Ephesians 1:15-23

God’s Glorious Plan


Paul’s Prayer: After talking to the people about God – He talks to God about the people

A) INSPIRED PRAYER :  God’s Heart /

                                                      Example for us of how to Pray !!!


B) In our last study we saw some particulars about this prayer – How often Paul prayed – v.16 – Without ceasing

1) The attitude of Paul’s Prayer – heart of Thanks

2) The General theme of Paul’s Prayer – Prayer for revelation –


C) He prayed that the believers in Ephesus would grow in their wisdom & Knowledge of God !!!


D) Tonight we pick it up in v.18 where Paul prays that the eyes of their understanding would be enlightened 



Now this is an interesting phrase: In the Greek it literally reads – eyes of your Heart

A)Isn’t that interesting that you have eyes in your heart?  Did you know that?                 We can see with our eyes physically. 


B) And We can see with the eyes of our mind.  But the deepest sort of seeing, the deepest revelation comes in the realm of the heart. 

1) And when the Bible speaks of the heart, it’s speaking of the innermost depths of the human soul. 


C) So Paul is praying that in the innermost depth of our human soul we might have enlightenment,

1) that we might have that illumination come upon us.




Now  if you want to know how to pray for me / what Paul prays for here is perfect

A)And I’ll be happy to pray this prayer for you as well.  This is a great prayer.  And this is the kind of stuff we need. 


B) I need the eyes of my heart to be enlightened.  So that when I come to the Word of God, it’s not merely words on a page,

1) but it’s an encounter with the Lord Himself. 


C) Many times as we come to the Word, unfortunately, , it is like words on a page.   We read a chapter or two.  And we finish up, and we walk away. 

1) And sometimes we then think to ourselves, “What did I read?” 


D) Often that happens because we are distracted or because we’re dull of our heart.         It’s just part of our condition as human beings. { Struggle

1)  It’s not anything that we can necessarily change ourselves.  But it can be changed through prayer.  And that’s what Paul’s asking for here. 


E) He is praying that they would experience illumination in the very depths of their souls { TONIGHT LORD


So that when we approach the things of God, and the things of the Spirit, rather than that dullness, sort of blocking the glory of God,


there’s an illumination, an enlightenment that takes place, and we break through that veil. And we enter in and have that encounter with the Lord. 


A) That is what we all long for, isn’t it?  I want to have that.  And Paul encourages that we pray. 


B) Paul prays for this enlightenment so that they might see 3 things – I want us to consider these tonight - #1 v.18 – Know the Hope of  His Calling



Now the word Hope in the Bible is interesting : Speaks of an Absolute Expectation of Coming Good { So Sure – Bank on it – base life on it

A) There are not many things in this life that can offer that type of assurance


B) I once filled out publishers clearing House thing for 10 million dollars

     Test the theory - don't have to buy anything


C) Plus if I won – use the money for the Lord / the Kingdom

    Now my Wife - "never happen"


D) But I sent it in every month for about 6mts : Came back Grand finalist: Sign accept if won on Superbowl Sunday…..able to accept

          1.)     Then Rob Salvato has won - if winning entry - then                              payments are ready to begin - How broken up?


E) The last one - "unless you buy - you will be dropped"


Now I'm thinking - whole time - I hope this is true - no joke - but - wish - Denise - nuts - fool - prayed!

A)What's 29 cents - no assurance - hope was shattered as I placed my

          drop stamp on envelope   


B) Listen, when Paul says I want you to Know the Hope of His calling

1) That word hope speaks of an assurance - for sure thing  an absolute expectation of coming good


C) Well what has he called us to? Well, Paul has already talked about it. He’s called us to stand blamelessly before Him. 

1) He’s called us to enter fully into the inheritance that He’s stored up for us. 


D) He’s called us into a parent/child relationship with Him presently that’s going to go on eternally. 

1) He’s called us to be His heirs and joint heirs with Christ.  

                              Turn to Romans 8

The hope of a believer is described for us very plainly in Romans 8, Verses 18-25,

18-For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.


