294. Changing The World Through Prayer. Praying Through Ephesians 2:8-10

How good do you have to be to get into heaven? It surprises some people to discover that being “good” is not the criterion for entering into heaven. Rather it is through the new and living way [Heb 10:20] into the presence of the Father through what Christ has done for humankind in His life, death and resurrection.  Salvation is seen as a gift in Him rather than being any sort of reward for human effort. This is beautifully described in the passage from Ephesians 2 and verses 8 to 10.

THE PASSAGE FROM EPHESIANS 2:8-10

Eph 2:8 “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them”.

A SUGGESTED PRAYER BASED ON EPHESIANS 2:8-10

“Gracious Father,

We thank You for Your amazing grace so freely bestowed on us.

We thank you that when we could do nothing to save ourselves, You sent Jesus to save us.

We thank You that our salvation didn’t come to us as a reward for our good works. Rather in Your mercy and grace, it came to us as we received salvation as a gift in Him.

We thank You that You have made us for Yourself as Your own possession and that You have a created us to fulfil Your eternal plan and purpose for us.

We thank You for the good works You have prepared for us to walk in. Give us the wisdom to know Your will for us, and the ability to walk in Your ways, in the power of Your Holy Spirit.

We ask this in Jesus’ name. AMEN!’

SOME NOTES ON THE PASSAGE FROM EPHESIANS 2:8-10

SALVATION. The verb “saved” is from sōzō, σώζω meaning to save or to heal or to make whole. The [perfect] tense of the verb indicates a past action with a present abiding result. They were saved when they trusted in Christ and they remained saved as His followers!

What salvation is

  • from grace. 2:8 “For by grace you have been saved …” God’s unmerited favour indeed!
  • through faith. 2:8 “… saved through faith.” Faith is trusting God.
  • the gift of God. 2:8. “it is the gift of God”. Faith means trusting God and accepting the gift He offers [the gift of His Son, salvation and all that is to be found IN HIM!]

 What salvation isn’t

  • Not our own doing. 2:9 “not a result of works”. Our works are not the means to salvation.
  • Not a ground for boasting. 2:9, “so that no one may boast.” Faith is the only means to receiving salvation.
  • Not of works. As the old hymn has it, “There was no other good enough, To pay the price of sin. He only could unlock the gate, Of heav’n and let us in.” No one at any time has been, or ever will be, good enough, to enter into heaven.

 What then is the place of good works in the life of the “saved” believer?

  • God created us as a “good” work. We are His “workmanship.” The word is poiēma; ποίημα meaning a product. In this case, a product made by God for a special purpose! (Some translations ‘brush up’ this ordinary word with meanings such as “masterpiece” or “God’s own handiwork.” However the real significance in not in what is made but in WHO made it. The Creator Himself must always have precedence over what is created no matter how wonderful that creation may be.)
  • Believers are created for good works. “created in Christ Jesus for good works.” Re-created in Christ to do His thing, not ours! The “good works” as He sees them, not as we see them!
  • The good works prepared for us. “which God prepared beforehand.” Word is proetoimazō,   προετοιμάζω which is used only twice in the New Testament. What does God prepare beforehand? Us, and the works we are meant to do. [Us, as in this passage, Rom 9:22 “What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, 23 in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory— 24  even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles?” Wow! A vessel of mercy prepared beforehand for glory! But there are good works to do in the meantime. His works! Not ours!
  • The good works are meant for us to walk in. “that we should walk in them.” The word “walk” is peripateō, περιπατέω meaning to walk around or to regulate one’s life. The impression given is that all the good works have been prepared beforehand by God Himself and have been laid [out on the ground as it were] for us to walk in.

In many ways this echoes what Paul wrote in Philippians 2:12-13 where he described God’s grace at work in bringing His people the motivation and the empowering to do what He wanted them to do. i.e, Php 2:12, Philippians 2:12-13”Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, 13  for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.”

They were to “work out” in practice what God was working in them. Or as in Ephesians, they were created in Christ Jesus to “walk” in the paths God had eternally planned and prepared for them to walk in.

