Net Questions:

1.There is so much that God wants us to know and this knowledge can literally empower us to live victorious lives! First, question...where do we find this knowledge?

2. Satan’s goal is to keep us from knowing the things of God! What are some ways he tries to keep us in the dark? Jesus gave us some good insight into this question in His explanation of the parable of the sower. (Mark 4:3-9 is the parable itself)
Mark 4:14  The farmer sows the word.
Mark 4:15  Some people are like seed along the path, where the word is sown. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them.
Mark 4:16  Others, like seed sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive it with joy.
Mark 4:17  But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away.
Mark 4:18  Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word;
Mark 4:19  but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful.

3. When we confess our sin, ask for forgiveness and then repent, which means turn away from our sin and go a different direction, God removes our sin. According to Scripture, how is He able to do this?
Eph 1:7  In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace
Eph 1:8  that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding.
1 John 1:7  But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
1 John 1:8  If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.
1 John 1:9  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

4. Once we accept God’s salvation in Jesus, we are adopted into His family. However, the adoption is only the beginning of the relationship. Now that we are a part of His family, He wants us to really get to know Him better and to know the benefits of being a child of God. What are some of those benefits?
Eph 1:17  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.
Eph 1:18  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,
Eph 1:19  and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength,
Eph 1:20  which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms,
Eph 1:21  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.


Sermon Notes:

Church Defined "Chosen to Know"
Ephesians 1:15-23

Let's Pray!

Last week we talked about the amazing and beautiful fact that God chose to love us before we were ever born. He chose to call us and to invite us to be a part of His family, the church.  

He chose to forgive us and cleanse us of our sin, allowing us to be clothed in His righteousness. He pre-determined, or pre-ordained that we should walk in His ways. However, He also chose us to choose!

God's Word makes it very plain that we are responsible for our actions and our choices. We can't decide to just live in our sin and rebellion and then try to place the blame on God by saying He predestined us to live that way or predestined us to be lost.

Remember the verse I read last week?

4For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight...
Ephesians 1:4 (NIV)

So, the truth is, His desire, His will, His plan, was for us to live a Godly life. If you're trying to blame your sinful ways on God, sorry, it just doesn't work that way. In fact, those who end up separated from God are those who have rejected God's very gracious offer of salvation. How do I know this?
God's Word says…


 "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."
Rom 10:13

You call on His name, you will be saved!
It's the Word, it's His Word, it's His desire, it's His promise, it's His will for all who call on Him to be saved.

But God not only wants us to be saved from the penalty of sin in eternity, He wants us to be saved from the power of sin in this life!!

So, if God chose us to live a holy and blameless life, how in the world are we supposed to do this? Is it even possible?

The answer is yes and no!!

First of all the answer is no! As we established last week, none of us have lived a blameless and holy life. We've all sinned and fallen short of what God intended for us.

 The problem is you and I can't save ourselves from our sin. We can't cleanse ourselves from our sin.

 On the other hand, the answer is yes! Yes we can live a holy and blameless life because of Jesus! His blood can cleanse us of our past sin and His blood can give us power to overcome sin.

 Why did I say can?
His Blood can cleanse us if we repent of our sins, ask for forgiveness and allow Jesus to apply His Blood to our sin account.

We can begin living a life of holiness if we allow Jesus to begin living in our hearts and lives! We can begin living a life of holiness if we allow Jesus to begin using His power in our lives to help us overcome the temptation of sin.

When applied, the blood of Jesus is so powerful it can not only wash away our past sins, it can also give us strength to defeat sin in our daily life. This is a part of the blessing of being a part of the Body of Christ, a member of His family, the church.

"Ok preacher, so God has called us to live a holy and blameless life. You say we can't do it on our own, but with God's help we can. Just what does that look like? It sounds great, but how do I actually apply that to my life on a daily basis?"

For the answer, let's turn to our text for today...
 

 Ephesians 1:15-23

 While you're turning to the passage, let me tell you something that is fascinating. In the original Greek these nine verses were one sentence! Talking about a complex sentence, nine verses! But I think the truths of these verses were so intertwined and dependent on each other, Paul just couldn't bring himself to put a period in there!

You'll see various punctuations in your translation.
Let's read...

