“That will explain why I, having heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus, and the love that you show toward all the saints, having never failed to remember you in my prayers, and thank God for you.” Eph.1:15-16. Paul sees in this Gentile church a love that is founded on faith. It is important to remember that our Faith in Christ is grounded on Love, not on reason,nor on emotions but purely on Faith. As was evident to Paul, the young church was not separated by ideologies or traditions but united by the one true Faithfulness that came from the Spirit of God and the embracing gift of the Father, through Christ.
It is not a love that causes us to divide ourselves into groups but a love that binds us together as a marriage to God. In this new relationship we are the brides of Christ, united by the Holy Spirit to grant love to one another and to share in that same love with each other as the family of God. But in that love we are called to serve with loving-kindness each and every member of those “elected to serve” in Christ.
Paul continues with the love thought with the next line. “May the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, give you a spirit of wisdom and perception of what is revealed.” (vs. 17a) What a glory it is to be granted wisdom and perception! No longer are we held up in darkness and living in a void because of the sin of Adam that separates us from the light of Salvation. While the wisdom of the ages was still not grasped as obtainable to many of the Jews, these gentiles, these lost souls, now to hold on to it with understanding and confidence. This is something that many today still struggle with. We only need to search out the scriptures, our hearts and to seek after the mind of Christ, we receive a full knowledge, perception and reality in the Wisdom from God. We can just by entering a prayerful and spirit filled attentiveness, grasp what was not understood for ages before Christ.
And to what purpose? the rest of verse 17 says, “…TO BRING YOU TO FULLKNOWLEDGE OF HIM.” This is the whole of the word, the complete story in what was contained in the first 14 verses of chapter one: That we have understanding, wisdom and perception of the meaning of life given by the Blood of Jesus. We are to seek after the fullness of Jesus, we are to seek the Completeness of His Way, we are to understand with godly wisdom the history of the people of God that we can live in Christ. God gave us a spirit that reveals to us what was separate from those who lived before Christ. He gave us the Spirit who is our comforter,our counsel and our guide that we can know without any doubt of what path we are to walk, what ventures we are to undertake and how we are to live with one another.
This brings to my mind a question that we should consider very carefully. If those gentiles, the people whose backgrounds are from Hittite, Persian, Medea, and Assyrian, who were once enemies of the God’s chosen people of old eagerly welcomed the message of Jesus as there own, why do we find it so hard to love as they did? If these people who worshipped strange gods, the creation of the imaginations and idolatry of the Persian, Greek and Roman gods of lust and war, these people whose fathers and mothers prayed to idols and who once engaged in lewd acts as a praise to these false gods, now worshipped a god who came down from heave and gave them peace, spiritual gifts and a heart of love never known before, why then do we still practice to deceive ourselves by engaging in unkind acts toward each other. How can we change those things about ourselves that continually show others that we do not really act in the faith of these ex-pagans?
So as Paul tells these new and eager Christians how well they are doing in their walk, he brings even more encouragement to them with these following words. “May [Christ] enlighten the eyes of your mind so that you can see what hope His call holds for you, what rich glories that he has promised the saints will inherit and how infinitely great is the power that He has exercised for us believers.” Ephesians 1:18-19a. He tells them that they are to be enlightened, to see through the eyes of the Lord and the Spirit how to live, what to seek after and how to build up each other and those who have been weakened by the trials of the world. They are to continue in their efforts to aid the fellow believers among the Jews, and the people who have tried to discourage them. They are to see with the mind of Christ how to bring unity of the Spirit to all the saints. And they are to see just how great the infinite greatness of Christ’s power is in them. And he also encourages them to remember that this power in Christ is to there into eternity, because He is infinite justice and all Power of God is infinite.
I ask another question of you now. How great is our effort to see with the mind of Jesus? Can we see the true riches that is our infinitely from God? Or are we still seeing the incarnate world and seek after those what is are temporal and finite? How enlighten are we when we pray, or when we try to grow in faith? What is there that is holding us back, what is preventing us from opening our minds to see what is God’s desire for our lives? Are we trying to grow unearthly prosperity when we should be seeking to grow in spiritual prosperity?
The next sentence is very long and needs to be taken apart then joined together again. I will write on each point then put it together. Starting with the rest of verse 1:19, “This you can tell from the strength of His Power.” God is the almighty, the all powerful. In Him all riches and glory are due. But what strength are we celebrating? The next part of the sentence, “at work in Christ, when He used it to raise Him from the dead.” The Power to cause what is dead to be alive, but in Christ, He raise Himself up from the grave. Perhaps it was easier for the the Gentiles to accept this miracle than the Jews but it is still an astounding thing. When so many today reject the possibility of the event ever happening and call believers fools and deceivers. But this event was true and to Gentile Church, it was the core of their Faith. and because of it called them to be generous in the sharing of the love through gifts and aid toward others. How strongly is your faith in the reality of the raising up of christ by His own Power and the Equality He shared with the Father? Does this tug at your heart to be generous toward the needs of the weak the hungry and the disproportionately disadvantaged?
