In verses 3-14 Paul praises the Trinitarian God. This is one sentence in Greek. It seems that the praise to God has not stopped. And verses 15-23, which we are going to look at, is Paul’s prayer, which is also one sentence in Greek, and we can see that the prayer was not stopped just like the praise.
15 For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all God’s people, 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 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 his holy people, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength 20 he exerted when he raised Christ 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 name that is invoked, 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. (Ephesians 1:15-23)
While in prison, the Apostle Paul gave thanks to God for the faith of the Ephesian Christians in their faith in Jesus Christ and their love for their neighbors (v. 15). A healthy church is characterized by faith in God and love for their neighbor. Paul must have been pleased with the healthy growth of the church he had planted. Unfortunately, however, Revelation 2:1-7 shows the Ephesian church, which later fell apart from its first love.
2 “To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: These are the words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks among the seven golden lampstands. 2 I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked people, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. 3 You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary. 4 Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. 5 Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place. 6 But you have this in your favor: You hate the practices of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate .7 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God. (Revelation 2:1-7 ) It used to be hailed as a loving church, but was later reviled. It is important that we too remain in our first love.
Paul prayed. May the glorious Father give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation to know God (v. 17). Revelation is God revealing himself. Jesus Christ is praying for us in heaven right now. God cannot be comprehended by human reason or mind. Only by the Holy Spirit can we know God. In the past and now, the work of the Holy Spirit is more important than anything else.
The Holy Spirit worked and gave revelation to the Reformer Martin Luther. Hidden for nearly a thousand years, Luther was given the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, and he was able to rediscover the truth of “righteousness by faith.” Luther protested against the corrupt Catholic Church. That was the beginning of the Protestant church. About 500 years ago, on October 31, 1517, he pasted the “95 Theses” on the door of the Wittenberg Church in Germany, sparking the Reformation.
The Catholic Church at that time was so powerful that it took a great deal of courage to resist. However, Luther issued indulgences to the Catholic Church, which claimed that money could buy the remission of sins, while the remission of sins was said to come only through faith in Jesus Christ, as described in the Bible. He staunchly resisted. “ Salvation is not by works, only by faith. ” This is what Martin Luther emphasized in the Reformation. We are a Protestant church in that stream.
In the monasteries, Luther was very diligent in prayer, Bible study, fasting, and a pure life. He is also ordained a priest and begins to officiate Mass. So he, although he had lived a perfect monastic life, looked inwardly and became depressed, struggling with sin before God. He struggled to overcome sin by his own strength without Christ.
But when he was reading the Bible, “Romans,” his eyes were opened by the words, ” In the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed ” (Romans 1:17). By the grace of God, Luther realizes the “righteousness of God” already provided by the cross of Jesus Christ. When Luther correctly understood the revealed “righteousness of God” revealed in the Gospel, he was able to rejoice in his complete salvation, overcoming the problem of sin that had afflicted him. He had already rediscovered the gospel that he had revealed in the Bible (Paul’s letters).
Martin Luther (1483-1546)
And 100 years ago, the Pentecostal movement rediscovered “the baptism of the Holy Spirit.” For churches and Christians, the key is the spirit of revelation. Of course, this does not mean that we should seek new revelations not written in the Bible. Rather, it is a revelation to open our eyes to the revelation recorded in the Bible and to comprehend its true meaning. This is because humans are blinded by stereotypes and prejudices, and are unable to understand spiritual matters. I think there are three big obstacles. Our sins, our wrong education and information, and the devil’s deception.
Paul prayed that the people of the Ephesian church would have their spiritual eyes opened to know more about God. Here we can see the content of the three prayers. There is an expression, “scales fall from the eyes.” What we didn’t know before, suddenly we know. That is what Paul experienced on the road to Damascus and what Luther experienced.
(1) What is the desire (verse 18a)?
