Faithlife
Faithlife

Prayer for Spiritual Insight

Ephesians  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  48:43
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Introduction

1. The Struggle of Two Kingdoms
a. A changed heart, but not a changed reality
In my early years of faith I battled with living my faith. I thought I could believe, but still live the way I wanted to live.
I loved God, and wanted to live my life for Him, but didn’t really understand what that meant.
So at first I stayed the same.
Eventually, I thought if I had better morals then I would be a better Christian.
I loved God, but couldn’t stop loving the world.
b. This is a shared problem, that many people have.
How do we live our lives for God, yet live in a world that pulls us in, and causes us to do things in our spirit we know we should not do.
The apostle Paul is a human being just like us, and in Romans there is a passage where he reveals the reality of the struggle he has with these two kingdoms.
Romans 7:15 NIV
I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.
If we were truly honest with ourselves, we would identify with this passage.
Why do we struggle so much with the love of money, lust, selfishness.
We the church struggle with sin, just like anyone else. The proof of this is obvious.
If the church was living “with every spiritual blessing”, blameless and holy, then the church would have been the catalyst to change the world.
Yet our world is a mess, we have world leaders who are exchanging insults over twitter, calling each other names like school children.
2. Paul’s Opening to the Ephesians Eco’s This Theme.
a. God has blessed us with every spiritual blessing, yet we struggle to live under the grace we have received.
“Some Christians seem to do little but pray for new spiritual blessings, apparently oblivious of the fact that God has already blessed them in Christ with every spiritual blessing. Others lay such emphasis on the undoubted truth that everything is already theirs in Christ, that they become complacent and appear to have no appetite to know or experience their Christian privileges more deeply.”
John Stott
In other words, we get stuck between seeking God’s blessing in a self centred way, only coming to God for what we need, but living our lives by our rules and reign.
or
We have become complacent being in Christ, and have forgotten that we should have a deep appetite to experience God daily.
b. This is why Paul is so excited when he writes the opening of Ephesians.
c. One long sentence, shouting out praise to God, then he transitions into an intercessory prayer that shows this battle of two kingdoms in believers hearts.
Ephesians 1:15–19a NIV
For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all God’s people, I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. 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. 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, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength
Paul Gives Thanks for their Faith, Yet still feels the need to pray for them.
Paul has heard of their faith, yet he still feels the need to pray something very specific for them.
Despite his gratitude for their faith, he is still not satisfied with them.
Paul prays that they may appreciate to the fullest possible extent the implications of the blessing they have already received.

The Spirit of Wisdom and Revelation

So that You May Know Him Better
The wisdom or knowledge Paul is praying for is more Hebrew the Greek. The Hebrew view on wisdom and knowledge is both experience and understanding.
Growth in our knowledge of God is essential for growth in holiness. He is praying that we would come to know God better, deeper, more intimately.
This Knowledge is impossible without Revelation.
So Paul prays that God would give us a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him.
Paul understands that this is trinitarian in nature. God gives us the spirit of wisdom and revelation through the work of Jesus on the cross, and the power of the Holy Spirit.
It is the Spirit that brings us this wisdom and reveals God to us.

The Eyes of Our Heart Would Be Enlightened

So we will know the hope to which God has called us.
God calls us to have hope.
This means we are called to be free of slavery, free from the things that hold us to this world.
We have been called to live in the Kingdom of God, not the Kingdom of this world.
Liberated from the judgment of God, we are redeemed people who have hope through Christ Jesus.
Called to freedom!
The Riches of His Glorious Inheritance.
We have been given the Holy Spirit as a guarantee to this final inheritance. The inheritance of the Kingdom of Heaven, our return home.

Life Through the Spirit

My Early Years I was still a slave, but I was set free by seeking the Spirit.
I started to draw closer to God, by spending time with His word. I engaged with His community and got involved.
I purposely started to think about others before myself, this needed to be intentional.
I became open to experience God in ways that I had struggled with in the past.
I was freed from a faith that lived by a law, and found faith through the Spirit.
Romans 8:1–4 NIV
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
Romans 8:5 NIV
Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.
Closing
In order to not be complacent we must seek God in all things. We need to make Jesus the centre of our lives.
Everything must centre on Christ, this centres us in the Kingdom of Heaven.
Even though we live in two Kingdoms, it doesn’t mean through the wisdom and revelation of the Spirit we can’t function in the heavenlies.
Paul shows us in his prayer, something that many miss. In order to live a life that adore God, one must balance prayer and praise in their lives.
Some focus on praying for new blessings, others grow complacent in their praise.
Paul says, stand on your toes, shout our with a loud voice and sing praises to God. Then ask Him to help you, and guide you with the power of His Spirit in our everyday lives.
Big Idea: We need God to give us the Spirit of wisdom so we can draw closer to Him through the Holy Spirit. We can’t do it on our own, we need the power of God’s revelation to empower life in the Spirit.
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