Friday, February 15, 2013

Lesson 3: Ephesians 1:15-23

Lesson 3: Ephesians 1:15-23 (“To Know the God Who First Knew Us ”)

Summary sentence: Paul wants his readers to have a better spiritual understanding of their position in Christ.
Central Idea: I may know Him better.
Aim: Listeners will want to know Him better.

Although CBS is a Bible Study, not a prayer group, please know that every decision is bathed in prayer. Every Servant Team meeting and Leaders Council begins with prayer.
 We use the acronym ACTS as our prayer Guide. Starting with Praise and Adoration to the One who is the giver of all and the owner of all, we continue with Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication.
Dwight L Moody once remarked “I'd rather be able to pray than to be a great preacher; Jesus Christ never taught his disciples how to preach, but only how to pray.” “Spread out your petition before God, and then say, "Thy will, not mine, be done." The sweetest lesson I have learned in God's school is to let the Lord choose for me.”
The last half of the first chapter in Ephesians is a prayer from Paul to the Ephesians.  As we come before LORD let us open our eyes and hearts to the Holy Spirit.
Please open you Bibles to Ephesians Chapter 1.
 Remember that Paul had written this letter from the prison in Rome. V.16 the word “remembering” should be understood as “making mention.” Paul had not been back to Ephesus for a time so he probably did not know many of the church members by name.
We continually pray Community Bible Study International taught in 40 heart languages around the world. We also pray for the safety of missionaries and Christians throughout the world. Our lack of personal familiarity does not prevent us from bringing requests before the throne of God. Paul did not request material things for this young church. He focused on the spiritual things and prayed that that the God would reveal to them the things they already have in their possession; to show them how to appropriate the blessings God has given each of us.  Paul writes that he has heard of their faith and their love for other Christians. If a report was circulated about our CBS group, what do think Paul would say? Would we be proven faithful?  
15 For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, 16 I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers,
Our Area Director, JoAnne has made many complimentary remarks about our class. She prays for our numbers and remembers us in her prayers.
Prayer is key to our ministry and our effectiveness.
A.W. Pink “A prayerless life means a life lived out of communion with God and all that is involved by this”. —

Prayer is our lifeline to God. Many of you have told me that you pray for me every week. Thank you so much, you cannot imagine how that makes my heart soar. My prayer chairman, Diane McCormack, texts me every Thursday to remind me she is praying for me.

P.T. Forsyth says, “The worst sin is prayerlessness since this connotes indifference toward God.”

Our Focus tonight is “Pray that you may know Him better”.
Paul is praying for believers here not sinners. He prays
1.     That we may know God
2.     That we might know God’s calling
3.     That we might know God’s riches
4.     That we might know God’s power

1-That we may know God
What does that mean? How many people do you know, really know? The color of their eyes, their favorite beverage, their hearts desire?  We each have acquaintances, friends, and then there are friends closer than a brother(sister.)
Warren Wiersbe says “enlightenment come from the Holy Spirit. He is the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation. Man with our human minds cannot understand things of the Spirit.” That is why the Holy Comforter such a valuable gift. The Spirit enables us to recall all that Jesus did and  to us the Truth of the scriptures.
Have you ever read a passage of scripture and wonder, “What does that mean?” A response from my niece, “I have no clue.” Have you ever be clueless when trying to answer your questions for bible study? When that happens to me, I close my bible and whisper a prayer seeking wisdom to understand the scripture and apply it to my heart. The Holy Spirit will reveal to you in due time everything that God has in store for you. The eyes of our hearts will be enlightened. Don’t you love that God would do that for you!
 Romans 8:26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.
Paul prays 17 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, 18 having the eyes of your hearts enlightened,
A praise song made popular by Michael W. Smith and written by Paul Baloche
Open the eyes of my heart, Lord
Open the eyes of my heart
I want to see You
I want to see You

To see You high and lifted up
Shinin' in the light of Your glory
Pour out Your power and love
As we sing holy, holy, holy

Sing praises to the LORD that you may know Him better.

