their core.

ie.)“It’s one thing to say honey [Chuck Morgan’s Cheesecake, Hope’s Cheesecake] is sweet; it’s another to have its sweetness come alive in your mouth.” 

* When is the last time you tasted the sweet goodness of God and were filled with a passion for Him in your core?

J.D. Greear said this to his church and I think it is fitting for us too:

“…our problem is not that we don’t understand the truths about God’s love, it’s that we don’t feel them; we don’t taste them, they haven’t burst alive in our hearts. The sense of God’s love never causes us to weep or to worship. Many of you guys are good at knowing and memorizing stuff... you know what Christians believe and what they should do, but you don’t flow with passion for God.” -J.D. Greear

 Our passion for God must begin with seeing how much God loves us. 

Here are three things that Paul wants us to see:

  1. “the hope to which he has called you”(18b)

 - What is “hope”?

ie.) I hope Auburn wins a lot of games this year in football? Maybe/Maybe not. No

“Hope” is a confident assurance of what hasn’t come yet will certainly happen.

  1. We are His! Adopted by him by His choice before the foundation of the world. (Eph. 1:4-5)
  2. We are free from bondage of sin and the devil. (Rom. 6:6, Rom. 8:1-4)
  3. We are forgiven and declared righteous bc of Christ! (Rom. 8:1-4)
  4. We will be resurrected into an incorruptible body (1 Cor. 15:52-55)
  5. We will be with Him forever! (Titus 1:2)
  6. Everything that happens to me is for my good! (Roms. 8:28) 

“What God has determined to give you and what He’s making you into is settled forever, Paul says... God has set His love on you from all eternity and He’s never turning back. You are going to know Him, and be filled with Him, and be like Him.” -J D Greear

How does this help me now?

         ie.) Caroline’s swim lesson at the YMCA this week.

                  -Hot and humid. Sauna inside the pool area.

                  -I sweat like a pig…

                  -I find a seat next to the life-giving air flow of a breeze

                  -Lady snags my seat after I’ve been up and down 3-4 times trying to    fix my kid’s goggles.

                  -What are you thinking? You do know that was my seat for real….

                  -All of this is in my head of course…a monologue of my flesh

                  - So what if I’ve been to Africa (not even close to the tropical humidity at the pool that day though), thats still my seat.

                  And, I run to the Scripture Eph. 1:15, 18 : “love for the saints” and “that you may know the hope of your calling”

Rom. 8:28“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”

         So then my internal conversation turns to God: “I’m being very          focused on what I deserve right now and really I don’t deserve anything but Hell. And you have a future hope for me that is certain: One day I will be with you and like you and not react in selfishness. And you are definitely making me see that right now and making me run to you to ask that you would change my fleshly heart into a heart that loves like you’ve loved me. 

What about for you:

  1. The mom who has 1,2,3,4…kids at home by herself and they all are being “little tyrants”. (I was worse to you God. Please let them see Christ in me)
  2. The business person who is striving to work hard but seems never get the big break the approval they desire from their co-workers. (I have the loftiest approval given to me by the Glorious Father)
  3. The one who has to have nice things and is always trying to get more. (His Kingdom and the inheritance I have is greater than all this stuff. These things won’t matter in 10 billion years)
  4. The parent who has all their kids out of the house and is praying everyday that they’d call just once but they seem so busy…too busy to care. (Your Glorious Father cares so much about you. You are not forgotten.)

Grasping the value of the hope we have in Christ, frees us from being captivated by sin and allows us to endure suffering. “what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints,”(18c)

 - Two words to see here that are important to underline

 - “His Inheritance” = typically an inheritance is something that a relative leaves you when they die.

 

-What is it then? The saints. Those whom have sworn their total allegiance to Christ.

“That God should set such a high value on a community of sinners, rescued from perdition and still bearing too many traces of their former state, might well seem incredible were it not made clear that he sees them in Christ, as from the beginning he chose them in Christ.” - F.F. Bruce

 I am precious to God! I am his treasured possession! That Jesus would give up glory for a moment to come down and die for us to make us His treasure should floor us.

Paul prays that we would grasp hold of this, to feel it in our bones. 

Knowing the value God places on me, His treasure, is humbling and drives me to worship Him with all of my life!

“and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead (vs. 19-20a)

So we have a hope that is certain and we are treasured by God! Then Paul prays that we would know Gods incomparable, immeasurable power that is at work in us, to us and through us!

Paul says that His power toward us is like

         The power used in Christ’s Resurrection

                  -Bringing something dead to life                  

                  God’s power is amazing! One way we see his power at work is to bring creation into existence out of nothing. But moreover, that He continues to sustain the universe (100 billion galaxies / 1 billion trillion stars in known universe) and he knows them all by name.  (Grains of sand example.)

“Look up into the heavens. Who created all the stars? He brings them out like an army, one after another, calling each by its name. Because of his great power and incomparable strength, not a single one is missing.” (Isaiah 40:26)

                  -But God brings something that is decaying and being destroyed to life is even more awesome! 

Through the resurrection Christ, God has brought a death to death! Death has no more sting for the one who is in Christ! As one prominent pastor said,

“The poisonous event (of death) has become a pathway to paradise” (Piper)

Paul wants us to grasp so much more of the power of God to us:

“It raised us spiritually from the dead (Ephesians 2:5) and gave us life and faith. This power opened our blind eyes, and conquered our rebellious wills, and created a new heart that loves God and people. And this power will guard us from the dominion of our indwelling sin and bring us to the end in persevering faith. This is resurrection power now—to live and die for the glory of Christ.”

- John Piper

Application:

 How long has it been since you had your spiritual lenses cleaned?

 How long since you’ve been passionate about God?

 What is keeping you from seeing and savoring Him?

 Turn you eyes upon Him and run to Him!

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