This lesson covers Eph 1:15-23. In this passage, Paul prayed for the Ephesians [Eph 1:16] to know three things every Christian must know. We must know “what is the exceeding hope of his calling,” [Eph 1:18], “what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,” [Eph 1:18], and “what is the exceeding greatness of his power to usward who believe,” [Eph 1:19].
Before a Christian will ever know these things, he must have “faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints,” [Eph 1:15]. Notice that Paul was thankful for their faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints. Not all Christians live by faith and love the saints. They get saved but they don’t get in their Bibles, so their faith doesn’t grow [Rom 10:17]. And they don’t get into a good local church, so they aren’t even around the saints. You need to be like the Thessalonians in 2 Thes 1:3 where “your faith groweth exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth.” You must have this spiritual foundation.
Paul wanted the Ephesians to know three things. For them to know these things, though, God had to give them “the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him,” [Eph 1:17]. Paul describes this spirit in 1 Cor 2:6-16. He shows you that the things we should know “are spiritually discerned,” [1 Cor 2:14] and must be “revealed unto us by his Spirit,” [1 Cor 2:10]. With this spirit, the eyes of our understanding are enlightened [Eph 1:18] to know the three things every Christian must know. We must know:
The hope of his calling – Eph 1:18 – notice these three things are “his.” Paul is writing about “his calling… his inheritance… his power.” These things are of God. Notice also that Paul is writing about “the hope” of his calling. There is only “one hope” or your calling [Eph 4:4]. In other words, this calling is something that all Christians are called to do. We are all called to suffer [2 Thes 1:4-12, 2 Tim 1:8-12]. And the hope of our calling is that when Christ is glorified, we shall be glorified with him [Rom 8:17-18]. God hath chosen the foolish, weak, base, and despised things of the world “to bring to nought the things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence,” [1 Cor 1:26-31]. A Christian must know “the hope of his calling,” or he will never fulfill his calling to suffer for him.
The riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints – Eph 1:18 – as young Christians we are just like spoiled children. We get saved and have eternal life. And we want God to give us everything else we want right now. We pray for this, that, and the other thing. We don’t deny ourselves. And we won’t deny ourselves unless we see the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints. In Matt 16:24-27, Jesus described the life of a disciple. To be a disciple of Jesus, you must deny yourself and take up your cross and follow him. But why would you do this? You will follow Christ when you see that the riches of the glory of his inheritance are far better than anything you could have down here. The more you forsake here, the more you have there. Look what Jesus promised the apostles [Matt 19:27-29]. Can you imagine that Judas Iscariot sold out for thirty pieces of silver? What are you selling out for?
The exceeding greatness of his power to believers – Eph 1:19 – this is the power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in heavenly places [Eph 1:19-20]. And this power is available to us. We must have his power in us to accomplish all God gave us to do. But here’s what we must know. His power is only available to us through death. Christ had to die before he could rise. We must have “the fellowship of his sufferings” and be “made conformable unto his death,” before we can “know him, and the power of his resurrection,” [Phil 3:10]. To “walk in newness of life” we must be “buried with him” and “planted together in the likeness of his death,” [Rom 6:4-5]. We are not “freed from sin” until we are “dead,” [Rom 6:6-7]. Before “sin shall not have dominion over you,” you must “reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin,” [Rom 6:11-14]. That’s when you will be “alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Because Jesus Christ died for all, he is now far above all [Eph 1:21]. All things are under his feet [Eph 1:22]. He is the head over all things to the church, which is his body [Eph 1:22-23]. The same power that raised Christ to this place of preeminence is in you. This is why Paul said, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me,” [Phil 4:13].
Conclusion: When you know the hope of his calling you will be willing to suffer with him now. The more you suffer here, the greater the glory hereafter. When you know the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, you will be willing to deny yourself now. The more you forsake here, the greater the reward hereafter. When you know the exceeding greatness of his power to believers, you will be willing to die to yourself now. The more you die to yourself here, the greater the power here and the greater the life hereafter. Every Christian must know these things.