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3 Things to Know in Knowing God – Part 1

by on October 9, 2012

Paul was a man of constant prayer. We see it throughout his epistles as he continually tells the churches that he has planted how he is praying for them continually and giving thanks for their faith and fellowship in the service of the Lord Jesus. It is interesting to look at the things Paul was praying for though, because this is a man very much in tune with God’s will for His church and we should be considering how we pray for our churches (and for ourselves and others) in light of the prayers Paul brought to God for the churches he had a “daily pressure of anxiety for” (2 Cor 11:28). I want to look at what Paul wrote to the Ephesian church about his prayer for them, and take a few points away to pray for in our own prayer times.

“I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which He has called you, what are the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His great might that He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come” (Ephesians 1:16-22)

Paul was praying that the church of God in Ephesus would have a greater knowledge of God, through the tuning of their spirits with the Spirit of God. Now, that knowledge of God is a good thing in and of itself should be fairly evident to us all but this is not knowledge for the sake of knowledge – not intellectual satisfaction, though we can find plenty of that in delving into theological matter. When it comes to knowing God there is more at stake. When Jesus was praying to His Father in John 17:3 He defined eternal life as “that they might know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent”. Our experience of eternal life, the great over-arching blessing that we have through the atoning work of Jesus Christ – the degree to which we inhabit and enjoy and get the good of that abundant life focused on eternal things, is consonant with the degree to which we know the God of Heaven, whose will it was to give us eternal life and whose grace it is that made it happen. The details of Paul’s prayer that they might have a deeper knowledge of Him can be seen as the details of how to live the eternal life we have through Christ.

Paul identifies 3 things he wanted the Ephesian saints to know more fully:

1)      What is the hope to which He has called you

2)      What are the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints, and

3)      What is the immeasurable greatness of His power toward us.

There’s more to be said on those 3 things than I will ever find out, even if I search the scriptures for as long as I draw breath; which is precisely why we should pray for the enlightening of the eyes of our hearts, so we can see as much as we can. Over the next few days I’m going to look at each of these three “things to know” and consider how the hope we have is in His will for us, the inheritance we have is through His wealth given to us and His power is seen through His work in us. The thrust of Paul’s prayer, I believe, is that examining the hope we have would strengthen our confidence in God’s purposes for us; that rejoicing in the riches of His inheritance in us will help us see that there is nothing of true value in the world and all our worth is in Him and that God’s power is active within us to empower our service and change us from the inside out into the image of His Son, Jesus Christ.  Surely to know and experience the reality of those 3 things in our lives will help us “take hold of the eternal life to which [we] were called… so that [we] may take hold of that which is truly life” (1 Tim 6:12,19)

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