November 7th 2018 – Ephesians 1:15-22

"For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, 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, 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 and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church."

Ephesians 1:15-22

We have spent several days on 13 and 14 but these are highly important verses and we need to be clear on their meaning. We are now able to proceed with the rest of the first chapter of the Epistle. We come in these verses to the point where exposition passes to intercession. Paul's prayer for the Ephesians is that the truth of God which he has expounded in 3-14 might come home to their hearts with living power and that it might mean all that it ought to mean for them. And, significantly, the link between the two sections of the chapter is the Holy Spirit (13b, 14). It is He Who makes real to our experience the truths of redemption, creating faith in us to enable us to embrace the blessings Paul has unfolded; and it is He also Who enlightens our understanding in such a way that we begin progressively to grasp something of the immensity and magnitude of God's salvation. Significantly also, the same process by which we are first brought to faith - with the involvement of mind, heart and will - operates in that deepening understanding. Being 'filled with all the fullness of God' (3:19) is not something that takes place 'in vacuo', but in relation to one's grasp and apprehension of the truth. And this is the point in Paul's words in v 18 about 'the eyes of your understanding being enlightened'. One thinks of our Lord's own teaching in John 16:13ff about the Holy Spirit's ministry as leading us into all truth, and taking of the things that are Christ's and showing them to us. It is for this gracious and fruitful ministry that Paul prays here. Similarly, heart and will are involved in this, for when the riches of divine truth are really grasped it is impossible but that the heart should be kindled and warmed within and the will made wholly responsive to all that God will say.