Blog No.294. Posted on www.jimholbeck.blog on Friday 12th October 2018

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293. Changing The World Through Prayer. Praying Through Ephesians 2:1-7

Introduction

The following article quite rightly has God’s word from Ephesians chapter 2 as pre-eminent. Then follows a suggested prayer based on that passage. [God’s revealed truths expressed to Him in believing prayer.]

Finally I have added SOME NOTES on the passage to help folk gain an even greater appreciation of what God’s word is saying to people in today’s world.

THE PASSAGE FROM EPHESIANS 2:1-7.

Eph 2:1 “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7  so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.”

 A SUGGESTED PRAYER BASED ON EPHESIANS 2:1-7.

“Heavenly Father, We thank You that though we were dead in our sins, You made us spiritually alive in Christ.

We thank You that when we were held in bondage by our three main enemies, You brought us liberty.

  • You set us free from the power of the enemy around us, the pressure of the unbelieving world, as we began to trust in You.
  • You set us free from the enemy against us, Satan and the powers of darkness, so that we became free to live as You wanted us to live.
  • You set us free from the enemy within us, our old nature, so that we could live for You by Your grace and power.  

We thank You too that in Your great love and mercy for us, You made us alive with Christ and made us to sit with Him in the place of honour and acceptance at Your right hand.

We thank You that You have shown us and will continue to show us in the days ahead, just how much You love us.

Accept our grateful thanks for all Your mercies to us, through Jesus Christ our Lord. AMEN!”

 SOME NOTES ON THE PASSAGE FROM EPHESIANS 2:1-7

1.]        The Bad  and News About Our Human Situation

Once Spiritually dead in sin! Eph 2:1 “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins”

Once Spiritually bound in sin! Controlled by the 3 enemies of humans.

  • The World. 2 “in which you once walked, following the course of this world”
  • The Devil. “following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—”
  • The Flesh. 3 “among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind,
  • The Result of giving way to the above 3 enemies of humans. God’s revealed assessment! “and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.”

2.]        The Good News About What God Has Done About Our Human Situation

i]. His motivation for helping us. Mercy. Great Love!

 Eph 2:4 “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us,”

  • BUT! Is there a chance something could change our human predicament?
  • BUT GOD! Every chance when God is involved!
  • GOD IS MERCIFUL. “being rich in mercy!” Mercy, not just pity, but compassion in action.
  • GOD IS LOVE! “because of the great love with which he loved us,” Love acted in Jesus.

ii]. His Method for Helping Us [Made Us Alive With! Raised Us Up With! Seated Us With HIM!]

  • From spiritual death to spiritual life! Eph 2:5 “[God] even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—” [Grace, mercy and love acted!] From death to life!
  • From spiritual bankruptcy to spiritual authority. Eph 2:6 “and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” God declares that He has identified us with Christ in His death [2 Tim 2:12], burial [Col 2:12], resurrection [Col 2:1] and His sitting at the right hand of God.

iii]. His purpose in helping us

Eph 2:7 “so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.” God longs to display His rich gracious kindness to His people to encourage others to recognise His character and to draw upon His mercy and grace.

Blog No.293. Posted on http://www.jimholbeck.blog on Thursday 11th October 2018

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292.  “LET US PRAY!” A Compilation Of Prayers Based On Ephesians Chapter 1. (Changing The World Through Believing Prayer.)

Memories may fade but I seem to recall Sunday nights as a child in Gympie in Queensland hearing a radio programme on station 4GY of the famous Bishop Fulton Sheen of the USA that began with the words of Alfred, Lord Tennyson. They were these, “More things are wrought by prayer, Than this world dreams of.”  Apart from his rich compelling voice I can’t recall anything the Bishop ever said. But Tennyson’s words have remained in my mind for over 70 years.

Many of us have seen marvellous answers to believing prayer, some beyond our wildest imagination. For this reason I began to look at the Epistle of Paul to the Ephesians which has these wonderful inspiring words, “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us.” Eph 3:20. What an incentive, to pray to such a God who can do that! I began the study at Ephesians 1:1.

In my previous article I said that I would prepare a compilation of prayers based on the truths of Ephesians chapter 1 which I have included in previously posted articles.  What follows are the compiled prayers. [A click on the article numbers in the title will take you to that article if you wish to read the passage and some notes on the passage.]

