We live in very difficult times. It seems to be a topsy-turvy world in which values are being reversed and what was once called evil is being called good and the good is being called evil. It is a time in which we need to pray for one another, to experience the best that this life has to offer.
St Paul realised that his Christian converts needed to be prayed for. So in Ephesians 1:15-23 he told the believers in Ephesus what he was praying for them. It shows how we can pray for another today.
THE NEED TO PRAY FOR ONE ANOTHER TO KNOW GOD BETTER. 1:15-17
Eph 1:15 “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.” [NIV].
There’s only one thing better than knowing God. That is, that we might know Him better! To have a deeper relationship with him. To have a deeper commitment to Him.
WHAT TO PRAY FOR ONE ANOTHER. THAT WE MIGHT KNOW 3 THINGS. 1:18-21
Eph 1:16 “I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, 18 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,
- 19 and what is the immeasurable greatness of his POWER toward us who believe.“
He wants them to know… Their HOPE. Their RICHES in Christ. The POWER they had in Christ.
1]. THE HOPE TO WHICH HE HAS CALLED YOU.
In our culture, the word “hope” doesn’t have quite the same meaning as the word in the New Testament Greek. We use hope to describe what we would like to happen. For example, we hope to one day get married, if we can find someone silly enough or wise enough to marry us. Or we say we hope it will be fine next weekend. But there’s always a certain amount of uncertainty involved with it in the way we use it.
But there was no uncertainty involved with the way it was used in the NT. Hope meant something that was assured, something that would certainly come to pass. Nothing could prevent it.
Christian hope doesn’t mean that we become X’ians and then hope that one day we’ll go to heaven.
- No! Our Christian hope means that as Christians we’re assured of one day entering into the presence of our Heavenly Father.
- There’s no doubt about it at all. This is something God has promised to us in His grace.
- We can know that we are right with God and that when we breathe our last breath, we will be immediately in the presence of God.
- That truth became immensely comforting for me in October 2019. I had been visiting my beloved wife Carole in the Palliative Care Ward of the hospital in Wauchope. She was dying of terminal cancer and had not responded at any time during the day I spent with her. As I left her to drive home, I kissed her and prayed that God might do a miracle if that was His will, and restore her to health and strength. As I walked out of the ward I turned to see if God had worked a miracle, but she lay there motionless. I was home less than couple of hours when the phone rang. It was the hospital ringing to say that Carole had passed away just a couple of minutes before. It was heartbreaking to hear that the beautiful woman who had been my best friend for over 60 years and to whom I had been married in a wonderful marriage for 54 years, had passed away. As I put the phone down, I felt empty and deeply saddened wondering how I could cope without my best friend and the woman I had loved for almost 60 years. Suddenly these words came into my mind, “Absent from the body, present with the Lord.” [2 Cor 5:8.] I realised afresh that Carole was now in the bliss in the presence of Jesus and that I had been able to love her until Jesus took her home.
- The same words of assurance came to my mind when I heard that our dear friend David Curtis had passed away after being struck by a vehicle on a pedestrian crossing in Port Macquarie. He too was now “absent from the body and present with the Lord.”
2]. THE RICHES OF HIS GLORIOUS INHERITANCE IN HIS HOLY PEOPLE,
When we give our lives to the Lord, we become the heirs of God, and fellow-heirs with Christ. [Romans 8:17.] Or “For all things are yours, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future—all are yours, and you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.“ When we become Christians we become open to receive all the things that God has promised His people. They are riches, or as Paul writes elsewhere, they are the “unsearchable riches in Christ” Riches that can never be exhausted by anyone within a lifetime. [Ephesians 3:8.]
There’s been a lot of argument in the church this century as to whether there is a second blessing beyond our conversion experience.
- I personally believe there IS a second blessing,
- AND a 3rd AND a 4th , and a 1000th blessing.
- In other words, our whole spiritual pilgrimage will be spent discovering more and more of those unsearchable riches in Christ.
I cringe every time I hear anyone say they have had the second blessing. Why should anyone stop there? We can never ever say that we’ve arrived spiritually at a stage where there is nothing more to learn, nothing more to experience.
But God is always beyond the limits of our experience. His unsearchable riches will never be appropriated by any individual or by any denomination, or by any movement within the church.
3]. EPH 1:19- 21. 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.”
There are many Christians today who are very sensitive about any mention of power. But the Bible isn’t reticent about mentioning power. Notice what Paul says about power here.
- It is beyond measurement. It is megatos or megaton power, exceedingly great.
- It is the power God used in raising Jesus from the dead, and in seating Him at His right hand in glory.
- It is this sort of power which is “in us who believe.”
