Easter Sunday (Ephesians 1:15-23)
Big Idea: Because of what God has done, my prayer is that you would know God and all the benefits of the Gospel.
Purpose: To experience the benefits of the Gospel.
A priest was being interviewed on Thursday on the radio. He was asked, “What does Easter mean for us today?” I had to go, so I didn’t hear the rest of the interview. So I’ve been thinking about the answer all on my own.
Here’s what I’ve come up with: It’s an act in the past (God’s work in Christ), but it has changed history and it determines your future. In other words, it’s an act in the past that changes your life today.
You ask, “How could it possibly change my life?” Good question, because the answer is not immediately obvious. We’re going to look at a passage that explains exactly how it changes the course of your life. It’s a prayer that the plan of God would affect the lives of those who have entered into that plan
Primary request: That your eyes will be opened (1:17-18) – It’s possible to have eyesight and yet be blind. It’s possible to go through life with what you need right in front of you, and yet with eyes that are unable to see the resources you’ve been given to live.
Literally “may give you spiritual wisdom and revelation in your growing knowledge of him – since the eyes of your heart have been enlightened”. In other words, “I know that you have been rescued; that the blinders of the devil have been removed. Because of this, I can know pray that you will fully understand and see all God has prepared for you.”
Outcome of this eyesight being granted: That revealing Spirit will allow them to experience three benefits.
ONE: The hope of his calling (18)
Illustration: choosing teams as kids. Sometimes you knew you lost before you ever played the game, because of your teammates. But other times, you knew you won if you ended up on the right team.
Prayer – that we would understand the significance of God’s choosing us – we won just by being picked
Hope = faith standing on tiptoe; tilting to the future
TWO: The riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints (18)
Unsure what this means:
- The glories that are present when God inherits the people he has chosen for himself – “You have never talked to a mere mortal… Next to the Blessed Sacrament itself, your neighbor is the holiest object presented to your senses. If he is your Christian neighbor, he is holy in almost the same way, for in him also Christ…the glorifier and the glorified, Glory Himself, is truly hidden.”
- OR that it could mean that we will inherit all the wealth of God himself
Whatever it means, it means you’re rich – you have a value (external to you) that can’t be measured.
THREE: His incomparably great power (19-23)
Four different words for power in verse 19. This power was demonstrated in two decisive acts:
- raised Jesus from the dead
- catapulted Jesus to the supreme place of authority in the universe
It’s easy to give up and to give in to fate, determinism, and despair.
The power needed to live a life pleasing to God is the same power that raised Christ from the dead and enthroned him.
Because of what God has done, my prayer is that you would know God and all the benefits of the Gospel.
How? Illustration: check for my mother. The reason we don’t experience this is often that we don’t know we have it available. Cash the check.
I want to know Christ – yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead. (Philippians 3:10-11)