God Better: Ephesians 1:15-23
Somehow we have the idea that
once we have received Christ into our lives, there is
something more that we have to receive. That praying to
receive Christ is just the beginning of some eternal quest,
or the doorway to God's treasure hunt.
Warren Wiersbe tells a
story in his commentary on Ephesians about the late
newspaper publisher, William Randolph Hearst. Hearst was known to have amassed a fortune in
art which he kept in a large warehouse. One day he read about an incredibly valuable
piece of art. Determined to own it, he sent his agent to
look for it. Months went by before the agent reported
that he had found it. When Hearst asked him where it was,
he told him that he had found it in Hearst's own
warehouse. He had purchased it years before. (Wiersbe -
In Ephesians 1 Paul
is trying to spare Christians the frantic search for
something that we already possess.
Ephesians 1:15-23 For
this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the
Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints,  I have
not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my
prayers.  I keep asking that the God of our Lord
Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the
Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him
better.  I pray also that the eyes of your heart may
be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to
which he has called you, the riches of his glorious
inheritance in the saints,  and his incomparably
great power for us who believe.
In spite of the truths
revealed to us here, there are millions of Christians
today who would profess to know God, and yet are
desperately looking for something else to satisfy their
empty lives. In the meantime, we have all
that we need. It was purchased for us on Calvary 2000
years ago, but we just don't realize it.
2 Peter 1:3
"His divine power has given us everything we need
for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who
called us by his own glory and goodness."
The Biblical view
of the doctrine of salvation is that believers are
granted everything there is of Christ at their salvation.
To believe anything different is to deny the claim of
Christ on the cross when he cried tetelestai "It is
finished." Which is better translated, "It is
fulfilled", or "It is completed."
Paul knew the absolute truth of this. He addressed this
same principal in the Colossian controversy when he
reminded them of the sufficiency of Christ alone. Colossians 2:9-10 For in Christ all the fullness
of the Deity lives in bodily form,  and you have been
given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every
power and authority.
How can we be both
full and empty at the same time?
And then again in
Colossians 1:13-19 For he has rescued us from the
dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of
the Son he loves,  in whom we have redemption, the
forgiveness of sins.  He is the image of the
invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.  by
him all things were created: things in heaven and on
earth, For visible invisible, whether thrones or powers
or rulers or authorities; and all were created by him and
for him.  He is before all things, things and all
things hold together.  And he is the head of the
body, in him the he is the beginning and the firstborn
from among the dead, so church; that in everything he
might have the supremacy.  For God was pleased to
have all his fullness dwell in him."
Paul is saying that Christ is everything, and that is his
message in Ephesians 1.
So the question is,
"Do you know God in this way? Do you know Him in the
fullness and all sufficiency of His Son who through
salvation dwells within you in all His power? Or do you feel that there is something missing
in your life? Perhaps we will talk today to three
different groups. One group who may know Him in the
Christian sense of the word, yet not fully understand the
powerful implications of that. Another group who may know
Him in the sense that Paul is speaking of here, and then
a third group who may know of Him, believing that your
knowledge of Him is sufficient, yet missing out on the
sufficiency of Christ because He does not truly dwell in
your heart. It is our desire just as it was Paul's that
you know His power, His grace and His glory. To know Him
You see, without a
saving knowledge of God:
1. Hope has no
substance. It is but a mist which evaporates into
2. Peace has no
permanence. It is defined only by the absence of chaos
having nothing to do with the state of the heart.
3. Joy is
momentary. Being determined by people, places and things.
In knowing God by the
means of His Son, Jesus Christ, all that changes. And this is the thrust of Ephesians 1:17-23. Paul prays for spiritual insight and wisdom into
the deeper things about knowing God because there are
some incredible truths that are revealed to us that can
only be fathomed with spiritual hearts and eyes.
The first truth that is revealed when we know God better
vs. 18 I pray also that the eyes of your heart
may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to
which he has called you
Paul's prayer is that we would understand who we are, and
what God has prepared for us.
Notice that Paul
speaks of this understanding as coming not only from the
mind, but that the eyes of our heart may be opened to
this great truth.
The King James
translates this, "The eyes of your
A more accurate
translation is the "Eyes of your heart.",
because the Greek word used here for understanding is the
word kardias, from which we derive the English word
cardiac. It means heart. So that the eyes of your heart
may be enlightened.
In other words it
will not help if the eyes of your brain are the only eyes
that see or know God. The prayer of Paul is that the eyes
of you heart be enlightened. This knowledge of God has to
drop 18 inches before it will do any good. Before it
becomes saving knowledge.
Some today may have
a thorough understanding of who God is and how he works.
But all intellectual.
Anything to do with
the emotions puts these folks off.
In one of the churches where I served as minister of
music, one of the founding fathers of that church invited
me to lunch. I knew something was up. The conversation
soon came around to the thing that bothered him most. The
increased use of what he called "Sunday School
songs" in our worship service. Through his own
paradigm regarding worship, this what he understood
Praise choruses and contemporary hymns to be. He
expressed that they did not belong in church because they
stir up the emotions and we don't need that in church.
How wrong he was.