A)That is the hope -- a glory which is coming, a glory toward which we are moving day by day.


v. 19-22 For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God.20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope;21 because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.


B) That phrase, "the bondage of corruption ," is a very accurate description of what scientists call the Second Law of Thermodynamics,

1) the law of entropy, the law which states that everything in the universe is running down,


C) that it was wound up once but that now everything is declining, deteriorating.

1) Paul includes not only the natural world, with its constant decay, but the human body as well. He says,


V..22 For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now.23 Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body.24 For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees?25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.


D) That was the hope which these believers entertained in their minds. They knew it academically.

1) The central factor of this hope is the certainty of a new humanity.

They knew that there was coming a day when their bodies would be redeemed,

A)that God was working out that transformation, and that a whole new day was ahead.  This mortal would put on Immortality { Corruption.. Perfection


B) This hope of future glorification with Christ God wants us to know is an absolute certainty for the believer in Christ


C) When a believer leaves this world  . . . we say they died. 

1) Pastor Chuck says   Don’t say they’ve died. 


D) The Scripture never uses that term.  The Scripture says that they’ve fallen sleep.  We say that they’ve passed away. 

1) We have a lot of ways to describe what’s happened. 


E) But you know what we should really be saying: “They’ve entered into glory,” because that’s exactly what they’ve done. 

1) They’ve been glorified.  And if we saw it for what it was, it would be really hard to be sad about it. 


“O that poor brother.  He went to glory.  He’s glorified.  Let’s just sit down and weep together about His glorification.  He’s out of this sin-ridden body, out of this sick, perverse world.  Poor fellow.  He’s right there in heaven with all the saints.” 


The Hope that Paul wants us to realize is that God who has saved us also promises to glorify us

A) Well," you say, "that's fine. I understand that. But how does that help me now?           Now, I'm bored, I'm caught up in a meaningless routine.


B) Day by day goes by, and life is not very exciting.

1) Sanders calls it the daily round of lifeYou are on the potters wheel


C) Hope of Glorification is something that is presently taking place

We call it SANCTIFICATION – God making us like JESUS

1) Every trial we go thru is a part of that Process

Learn to look at life that way! That is the hope of our calling.

A)There is no circumstance we go through which cannot, in the hands of God, be turned to our advantage.


B) And even when we don’t realize that at first and we give into the fears or frustrations of the flesh – we can come back & say

"Lord, I see now that I didn't need to give way to the flesh, to its despair or its reaction of anger or impatience. Forgive me and help next time to see why you allowed this situation in my life –


C) That is what Paul is praying that these Christians will capture -- the sense that God is at work in their daily circumstances,

1) and although there is suffering that occurs in the midst of the old creation, the new one is gradually taking shape.


D) You can't see it, although perhaps as you look back you can see some of the results of it in your spirit and in your soul.

1) But these very trials and pressures and problems and afflictions are preparing us for that future time.


2 Cor 4:16-17 Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory,


Paul also told the Corinthians: 1 Cor 2:9 “Eye has not seen, ears has not heard, neither has it entered into the heart of a man the things that God has prepared for those who love Him.” 


E) We have a taste of that through the ministry of the Holy Spirit.


So that is Paul’s first request – Know the Hope of His Calling – We would know the Absolute expectation of coming Good we are called to!


Back to Ephesians 1

2nd He Prays that their hearts would be enlightened to Know –v.18  what are the riches of the Glory of His inheritance in the saints

A) Now look at that again - at first glance we would think – Paul got this wrong – what he meant to says was – He wants us to know the richness of our inheritance in the Lord


B) But that is not what Paul says or means - This phrase doesn't refer to our inheritance in Christ but His inheritance in us!

1) What Paul is really getting at is – he wants us to understand how precious we are to God


C) that we might know how much God loves us, how much God cherishes us, how much God cares about us.  We’re His inheritance. 

1) We’re His pride and joy.  We’re His prized possession.  As is said of Israel of old, “We are the apple of His eye.” 


D) Paul is saying we are God’s treasure !!!!