It can be said that the present age is an age of disappointment. We need hope. The Bible (Romans 10:11) says that those who put their trust in Jesus Christ will never be disappointed. Even if we are disappointed, do not despair. Let us pray that we may know more about what hope is like in our Lord Jesus Christ. God’s plan for us is a plan to give us peace, a future and hope. for I am well aware of the plans I have for you. – Annunciation of the Lord – It is a plan for peace, not for calamity, to give you a future and a hope (Jeremiah 29:11).
(2) How glorious the inheritance will be (verse 18b).
We are made heirs of the kingdom (verse 11). It is glorious. I don’t think we really know how wonderful heaven is yet, but there is a description of heaven in the Bible. 22 Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb 2 down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. 3 No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. 4 They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. 5 There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever. (Revelation 22:1-5). Heaven has no night or darkness. There will be no death, no sorrow, no crying, no suffering (Revelation 21:4). Such a wonderful place is prepared for us. It is glorious.
③ How great is God’s superior power (verse 19).
The God we believe in is Almighty God. Jesus Christ overcame death and was resurrected. And he ascended into heaven and he was seated at the right hand of God (v. 20). People who say, “He’s my right-hand man,” are very trustworthy. Jesus was seated at the right hand of God the Father, exalted above all names (v. 21). “Over all rule, authority, power, and sovereignty” includes the devil and demons in addition to worldly authorities. Jesus Christ is placed above all names. Those who have power in this world will be powerless in the next. But Jesus is different. He has great power in this world and in the world to come.
The Ephesians experienced the power of God. The city of Ephesus was a thriving city of witchcraft, occultism, and divination, and many were trapped under Satan’s control. Paul preached the gospel of Jesus Christ in the city of Ephesus. What happened? People were freed from witchcraft. 19 A number who had practiced sorcery brought their scrolls together and burned them publicly. When they calculated the value of the scrolls, the total came to fifty thousand drachmas. 20 In this way the word of the Lord spread widely and grew in power. (Acts 19:19, 20).
By the power of God, Paul fought spiritual warfare and freed people from demonic control. As a result of God’s omnipotent power, a mighty church was built in the city of Ephesus. The same is true in modern times, and evil spirits are working in various realms. So is Halloween. Halloween is associated with demons and evil spirits. Isn’t it the current situation that there are many people who don’t know this even Christians? These realms also need the spirit of wisdom and revelation to be made aware of their mistakes and dangers.
God’s mighty power works in those who believe (v. 19). Jesus often said, “So be it in your faith,” “Your faith has saved you.” Believing that if the woman with the hemorrhage touched Jesus, she would be healed, she took action and touched the hem of Jesus’ robe. Then his power flowed from Jesus to her and she was healed.
We are given the name of Jesus Christ. This name has great power. It is the name that is set high above all names. At the end of our prayers, we say, “I pray in the name of Jesus,” but this is never a formality or decoration. It is not an exaggeration to say that everything depends on this name. How much we believe in this name of Jesus Christ makes all the difference in the power of prayer.
Through Peter and John the work of healing took place. There was a man who could not walk, and Peter said to him, ” In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk ” (Acts 3:6). Then his legs and ankles were strengthened, and he walked and danced!
Jesus Christ, who puts all things under his feet and is the head over all things, is in the church (v. 22). Perhaps the church does not look very different from other organizations. A group of believers. However, there is a crucial difference. It means that in the church, in the gathering of Christians, there is Jesus Christ. Christ, who rules over the whole world, is the head of the church, the head of us.
The church is the body of Christ (v. 23). 2000 years ago, Jesus worked with His Own Body during His public life. He used his hands to heal and his feet to preach the gospel. Now Jesus is in heaven. So how is Jesus going to work on this earth? Through his own body, the church. The church, we Christians, are the hands and feet of Jesus Christ.
God has expectations of us as churches and as Christians. If we do not live up to God’s expectations, the work of evangelization will not move forward. But it cannot be done by human power. The disciples worked by the power of the Holy Spirit. What we need is the spirit of wisdom and revelation, the mighty work of the Holy Spirit. Give us the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, open our spiritual eyes, and help us to know God more deeply.