Without the emotional ingredient in our relationship with
Christ we are only entering into a small part of what He
desires and what He demands through Paul when he speaks
of our "kardias" - the seat of
both emotions and intellect in the Greek understanding. It
is important that we have an emotional relationship with
But that is not and should not be
This word can also mean the seat of
understanding. There were many instances where the Jewish
people used the word heart to describe thinking rather
Proverbs 23:7. As a man thinks in
Matt. 12:34 Out of the abundance of
the heart a man speaks.
In these instances, the word kardia
describes the place of understanding. The intellect.
So it is not sufficient if your
understanding of God is based purely upon warm gushies
every time you get together for worship, and the rest of
the time you don't give Him a thought. There must be
the understanding in the mind as well as the bubbling of
This understanding comes of course
from the Word of God.
And here is the plan.
vs. 18b "... that you may know
the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his
glorious inheritance in the saints,"
That we may know the hope to which
he has called us.
Do you know the hope to which the
believer is called. Not the kind of hope that says "I hope I
pass my math test" Etc. It is the hope that says,
"Someday I shall be like Him. Someday like Him.
Changed to heavenly beauty when His face I see." It is a hope that says
there will come a day, when I will not have to put up
with this old body anymore. I will not have to put up
with this old world anymore. This is a sure hope. It cannot fail because it
is what God has called us to as believers. He will not
give up on us until we attain that promise and we see
Jesus as he is and we too will be like Him.
You know what the really great
thing about this plan is? John 3:16 tells us that the Fathers plan was
that no one should perish, but that everyone should have
eternal life through Jesus Christ. God wants everyone to participate in this
glorious hope that Paul is writing about.
Then in the second place, He desires for us to
II. The Generosity of His Inheritance.
"... the riches of his
glorious inheritance in the saints, "
One of the greatest hopes for the
believer is that we become joint heirs with Christ of all
that the Father has bequeathed to His son.
This promise is not only for the
future, but it is also for the present. It is not only
speaking of spiritual blessing. It speaks also of
material blessing. The truth is, as believers we should
never be in want. This is the present hope. The future hope is this. Christ is one day going
to take possession of His inheritance. The earth and all
it's fullness. The universe with all it's constellations
of stars and all of it's vast galaxies. And when he takes
possession of that inheritance, who will he take
possession through? The saints. Those who are born a gain
and have become joint heirs with Christ of all the riches
in glory. It is His inheritance, through us.
In the Old Testament, the land of
Canaan was God's inheritance. But He took possession of
it through His people. By and by He will take possession
of a redeemed universe through His saints and we shall
reign with him forever and forever.
Can you imagine your part in that
glory? Which galaxy will you choose as your headquarters? What a glorious day that
May I ask. Will you be a part of that? Or do you not yet
truly know Him?
If you know Him as Lord, you have
the full potential to experience the glory of His hope,
the Generosity of His inheritance, and finally Paul says
that we must come to grips with:
III. The Greatness of His Power.
Ephesians 1:19 "...that you
may know his incomparably great power for us who believe.
That power is like the working of his mighty
This word great, is the word megathos which is
where we get our word mega. Whenever we battle to find a
word to describe the greatness of something we use the
word mega. I have a friend who is very rich. I would
describe him as someone who has mega bucks.
Paul, in trying to describe the tremendous power we have
in God, used every word for power that he could think of. It's no wonder that Paul
labels all of this power as mega power at the beginning
of verse 19
In vs. 19. he
uses four different words to enlarge on this theme of
1) Dunamis - " his incomparably great power"
From which we derive our word dynamic or dynamite. It
refers to inherent power.
2) Energeia - " That power is
like the working" (energeia) From which we get
energy. And this is the operative power.
3) Kratos - "the working of His mighty (Kratos) This
is sometime translated dominion and means just that. It
refers to ultimate power.
4) Ischus - "His mighty power
(Ischus)" This is his endowed power
So this power, which is ours, by
the way, is an unbelievable, almost indescribable power.
The closest English transliteration we can arrive at from
what Paul writes here is that in knowing God, we have
Mega - dynamic - energizing - dominion giving - super
power - endowed upon us because of our faith in and
knowledge of Christ.
And his prayer was that we may know
what we have. Not what we may someday have, but what we
will have today.
From time to time the battery in my
wireless microphone runs down. In the middle of a sermon,
silence! These batteries have a limited life. A limited
power. That little Duracell Bunny on the TV is the
figment of someone's imagination. Batteries have limited
power. Christians however are not storage batteries that
we can fill with more power. God doesn't open us up and
place a battery inside of us then turn us on so that our
light will shine. On the contrary, he is the everlasting source of
our power, and he forever lives in us through His Holy
 (this power) which he exerted in
Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at
his right hand in the heavenly realms,  far above all
rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title
that can be given, not only in the present age but also
in the one to come.  And God placed all things under
his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for
the church,  which is his body, the fullness of him
who fills everything in every way.
Church, this is who we are in Christ.
When we come to grips with this reality for our lives, we
will never be the same. Our outlook upon life will
forever be different. We will never again respond to the
question "How are you?" with the answer,
"Fine thank you, under the circumstances" because
we will be living our lives above the
circumstances. The circumstances will not necessarily
change, but we will.
Oh, that we would know Him who
dwells in us better! This is the prayer of Paul. This is
my prayer for our church in these days. So that we may
end our desperate search for something more and allow the
fullness of him who dwells in us to manifest, that is
carry out, His life through us.
Copyright, Gordon Goetsch 1996