Rev. Dr. Ernest Brodie Jr.
What epitaph would you want written on your tombstone? It is wonderful to be known for your faith and love. This is what the Ephesians believers were known for.
1. Faith in the Lord Jesus. Acts 4:12: “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”
2. Love for other believers.
Real love for other believers is manifest in our private prayers. Paul’s example is found in verse 16: “Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers.” Biblical love is different than the love the world professes. Worldly love is sensual, selfish, and sin seared or tolerant of sin. Biblical love is godly and centered on divine standards. It is genuine and gracious or full of grace, forgiving, non-judgmental, and discerning. Biblical love must be continually cultivated by knowledge.
1. That you may know God’s perfect will (verses 17-18). Paul prays that they may receive a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Jesus Christ. In other words, he prays for their spiritual enlightenment. As His chosen inheritance, God wants us to know the hope of His calling and the riches of His glory. Often we seek God’s will on certain personal issues while ignoring His general will for our lives. The two go together. God has chosen us to openly display Him in our lives through our actions and associations. (Ephesians 1:12: “That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.”). We are to live out our faith through good works. (Ephesians 2:10: “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”) God will reveal His perfect will for us as we apply His wisdom to our lives and make wise choices. Paul’s prayer is that we would know God’s omniscience.
2. That you may know God’s great power (verses 19-20). Paul speaks of God’s power as great. His power is far beyond our strength. Sometimes we know God cares, but we think our situation is beyond His reach and power. As a wise king once stated, there is nothing new under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1:9). Our feelings, struggles, and trials are not new to mankind, nor are they something beyond God’s reach or ability. Years ago, my father put me on the roof of our home to reach apples in the tree. There was one way down, to jump into his arms. Although I was very scared, I stepped off the roof and into his arms. Likewise God is able to catch us. Paul’s prayer is that we would know God’s omnipotence.
3. That you may know God’s fullness (verses 21-23). Why should we rely on God?
God is superior to all other powers (verse 21). The thought here is that no one, not even the powers that be, can separate us from God (Romans 8). Colossians 1:16-17: “For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.”
God is in charge of all things (verse 22). Colossians 1:17: “And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.”
God is the head of the church (verses 22-23). Figuratively, the church is His body. He holds a personal interest in our lives. Colossians 1:18-19: “And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell.”
God is with us, even in the valley of the shadow of death (Psalm 23). You cannot experience His fullness if you do not know Him personally. Paul’s prayer is that we would know God’s omnipresence.