Ephesians 1:1-2.  No.192. A gracious greeting about God’s love and peace.

A Suggested Prayer

“Heavenly Father we thank You that You called Paul to be an apostle to share the good news about You. We thank You that You inspired him by Your Holy Spirit to record these words so that You would use them to bring blessing to countless generations.

We thank You that through the gospel You call your people to be set apart to belong to You as your saints. We pray that we may become more and more holy in our thoughts, words and deeds so that Jesus may be seen in and through our lives.

We thank You for Your amazing grace in calling us to respond to You, and that by Your grace, we have been saved through faith. We thank You that like St Paul, we have come to know peace with You as the God of peace and that we can know Your peace in our hearts and minds to keep us safe.

Help us Lord to live by the power of Your Spirit so that we may bring glory to You in all we say and do. We ask these things in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour Amen.”

Ephesians 1: 3.  No.193. Thanking God for what we have in Christ. 

A Suggested Prayer

“Heavenly Father, we thank You for all You have done for us in Jesus. We thank You for all You have given us in Him. We thank You that You have blessed us in Him with every spiritual blessing. We thank You that through faith, we are the children of Abraham and that we have been blessed by You to be a blessing.

Help us Lord to realise that this world is not about us, but that it is all about You. It’s about Your purpose to bless the world in Your love. We thank You that we are the recipients of Your love.  We thank You that we have the wonderful privilege and responsibility of being instruments of Your love and blessings to others in this world.  

Grant us the wisdom to know Your will and the power to do it in the power of Your Holy Spirit, so that we might fulfil Your purpose for us. We ask these things in Jesus’ name. AMEN!”

 

Ephesians 1: 4.  No.284. Thanking God we are chosen by Him to fulfil His purpose for us in His world.

A Suggested Prayer

“Heavenly Father, we thank You for Your amazing grace in choosing us to belong to You before the world was made. 

We thank You too that You had a purpose in choosing us, that we should be set apart from the world’s ways and its values to belong wholly to You. 

We thank You that in Your love and power You give us the grace to live holy lives before You. Forgive us for the times we have not drawn upon Your grace and failed to be Your holy and blameless people.

We thank You for Your promise in Your word that You are able to keep us from stumbling and to present us blameless before Your presence in glory with great joy.”

Please fulfil Your purpose in our lives as we continue to offer ourselves completely to You. We ask these things in Jesus’ name. AMEN.”

 

Ephesians 1: 5.  No.286. “Blessing God Who Blesses His People By Adopting Them Into His Family.”

A Suggested Prayer

“Heavenly Father, we thank You that in Your eternal plan and purpose You chose to adopt us into Your family as Your children. We thank You that we came into Your family when we put our trust in Jesus as our Saviour and Lord. We thank You that Your grace has been poured out on us in Your beloved Son. Enable us to continually praise You for Your goodness and grace to us in bestowing those blessings on us in Him. Accept our thanks through Jesus Christ our Lord. AMEN.”

 

Ephesians 1: 7-10.  No.287. Ephesians 1:7-10. Thanking God for the unity He brings, in Christ, to diverse peoples.  

A Suggested Prayer

“Heavenly Father, we thank You that when we received Jesus to be our Saviour and Lord, You blessed us in Him with so many blessings. We thank You that in Him we have been redeemed by His blood and our sins have been forgiven. We praise You that You poured out Your amazing grace on us as part of Your purpose in bringing a sense of unity in this divided world. We thank You that In Christ we are one with believers from all over the world. Enable us by Your Holy Spirit to humble ourselves before You so that You can exercise Your headship over Your church and over every individual in the church. We invite You to take up Your throne over our lives as we seek to live for You and to fulfil Your purpose for us in this world. Accept our grateful thanks through Jesus Christ our Lord. AMEN!”

Ephesians 1:11-14.  No. 288. “Praising God For All We Have Now In Jesus And For Our Full Inheritance In Him.”

A Suggested Prayer

“Heavenly Father, we thank You that in Your plan and purpose for this world You enabled us to hear and respond to the gospel message of salvation.  We thank You that as You did so, You bestowed on us the Holy Spirit to seal our relationship with You so that we might inherit all the blessings You have given us in Jesus. Enable us, by Your Spirit, to become more and more a people of praise so that You may be glorified in and through our lives. We ask these things in Jesus’ name. AMEN.”

