Hello Chosen ones,
Paul had a brief visit in Ephesus along with the power couple, Priscilla and Aquila. On this visit he went into the synagogue and preached the gospel to the Jews. They were really impressed by his teaching and wanted him to stay, but he had a commitment in Jerusalem he could not break (Acts 18:18-21). The ministry at Ephesus was left in the hands of Priscilla and Aquila, and a new preacher named Apollos (Acts 18:24-28). Paul eventually returned to Ephesus, and found some disciples who needed teaching on Holy Spirit (Acts 19:1-7). After this, he returned to the synagogue to teach and preach the Kingdom of God for 3 months (Acts 19:8). Paul had a very powerful and fruitful ministry in Ephesus, teaching for three years (Acts 20:31), amidst great opposition (Acts 19:9-41). He left for a while, but met the Ephesian church elders in Miletus, and recounted his ministry to them, and gave them strong warnings about what would happen to the church because of false teachers and “wolves” (You gotta read Acts 20:17-38!)
Why this quick history lesson? Because Paul, at the time of writing this letter, is in a Roman prison/under house arrest, thinking about the disciples and leaders in Ephesus. After recounting the great redemption work of God in Christ in verses 3-14, he thought of those who had experienced this saving work in their lives – the Ephesian converts. He probably remembered the disciples he baptized and those who were filled with Holy Spirit. He was probably seeing faces of those to whom he ministered. Someone was obviously there in Rome, who visited Paul, and told him of what was going on in the church in Ephesus; probably naming names and sharing testimonies. You could just see Paul getting encouraged and excited about what he had heard, and now as he is writing the letter, there is an outburst of praise and thanksgiving for the work God had done in the disciples’ lives! What really caused Paul such joy was their “faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and love towards all the saints” (Eph. 1:15). This is evidence of true transformation – a growing faith in Christ and a growing love for His people. Friends, these are good indicators for us as well of our transformation and work of Holy Spirit in our lives – especially – do we love Jesus and the saints more and more! You can get a picture of the love Paul and the elders shared in Acts 20:36-38.
This love for fellow believers is what fuels our prayers for each other, and causes us to give thanks (Eph. 1:16). So what do we pray for the people we love so much? Not what you would think! Paul’s letters contain some incredible prayers, which sound very different than what I normally hear at prayer meetings. In this passage, there is a great list of things for which we should pray for people:
- For our “Glorious Father” to give us The Spirit of wisdom and revelation to know God more (vs. 17)
Can you imagine the Father of love wanting to give His children anything more than that which would allow His kids to know Him more? Wisdom - He promises that if we ask for wisdom, He will give it to us generously (James 1:5). Revelation - what we are really asking for is more of Holy Spirit who reveals the deep things of God (1Corinthians 2:10-12). What a great prayer to pray for ourselves and others! Paul prays this for the church in Colossae as well (Col. 1:9-10). If we see something done twice in the Bible, we should probably incorporate it as part of our regular lifestyle. Let’s pray for people to know God more through Holy Spirit given wisdom and revelation. (See Ephesians 3:14-21)
- For the eyes of our heart to be enlightened to know: (vs. 18)
- The hope to which He has called us
- The riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints
- His incomparably great power for us who believe (vs. 19a)
We sing the song “Open the eyes of my heart Lord….I want to know you”. This is a worthy request to ask of God. First, to know the fullness of our salvation and the future glory it includes. The heart refers to the totality of our inner being, so the prayer is for complete revelation of the knowledge of God and the things that await us in glory. What is the hope we set our eyes on – a hope of glory, eternal bliss in His presence, a home and dwelling place where God is worshipped and adored in the beauty of holiness. Peace, joy, righteousness, and pain free existence is our future – Life everlasting! Friends, in this crazy world, it is best to focus on our future with Christ, rather than our present trials.
Secondly, twice an inheritance is mentioned (vs. 14 & 18), and 5 times “riches” is mentioned (1:7; 1:18; 2:7; 3:8, 3:16). What is the inheritance? Just to name a few: The kingdom of God (James 2:5); Eternal life (Luke 18:18); and God Himself (Psa. 16:5). God will open the treasures of heaven to all who have believed in Christ (Matt. 6:20) and His richest blessings will be poured out – which have nothing to do with material possessions. The Kingdom will be marked by righteousness, peace, order, full communion with God and fellow believers, and joy everlasting. It is Christ’s inheritance we get to share in, since we are siblings with Him, which will include the new Earth (Matt. 5:5), and the nations (Psalm 2:8) - (we’ll find out what all that means when we get there!). It is good to read Revelation, Isaiah and the Messianic Psalms to encourage ourselves with what lies ahead as far as inheritance for the believer – a whole new reality!
Lastly, we want our eyes to be opened to the “incomparably great power” available to believers. It is “dunamis” power, which implies the supernatural ability of the believer to accomplish great things for God and live the Christian life. Notice the prayer is for our eyes to be opened so we can know what we have in Christ! Oh how we need to pray that with fervency in a land of lukewarm complacent Christianity. Let’s start praying and believing for an awakening in God’s people, so we can live the life Jesus called us to live! Let us Celebrate our life in Christ and Pray to know God more!
Now glory be to God! By His mighty power at work within us, He is able to accomplish infinitely more than we would ever dare to ask or hope. NLT Ephesians 3:20
May your week be blessed!