Jesus illustrated this in Matt 13 - Man was walking through a field and stumbled on a treasure:

A.)    Those days - no banks / savings loans/ bury treasure: apparently - died

        This other man comes along stumbles -finds it - buys field


B)     He does what he needs to  - to get the treasure. Did he want the     field - no.  He wanted the treasure!


What does this mean?  Simply this - Jesus told us in Matt 13 that the field represents the world

A.)The Father chose to buy the world - world given to man - gave it to Satan

          1.)The Father sent the Son to buy it back!  To purchase it with            His blood!  Why?


B.)    Because He wanted the treasure - Treasure is You

 1)I'm the treasure and the Father would say "in all the universe the  thing I really want is Rob Salvato He is a gem to me!  

C.)    Now that is the last thing I feel like / Feel more like a worthless - grain of sand in the mass of           humanity - universe!



Jesus said in the next verse - Matt 13:45 ,46    "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls,"who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it.


A.)    What is a pearl made of?  Comes about when a tiny grain of sand           somehow gets into oyster


B) Becomes an irritant - to deal with the irritation the oyster secretes a fluid / liquid to cover the sand

1) Bigger irritation - more liquid - hardens and becomes a pearl


C.)    A pearl is an irritating speck of sand - guys that is what we are           from our perspective

1) But God says let me robe you in my righteousness - cover you in my Son!  Make you a precious pearl


Here is what is interesting!  You know what will ruin an oyster?  Human perspiration!  Sweat!

A.)    Pearls are virtually indestructible except for human perspiration


B.)What will ruin you and me?  Our trying to sweat and prove we are worthy! Prove we are righteous!

          1.)Our trying to prove we our worthy of God's love, trying to                         

             be somebody - something in His sight!


C) Paul is saying - I pray you will see who you are in His sight! a treasure to Him  He bought the world to get you because in His son 

   1) you are a pearl of great price   A trophy of His grace!  His work


#3 Rd V.19-21


Just before the World War II in the town of Itasca, Texas, a school fire took the lives of 263 children. There was scarcely a family in town which was not touched by this horrifying tragedy. 


During the war Itasca remained without school facilities. But when the war ended, the town, like many others, began to expand and in fact built a new school which featured what was called "the finest sprinkler system in the world."

          Civic pride ran high. Honor students were selected to guide citizens and visitors on tours of the new facility to show them the finest, most advanced sprinkler system technology could supply and money could buy.   Never again would Itasca be visited by such a tragedy.


With the postwar boom the town continued to grow, and seven years later it was necessary to enlarge the school - and in adding the new wing it was discovered that the sprinkler system had never been connected!


What an incredible story - hard to believe - unfortunately it is the story of many Christians today.

A) There is untold power available for every believer in Christ, but so

      many never hook up - lives impotent - useless!


B) The 3rd thing that Paul wants our hearts to be enlightened about is the Power of God that is available to us in Christ !!!


C) Now this is interesting to me – that the illustration that Paul uses to describe the Power of God

1) What was God’s greatest display of Power ?  CREATION ?



Notice a few things about the description of this power

A)1st The word power is Dunamis – words like Dynamite from it / Dynamic power – Power that makes an impact   explosive power  (Pentecost)


B)Power that transformed the life of Peter who denied the Lord 3 times to this bold and fiery preacher who preached on the day of Pentecost !


C) Same Power that was working thru the early church which enabled them to turn their world upside down for Jesus !


2nd Exceedingly Great: It exceeds a fixed amount – it is greater than we could ever imagine


Lloyd Jones - "God's power not only surpasses our power of expression, it surpasses our power of comprehension! Take all the dictionaries of the world, exhaust all the vocabularies and when you have added them all together you have still not begun to describe the greatness of God's power"



3rd It is working – active power / not stagnant – Power that is at work in our lives – not Dormant

A)I picture a river that is flowing – Jesus said that those who came to Him – out of their lives would flow torrents of living water – spoke of spirit


B)Power that transforms gives victory / active power we just need to tap into



Power is manifested in the Church V.22 -23 { Under his feet }