Ephesians 1:15-23.  No.289. Ephesians 1:15-23. “How God wants us to pray for ourselves and for His people throughout the world!”

A Suggested Prayer [Because this was a prayer by St Paul for the Ephesians I have changed the wording from “you” and “your” [meaning the Ephesians],  to “we”, “us” and “our” meaning ourselves. ]

“Dear Lord, we acknowledge that You are the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. We pray that You would give us the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation to know You better. 18  Please enlighten our hearts and minds so that we can know the hope to which You have called us,  what are the riches of Your glorious inheritance in us as Your people, 19 and what is the immeasurable greatness of Your power toward us who believe, according to the working of Your great might 20  that You worked in Christ when You raised him from the dead and seated him at Your right hand in the heavenly places, 21  far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. 22 We thank You that You put all things under Jesus’ feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all. AMEN!”

Blog No.292. Posted on www.jimholbeck.blog on Wednesday 12th September 2018

 

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291. “Danger! Saints at Prayer.” Praying through Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians

It’s always a very blessed thing to be able to share our faith with others and to see their positive response to the message about Jesus and in many cases, their positive response to Jesus Himself. Jesus did say, “and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” John 8:33. It is truth that is received AND acted on, that sets people free. One can know the truth about the Risen Jesus standing and knocking at the door of one’s heart wanting to come into one’s life, but it’s only as the door is opened that one can experience the peace and joy of the indwelling Christ. [Rev 3:20]

One can “believe about” but not “trust in.” James brought out the difference in his letter in Jas 2:19 “You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder!” The demons acknowledged the reality that there is but one God, but were still opposed to Him and to His purposes for His universe. They didn’t trust in Him, obey Him or give Him His rightful place in their existence, all of which are involved in truly believing in Him.

Acting On The Truth Of God’s Word In Prayer

It is also a very wonderful thing when people believe and affirm the truth revealed in God’s word. However it takes a deeper dimension of faith to be willing to pray those truths into being in one’s own life! It means being open to God as we pray, so that He can do in and through us what He has eternally planned to do in our lives.  It is through prayer based on His word that we pray His will into our lives or rather bring our will into line with His divine purpose for us and for His world.

“Danger! Saints At Prayer! “

This is a variation of the title of a very well-known book published in 1958 with the title, “Danger! Saints At Work.” It was written by Jean Rees who was the wife of a famous British evangelist of that era, Tom Rees. It is still on sale today. A great read! It is dangerous to the enemy if we begin to act on the promises of God and especially in relation to prayer. [Even more so when Jesus promised, Mat 18:19 “Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”]

Recently [today] I was thinking of compiling the prayers I have been formulating based on the Epistle to the Ephesians, so that they can be found easily in the one place. I have prepared a number of such articles on Ephesians Chapter 1 and in another article [No.291] I summarised the link to the articles on one page.  [Here]

However not everyone has access to the internet and to my articles, so I have decided to compile the prayers themselves together in the one article that people could be free to forward to other folk on the web or to print out for folk in families or in Bible Study or Prayer groups to pray together. [Especially when Jesus promised, Mat 18:19 “Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”] His will is revealed in His word which we then return to Him in believing prayer, praying [hopefully by the grace of God] according to His will.  Such prayers get answers!

Can you just imagine?

Just imagine Christian folk throughout the world praying the same prayers based on God’s revelation in His word of Himself and of His purposes in the world. This is just one tiny contribution to the fulfilment of that vision. As I mentioned in one of my previous articles, God’s word is divinely inspired and infallible for faith, morals and doctrine. My prayers may not have that degree of infallibility! They certainly won’t! But I am trying to be faithful to the Lord and to His word as I formulate the prayers based on His word as I read it and believe it [and hopefully by His grace, try to obey it.]

I hope you may be able to join me in playing one small part in praying for the transformation of the world through believing prayer by using these suggested prayers.

Hopefully by the grace and mercy of God my next article will contain the prayers I have already written based on Ephesians chapter 1! {I do note there are 6 chapters in Ephesians!]

