[V Spacer Knowing 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 - Ephesians)
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, [16] I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. [17] 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. [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, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, [19] 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, [10] 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, [14] in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. [15] He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. [16] 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. [17] He is before all things, things and all things hold together. [18] 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. [19] 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 better.
You see, without a saving knowledge of God:
1. Hope has no substance. It is but a mist which evaporates into hopelessness.
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 is:

I. The Glorious Hope
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 understanding".
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 our Lord.
But that is not and should not be all.
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 than feeling.
Proverbs 23:7. As a man thinks in his heart.
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 the soul.
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 participate in:
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 will be.
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 strength."
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 God's power.
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 Spirit.

[20] (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, [21] 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. [22] And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, [23] 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