Knowing God Better Ephesians 1:15-23

Paul is giving thanks to God for the Christians at Ephesus, and especially for their examples of faith and of love. This leads him to praying for them. In particular his repeated prayer is that the Ephesians should know three things, and these are three things which God wants every Christian to know.
The first thing God wants is for us all to know him better.
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.
Knowing God better is not the same as knowing more about God, although knowing and understanding more about God is a good thing. Knowing a person better is about having a deeper relationship with them, and knowing God better is about having a deeper relationship with God. Knowing God personally – he is our Father and we are His children. We can get to know God better from His Word, the Bible. And then the heart of our relationship with God lies in praying. Prayer is more than just acknowledging our dependence on God by asking him for what we need. Clement of Alexandria said, “Prayer is conversation with God” : what Francois Fenelon described as “familiar, unreserved conversation with God,” David Watson wrote, “God is the living God, and every day He wants us to enjoy a living relationship with Him, involving a two-way conversation”.
To help us to know Him better, God has put the Holy Spirit in our hearts, the spirit of wisdom and revelation who reveals God to us as he helps us to understand the Bible. And the Holy Spirit helps us in our prayers by showing us what to pray for. Now we are getting used to the practicalities of living in this period of lockdown, many people are finding that life is less pressured and busy than in ordinary times. So we have more time to give to reading and studying and meditating on our Bibles. And we also have more time to pray. And we have the Holy Spirit to help us to get to know God better. I hope these Sunday messages and the little booklets of sermons I have been sending out and putting on Facebook have been helpful to you. And of course there are many many other things to watch and read on the internet which can help to deepen our faith. If you want to swap emails with me about things you are thinking about, or have a chat on the phone or WhatsApp or on Zoom, please do get in touch. And we not only have more time to pray by ourselves but also to get together with friends to pray. God wants us to get to know him better. Let’s make the best of the opportunities lockdown is giving us to do just that.
The second thing God wants us all to know is the wonderful hope we have in Christ.
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,
That hope has begun already in the life in all its fulness which every Christian enjoys from the moment we first put our trust in Jesus to be our Saviour. And the riches of his glorious inheritance will continue forever, just getting better and better. We were thinking about this last week with the Holy Spirit as God’s seal on our lives and the deposit guaranteeing our inheritance. All the blessings of salvation which we enjoy in this life are only the first instalment, the foretaste, the appetisers of all the glories which are waiting for us in eternity. God wants us to know and enjoy these riches more and more. Last week we were thinking about the inheritance God has given us, but here Paul says that the inheritance actually belongs to God. We Christians who make up the church are his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance (NLT).
Then the third thing God wants every Christian to know more and more about is the nature and the extent of his power which is at work in our lives.
18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know …. 19 … 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,
Think about the resurrection power of God, the incredible might which the Almighty God demonstrated when Jesus rose from the dead. That incomparably great power is at work in our lives, giving us new life and new hope and giving us the strength to live in victory with Jesus. We have the resurrection power of Jesus in us and God wants the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know and experience all that power in our own lives day by day. We need spiritual understanding of these wonderful truths.
As the New Living Translation puts it, 19 I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him.
Hear again what the amazing power of God has accomplished in Jesus. 20 … 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
The resurrection power of God is the power of God at work in our lives if only we would recognise it! As the Message translation puts it,
Oh, the utter extravagance of his work in us who trust him—endless energy, boundless strength! (v.19)
Knowing God better. Knowing more about our Christian hope. And knowing the resurrection power of Christ in our everyday lives. Three things God wants for us. Three things we can pray for ourselves and that we can pray for each other this week.

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