TEXT: Ephesians 1:15-17
READING: Psalm 17:1-15
SUBJ: The desired growth, development and establishment that follows regeneration and conversion.
AIM: That we might seek after the very things for which Paul prayed.
INTR: The thought of regeneration and faith coming at the end of a sequence of things tied to God’s eternal purpose is exciting. But it is important that we know that it doesn’t stop there.
1. Many are brought to a profession and given superficial training designed to clone Christians.
2. Deep spiritual experience comes with the revelation of divine wisdom to us and in us.
3. It behooves us to know of the workings of God to the best of our ability.
THE GOSPEL IN ONE MINUTE
“Here’s what I understand the good news to be: the good news is that the one and only God, who is holy, made us in his image to know him. But we sinned and cut ourselves off from him. In his great love, God became a man in Jesus, lived a perfect life, and died on the cross, thus fulfilling the law himself and taking on himself the punishment for the sins of all those who would ever turn and trust in him. He rose again from the dead, showing that God accepted Christ’s sacrifice and that God’s wrath against us had been exhausted. He now calls us to repent of our sins and to trust in Christ alone for our forgiveness. If we repent of our sins and trust in Christ, we are born again into a new life, an eternal life with God.”
*Adapted from Mark Dever’s book The Gospel and Personal Evangelism published by Crossway Books, p. 42.
THESIS: That which Paul prayed for here brings great glory to God and great joy to His people.
I. The evidence of salvation witnessed or tested (v. 15)
1. We consider that Paul was hearing in prison of the continuation of that which began while he was with them. He had informed them of what had happened and now he would pray for what was to be desired.
2. The word had gotten out on them!
3. There were two aspects of evidence here that are closely connected (v. 15)
1) Faith in the Lord Jesus
i. This is more than a mere affirmation of truth.
ii. Implied here is a walk of faith and vocation (see Ephesians 4:1)
2) The love of the saints (brethren)
i. The personal evidence of passing from death unto life
ii. The outward display of this love in action is evident to both the object and the observer.
4. This confirmed them to Paul
II. The reaction of Paul after hearing it (v. 16)
1. The idea of ceasing not ties them to all the praying of Paul.
2. Specific attention is given to them from within all his prayers – in the course of praying they always came up.
3. We see his prayer on two accounts.
1) Giving thanks – not because of personal attainment, but they were a gift to all.
2) Making mention in the sense of interceding and seeking their good (see v. 17)
III. The specifics of his prayer for them (v. 17)
1. To whom the appeal is made
1) The God of our Lord Jesus Christ – So designated because He was one with us.
2) The Father of Glory or the “Glorious Father.”
2. For what the appeal is made
1) Spirit of wisdom – to discern, understand and apply.
2) Spirit of revelation – that we are able to receive the things of Christ.
3) For the acknowledgment of Him.
3. How this would be brought about – see vv. 18-23