Ephesians 1:15-18a What To Pray For First

by | May 26, 2023 | Ephesians, New Testament

I. Who Paul Prayed For V. 15

Paul has just explained what God has done for the Christian (Ephesians 1:3-14)
Paul now re-identifies and re-describes what a Christian is.

A. Those Who Had Faith In The Lord Jesus

1. Paul prays that the Ephesians would realize how much God had done for them
2. He prays for those who have “faith in the Lord Jesus”He prays only for them.
3. He doesn’t pray for those who are “spiritual”, believe in “God”, or go to church
4. He doesn’t pray for those who have intellectual faith in some “God”
5. Paul is very narrow in defining what a Christian is: “faith in the Lord Jesus”
6. This is the 1st mark of what a Christian is. Saving faith in the Lord Jesus.

a. Lord: speaks of His Lordship over the life of the believer.
b. Jesus: Speaks of His mission. “He shall save His people from their sins”.

B. Those Who Had Love For All The Saints

1. The 2nd mark of the Christian is a “love for all the saints”. (agape love)
2. Previously, Paul said that we as individuals can know our sonship. (1:13, 14)
3. How else can we & others know that we are Christians? Love for all the saints.

a. The unsaved person generally doesn’t want to spend time w/Christians
b. They have different values, lifestyles, beliefs, convictions, practices, etc.
c. Generally speaking, most unbelievers do not choose Christians to be their best friends or spend the majority of their time with them.

4. Christians have love for one another because of Christ.

a. We have the same spirit, the same God, are of the same family
b. We have the same values, same worldview, and the same destination.
c. We love people that we normally wouldn’t love, because of Jesus
d. Spiritual union via the Holy Spirit. Oneness unknown by unbelievers.
e. Not that we love as perfectly as we should, but we love more than we did
f. Loving the saints is a mark of a Christian. (John 13:34, 35; 1 John 3:14-17)
g. What a strong answer when Satan accuses us of not being Christians.

II. What Paul Prayed For In General Vs. 16, 17b, 18

A. Prayer For Their Spiritual Ability To Understand Vs. 17b, 18

1. Spiritpneuma– Either the Holy Spirit, or a disposition of the soul from the H.S.

a. Disposition or influence which fills & governs the soul. (One meaning)
b. The influence of the Holy Spirit. (Turn to 1 Corinthians 2:12-14)
c. We cannot rightly know God except through Divine revelation.

2. Wisdomsophia– knowledge on how to regulate one’s relationship with God.
3. Revelation– uncovering of something and an understanding of that thing.
4. Knowledgeepignosis– clear, exact knowledge that is true, accurate, thorough.
5. V. 18- the eyes of your understanding being enlightened;

a. Speaks of a past action that has a present result.
b. These Ephesians had experienced some spiritual enlightenment already.
c. V.13 They believed the gospel, and had become saved.
d. They had faith that was manifested by their love for one another.
e. They had experienced some true spiritual enlightening.
f. In V. 18a, he speaks of that past action that had present results.
The eyes of their understanding had become enlightened.
WUEST -“ the eyes of your heart having been enlightened, with the present result that they are in a state of illumination.”
g. Spiritual illumination had started, and was continuing in the present.
h. They had both understanding and experience, and needed more of both.
i. Paul prayed that that illumination would move them ahead into understanding the following three truths.

i. the hope of his calling
ii. the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints.
iii. the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe.

B. The Priority Of What They Needed

1. There were probably many needs in the church at Ephesus.
The first thing that Paul prayed for was that they would know God better.
2. There were slaves in the church. (Ephesians 6:5-8) He doesn’t pray for their freedom
3. There was a need for teaching on marriage. (Ephesians 5:22-33) That’s not where he started
4. There was a need for teaching on parent/child relationships. (Ephesians 6:1-4)
5. Knowing God better is the foundation for the answers to these problems.
6. Paul does go on to teach about these specific needs and problems.
But none of His teaching can impact a human heart if that person does not have a life changing knowledge of God.
7. In many places, the Church and Christianity has become a consumer-oriented religion.

a. The “felt needs” of people have taken center stage.
b. People come to church because of what they perceive their problems/needs are.
c. People assume they know what their greatest need is, and ignore what God says.
d. The Christian’s greatest need is a deeper knowledge of God.

8. People think that doctrine and theology is a waste of time, and not practical.

a. That is completely the opposite of what is true.
b. Paul, by the Holy Spirit, starts with doctrine and theology.

9. Unless a Christian has a firm grasp of who God is what He has done…

a. The exhortations/commands of God will not carry any internal weight so that actual change can take place.
b. The Christian will not be spiritually motivated.

10. Justification is just the beginning. The rest of our life is to grow in knowing God
John 17:3 And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.
Romans 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.
Reasonable– logical. A holy response because of understanding what God has done for them.