This is the sermon for Wednesday, June 16th, 2010.
Hope in prayer.
Ephesians 1:17-23 ESV – 17that 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, 19and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might 20that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, 21 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. 22And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.
Last time we looked at verses 15-16 with Paul saying something important about prayer.
Ephesians 1:15-16 ESV – 15For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, 16I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers.
Now Paul is going to reveal something important within this prayer – hope is often affirmed and strengthened in prayer.
Many times when we pray, we don’t see immediate results and even sometimes things seem to get worse and worse. But while we are in prayer, pouring our hearts out to God, though we may not realize it, hope is often renewed and strengthened. Why can I say this? Well, perhaps the fact that you haven’t lost your mind and are still holding on when things surmount, is evidence of the hope of God in prayer.
Let’s begin unpacking this prayer of Paul’s and see what God would say to us concerning hope.
Our prayers are to the God of glory.
Ephesians 1:17 ESV – 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…
When Paul uses the term, “the Father of glory,” he is being very specific. I believe he is referring to some Old Testament imagery here. He is referring to the covenant name of God – YHWH – who appeared to the children of Israel in the wilderness in His glory – a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night.
Paul goes on to say in this verse, “may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him.” How has the Father done this? I don’t know about you, but I don’t have visible fire and clouds hovering and leading me wherever I go. Well, in these last days God has revealed Himself with all wisdom and revelation through His Son – Jesus Christ. Let’s look at some Scripture.
Hebrews 1:1-4 ESV – 1Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, 2but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. 3He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, 4having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.
1 Corinthians 2:1-10 ESV – 1And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. 2For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 3And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, 4and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. 6Yet among the mature we do impart wisdom, although it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to pass away. 7But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. 8None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 9But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him”— 10these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God.
Ephesians 1:19-23 ESV – 19and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might 20that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, 21 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. 22And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.
Unpacking these texts:
- The Father of glory reveals Himself through the Lord of glory – Jesus Christ.
- It is through Jesus Christ that revelation and wisdom come.
- This same Jesus died, resurrected and is seated at the right hand of God.
The revelation of our hope in prayer.
Ephesians 1:18-19a ESV – 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, 19and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe…
Three areas of enlightenment:
- The hope to which He called us. This hope is not some earthly sense that everything is going to be alright, but a hope that proceeds from God’s election in the past, but now revealed in us.
Colossians 1:24-27 ESV – 24Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church, 25 of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God that was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known, 26 the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to his saints. 27 To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
This hope is about the second area of enlightenment.
- His glorious inheritance. Not so much what we inherit, which is grace, mercy, forgiveness, and ultimately heaven; but what God inherits – us!
Titus 2:14 ESV – who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.
1 Peter 2:9-10 ESV – 9But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
Think about this for just a moment – no matter how bad things get for you, you are the inheritance and possession of God! That cannot be taken away from you!
- The immeasurable greatness of His power toward believers. God is powerful toward us because we belong to Him!
What is our hope in prayer? We’ve been chosen by God as His possession, He displayed His power by saving us through Christ. Hold your head high in difficulties – your hope is Jesus!