Powered by God (Ephesians 1:19-23)

The very same power that God used to raise Jesus Christ from the dead is at work in the life of every born-again Christian. It is that resurrection power which first quickened our spirits to see the awfulness of our sin and the holiness of our God. That power showed us the amazing mercy and grace that we were given when Jesus died on the cross for every one of our sins and then rose from the dead in forever victory over both sin and death. God and His ways were not beautiful to us before, but now that we are alive “in Christ,” we want to worship and serve and seek and obey the Lord. That is the work of God’s Holy Spirit! Whenever we see sin-hardened hearts softened and turned to God in repentance and faith and love, we see the resurrection power of God in action. As Christians, we are truly “powered by God” to live lives pleasing to Him from the moment we first believe until the day that we meet Him in heaven.

God wants us to know and experience that resurrection power. Paul’s prayer in today’s passage is certainly God’s desire for us. Remember from Ephesians 1:15-18 that Paul was continually asking God to open the minds and hearts of his Christian audience to deeply understand all that God has done for them in Christ, specifically all the blessings that he had just described in verses 1-14. Now he finishes his prayer by getting us to realize that the same power that the Father used for the Son in raising Him from the dead and placing Him back in the glory of heaven as the King of Kings is the power that is now saving our souls. When you became a Christian, you became part of Christ’s invisible church. We are now part of His spiritual body, and He is our head and captain, our leader. When we follow and abide in Jesus, we can experience the power of God every day. We access that power through meditating on His Word, praying honestly and openly, enjoying fellowship with other growing believers, and doing God’s will. My prayer for all of us today is that we would experience His resurrection power in all that we do.

The Text (Ephesians 1:19-23)

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.

Questions to Think About

1. Have you ever felt powerless as you tried to live for God? Look to Jesus today and seek HIS power to live the Christian life today! Jesus said that apart from Him we can nothing, but if we abide in Him (rest in, spend time with, focus on), we will bear fruit and so prove to be His disciples (John 15:1-8).

2. Have you ever tried to start reading the Bible regularly but struggled to get something out of it? You might need to change your approach. The Bible is meant to be read slowly and thoughtfully. You might need to reread a passage three or four times in one sitting, humbly asking God to help you understand it. Ask Him, “What are you trying to teach us (remember, the Bible was written for all believers, not just you!) in this text? What do you want Christians to know, believe, or do?” I would encourage you to give this a shot by going back and reading Ephesians 1 again and really seeking the Lord’s help in meditating on His Word. See what happens!

Notes

• In Ephesians 1:20, Paul discusses the resurrection power that raised Jesus physically from the dead. In Ephesians 2:5, we will see an awesome connection as Paul explains that as Christians we have been raised from being spiritually dead to spiritually alive in Christ. Listen to God’s Word and believe it: “Even when we were dead in trespasses [sins], [God] made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved).”

• The mention of Jesus being “far above all principality and power and might and dominion” in verse 21 is Paul’s way of saying that Jesus is better and stronger than EVERYTHING. Jesus is greater than all the human kings and rulers that have ever lived on this earth. Jesus is master over all the obedient angels of heaven as well as every rebellious demon of hell. For all the ages to come forever, Jesus will ever be Lord over all. As Christians, that idea fills us with joy as we marvel that God would allow us to be not just His servants but His adopted sons and daughters in Christ’s eternal kingdom.

In Christ,

Mr. Reel

Keep Opening the Eyes of Our Hearts (Ephesians 1:15-18)

So many Christians go through so much of their lives living like spiritual beggars. This is not God’s plan for us! As Paul continually prayed for his beloved spiritual children in the first century AD, so we continually pray for you students today, that God would keep showing you more and more each day how truly rich you are in Christ. Our salvation experience is not the end of our spiritual journey! It is true that we will never be more justified or accepted by God then we were the moment that we first trusted in Jesus Christ for salvation. As we learned in Ephesians 1:13-14, that divine miracle of our conversion was marked by the sealing of the Holy Spirit in our lives, God’s promise to us that we will always be His. But our understanding of that salvation event, our understanding of what it means to be “in Christ,” will keep developing all of our lives. Our comprehension of how beautiful and kind and gracious our Heavenly Father is to us, our vision of His kingdom and power and glory, that will keep growing until the day that we meet the Lord in eternity.

Never be satisfied and complacent with where you are in your walk with Christ! We will not arrive where God wants us to be spiritually until we join all His other pilgrims in heaven. We urge you today, seek the Lord. Pray along with us that God would keep showing our hearts and not just our heads “what is the hope of His calling” for our lives (verse 18). Open the eyes of our hearts, Lord, to know You and Your ways more today and every day!

The Text (Ephesians 1:15-18)

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,

Questions to Think About

1. Did you know that your teachers and other Christians are continually praying for you to know Christ more and more each day? How does knowing this encourage you in your walk with the Lord?

2. Why is it important for Christians to see their salvation experience as the beginning rather than the end of their spiritual journey? What do you say to a friend who claims to have accepted Jesus but shows no interest in their own spiritual growth?

3. Have you ever struggled with knowing what to pray for? Let today’s passage show you a great daily prayer request – that our minds and hearts would be open to seeing the Lord more and more.

Notes

  • We notice again with verse 15 that Paul is writing this letter to believers. All the great blessings of salvation, being chosen, forgiven, adopted, accepted, redeemed, and secured forever by God, are only true of those who have trusted in Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior. People who have trusted in Jesus begin to live like Him and for Him. If you realize that there is no evidence in your life of a saving, personal relationship with Jesus, then your business is with the cross. To received all the blessings of Ephesians 1, you must repent of (turn away from) your sin and selfishness and let Jesus have control of your life. He died on the cross in your place and then rose from the grave to set you free from sin and give you new life. You need to humble yourself, ask His forgiveness, and put your faith in Christ. Once God breaks your pride, then you will find the promises of God’s Word to be sweet to your soul.
  • Some translations of verse 18 include the wording “the eyes of your hearts” rather than “the eyes of your understanding.” Both translations together give the full sense that Paul intends. Spiritual growth is a ongoing renewing of the mind by the combined work of the Word of God and the Holy Spirit. As we daily study the Bible and pray, our faith and personal holiness grow. But our progress in Christ also includes an ongoing transformation of our hearts. We believe, trust, and obey Jesus Christ more each day not just with our heads, but with our hearts. May both your mind and spirit be renewed today!

In Christ,

Mr. Reel