Sermon Titled “Knowing God” (Ephesians 1:15-19) – Sunday 27th October, 2013
- Ephesians 1:15-19
Thanksgiving and Prayer
15 For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all God’s people, 16 I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. 17 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. 18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength…….
Paul starts in the verses above by sharing with the Saints that he has been actively interceding on their behalf, praying for them regularly and giving thanks for their faithfulness. He recognized how difficult it was to stay faithful in a society which largely condemned Christian beliefs and values. Christians today face the same challenges; we are attempting to live out our faith in a world that values independence and self-gratification. And even if we don’t completely fall away, we often allow ourselves to become passive, pretending that weekly church attendance and a basic “do-good” attitude is good enough.
I myself am sometimes guilty of such passivity! I sometimes feel as if my faith can be illustrated by the swinging movement of a pendulum, where Christ is at one end and all the lusts of the world are at the other. One minute I am swinging far to the left, doing and being all that I possibly can to emulate the spirit of Christ, and the next I am moving towards the right, neglecting to place Christ at the center of my heart and mind. Or, occasionally I find myself not swinging at all, just sitting idle while trying to straddle both sides of the pendulum, and perhaps that’s even worse than choosing one direction over another.
Last week for example, I realized that my efforts to know God better, through constant prayer and bible study, were starting to lapse. I’ve learned by now, that if I let a few days go by without praying or studying my bible, that I can easily fall “out” of the habit. I don’t want to be a “lukewarm” Christian however, like one of those whom John the Apostle described in the book of Revelations:
- Revelations 3:15-16 “I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.”
The next thing Paul says in his letter, in verse 17, is that he continues to ask God to give the “Spirit of wisdom and revelation” to all believers. The Spirit of wisdom, so that the saints might have the ability to see and interpret life through God’s eyes, and the Spirit of revelation, that they might understand the mysteries of God, which up until the coming of Christ, had been kept a secret.
In his book Holy Available, Gary Thomas says this about Paul’s desire for believers to see and perceive the truth:
- “The more clearly we see, the more faithfully we obey. The more we obey, the more clearly we will see, and – over time – the more deeply we will mirror the spirit and life and character of Christ.”
Finally, Paul reveals in verses 18 and 19, that there is great reward for those who strive daily to know God. Besides the grand reward of eternal life, there is also the temporal reward of God’s power in our lives. The same power that raised God from the dead, is the same power that literally ignites a new flame within us and causes us to become “born again.”
Like new babies however, new Christians must “grow up” in their faith, and that requires a steady feeding of God’s Word. As we feed on His word and grow in our knowledge of Him, we are in turn strengthened by His power and able to overcome the obstacles that threaten to hinder our faith.
Then, charged by God’s power, and strengthened in our knowledge of Him, are we able to develop the kind of faith that the early believers had!