This is the humbling part. That you and I will only be able to experience anything of God’s power, when we become utterly weak. As Paul wrote, “God’s strength is made perfect in weakness.“
Paul later wrote in this same letter that “God is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us..” (3:20.) I’ve seen something of the dimension of that power in the transformation of individuals, yet I know there infinitely more power available for us to tap into.
Paul finishes his prayer with the reminder that the risen Christ is the One in absolute authority in the church and in the world. But it’s an authority that has to be personally submitted to. In other words, for Christ to be the Lord of our lives, we need to submit ourselves to His rule over us. It’s not automatic. It needs a step of faith to say to the Lord, “Lord I want you to become the Lord and Master of my life, so that You can do in me and through me what you desire. I crown you as the Lord of my life.” It’s a step we all need to take!
But what about us in May 2023? How do we stand before God?
In Ephesians 2 verses 1 and 3 Paul writes that the whole human race is dead in sin and that we are deserving of God’s wrath. We are sinners facing the judgment of God. Not good news but absolutely true!
BUT WAIT! There is good news! We can be set free from God’s wrath and judgment. Eph 2:4-6. “But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus.”
- He made us spiritually alive with Christ. Once we were spiritually dead, but now we have become spiritually alive with Christ.
- When God raised Jesus from the dead and He ascended into heaven, He raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus.”
- Seated in Christ, in the place of acceptance with God. [You can never be more accepted by God than when you receive Christ as Saviour. More useful to Him, yes!]
- Seated in Christ in the place of authority over the powers of darkness
- Seated in Christ in the place of power over the world, the flesh and the devil.
So as God looks upon us today, He sees us in 2 ways
- He sees us Geographically as being seated in this building [between Hay & Murray streets, Port Macquarie.]
- He sees us Spiritually. He sees some of us being seated in Christ at the right hand of God. Everyone else being “outside of Christ.”
How can we become among those who are “in Christ?” [No longer under the judgment of God?]
It was a question I was facing on New Year’s Eve 1958. I knew I wasn’t a believer. I knew I had to get right with God. But how?
- As I wandered through the streets of Tweed Heads-Coolangatta about 11pm I knew I wanted to get right with God, and I remembered a prayer of commitment I had seen in a little booklet by the Rev John Stott. It was based on 4 letters of the alphabet. A,B,C and D.
- A. I had to Admit I was a sinner in the sight of God. [Sins of commission and of omission.]
- B. I had to Believe that Jesus died on the cross for me to be forgiven.
- C. I had to Consider the Cost of becoming a Christian. It would Cost nothing, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16. Salvation is a free gift in Christ. But it would cost me everything. I would have to give up living my way, and learn to live God’s way in Christ. As St Paul wrote, “and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.” 2 Corinthians 5:15.
- D. I had to Do something about it. I had to invite Him into my life to be my Saviour and Lord.
AND I had learned how to invite Him into my life in Rev 3:20 where Jesus said, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.”
It’s the picture of Jesus standing at the door of the hearts of individual people in the church in Laodicea, knocking and asking to come into their hearts. They had to deliberately open the door of their hearts to Him.
So just before midnight, I knelt down and prayed the prayer and opened my life to Jesus. He entered my life and I entered 1959 as a brand-new creation in Christ and life really began from that moment. I had come from spiritual death to be spiritually alive. Christ was now my Saviour from sin and I had made Him Lord of my whole being.
The Good News is that you can leave this building today knowing that you are right with God and that if you were to die this afternoon or in 70 years time, you would wake up in bliss in the presence of Jesus.
Today we celebrate Ascension Day, the day Jesus ascended into heaven. There He received the promised Holy Spirit whom He poured out on His disciples on the day of Pentecost and whom He now pours out on all who trust in Jesus as Saviour and Lord. That’s what He wants to happen in every person ever born!
Let’s allow Him to do that on us today as we pray, so that His Spirit can open blind eyes that they may see to believe.
You can become a believer, someone in Christ, a child of God as you pray this prayer. A,B,C,D. You can pray it with me as I pray,
A]. Lord, I Admit I am a sinner in Your sight.
B]. I Believe Christ died for me on the cross.
C]. I have Considered the Cost of becoming a believer. It costs me nothing, but I know it costs me everything as I have now live for you for every moment of my life.
D]. I need to Do something about it. I now open the door of my life to You Jesus. Come into my life Lord Jesus.”
“Thank You Lord Jesus for coming into my life to be my Saviour. I now enthrone You as the Lord and Master of every part of my life. AMEN!”
If you have prayed the prayer you need to tell someone you trust.
StPaul wrote in Rom 10:9, “if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”
Having prayed this prayer, you can leave this building today knowing that whenever you die, you will go to be with Jesus in Paradise.
Blog No.481 posted on Wednesday 24 May 2023.
So true, so very much needed by us all. Thank you. God bless you. Robyn