15For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints,
Ephesians 1:15 (NIV)

16I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers.
Ephesians 1:16 (NIV)

17I 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.
Ephesians 1:17 (NIV)

18I 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,
Ephesians 1:18 (NIV)

19and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength,
Ephesians 1:19 (NIV)

20which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms,
Ephesians 1:20 (NIV)

21far 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.
Ephesians 1:21 (NIV)

22And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church,
Ephesians 1:22 (NIV)

23which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.
Ephesians 1:23 (NIV)

Let's go verse by verse and break it down to find exactly how this ancient text applies to our lives today!!

15For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints,
Ephesians 1:15 (NIV)

16I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers.
Ephesians 1:16 (NIV)

 Fascinating! As if this sentence wasn't long enough, Paul begins by tying in the preceding verses.
"For this reason…" What Reason?
Let's look at the two verses that preceded this verse...

13And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit,
Ephesians 1:13 (NIV)

14who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.
Ephesians 1:14 (NIV)

The fact that Paul's readers had believed in Jesus and had received the Holy Spirit was their membership card in the church. In 101 we ask people to covenant together with us and to commit together with us to serve God in this local community and around the world.  

However, your membership card in the church is ultimately the fact that you've accepted Christ as your Savior and the Lord has placed His Holy Spirit in your heart and life!

Evidently, Paul had not personally met the Ephesians at this point in his ministry, but he accepted them as full brothers and sisters in the gospel because of their faith in Jesus and the fact they were members of the larger community or church of Christ!

Paul lets them know he is thankful for them and is praying for them.

15For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints,
Ephesians 1:15 (NIV)

16I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers.
Ephesians 1:16 (NIV)

He goes on to let them know the content of his prayers...

17I 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.
Ephesians 1:17 (NIV)

Paul's prayer is powerful and revealing. It reveals the reason that members of the Body Christ from all over the world, gather together, not only on Sundays, but at various times throughout the week.
We gather together because we want to know Him better!!
Let's look at that verse again because it tells us how we get to know Him better...

17I 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.
Ephesians 1:17 (NIV)

We desperately need the Spirit of wisdom and revelation.
In other words, you and I could never really understand or know God without His Spirit giving us the wisdom to know and understand. If God had not chosen to reveal Himself to us we simply could not know Him. Aren't you glad God desires for us to know Him?

Aren't you glad God gave us His written Word to reveal His truth to us?
We know God is revealed to humankind in nature, but without the Holy Spirit to inspire us and without the written word to guide us the truth of who God is and His intentions toward us would be obscured.

And let's not forget that Jesus was the Living Word. The Word made Flesh, to reveal to us the heart of the Father.
Listen...

14The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
John 1:14 (NIV)

Remember when the disciples asked Jesus to show them the Father…

8Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.”
John 14:8 (NIV)

9Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?
John 14:9 (NIV)

10Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work.
John 14:10 (NIV)

 You see, God chose for us to know Him better. That's one of the very reasons He allowed His Son Jesus to leave Heaven and come to earth. God didn't want us to just know about Him, but He wanted us to really know Him, personally!

Paul continues his prayer...

18I 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,
Ephesians 1:18 (NIV)

You've probably all heard the song "Open the Eyes of my Heart".

It should be our daily prayer!

How can our eyes be opened to the things of God? Ask God to open your eyes as you read and study God's Word. Ask Him to allow the Holy Spirit to reveal truth to you and to help you know how to apply it to your daily life. Listen to the words of the Psalmist...

9How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word.
Psalm 119:9 (NIV)

10I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands.
Psalm 119:10 (NIV)

11I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.
Psalm 119:11 (NIV)

12Praise be to you, O LORD; teach me your decrees.
Psalm 119:12 (NIV)

13With my lips I recount all the laws that come from your mouth.
Psalm 119:13 (NIV)

14I rejoice in following your statutes as one rejoices in great riches.
Psalm 119:14 (NIV)

15I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways.
Psalm 119:15 (NIV)

16I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word.
Psalm 119:16 (NIV)

Paul continues his prayer in our text...

18I 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,
Ephesians 1:18 (NIV)

And what does The Word of God have to say about that hope? You've been chosen to know that hope!

1Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
Romans 5:1 (NIV)

2through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.
Romans 5:2 (NIV)

3Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance;
Romans 5:3 (NIV)

4perseverance, character; and character, hope.
Romans 5:4 (NIV)

5And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.
Romans 5:5 (NIV)

6You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.
Romans 5:6 (NIV)

7Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die.
Romans 5:7 (NIV)

8But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 5:8 (NIV)

I was with one of church members yesterday afternoon. He is dying of stomach cancer, but let me tell you, his faith is very much alive! He can no longer get out of bed, but he had the most beautiful smile on his face. Why? Because of the hope he has in Christ!

How could he smile? Because Jesus has never forsaken him. Let me read it to you again...

3Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance;
Romans 5:3 (NIV)

4perseverance, character; and character, hope.
Romans 5:4 (NIV)

5And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.
Romans 5:5 (NIV)

God has poured out His love into Mr. Ted's heart by the Holy Spirit and that kind of hope will not disappoint! As we talked about God's promises, he kept saying "Amen!" Amen means, "I agree, let it be, or make it so".
In fact Paul points out that our hope is tied into our inheritance in the Lord...

18I 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,
Ephesians 1:18 (NIV)

 But don't you have to be a family member to receive an inheritance?
Don't ever forget that God has chosen you to be a part of His family and if you chosen Him, you've got an inheritance. Listen…

15For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.”
Romans 8:15 (NIV)

16The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.
Romans 8:16 (NIV)

17Now if we are children, then we are heirs —heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.
Romans 8:17 (NIV)

 This world is not my home. Any present sufferings can't compare with with my inheritance! I'm just passing through this old world. I have an inheritance waiting for me in glory!
But God is so good, He allows me to experience some of that inheritance even in this life!!

 Paul mentions this in his prayer for the Ephesian believers...

18I 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,
Ephesians 1:18 (NIV)

19and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength,
Ephesians 1:19 (NIV)

20which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms,
Ephesians 1:20 (NIV)

21far 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.
Ephesians 1:21 (NIV)

God has chosen you to know His incomparably great power  and to know His mighty strength!

It's the same power that resurrected Jesus from the Grave and allowed Him to defeat death and the grave. That's why my friend can have such hope even in the face of death.
But please know the inheritance of God's power is not just for when we face death. It is very much for us to use on a daily basis in order to live that holy and blameless life.

Now I know that none of us will ever be perfect on this earth, but a lot of people use that fact as an excuse to live in sin. They refuse to allow the power of God to help them overcome the power of sin!
This is so tragic, because sin and it's consequences rob us of the life God chose us to live!

God wants to direct His power toward you and in you and through you! He has chosen you to know His power and to use His power to live the life He chose you to live.
Paul put it this way in his letter to the Titus...

11For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men.
Titus 2:11 (NIV)

12It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age,
Titus 2:12 (NIV)

13while we wait for the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ,
Titus 2:13 (NIV)

14who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.
Titus 2:14 (NIV)

 For those of us who have chosen to accept God's offer to adopt us into His family, His church, we know we've been chosen to know. Chosen to know Him, to know his wisdom, to know His hope, His inheritance, and His power.

Andrew, Luis and I drove to Texas this past Monday to attend a funeral. Our church secretary's mother passed away. Julie's mom was a very strong Christian and had lived her life based on the power we've been talking about. There were a few tears, but mostly smiles and even laughter, because she had lived her life knowing the hope she had in Jesus.

As Luis was driving, Andrew and I decided to study the Bible and pray. It was raining most of the way. Seriously, Luis is a good driver, but as Andrew and I were talking about this series of sermons and studying the text, Andrew wrote an outline of this passage and the Lord used it greatly as I prepared this message. I want to close with his outline and the final two verses of our text.

1. Paul's thanksgiving for the Ephesian's faith. vs 15-16
2. Paul's prayer for them to have the knowledge of God. vs 17
a. Know His Hope. vs 18a
b. Know His Inheritance. vs 18b
c. Know His Power. vs 19a

1. This power Directed toward us
2. This power Demonstrated in Christ
a. Christ's Resurrection from the Grave
b. Christ's Glorification in Heaven
c. Christ's Dominion over all Things

22And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church,
Ephesians 1:22 (NIV)

23which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.
Ephesians 1:23 (NIV)

Let's pray!