Prayer for Knowledge
Eph 1:15-23; FBC, January 21, 2007
Acts 19 19 A number who had practiced sorcery brought their scrolls together and burned them publicly. When they calculated the value of the scrolls, the total came to fifty thousand drachmas.d
If we were to draw the parallel that a day’s wages are at a minimum $100 per day, the value of the scrolls would be $5,000,000,000.
One undisputed characteristic of the Ephesian Artemis is the unsurpassed cosmic power attributed to her. She was worshiped at Ephesus as supreme in divine power and place.91 Oster has summarized well the inscriptional evidence extolling her transcendent power:92
The veneration of the Ephesian goddess did not come solely from her ability to be sympathetic and involved in the human problems and predicaments of her worshippers. This aspect of her character was equally matched in the eyes of her suppliants by her transcendent power ... her ability to help her worshippers stemmed, in fact, from her awesome power. It was because of her supra-natural powers that she could intercede between her followers and the cruel fate which plagued them. To those who called upon Artemis she was Savior, Lord, and Queen of the Cosmos. She was a heavenly goddess, whose being and character could only be described in superlatives: .
Her power was symbolically represented to her worshipers by certain ornamentation on her dress and by her necklaces. The rows of lions, steers, and other animals depicted by relief on her skirt demonstrate the compelling authority she was believed to have possessed over all powers since mythical antiquity. Likewise, the fact that the signs of the zodiac were so prominently displayed around her neck would assure the devotee that Artemis possessed an authority and power superior to that of astrological fate.93 This promise of power over fate was extended by many of the mystery religions, but the Ephesian Artemis is the only divinity to depict visually her divine superiority with the signs of the zodiac.94
A prayer to the Ephesian Artemis recorded in the Acts of John by Pseudo-Prochorus may preserve something of the mind-set of the worshipers of Artemis with regard to her power:95
O Great Artemis of the Ephesians, help! Display your power upon this young man who has died. For all the Ephesians know, both men and women, that all things are governed by you, and that great powers come to us through you. Give now to your servant what you are able to do in this regard. Raise up your servant Domnos.
Although the date of this work is well into the Christian era, the attribution of resurrection power to the Ephesian Artemis may very well reflect the beliefs of the Artemis devotees in the first century. One of the reasons for the belief in the transcendent and superior power of the Ephesian Artemis may stem from the legend that she came directly from heaven - (Acts 19:35). The Suda describes her place of origin as e£, oupavou.96 (from Power and Magic, 21-22)
15 For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, 16 I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. 17 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. 18 I pray also 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 the saints, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, 20 which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.
God’s power for the church is vested completely in Christ and don’t you forget it!
Prayer: When is it most meaningful to have someone pray for you?
· When it arises from obvious care, not obligation.
· When it is in touch with the real need of the situation.
· When it is addressed to God above, and everyone else happens to listen in.
· When it includes that heart that says the person praying knows God personally.
· When you know someone is TRULY praying!
1) Thanksgiving for Faith and Love
15 For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, 16 I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers.
Faith is in the Lord Jesus
Love is for all the Saints
2) Prayer for Knowledge
17 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.
KNOWLEDGE IS THE RESULT OF SPIRITUAL JOURNEY! It is not something to be sought independently of that reality. Notice here that the prayer is for other things that will result in knowledge of God B knowledge by experience! In fact, it is the goal of redemption, of Jesus journey to the earth (John 17:3).
a) That God would grant a ...
1. Spirit of wisdom (wisdom is that insight into the nature of things, that sense of what is fitting, which enables one to coordinate and use one=s knowledge aright. C F. F. Bruce)
The word, which when spoken, is obviously the final one needing utterance.
2. Revelation C things God will show you, regarding Himself and His truth, concerning life itself C that deepens our appreciation for and knowledge of God.
... so that we will have superior, complete, growing knowledge (deep and experiential) of God.
Lord, give us hearts that want to know the truth out of the richness of personal experience.
b) That eyes of their hearts would be opened
1) To know the hope which they have been called
2) To realize fully the glorious riches of the inheritance
18 I pray also 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 the saints,
Hope is what keeps us from imploding. The Afaith in the Lord Jesus@ and Alove for the saints@ are good things, to be sure! But hope keeps us recognizing that this is all about more than us. There is an eternal dimension, one that keeps us focused even in faith and love. Jesus Christ is our touchstone.
3) To know all of this is made sure through Christ=s incomparably great power
19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength,
(for those who believe)
1. First, this energetic power was exerted (energeken) in Christ when God raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly realms.
20 which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.
Four synonyms for power in order to convey an impression of something of the divine might. . . Some commentators have suggested that if there is any distinction of nuance, then dunami' denotes ability to accomplish something, energeia' inherent strength or power, krato' the power to overcome what stands in the say, and iscu' the exercise of power (Lincoln).
God=s energetic power which resurrected and exalted Christ in the past (cf. Rom. 8:34; Eph. 2:6; Col. 3:1; Heb. 1:3; 8:1; 12:2; 1 Peter 3:22) is the same power available to believers in the present (cf. Phil. 3:10).
2. A second manifestation of God=s power in Christ is seen in His placing all things under Christ=s feet.
22 And God placed all things under his feet
Figuratively the word is often used to symbolize defeat of an enemy. with the picture of putting one=s foot on his neck (Jos. 10:24; 1 Cor. 15:25). Falling at a person=s feet indicates homage or supplication (1 Sa. 25:24; 2 Ki. 4:27), sitting there implies discipleship or learning (Acts 22:3) [New Bible Dictionary]
3. The third manifestation of God=s power in Christ is His appointment of Christ as Head over . . . the church.
and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.
This is all about Jesus Christ building His Church, and using us in the process. It is HIS Church, not ours.
The purpose of the church is to transform lives, not to be respected. Respect must be earned, and that will come when serving Christ’s mission is the only thing that concerns us.
d A drachma was a silver coin worth about a day’s wages.