Continuing with the sentence, “…to make Him sit at His right hand in heaven,” This gentle reminder that Jesus is the Right hand of God, a representation that the right hand is the hand of Justice, of mercy and of condemnation. All Judgement that lies in heaven is from the Lord God and through Jesus it is administrated. He is, by the Power of the Father of the heavens and Earth, our Justice. To the Gentile Church this a wondrous thing, to know that Justice is handed out by the one who chose to redeem rather than condemn them. In the past the Gentiles who wanted to accept the God of the Jews were required to become Jews first. But through Jesus this was no longer the way. The New Way was through accepting Jesus.
We add to this new Justice, new authority. Verses 21-22, read, “far above every Sovereignty(earthy powers), Authority, (Angels, spirits), Power (Satan, demons), Domination ( spiritual oppressions, injustice and the like),or any other that can be named, not only in this age but also in the age to come, HE HAS PUT ALL THINGS UNDER HIS FEET, and made Him, as ruler of everything, the head of the Church.” In this we are told that the present age, the age of mortality and the next age, the age of the new kingdom with God, Christ is the head, He is the sole authority, He is the Power, the dominate ruler not to be questioned or denied. We are assured that His reign is forever even into eternity. We are granted that by His Supreme
Right, we are subject to His Law and to His judgement. To the the Gentile Church, now counted as a part of the Holy Family of God, this was great news. For them the acceptance was not welcomed with fear or trembling but with rejoicing pleasure. To know that the One Whom you call God, and your redeemer has everything put under His feet, is to understand in their culture, that the world, the heavens and everything that claims any power is a footstool to Jesus, nothing more and nothing greater.
This brings to mind a question for us; are we treating Christ as a slave to our whims or are we being subject to His Mercy, kindness and desires? Do we accept that Jesus has all the Power, all the Authority and all the Domination to do as He chooses? Are we being good subject or are we being whining pests bringing to him our selfish wants and greedy desires? do we treat Christ with the same devotion as did this small Gentile Church, surrounded by pagans, hard-line Jews and powerful men from Rome? Are we dealing with everyday life in complete trust of Jesus?
And this brings me to the end of the sentence. the end of Paul’s prayerful statement of hope and good will to the small group of devote believers. The last verse of chapter 1; “which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills the whole creation.” Ephesians 1:23. Jesus fills both the whole of heaven but also the whole of earth. There is nothing that escapes His attention. While we live in a world filled with strife, one soaring with hate and animosity toward the believer, it was much the same for this church. Yet they held strong to their beliefs, they worked with godly intentions, with a Christ filled purpose. We by comparison seem to be much less in today’s world. We give grudgingly, we complain about paying taxes so the poor can eat and have medical attention. We gripe about our government and the intrusions into our lives. We want to be independent. But that is not what we are to be. We are completely dependent on Christ! We are under His headship! We are to accept His fullness into our very being. The Churches of Ephesus had no problem with this, and that is why Paul loved them so much.
From the very beginning of this passage, it is a prayer for the people of the Church as a whole, a prayer of gratitude for the faithful Love of this community of Believers and a hope for the Church as a whole. Paul wanted the people to see that they are all given the Spirit and Perception to act with godly wisdom and mercy just as Christ have graced them. He wanted the whole of the Church to see with the mind of Christ exactly what they must do, how they must live, think and dream. he wanted them to understand that Jesus is the One Power over all, that Christ is the Authority of all they do and they should continue to work for the Good of Salvation. Having been accepted into the Family of God, having been adopted as the Chosen of Abraham and of Issac and Jacob, to be no longer exiled form Grace and Salvation, they are overwhelmed with the desire to what is pleasing in the sight of the Lord. Paul wants everyone of us to see this message with a clear and open heart. He wants us to grasp that Jesus is not just a fluke of good fortune but the sole authority of everything that is in the heavens and on the Earth. He wants us to rely on the prayer as our own that we go to the Father with the expectation that Christ is the one who fulfills our every need and is providing us with complete justice and mercy. Paul’s prayer is the we are to be filled with the enlightenment and full knowledge that Christ fills the Universe with His Justice, His Mercy and His Grace.
That is the message I have for all of you this Christmas, that As Paul wanted the Children of Ephesus to be knowledgeable in the vastness of the Power and Grace of The Lord Jesus, we are also filled with the same awareness in our day to day living. It is my desire that we can open the eyes of our mind to see the vast Glory of Christ’s reign in heaven and over Earth. That even in the strife and battles of the world that tend to drive fear and sin at us from all sides, we remain faithful to the Promise that we are sealed by the Holy Spirit, adopted by the Father and promised by the Blood of Jesus to be His Own! I pray that we not only accept this Divine Hope with pure Faith and devote Love but that we seek to share what we have in the spirit and in the flesh with those who seek after peace and desire to have the love that we have already obtained.
Merry Christmas to all