Blog No.291. Posted on www.jimholbeck.blog on Wednesday 12th September 2018

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290. A Summary of the articles on Ephesians Chapter 1 on “Praying our way through Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians.”

These articles began in 2016 after a particularly bad health prognosis and recommenced in September 2018. It was an attempt to learn to pray more in accord with God’s character and purposes as revealed in the Letter to the Ephesians. The words from Ephesians 3:20- 21 are always an encouragement to press more deeply into the heart of the Lord, Eph 3:20 “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”

To read the articles in Biblical order please click on the article number and you will be taken to the site of that article.  Using this article as a starting-off point you can quickly read through the articles in order.

You will note that most of the articles have the following order.

  • The Passage From Ephesians
  • Some Notes On The Passage From Ephesians
  • A Suggested Prayer Based On The Passage From Ephesians

Ephesians 1:1-2.  No.192. Praying our way through Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. Eph 1:1-2. A gracious greeting about God’s love and peace. 2016/08/05

Ephesians 1: 3.  No.193. Praying Our Way Through Paul’s Letter To The Ephesians. Eph 1:3. Thanking God for what we have in Christ.  2016/08/13

Ephesians 1: 4.  No.284. Praying Our Way Through Paul’s Letter To The Ephesians. Ephesians 1:4. We are chosen by God Himself to fulfil His purpose for us in His world. 2018/09/01

A General Re-introduction to the series of articles on the subject. No.285. The World Needs God’s Healing Love And Power Now! Let’s together pray it into being! Praying through Ephesians. 2018/09/01

Ephesians 1: 5.  No.286. Praying Our Way Through Paul’s Letter To The Ephesians. “Blessing God Who Blesses His People By Adopting Them Into His Family. Ephesians 1:5.” 2018/09/03

Ephesians 1: 7-10.  No.287. Praying Our Way Through Paul’s Letter To The Ephesians. Ephesians 1:7-10. Christ Brings Unity Among Diverse Groupings Of People. 2018/09/04

Ephesians 1:11-14.  No.288. Praying Our Way Through Paul’s Letter To The Ephesians. Ephesians 1:11-14. “Praising God For All We Have Now In Jesus And For Our Full Inheritance In Him.” 2018/09/06

Ephesians 1:15-23.  No.289. Praying Our Way Through Paul’s Letter To The Ephesians. Ephesians 1:15-23. “How God wants us to pray for ourselves and for His people throughout the world!” 2018/09/08

 Blog No.290. Posted on www.jimholbeck.blog on Saturday 08 September 2018

 

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No.289. Praying Our Way Through Paul’s Letter To The Ephesians. Ephesians 1:15-23. “How God wants us to pray for ourselves and for His people throughout the world!”

This is an actual prayer that Paul told his Ephesian readers he was praying for them. As such and because it is part of God’s revelation to humans through Paul I won’t try to change it in any significant way. The main changes I will make will be to change the “you” and your” [meaning the Ephesian readers] in the letter to “we,”  “us” and “our” to make it applicable to ourselves and to fellow believers in the world today. I will also, on this occasion, add the “Notes On The Passage” at the end of the article, after the “Suggested Prayer” as the passage has so many significant words. It helps if we can appreciate their rich meaning.

THE PASSAGE. Ephesians 1:15-23 begins with these words, Eph 1:15 “For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, 16 I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers.”

Paul then goes on to tell them what he was praying for them using “you” and “yours.”  They were words they could then pray for themselves as well as for others. So we will change the wording to make it a prayer that we can pray for ourselves and others by using “we,”  “us” and “our”

.THE SUGGESTED PRAYER FROM Ephesians 1:15-23

“Dear Lord, we acknowledge that You are the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. We pray that You would give us the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation to know You better. 18  Please enlighten our hearts and minds so that we can know the hope to which You have called us,  what are the riches of Your glorious inheritance in us as Your people, 19 and what is the immeasurable greatness of Your power toward us who believe, according to the working of Your great might 20  that You worked in Christ when You raised him from the dead and seated him at Your right hand in the heavenly places, 21  far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. 22 We thank You that You put all things under Jesus’ feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all. AMEN!”

 SOME NOTES ON THE PASSAGE. Ephesians 1:15-23

Books could be written on the content and meaning of this prayer but the following are some of the significant meanings in the wording of the prayer.