2-That we might know God’s calling
18 that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you,
The word “hope” here is not a wish or a dream, it is an assurance.
As I shared with a young man who was at the As One ministries shelter, we discussed the hope that people have today. Your hope is only as good as who or what to put you put your hope in. Whether it is the weatherman calling for snow, or the old clunker of a car for transportation.
Ladies as Christians our hope is not in things, or government, or wealth. Our hope is a person, Jesus. The Greek translations literally says “the hope of His calling. ”
1 Peter 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
Our HOPE is that Jesus died for us, rose on the third day, ascended to heaven and He is coming again.
1 Peter 2:9  Him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.
God called us not because of anything that we have done, but by His grace and mercy and His never ending love.
Be still and listen that you may know Him better.

3-That we might know God’s riches
Riches, now that is a word that gets attention. But money is not what Paul wishes for the church in Ephesus. In fact, nowhere in Paul’s prayer does he ask for material possessions or wealth.
Patrick Henry late in life remarked, "I have now disposed of all my property to my family. There is one thing more I wish I could give them and that is faith in Jesus Christ. If they had that and I had not given them a single shilling, they would have been rich; and if they had not that, and I had given them all the world, they would be poor indeed."
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,
When I first read this I was thinking of our inheritance awaiting us in heaven. As we read in Colossians 3:23-24 Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward.

Warren Wiersbe explained it differently. What are the riches of HIS glorious inheritance in the saints.  We are His in heritance. God counts us as part of His great wealth. God gets glory from the church because of what He has invested in us. When we elevate God or magnify His name, other may see us and glorify Him. As Jesus spoke the beatitude in Matthew 5:
 14“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

No wonder Satan’s plan is to steal, kill, and destroy. And the sad part, ladies, is Satan is after our children. Open the paper, turn on the news, watch a sit-com, and you will see what is happening to the youth of America and the world.
Please pray that God will lift up someone with a heart for young adults to lead a YA core in our Evening Class. This group is for teenagers who have turned their back on their parent’s idea of church. A place to meet and learn about Jesus, it will take a special individual, one called by God to serve in this area. Also pray that God will lay it on someone’s heart to begin a class of Primary or Junior group for the children of class members.
Pray that you may know Him better.
4-That we might know God’s power
C. H. Spurgeon states, ”God’s power is like Himself, self-existent, self-sustained. The mightiest of men cannot add so much as a shadow of increased power to the Omnipotent One. He sits on no buttressed throne and leans on no assisting arm. His court is not maintained by His courtiers, nor does it borrow its splendor from His creatures. He is Himself the great central source and Originator of all power.”
19 and what is the immeasurable greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His( mighty strength )
Paul used four different words from the Greek to describe God’s incomparably great power. Power = dunamis-root of the word dynamite.
Working energia-root for energy; mighty-kratos; strength- ischus

20 that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places,

The same power our omnipotent Father used to raise Jesus from the dead is at work in us- resurrection power!  As Christians, co-heirs with Christ, we are able to share in Jesus’ victory over sin and death. For Jesus to be seated at the right hand of God was a symbol of authority and honor; our Advocate before the Father. 
Jesus Christ is the head over all things. He should be the head of every church and every home.
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.
22 And 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.
One of my favorite scriptures is Philippians 2:9-10. Read it with me now!
Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
“We are never fitter to pray than after praise.” –Richard Sibbes

Would you choose to pray and study God’s Word so you may know Him better?
“To have more of God, to know Him better, to receive from Him the communication of His love and strength, to have our life filled with His, –
it is for this He invites us to enter the inner chamber and shut the door.”
–Andrew Murray

After our PRAYER let us stand now and sing one verse of

 “I’d rather Have Jesus,” words on the screen. Then please prayerfully exit the building focusing on His will for you and His CBS Evening class.