Eld Chew Chong Kiat
Scripture: Ephesians 1:15–23
I heard a story of a rich man who loves to collect great pieces of painting. He had so many paintings in his lifetime that he built warehouses all over the world to store his treasured collection. One day he read about a piece of rare artwork and wanted it added to his collection. He sent his agent all over the world to find it. Months passed by and eventually the agent came back and reported that he had found the painting. It was stored up in one of the warehouses of the rich man! He had bought it many years ago and was searching for what he already possessed!
Many of us are like that. We look and ask God for things already given to us. As an example, we often ask in prayer for grace, strength and peace without realising that God has already given them to us. Joh 14:27 “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” 2Co 12:9 “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” When we pray, do we recognise these resources that we already have in Christ Jesus?
There are many more resources that we already have in Christ Jesus that is described in our passage. Eph 1:3 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.” We need not ask for these spiritual blessings which our blessed God has blessed us with. In Ephesians 1:15-23, we can learn what we are to pray for from the Apostle Paul: understanding and faith to appropriate these manifold inexhaustible supplies of His grace in providing such gifts and spiritual blessings. We are so rich in Christ, but sadly we oft live as if we are depleted or wanting in God’s supply - defeated because we lean upon our frail arms of flesh, wanting because we are ignorant and maybe crying out to God for them when we already have them.
1. Who has these resources? (v15)
Paul wrote to the saints at Ephesus whose “faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints” he had heard about (v15). Faith and love are clear evidence of those who are born again in Christ. To them alone Christ has given these great treasures of spiritual resources, that they may “be holy and without blame before Him in love…and that [they] should be to the praise of His glory” (v4,12). God always supplies us the needed resources to do what He wants us to do. We need not ask for them, but we need to know them and use them.
2. What did Paul pray concerning these resources? (v16-18a)
Paul prayed “that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened.” (v17-18a). He knew that spiritual things are spiritually discerned and therefore implored God earnestly, again and again, to grant them an understanding of God’s resources and live accordingly. We can never be what God wants us to be if we are ignorant of God’s will and the resources that will enable us to do His will.
3. What are these resources? (v18b-23)
Paul prayed that the saints may know the resources that they already have in Christ Jesus and that so knowing, they may be empowered to live for Him for His glory. These resources are:
a. “the hope of his calling, and … the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints” (v18)
The hope is an expectation of good because of our salvation through Christ. O that we will have our eyes opened to the glory that awaits us in the heavenly places! Our hope is not in this life only but beyond into eternity, for one day, “in the dispensation of the fulness of times” we will be gathered “together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him.” (1:10). Think of the glory over there when you are discouraged! “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” (Ro 8:18) Paul prayed that our eyes will be opened to see the great and rich glory that is ours already. We are “now …the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.” (1Jo 3:2)
To apprehend this glorious and sure hope will lift our spirits to “press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” (Php 3:14) Hope keeps us steadfast in the faith. God has already given us this hope. Do you now experience the blessings of this hope? It is sad to live without hope. Sadder still if it is a vain hope, a make-believe only, or a hope that may fail because it can never be fulfilled. This is not the case if you are His child. Yours is a lively hope, to an inheritance that is incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, and kept by the power of God, ready to be revealed in the last time. (1Pe 1:3-5)
There is no loss for Christ that is not a gain. Jim Elliot who lost his life trying to reach the savage Auca Indians with the good news of Jesus said: “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.” What drove him to go to such dangerous places to bring the gospel? The gain from what he would lose for Christ! Do we live in this light?
b. “the exceeding greatness of his power” (v19-23)
The power that is available to Christians today is immense, way “beyond the usual mark” of human comprehension and expectation. It is beyond greatness, immeasurable, off the charts! This power is “to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,” (v19b), only to those who believe and would do great exploits by faith at His word. This is the same power that raised Christ from the dead and set Him at the right hand of the Father in heaven (v20). This power is given unto Christ, the Son of God and through Him to us. Our Lord Jesus said to us, “…All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, …” (Mt 28:18-19a).
We need not ask for this power. It has been given. We need to pray for understanding of this power that will work for us both to will and to do of His good pleasure. What is God’s good pleasure? The revealed will of God. We are weak but He is strong. Let the weak therefore say that he is strong, because the strength of God is made perfect in his weakness. Has God commanded and we lack the power to do? God forbid! God says “Go ye therefore” to be his witnesses. Be holy, righteous, love as He has loved and forgive as He has forgiven. Do good and serve Him. God’s hand is not short to help and deliver us. God will have all His children know that He is with us in whatsoever we do, because we trust in Him. In this His name is glorified, not us.
I pray that God will give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Christ and that the eyes of your understanding will be enlightened to know what we already possess in Christ and to go forth and do valiantly.