  • The motivation behind the prayer. Paul thanks God for their faith in Christ and for their love for His people. Eph 1:15-16, “For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, 16 I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers”
  • The content of the prayer. That God would work within them by His Spirit to give them an understanding of God and that He would give them eyes to see and understand 3 things in particular. Namely their hope in Christ, the riches of their inheritance in Christ and the greatness of His power towards them.
  • We notice in the prayer an emphasis on power words perhaps to encourage them to understand the powerful resources they had through their faith in Christ and in the indwelling Spirit of God who had sealed them with His presence.
  • The power words include the following:-
  • “the immeasurable greatness of his power,” verse 19. “Immeasurable” is [hyperballō; ὑπερβάλλω meaning literally to throw beyond’.] It is the root of our English word ‘hyperbole.’ It is beyond measure.
  • “greatness” is [megathos; μέγεθος from ‘mega’ meaning great.] This is the only occurrence in the New Testament of this word.
  • “power” is used throughout the NT for describing power of various sorts. It is [dynamis; δύναμις, the origin of our English words dynamic, dynamite etc.]
  • “according to the working of His great might,” verse 19. “Working” is [energeia; ἐνέργεια the root of our words ‘energy’ and ‘energize’. It denotes effectual power at work. [Note. Literally the phrase reads “according to the might (kratos) of His strength (ischys).”]
  • “Great” is the Greek word [ischys; ἰσχύς which means ability or strength.]
  • “Might” is the Greek word [kratos; κράτος, which is used for strength, power or dominion.] English words derive from it including ‘democracy’ where ‘demo’ is from ‘demos’ meaning people and ‘cracy’ is from ‘kratos’ meaning dominion or rule. So the whole phrase speaks of God’s great power at work. What form did this power take? Resurrection power as we will see!
  • “that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places,” verse 20. Paul changes from the noun ‘working’ in the previous verse to the verb [energeō; ἐνεργέω, to be active, to work efficiently.] Human forces might have seemed to have triumphed in the death and burial of Jesus, but God showed His immeasurable great effectual power in raising Him from the dead to sit at His right hand in heaven.
  • The power words continue with Paul’s statement in his prayer of the place of Jesus in the purposes of God. He is described as being “far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come.” What an ongoing volley of words denoting the authority and power of Jesus following His death, resurrection, ascension and session [being seated] at the right hand of God!
  • “far above” is hyperanō; ὑπεράνω meaning far above or beyond every form of power which he enumerates as “all rule’ where “rule“ is [archē; ἀρχή, meaning first or chief in time, place or rank. English words derived from it include ‘monarchy’ meaning one ruler and ‘oligarchy’ the rule by a few [oligos; ὀλίγος means ‘few’.]
  • “Authority” is [exousia; ἐξουσία meaning privilege or delegated power.]
  • “Power” is again our word [dynamis; δύναμις] used above in verse 19.
  • “Dominion” is [kyriotēs; κυριότης meaning having power over or ruling over. Jesus’ name is greater than any other name signifying that He is greater than any other person or power that has ever existed or will ever exist!
  • One might have thought that Paul could find no other term to exalt Jesus but he manages to do so in the final verses 22 and 23, “And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.”
  • “he put all things under his feet” is probably a refence to Psalm 8:6 “You have given him dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under his feet.” This was a reference to the state of humans before the fall when they were meant to exercise authority over the created world. But that delegated authority was stolen from them by the guile of Satan whom Jesus described as “the ruler of the kingdom of the air,” Eph 2:2 and as “the prince of this world,” In John 12:31, 14:30 and 16:11.
  • Jesus as Perfect Man has come and died to bring victory over Satan thus putting Satan under His feet. The writer to the Hebrews puts it like this, Heb 2:6 “It has been testified somewhere, “What is man, that you are mindful of him, or the son of man, that you care for him? 7 You made him for a little while lower than the angels; you have crowned him with glory and honour, 8 putting everything in subjection under his feet.” Now in putting everything in subjection to him, he left nothing outside his control. At present, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him. 9 But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honour because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.”
  • JESUS IS in control! Every knee WILL eventually bow before Him! Php 2:9 “Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10  so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

Praying the prayer that Paul prayed for his friends in Ephesus may help us play our part in bringing God’s Kingdom and God’s Kingdom power to earth, sooner than later [in human terms.]

“Let us pray!” In the way Paul showed us how to pray, using the terms he used under the inspiration of the Lord Himself [and recorded for our benefit and blessing!]

 Blog No.289. Posted on www.jimholbeck.blog on Saturday 8th September 2018

 

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288. Praying Our Way Through Paul’s Letter To The Ephesians. Ephesians 1:11-14. “Praising God For All We Have Now In Jesus And For Our Full Inheritance In Him.”

“Children of God! Through faith in Jesus! With an inheritance! An inheritance which is ours in Him!  No wonder the people of God in every generation are motivated to praise Him for His amazing grace to us and for His amazing love for us in Jesus.

THE PASSAGE. Ephesians 1:11-14

Eph 1:11 “In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, 12 so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. 13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.”

NOTES ON THE PASSAGE. Ephesians 1:11-14

  • 1:11. “Obtained an inheritance.” The word is used only here in the New Testament. [κlēroō; κληρόω meaning to make a choice or to determine something. The inheritance was given as an act of grace to those whom God predestined to receive it, based, of course, on His foreknowledge about who would respond to Him in faith.] {See 1Peter 1:1-2, re “elect … according to the foreknowledge of God.”]
  • “Predestined according to [His] purpose.” Before we look at what was His purpose, we note the description Paul gives about the Lord.
  • “Who works all things according to the counsel of his will.” “Works” is [energeō; ἐνεργέω] where “energeo” means to be active or to work to establish a result. Our English words ‘energy’ and ‘energize’ come from this Greek root. God is actively pursuing His will in the world which comes into being, in His way and in His time.
  • Paul then declares what is the purpose of God in HIs election of His people. It was this, 12 “so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory.” Paul and his readers in Ephesus were among the first generations of believers. The description of God’s purpose could be taken in two ways. It could be that the witness of these early believers would lead others to praise God because of  their faithful witness to Him. Or it could mean that God chose them to live to praise Him and His glory. Both would be true.
  • 1:13. In this verse we see the combination of divine sovereignty and human responsibility. In God’s sovereign working He allowed the Ephesians to hear the gospel message of salvation. Then they exercised their human responsibility to respond to the message about the salvation that Jesus came to bring and they put their trust in Him. 13 “In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him.”
  • God responded to their commitment of faith and gave them the gift of the Holy Spirit to indwell them and to “seal” them. They were “sealed with the promised Holy Spirit.” The seal denoted two things. It was a mark of ownership and it was a mark of permanence. It’s as though God was saying to the believers when they believed in Jesus and as He sealed them with the Spirit, “You are mine! And You are mine forever!”
  • The sealing by the Holy Spirit was also a promise of things to come. Paul used the term “guarantee” of a future inheritance in the Spirit. The Greek word is [arrhabōn; ἀῤῥαβών meaning a pledge or deposit or a down-payment] 14 “who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.” [ I am told that in today’s modern Greek, “arrabona” is an “engagement ring” a pledge of things to come.]
  • Later in the chapter Paul tells his readers that he was praying for them that they might come to know the riches of their inheritance, “having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints.” Eph 1:18. “Know” is [oida, οἶδα] and has the meaning to perceive and even to experience personally. Paul is wanting his readers to perceive and also experience their inheritance to the extent they were able to do so as humans.

A SUGGESTED PRAYER BASED ON Ephesians 1:11-14

“Heavenly Father, we thank You that in Your plan and purpose for this world You enabled us to hear and respond to the gospel message of salvation.  We thank You that as You did so, You bestowed on us the Holy Spirit to seal our relationship with You so that we might inherit all the blessings You have given us in Jesus. Enable us, by Your Spirit, to become more and more a people of praise so that You may be glorified in and through our lives. We ask these things in Jesus’ name. AMEN.”

Blog No.288. Posted on http://www.jimholbeck.blog on Thursday 6th September 2018

Posted in BIBLE PASSAGE OUTLINES, Bible verses. Comments, Faithfulness, Forgiveness, Glorification, Praying our way through Paul's letter to the Ephesians, Salvation | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment