Ephesians 1:18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints (NASB: Lockman)
Greek: pephotismenous (RPPMPA) tous ophthalmous tes kardias [humon] eis to eidenai (RAN) humas tis estin (PAI) e elpis tes kleseos autou, tis o ploutos tes doxes tes kleronomias autou en tois hagiois,
Amplified: By having the eyes of your heart flooded with light, so that you can know and understand the hope to which He has called you, and how rich is His glorious inheritance in the saints (His set-apart ones), (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
NLT: I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the wonderful future He has promised to those He called. I want you to realize what a rich and glorious inheritance He has given to his people. (NLT - Tyndale House)
Phillips: that you may receive that inner illumination of the spirit which will make you realise how great is the hope to which He is calling you - the magnificence and splendour of the inheritance promised to Christians - (Phillips: Touchstone)
Wuest: the eyes of your heart being in an enlightened state with a view to your knowing what is the hope of His calling, what is the wealth of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, (Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: the eyes of your understanding being enlightened, for your knowing what is the hope of His calling, and what the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints,
I PRAY THAT THE EYES OF YOUR HEART MAY BE ENLIGHTENED: pephotismenous (RPPMPA) tous ophthalmous tes kardias [humon] : (1Peter 5:8; Psalms 119:18; Isaiah 6:10; 29:10,18; 32:3; 42:7; Matthew 13:15; Luke 24:45; Acts 16:14; 26:18; 2Corinthians 4:4,6; Hebrews 10:32)
MacDonald - We have seen that the source of spiritual illumination is God; the channel is the Holy Spirit; and the supreme subject is the full knowledge of God. Now we come to the organs of enlightenment: the eyes of your hearts (NKJV margin ) being enlightened. (Believer's Bible Commentary)
Beloved, there is a powerful principle taught in this section. Did you see it? Recall Paul's pronouncement of truth in Colossians 1:27 that believers (Jews and Gentiles) now have Christ in them and that this is their hope of glory. Here Paul prays that the God would shine the light upon this truth in their hearts. The principle is that we should pray for the promises of God to be realized in our hearts. Only the Spirit can reveal spiritual truth. Are you praying the promises of God for yourself and your family and the body of Christ? Don't miss out on this "once in a lifetime" opportunity!
Those for whom Paul is praying were once "spiritually blind" walking around in "spiritual darkness" as he reminded them of later writing that "you were formerly darkness, but now you are light in the Lord; walk as children of light (Eph 5:8-note)
Wiersbe - In the prison prayers of Paul (Eph. 1:15–23; 3:14–21; Phil. 1:9–11; Col. 1:9–12), we discover the blessings he wanted his converts to enjoy. In none of these prayers does Paul request material things. His emphasis is on spiritual perception and real Christian character. He does not ask God to give them what they do not have, but rather prays that God will reveal to them what they already have.
Lawrence Richards has a pithy comment stating that "One way to build our own prayer lives, and to direct our intercession for others, is to model our prayers on those found in Scripture. Here we see a prayer Paul offered with the intention of strengthening Christ’s church. What did Paul ask? That we might know God better (Ep 1:17). That we might look beyond appearances, to see the church as God does—a people transformed to display His glory, unspeakably precious to Him (Ep 1:18). That we might sense and experience the working of “His incomparably great power for us who believe” (Ep 1:19a). I suppose it’s all right to pray for that addition to a new Sunday School wing. Or the funds to go on the radio. But if we want our church to truly be the church, the things Paul prayed for here are vastly more important. (Richards, L. The 365 Day Devotional Commentary. Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books)
Eyes (3788) (ophthalmos) is literally the organ of vision but in Paul's use is obviously figurative. It is a beautiful picture, the heart being regarded as having eyes looking out toward God and all of the spiritual blessings that have their source and supply in God's Beloved Son. Proper understanding of spiritual truth is not dependent on having a keen intellect but rather a tender heart!
Is your heart tender to the Word of God? Do you hunger and thirst for God as a deer does for the water brooks?
Paul is praying for a deeper spiritual understanding, that "Ah Ha" reaction we have when we begin to really understand something and exclaim "I see it! I finally see what you’re telling me, Lord!" That's what Paul is praying for here. Why? Why would he be praying for this "Ah Ha" enlightenment? Remember that the first three chapters are doctrine but the last three begin with how we are to walk. Paul knows that as a man thinks in his heart, his spiritual interior, will determine how he walks. And so he prays that these saints might be able to grasp the breadth and length and height and depth of the great truths in this chapter, so that they might be enabled by the indwelling Spirit and the riches of God's grace to order their steps in a manner which is pleasing to the Lord.
The psalmist understood that the supernatural Word of God was unlike any writing of man and thus pleaded with God to...
Heart (2588) (kardia [word study]) is not the literal organ that circulates ancients considered the heart the center of knowledge, understanding, thinking, wisdom. The heart the seat of the mind and will, and it could be taught what the brain could never know. The "heart" in Scripture speaks of the very center and core of one's life, the seat of thought and moral judgment.
The heart is the seat of emotions in some cultures, but in the Greek culture it was not. In the Greek culture the seat of emotions would be the intestines. The heart was the seat of understanding.
This deep, interior enlightenment is clearly the result of the work of the Holy Spirit Who leads the believer to know (eido) intuitively all that God has made available to him in Christ (cp Jesus' promise to the disciples - John 16:13, cp 1Jn 2:20, 28, 1Cor 2:10-13, 15-16), and in essence to come to understand what it means to be "in Christ" or "in Him". They knew to a degree what the concept of being "in Christ" meant but not in a deep intuitive way. That is what Paul desires for them and for all believers.
Paul prayed that believers would know the three things mentioned not in their head but in their hearts, the very essence of their being. When we know them in the head and not the heart, we are simply "smarter sinners" but when we know them in our heart, we will become more like our Savior.
Note that the KJV translated from the Greek Textus Receptus (the is from the Nestle-Aland Greek) does not have "heart" (kardia) but has the word "understanding" which is the noun dianoia an old word for the faculty of understanding. It speaks of a clarity of mind or understanding by which one is able to see things intelligibly and clearly and proceed accordingly. Virtually all the authorities agree that "heart" is the correct translation.
May be enlightened (5461) (photizo from phos = light) means to cause light to shine upon some object, in the sense of illuminating it. To give light to, to illuminate. It means to make known in reference to the inner life or transcendent matters and thus shed light upon. The idea is to cause something to be fully known by revealing clearly and in some detail.
Figuratively, as used in this verse, photizo means to make clear, to cause to fully know or to cause to understand and is used of God's enlightenment through revelation. This effect in context undoubtedly refers to the ministry of the Holy Spirit Who illuminates spiritual truth to the hearts of believers.
The passive voice indicates that this action is performed on the subject by an outside source, clearly implying the work of the Holy Spirit. The perfect tense speaks of an enlightenment that has occurred at a point in time and which persists. Paul says this enlightenment is abiding and permanent state.
It is interesting to note that photizo (enlightened) was used by the pagan Mystery religions as a technical term for the rite of initiation into their inner secrets! They worship a lie (as do all cults). We are privileged to worship the Truth, Christ Jesus! May His Spirit enable us to worship Him Monday - Saturday (not just on Sunday) in spirit and in truth. Amen
Luke used ophthalmos figuratively in recording Christ's charge to Paul that He was sending him to the Gentiles...
Robert Morgan illustrates the truth in this verse with the following story - Recently when my CD player died, I asked a friend to look at it. “I think the needle is broken,” I told him. “CD players don’t have needles,” he said, laughing. “They use laser beams to read songs encoded on the disk. The eye on yours is dusty.” He cleaned it and the problems disappeared. In his prayer for the Ephesians, Paul asked God to enlighten their eyes so they could better understand the message encoded in His Word.... (Morgan, R. J. Nelson's Annual Preacher's Sourcebook: 2002 edition Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers)
Warren Wiersbe - First, enlightenment comes from the Holy Spirit. He is the “Spirit of wisdom and revelation” (Isa. 11:2; John 14:25–26; 16:12–14). With his natural mind, man cannot understand the things of God. He needs the Spirit to enlighten him (1 Cor. 2:9–16). The Holy Spirit reveals truth to us from the Word, and then gives us the wisdom to understand and apply it. He also gives us the power—the enablement—to practice the truth (Eph. 3:14–21). Second, this enlightenment comes to the heart of the believer (Eph. 1:18). Literally this verse reads, “The eyes of your heart being enlightened.” We think of the heart as the emotional part of man, but in the Bible, the heart means the inner man, and includes the emotions, the mind, and the will. The inner man, the heart, has spiritual faculties that parallel the physical senses. The inner man can see (Ps. 119:18; John 3:3), hear (Matt. 13:9; Heb. 5:11), taste (Ps. 34:8; 1 Peter 2:3), smell (Phil. 4:18; 2 Cor. 2:14), and touch (Acts 17:27). This is what Jesus meant when He said of the people: “They seeing see not, and hearing they hear not” (Matt. 13:13). The inability to see and understand spiritual things is not the fault of the intelligence but of the heart. The eyes of the heart must be opened by the Spirit of God. . (Wiersbe, W: Bible Exposition Commentary. 1989. Victor)
SO THAT YOU WILL KNOW WHAT IS THE HOPE OF HIS CALLING: to eidenai (RAN) humas tis estin (PAI) e elpis tes kleseos autou: (Ro 2:12; 4:4; Romans 5:4,5; 8:24,25; Galatians 5:5; Colossians 1:5,23; 1Thessalonians 5:8; 2Thessalonians 2:16; Titus 2:13; 3:7; 1Peter 1:3; 1John 3:1, 2, 3) (Ro 4:1; Romans 8:28, 29, 30; Philippians 3:14; Colossians 3:15; 1Thessalonians 2:12; 2Thessalonians 1:11; 1Timothy 6:12; 1Peter 3:9; 5:10)
So that (1519) (eis) conveys the primary idea of motion into any place or thing figuratively as here speaks of the purpose for the Ephesian saints having been enlightened. It is only as God enlightens us that we actually can truly know the spiritual truth He wants us to know. See discussion of the value of pausing to ponder this term of purpose or result .
As an aside, remember to pause, ponder and practice interrogating each term of purpose like so that asking questions such as "What is Paul explaining?", etc (See 5W/H questions). This simple discipline will serve to slow you down and allow you to more actively engage the text which facilitates more effective interaction with your Teacher the Spirit, the Author of the text! And as you pause to ponder, you are in effect beginning to practice the blessed discipline of Biblical Meditation.
Literally eido/oida refers to perception by sight (perceive, see) as in Mt 2:2
Eido/oida is distinguished from ginosko (epiginosko, epignosis - the other major NT word group for knowing) because ginosko generally refers to knowledge obtained by experience or "experiential knowledge". On the other hand, eido/oida often refers more to an intuitive knowledge, although this distinction is not always clear cut. Eido/oida is not so much that which is known by experience as an intuitive insight that is drilled into one's heart. Eido/oida is a perception, a being aware of, an understanding, an intuitive knowledge which in the case of believers can only be given by the Holy Spirit.
And so eido/oida suggests fullness of knowledge, absolute knowledge (that which is without a doubt), rather than a progress in knowledge (cp ginosko) a distinction illustrated in the following passages.
Note that it is somewhat difficult to give a crisp, succinct definition of eido, so keep that caveat in mind as you read these notes. The uses will not be listed because of the large number (656 hits in 619 verses searching on Strong's Number in the NT).
Eido was found in the Greek secular writings to describe a theory or hypothesis which had been confirmed.
Here is an example of a use of eido that illustrates the meaning...
Here is another use of eido, John writing that...
The point is that when the Holy Spirit opens the spiritual eyes of the heart of Paul's readers, they will be able to perceive and to know these great truths intuitively with a positive knowledge beyond a chance of a doubt. Note that all three clauses (hope, riches, power) are linked to the verb "will know".
This earnest prayer reveals the infinite importance of knowledge as a foundation for walking worthy in this Christian life. Compare Peter's opening blessing for his readers in his second epistle...
Here in Ephesians Paul prays for God to grant them a true experiential knowledge (epignosis) concerning God and then appeals to God to illuminate their tender hearts, the very core of their being, with an intuitive, beyond a chance of doubt knowledge (eido) on three specific issues - hope, riches of His inheritance and power. Why? For as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.
What (5101) (tis) is singular in contrast to the next clause regarding "riches" which is introduced with "what are" which is plural.
Hope (1680) (elpis) (See also study on Believer's Blessed Hope) expresses a desire of some good with the expectation of obtaining it. Hope in Scripture is the absolute certainty of future good. Not "I hope so" but strong confidence that God is going to do good to us in future. It is an expectation or confidence. Paul says that hope ultimately is a person "Christ Jesus...our hope" (1Timothy 1:1, cp Col 1:27-note).
Christians unlike the Gentiles who have no hope can have hope or firm assurance that God will do good to us in the future because Christ has purchased salvation for us on the cross in the past (see Ro 5:1,2 below), sanctifies them through His Spirit in the present (Gal 5:16-25-note), and will lead them to glory in the future (Col 1:27-note; 1Jn 3:2,3-note ).
As stated above, because of Christ's work for us on the Cross means that believers have...
Paul's prayer that they come to intuitively, absolutely know the hope of their calling is in marked contrast to their former state as idol worshipping pagans who were without "hope and without God in the world." (Eph 2:12-note)
Hope gives us the assurance that we are going toward something better than this present life. Knowing with absolute certainty where we are going should give believers the confidence to live as more than conquerors now.
My hope is built on nothing less
Paul reminded the Gentile believers that now in Christ they...
The hope of our calling is the absolute certainty of our heavenly destiny and includes all that awaits the saints at the return of the Lord Jesus and is what Paul referred to by the phrase the "Blessed hope" writing in Titus that...
In a similar way Peter encouraged his afflicted and persecuted readers with the assurance of their "hope" writing...
Calling (2821) (klesis) (Click for more in depth discussion of calling - klesis) (Click for analysis of related word kletos, and a discussion of who are "the called") refers to an invitation as to a banquet. NT, metaphorically, invitation to the kingdom of God, the divine call which introduces us to the privileges of the gospel. It's an invitation to come to something special. In the New Testament it's a special invitation from God to man to accept the benefits of His salvation.
What is involved in the calling of the Christian? Your calling involves everything that God has done, is doing, and wants to do one day regarding your salvation. Paul is simply saying, "I just told you about your calling. I just told you about what God has done for you. Now I want you to understand it deeply, deeply in your heart. It involves not only the joy of being blessed with every spiritual blessing. It involves not only the joy of being chosen by Christ before the foundation of the world. It involves being redeemed by His blood. It involves being adopted as His Son. It involves being sealed in Him with His Spirit, but it also involves the hope of His returning, and everything that is to come after He returns for His church." That is the full payment of which we have the earnest right now."
The Christian’s holy calling is described in some detail in Ephesians 1-3, especially Ephesians 1:3-14 where we see the truths that saints are chosen (Eph 1:4-note), predestined (Eph 1:5, 1:11-see notes Ep1:5, 1:11), adopted as sons (Eph 1:5 note), accepted in the Beloved (Eph 1:6 note), redeemed through His blood (Ephesians 1:7 note), forgiven (Eph 1:7 note), sealed with the Holy Spirit (Ep 1:13-note) and given the earnest of our inheritance (Ep 1:14-note). In addition to a holy calling, saints also have a high ("upward") calling (Php 3:14-note) and a heavenly calling (Heb 3:1-note)
In the present context calling (klesis) refers to those who have been summoned by God (the following phrases are meant to be read as one long sentence which gives a Biblical statement regarding calling)...
according to His purpose (Romans 8:28 note)
to salvation (Romans 8:30 note)
saints by calling (1Cor 1:2)
both Jews and Greeks (1Cor 1:24)
having been called "with a holy" (2 Timothy 1:9 note)
heavenly calling (Hebrews 3:1 note)
out of darkness into His marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9 note)
to walk worthy (Ephesians 4:1 note)
by grace (Gal 1:6-note)
not from among Jews only, but also from among Gentiles (Romans 9:24 note)
through the "gospel" that we "may gain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ" (2Th 2:14)
and be brought "into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord" (1Cor 1:9)
and return in triumph "with Him" at the end of this age (Revelation 17:14-note).
The hope of His calling points to the certain eternal destiny and future glory of the saints. Click for additional discussion on some of the aspects of the hope of this calling. See related in depth study of the Believer's Blessed Hope.
The better we truly know the "hope of His calling", the more we will be motivated to "walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called".
It is truth too magnificent for words to describe which is why even God’s own revelation requires illumination of His Spirit in order for believers to begin to understand the magnitude of the blessings of salvation that exist for saints.
Jon Courson - Throughout Scripture, the word “hope” always refers to that which is coming, to that which is ahead. I’m convinced the single greatest problem carnal Christians have is that they don’t know the hope of His calling. They don’t know the reality of heaven. Consequently, they constantly strive for material things and are continually caught up in carnal pursuits. They’re depressed and discouraged because they don’t see the big picture of eternity. (Jon Courson's Application Commentary. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson)
In summary, Paul is praying for one of the things these believers need to fully understand and to deeply realize -- the hope of God's calling. In Ephesians 1:3-14 Paul had just summed up what their calling involved. Now they needed to understand the hope of that calling so that they would then walk worthy of that calling. When you begin to understand what is the hope of His calling in your life, the assurance and certainty associated with that calling and when you begin to realize that now we only have the earnest of that calling, but that one day we’ll have the full payment, then whatever comes your way you can stand fast on the truth of what God has accomplished for you in Christ in the past, present and future. Knowing these truths in a deeper, more intuitive way, you will be empowered by His Spirit to stand firm on Who He is and how faithful He will be to all of His promises towards you. This is why Paul prayed for the eyes of their hearts to really understand these truths.
Paul does not want these believers to be like Chief Crowfoot. As the story goes Crowfoot, the chief of the Blackfoot nation in southern Alberta, gave the Canadian Pacific Railway permission to lay track from Medicine Hat to Calgary, he was given in exchange a lifetime railroad pass. Reportedly, Crowfoot put the pass in a leather pouch and wore it around his neck for the rest of his life—but he never once availed himself of the rights and privileges it spelled out. What a tragedy when believers do the same thing with the riches they possess in Christ, failing to really possess their possessions!
There are two ways to interpret "the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints"...
View (1) is probably the more valid interpretation although both views are taught in Scripture and the Greek text does allow for both interpretations.
The first view that the saints are God’s inheritance has precedence in the Old Testament, Moses recording that Israel was God's possession...
For the LORD'S portion is His people; Jacob is the allotment of His inheritance. (Deuteronomy 32:9) (Spurgeon's devotional)
It is amazing that God would even need an inheritance because He owns everything (cp Ps 50:10) and yet here Moses clearly states that the Lord’s portion is His people.
This same truth is found in the first epistle of Peter where we read that believers...
It is an amazing thought (which calls for an appropriate response) that as believers in Christ we are no longer our own but that we belong to God. We are His own possession (Titus 2:14, Ro 8:9). He considers each us to be His precious portion. This thought is too great to fully comprehend in this life! We belong to Somebody. We have His "seal" on us, and more accurately within us in the presence of His Holy Spirit.
Paul applies this truth that we are God's inheritance in his letter to the Corinthians writing...
Click for multiple Scriptures dealing with the other view (#2) that the inheritance refers to what believers will inherit one day by virtue of their position in Christ.
“The riches of His glory” refers to the abundant, preeminent glory of God as displayed in His saints.
Illustration - Brian Harbour - Back many years ago, a young boy accompanied his father and mother as they took the wagon into town for supplies. After the supplies had been purchased and were being loaded in the wagon, the owner of the store said to the boy, "Son, you have been such a good boy, I'm going to let you put your hand in the candy jar and get all the candy you can grab." The little boy just stood there and made no move for the candy. The owner put his hand into the jar, grabbed a handful of candy and handed it to the boy. On the way home, the father asked the boy why he didn't reach his own hand into the jar. He said, "It's not like you to be shy." The boy responded, "I wasn't shy. I was just waiting on him. I knew his hand was bigger than mine." That's a good description of the way God gives His riches to us. He gives them to us by the handfuls.
Inheritance (2817) (kleronomia [word study] from kleros = a lot + nemo = to distribute) (see study of related Kleronomos) (see second word study kleronomia) is originally a portion which one receives by lot in a general distribution. In the NT the idea of chance attaching to the lot is eliminated for all believers we inherit all spiritual blessings in Christ. Kleronomia is literally what is received as a gift from someone who has died, but figuratively as in this verse it refers in a religious sense to God's promised salvation, gifts, and benefits.
Note: This is the same explanatory note that is found in Ephesians 1:14-note (if you have already read that one).
Kleronomia is the portion or heritage which one receives by virtue of birth or by special gift from someone who has died (Lk 12:13). In a figurative sense, kleronomia refers to God's promised salvation, gifts, and benefits as our inheritance (which is the use in Eph 5:5-note) and eternal possession for every believer. (See dictionary discussion of Inheritance) and benefits, an
Thayer summarizes kleronomia as (1) an inheritance, property received (or to be received) by inheritance, or (2) what is given to one as a possession.
NIDNTT says that in classical Greek the root word...
Here is an excerpt from Spurgeon's sermon on Ps 47:4 ("He chooses our inheritance for us") entitled "A Wise Desire" in which the prince of preachers speaks of God's inheritance in His Beloved and for the beloved in Christ...
F B Meyer commenting on inheritance in 1Peter 1:4-note...
F B Meyer writes about THE SAINTS' INHERITANCE IN GOD (Ephesians 1:14, Ephesians 5:5)...
Saints (40) (hagios) describes men and women who have been set apart from the world by the sanctifying work of the Spirit for a specific purpose determined by God before the foundation of the world (see notes Ephesians 2:10).
Johnson agrees writing that Paul is "not speaking so much about what we have in Christ, but about what he has in us... he thinks of us as His inheritance. In the Old Testament, that’s what Israel was called; she was called “The Lord’s Portion,” the Lord’s inheritance. (cf Deut 32:9) And that’s what we are. We are the Lord’s Portion, the Lord’s Inheritance. We have an inheritance in him, and he has an inheritance in us. God glories in his saints. Isn’t that something? That’s amazing. (Ephesians 1:15-23 Possessing the Possessions in Christ)
F B Meyer (takes view #1) and sees this verse as referring to believers as God's inheritance writing about...
Faith and Riches - Do you want to be rich? Do you think your faith will bring you riches? What kind of riches are you looking for?
There's good news and bad news if wealth is what you want. The good news is that God's Word does promise riches to the believer. The "bad" news is that it doesn't have anything to do with money.
Here are some examples of the riches that can be ours as believers in Jesus Christ:
Yes, God's Word promises us great riches—treasures that we cannot even attempt to purchase with any amount of money. It is these riches that we must seek, enjoy, and use to glorify their source—our heavenly Father.—Dave Branon (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
The treasures of earth are not mine,
Amplified: By having the eyes of your heart flooded with light, so that you can know and understand the hope to which He has called you, and how rich is His glorious inheritance in the saints (His set-apart ones), (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
NLT: I pray that you will begin to understand the incredible greatness of his power for us who believe Him. This is the same mighty power (NLT - Tyndale House)
Phillips: and how tremendous is the power available to us who believe in God. (Phillips: Touchstone)
Wuest: and what is the superabounding greatness of His inherent power to us who are believing ones as measured by the operative energy of the manifested strength of His might, (Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: and what the exceeding greatness of His power to us who are believing, according to the working of the power of His might,
AND WHAT IS THE SURPASSING GREATNESS OF HIS POWER TOWARD US WHO BELIEVE: kai ti to huperballon (PAPNSN) megethos tes dunameos autou eis hemas tous pisteuontas (PAPMPA) : (Eph 2:10; 3:7,20; Psalms 110:2,3; Isaiah 53:1; John 3:6; Acts 26:18; Romans 1:16; 2Corinthians 4:7; 5:17; Philippians 2:13; Colossians 1:29; 2:12; 1Thessalonians 1:5; 2Thessalonians 1:11; James 1:18)
And what is... - And is a connective, which signifies that a word or part of a sentence is to be added to what precedes. And so inspired by the Spirit, Paul emphasizes that God has even more blessings to bestow on His children, the blessing of "resurrection power" so that saved sinners so that we might be enabled to live a supernatural life! Blessing upon blessings! This is amazing grace indeed! Note however that Paul did not pray for power to be given to believers. What he prayed was that they be given a divine awareness (eido = intuitive knowledge) of the power they possessed in Christ! He prayed that they might be enlightened so that experientially they might truly possess their possessions! Is this not every believers great challenge and need?! Our dear Father "has blessed (past tense - it is a completed act!) us with every (how many?) spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ." (Eph 1:3) God grant all of Your children spiritual eyes to perceive and possess our possessions in Christ. Amen!
Surpassing (5235) (huperballo from hupér = above + bállo = cast) literally means to throw beyond the usual mark and figuratively means to excel or surpass. It refers to a degree which exceeds extraordinary and thus excels. It means to attain a degree that extraordinarily exceeds a point on a scale of extent.
God's power goes far beyond all other power. The power of Christ applied in the believer’s behalf can't be defeated because the Creator's power exceeds that of the evil created beings, Satan and his minions.
Note that huperballo is in the present tense indicating that this power is power which continually surpassing or excels all other power! There will never be a day when it is not sufficient to accomplish what God purposes in us and through us to the praise of His glory (what He does in and through us will be seen by others who give Him praise and glory because they realize that it is a supernatural not natural work!) May we learn daily to surrender to the Spirit of Christ, Who energizes our walk, elevating it from a "natural" to a "supernatural" walk.
Alexander Maclaren - It is 'exceeding.' Exceeding what? He does not tell us, but other words in this letter, in the other great prayer which it contains, may help us to supply the missing words. He speaks of the 'love of Christ which passeth knowledge,' and of God being 'able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we can ask or think.' The power which is really at work in Christian men to-day is in its nature properly transcendent and immeasurable, and passes thought and desire and knowledge. (THE MEASURE OF IMMEASURABLE POWER)
Greatness (3174) (megethos from megas = strong, great) refers to magnitude (great size or extent), greatness. In other words God's resurrection power is of such a magnitude and quality that it exceeds all standards of physical magnitude! Do we really believe this is true? Megethos can also take on the sense of “power”. Megethos is used in Lxx in Ex 15:16 "By the greatness of Thine arm' (Where "His arm" is tantamount to His power. And what did the greatness of His arm accomplish? His power delivered over 6 million people save through the Red Sea, while at the same time destroying the entire army of Egypt, the greatest army in the world at that time! Why do we doubt God's power to deliver us out of our "little Red Sea" experiences?
Johnson asks "What is the greatness of the power to us what who believe? Well, look, it’s the power that he wrought in Christ when he raised him from the dead. The resurrection power that raised up the Lord Jesus Christ from the dead is the power that works in every single believer. Isn’t that magnificent? The power of God that was wrought, by God in Christ works in me. Look at our Lord’s body in the tomb. Cold, with the coldness of death. Still, with the stillness of death. Slain because of our sins. And then look at our Lord now at the right hand of the Father on high. Glorified in the life that is life indeed. And the measure of the power that is to us what who believe is that mighty power which entered into Jesus Christ and resurrected him from the dead. That power works in every one of us, as I stand before you. (Ref)
Wiersbe - He is talking about divine dynamic, eternal energy, available to us! After all, what good is it to have wealth if you are too weak to use it? Or if you are so afraid of robbers that you cannot really enjoy it? John D. Rockefeller was the world’s first billionaire. It is said that for many years, he lived on crackers and milk because of stomach troubles caused by worrying about his wealth. He rarely had a good night’s sleep, and guards stood constantly at his door. Wealthy—but miserable! When he began to share his wealth with others in great philanthropic endeavors, his health improved considerably and he lived to be an old man... God’s power enables us to use God’s wealth. But there is a second reason why we need God’s power. There are enemies who want to rob us of our wealth (Eph 1:21; 6:11; 6:12 see notes Ep 1:21; 6:11; 6:12). We could never defeat these spiritual foes in our own power, but we can through the Spirit’s power. (Ibid)
Power (1411) (dunamis [word study] - words derived from the stem duna— all have the basic meaning of “being able,” of “capacity” in virtue of an ability) (Click word study on dunamis) inherent power in God (like in the Gospel Ro 1;16-note). It refers to inherent ability, the power or ability to carry out some function, the potential for functioning in some way, the power residing in a thing by virtue of its nature. It conveys the idea of effective, productive energy, rather than that which is raw and unbridled.
Dunamis - 119x in 115v - Matt. 7:22; 11:20f, 23; 13:54, 58; 14:2; 22:29; 24:29f; 25:15; 26:64; Mk. 5:30; 6:2, 5, 14; 9:1, 39; 12:24; 13:25f; 14:62; Lk. 1:17, 35; 4:14, 36; 5:17; 6:19; 8:46; 9:1; 10:13, 19; 19:37; 21:26f; 22:69; 24:49; Acts 1:8; 2:22; 3:12; 4:7, 33; 6:8; 8:10, 13; 10:38; 19:11; Rom. 1:4, 16, 20; 8:38; 9:17; 15:13, 19; 1 Co. 1:18, 24; 2:4f; 4:19f; 5:4; 6:14; 12:10, 28f; 14:11; 15:24, 43, 56; 2 Co. 1:8; 4:7; 6:7; 8:3; 12:9, 12; 13:4; Gal. 3:5; Eph. 1:19, 21; 3:7, 16, 20; Phil. 3:10; Col. 1:11, 29; 1 Thess. 1:5; 2 Thess. 1:7, 11; 2:9; 2 Tim. 1:7f; 3:5; Heb. 1:3; 2:4; 6:5; 7:16; 11:11, 34; 1 Pet. 1:5; 3:22; 2 Pet. 1:3, 16; 2:11; Rev. 1:16; 3:8; 4:11; 5:12; 7:12; 11:17; 12:10; 13:2; 15:8; 17:13; 18:3; 19:1. NAS Usage: ability(4), meaning(1), mightily(1), mighty(1), miracle(2), miracles(17), miraculous powers(3), power(83), powers(6), strength(2), wealth(1).
Here are Paul's uses of dunamis in Ephesians...
Notice in this one letter Paul prays twice for the saints to experience dunamis which He associates with the indwelling Holy Spirit. Perhaps he perceived a power shortage in the Ephesians saints! Is my life a living epistle, a vibrant testimony to God's supernatural power? (If not it should be - see Jesus' command in Mt 5:16-note!)
Dunamis is the root from which we derive the English word dynamic, (synonyms = energetic, functioning, live, operative, working) which describes that which is marked by usually continuous and productive activity or change. That which is dynamic is characterized by energy or forces that produce motion, as opposed to that which is static. Another English word dynamite, is derived from dunamis and since dunamis is used by Paul to describe the "power of God", some have suggested that the gospel is "God’s dynamite". This is misapplication of this English derivative in an attempt to try to picture the life saving power of the gospel. Dunamis does not refer to explosive power, as if the gospel will blow men to bits but as discussed above, it refers to intrinsic power. The gospel is dynamic, God’s dynamic, and so is powerful in the transformation of human lives. This same power resides in believers because we are in Christ and He is in us.
How is this resurrection power demonstrated even in this letter? Is it not in the resurrection of those who are dead in trespasses and sins from their spiritual stupor and separation from God, releasing them from the shackles of sin and subservience to Satan and setting them free in Christ? This is the miraculous power each believer experienced at the moment of salvation and surely there is no greater manifestation of God's power than this. There stood that awful obstacle—and it is still the great obstacle that stands between all men and God—death in sin and nothing but the power of God could deal with such a situation. But let us not stop here - believers needed resurrection power to be saved the first time (justification) and are in continual need of this same power for "daily salvation" (progressive sanctification, "present tense" salvation) from the world, the flesh and the devil! (See the Three Tenses of Salvation)
Kenneth Wuest says that dunamis... "power in the sense of that which overcomes resistance or effects a change" (In Mark 5:30 literal Greek = “Jesus, perceiving in Himself the out from Him power going out”) It was some of (Jesus') supernatural power which He felt leaving Him in the accomplishing of the miraculous cure". (Wuest's Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: Eerdmans)
William Barclay says that dunamis "is the word from which dynamite comes. It can be used of any kind of extraordinary power. It can be used of the power of growth, of the powers of nature, of the power of a drug, of the power of a man’s genius. It always has the meaning of an effective power which does things and which any man can recognize." (Daily Bible Study)
Paul does not pray, “Lord, give them power.” He prays, “Lord, help their spiritual eyes see, and appropriate the power they already have resident within.” The incomprehensible, dynamic power of the resurrected Christ is already in us.
Wiersbe draws a fitting application of Paul's great prayer for our great need - "The greatest power shortage today is not in our generators or our gas tanks. It is in our personal lives. Will Paul’s prayer be answered in your life? Will you, starting today, begin to know by experience God—God’s calling—God’s riches—and God’s power?"
Spurgeon - "See how high Christ is raised! The same power that brought Christ from the dead, and set him on high, works in the salvation of every believer. Nothing less than omnipotence can save a soul; and omnipotence at its very best in the glorification of Christ is none too great for the salvation of a sinner."
Toward (1519) (eis) motion toward = marking that which any person or thing inclines toward (in this case genuine belief)
"TO US-WARD WHO BELIEVE"
The KJV has a unique and memorable way of translating this verse...
Believe (4100) (pisteuo) refers not just to an intellectual assent to the truths of the gospel but to a saving belief that effects the heart, resulting in a transformed, supernaturally directed conduct based on the truth believed. Thus to believe is to obey and to stake one's life on the truth of the gospel manifesting a lifestyle in accordance with that truth. Vine explains that genuine belief is a firm conviction of the truth, a surrender to that truth and a conduct that results from that surrender. The conduct (works) doesn't save us but does demonstrate the belief to be genuine.
Paul shows the proper relationship of faith and works in this letter, explaining that believers are God's
Notice that pisteuo is in the present tense which describes those who are continuously believing as for example would be demonstrated by their lifestyle, which is generally (not perfectly) directed God-ward and Heaven-ward (homeward). The definite article in Greek ("the") precedes pisteuo, which means these are literally "the" believing ones (i.e., they are genuine believers).
Glenn Spencer on believe - This is a condition for the victorious life. In referring to those who believe Paul goes beyond the initial act of faith in God for salvation and speaks of a continuing and growing faith. There are a good number of folks who have believed and been saved who's faith hasn't grown. Right here is where the average Christian fails. The faith that saves is not the faith whereby we live the victorious Christian life. Our faith must grow. Our Lord gave us an object lesson on this truth when He spoke about faith as a grain of mustard seed. Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field: Which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof. (Matthew 13:31-32) He used the mustard seed to teach His disciples an important lesson about faith and victory. Jesus was not teaching us that a little faith could accomplish great things. The emphasis is not on that which is little, but rather that which starts out small and grows into something bigger and stronger. Faith must be exercised in all areas of Christian growth. Saving faith is sufficient for trusting Christ and being saved, but such must grow into Sanctifying faith, Serving faith, Standing faith, and Suffering faith. It takes far more faith to encounter and endure the battles of the Christian life than it did to trust Christ and be born again. Why is there such a power shortage among professing Christians today? Why is there so little power when God states that He has given us His Divine power? Too many people are trusting Christ for the power to save their souls and not trusting Him for the power to live day by day. The power of God is most neglected resource in the Church. Leon Tucker wrote the following words back in 1917: "Power is the one thing the church of God needs most and has least. The work of the Lord languishes for lack of power. The church, like Samson in the lap of a harlot, has divulged the secret of strength and is shorn of power. The church cannot arise and go out as at other times, and this the Philistines well know." Do you have the power of God in your life? If not, why not? It is available. ...Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. (Galatians 5:16-note) Obeying that command would settle the matter of walking in the flesh verses walking in the Spirit. The text is clear! If we do walk in the Spirit we will not fulfil the lust of the flesh. Herein lies the means of victory! WALK IN THE SPIRIT. (Ephesians- Life In The Heights)
Remember that believers are called to be imitators of Jesus (1Cor 11:1, cf 1Jn 2:6, 1Pe 2:21) and in that light we need to recall that during Jesus' earthly ministry, He lived out His life in the power of the Holy pirit. Jesus was conceived of the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:35); empowered by the Holy Spirit (Mt 3:16, Lk 4:14); filled with and led by the Holy Spirit (Mt 4:1, Lk 4:1). Jesus healed by the power of the Holy Spirit (Acts 10:38); cast out demons by the power of the Holy Spirit (Mt 12:28); was resurrected from the dead by the power of the Holy Spirit (Ro 8:11); and was seated at God's right hand in the heavenly places through the power of the Holy Spirit (Eph 1:19, 20). We as His followers, can best imitate our Lord by learning to relinquish self reliance and instead relying on God's power which is manifest and effective through His Spirit in us, as we seek to continually be filled with Him (Eph 5:18) and to walk by Him (Gal 5:16). And remember that this "spiritual journey" is not an "arrival" in this life but is a life long journey (sanctification), albeit it is a journey which is "enabled" by the hope (guaranteed assurance 1Jn 3:2) of our final arrival one day in the future in twinkling of an eye (glorification - 1Cor 15:52).
F B Meyer writes about...
THESE ARE IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE WORKING OF THE STRENGTH OF HIS MIGHT: kata ten energeian tou kratous tes ischuos autou:
It is difficult to give a clear distinction between the 3 Greek words that expand on the meaning of "the surpassing greatness of His power (dunamis)", but in simple terms it pictures the piling up of similar terms in an attempt to convey the magnitude and capability of God's incomprehensible, infinite power. And God's surpassing power is available to believers because we are in Christ and He is in us, these "positions" picturing an immutable union, a oneness, a solemn and binding covenant relationship. (See The Oneness of Covenant)
Glenn Spencer - Old fashioned Holy Ghost power is the need of the day. God intends that His work be accomplished by His power. We live in a day when denominations, Churches, and religious organizations are running on man-made programs, social agendas, and orders handed down from denominational headquarters. The average ministry is fueled by the flesh. The Word of God is scarcely preached while rock music and religious performers entertain worldly pagans. Such activity is a far cry from what God intended and expects the local Church to be. No amount of worldly noise or manmade programming will make up for the sad lack of the Holy Spirit's presence. Samuel Chadwick writes: "The Church that is man-managed instead of God-governed is doomed to failure. A ministry that is College-trained but not Spirit-filled works no miracles. [Beloved, do you really believe that is true? - see related discussion - A Spirit Filled Church]The Church that multiplies committees and neglects prayer may be fussy, noisy, entertaining and enterprising, but it labours in vain and spends its strength for naught. It is possible to excel in mechanics and fail in dynamic. There is a superabundance of machinery; what is wanting is power. To run an organization needs no God. Man can supply the energy, enterprise and enthusiasm for things human. The real work of a Church depends upon the power of the Spirit." There are too many Christians trying to do the work of God without first being filled with God. If we are to ever see revival we must have the power of God. The power of God in our lives is the result of being Spirit filled and we are commanded to be filled with the Spirit. And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit. (Ephesians 5:18) The filling of the Holy Spirit will result in power for service with souls being won to Christ and Christians growing in grace and knowledge. No one can do the work of God successfully without being filled with the Holy Spirit. (Ibid)
On the other hand Alexander Maclaren asks...
In accordance (2596) (kata) not out of but according to. Not a portion of but proportionate to! If I am a billionaire and I give you ten dollars, I have given you out of my riches, a small portion of my wealth. On the other hand if I give you a million dollars, I have given to you "according to" or more in proportion to my riches. God never gives niggardly to His children but according to the riches of His grace!
Working (1753) (energeia from en = in + érgon = work, English = energy) describes effectual working, efficiency or active, effective power. It is exclusively a Pauline word used only to describe superhuman or supernatural power, whether of God or of the devil. It is energetic power, energy put forth or energy put in operation.
In this passage energeia describes the active, energetic, productive power of the Spirit of God at work.
Energeia describes God’s power in raising Christ, Paul instructing the Colossian saints that they have
In Philippians 3:21 Paul states that the Lord Jesus Christ
The surpassing power which God's Spirit uses in continually energizing our supernatural life (Php 2:13-note), in ministering to our spiritual needs, is in accordance with, commensurate with His infinite, immeasurable divine energy. Try to grasp the scope of that thought, dearly beloved of God! The next time we feel weak, we need to recall this passage to our mind (a present imperative command in Php 4:8-note), not in the sense of "mind over matter" but in the sense that this is what is true about us, a truth that we need to walk in by faith (2Cor 5:7, Col 2:6), even (especially) during those times we feel weak (cp 2Cor 12:9-10-note) or inadequate (2Cor 3:5-6-note, 1Cor 15:10-note)
Strength (2904) (kratos) refers to manifested power or power that is put forth in action. It is power to overcome what stands in the way. It is power which is able to overcome resistance. It refers to the inherent strength which displays itself in the rule over others.
Kratos means strength or might, the power to rule or control or exert dominion (power to rule, supreme authority, sovereignty, the right to govern or rule or determine).
Might (2479) (ischus) (see note by Wayne Barber ischus) refers to “power as an enduement.” Ischus is the inherent ability which stresses the factuality of the ability, not necessarily the accomplishment. Ischus is inherent power or force. A muscular man’s big muscles display his might, even if he doesn’t use them. It is the reserve of strength. Ischus therefore conveys the sense of endowed power or ability. The idea is that it is the active efficacy of the might that is inherent in God, His indwelling strength. Ischus is that strength which one has in possession or ability. One might think of ischus as God's latent power. It is His capability to function effectively. He is able!
Ischus - 10 times in the NT translated: might, 5; power, 1; strength, 4.
Ischus - 251 uses in the Septuagint (LXX) -Gen. 4:12; 31:6; 49:3; Exod.9:16; 15:6, 13; 32:11, 18; Lev. 26:20; Num. 14:13, 17; 24:18; Deut. 3:24; 4:37; 8:17f; 9:26, 29; 26:8; 32:13; 33:11, 25, 27; Jos. 6:2; 8:3; 10:7; 17:17; Jdg. 6:14; 16:5f, 9, 15, 17, 19, 30; Ruth 2:1; 1 Sam. 2:9f; 28:20, 22; 30:4; 2 Sam. 6:5; 22:18; 24:2, 4; 1 Ki. 19:8; 2 Ki. 5:1; 15:20; 17:36; 19:3; 23:25; 24:14; 1 Chr. 5:2; 12:21, 25, 28, 30; 16:27f; 29:11f; 2 Chr. 3:17; 6:41; 13:20; 20:6, 12; 25:6; 26:13; 28:6; 35:19; Neh. 4:10; 8:10; Esther 4:17; 10:2; Job 4:2; 5:5; 6:11f, 22, 25; 9:19; 12:16; 16:5; 23:6; 26:2, 12; 30:2, 18; 31:24, 39; 36:5, 19, 22; 37:23; 39:11, 21; 40:16; Ps. 18:1; 22:15; 29:4, 11; 31:10; 33:16; 38:10; 39:10; 61:2; 65:6; 71:9; 78:61; 102:23; 103:20; 111:6; 118:14; 147:5; Prov. 5:10; 8:14; 14:4, 26; 15:6; 18:10; 27:24; 30:25; 31:25; Eccl. 4:1; Song 2:7; 3:5; 5:8; 8:4; Is. 1:31; 2:10, 19, 21; 3:1; 10:13, 33; 11:2; 23:4, 11; 28:6; 29:2; 30:15; 33:11, 13; 37:3; 40:9f, 26, 29, 31; 41:1; 42:13; 44:12; 45:1; 47:5, 9; 49:4f, 26; 51:9; 52:1; 58:1; 61:6; 62:8; 63:1, 15; Jer. 9:23; 10:12; 15:10, 13; 16:19; 20:5; 23:10; 27:5; 32:17; 49:16; 51:15, 53; Lam. 1:6, 14; Ezek. 7:24; 19:11f, 14; 24:21, 25; 26:11; 27:12; 30:6, 15, 18, 21; 31:18; 32:12, 16, 18, 20, 26, 29ff; 33:28; 34:27; Dan. 1:4; 2:37; 3:4, 20; 4:1, 13f, 21ff, 30f; 5:7; 7:7; 8:6f, 22, 24; 10:8, 16f; 11:1, 6f, 10, 15, 17, 19, 25, 34; Hos. 6:9; 7:9; 8:7; Joel 2:22; Amos 2:14; 3:11; 5:9; 6:13; Mic. 3:8; 4:13; 5:4; 7:16; Nah. 1:3; 2:1; 3:9; Hab. 1:11; 3:4; Zech. 4:6; 14:14
Ischus is used of the ability of human beings in Mark...
Ischus is used of angelic power in 2 Peter...
Ischus is used as an attribute of God in the Revelation...
Vincent - The radical idea of ischus, might, is that of indwelling strength, especially as embodied: might which inheres in physical powers organized and working under individual direction, as an army: which appears in the resistance of physical organisms, as the earth, against which one dashes himself in vain: which dwells in persons or things, and gives them influence or value: which resides in laws or punishments to make them irresistible
Kratos is exercised strength whereas ischus refers to great inherent strength. Nevertheless, the distinctions in these words is somewhat difficult to appreciate and convey in the form of a simple definition.
Constable strings these words together writing that...
In Ephesians 1:19 and Ephesians 6:10, ischus describes the strength of God bestowed upon believers.
What does this "working of the strength of His might" look like? Paul presents a fourfold demonstration of the very same power which God makes available to believers - God “raised Him from the dead” (Ep 1:20 -note), “seated Him at His right hand in the heavenlies” (Ephesians 1:20), “subjected all things under His feet” (Ep 1:22-note), and “gave Him as head over the church” (Ephesians 1:22).
In summary, because we are in Christ and He is in us, believers possess resurrection (and ascension) power, and Paul's prayer is for the Spirit to shine the light on this incredible, difficult to comprehend truth that we might know it beyond a "shadow of a doubt" and live in the light of this truth. In short, Paul prays for our position in Christ to become our practice in Christ.
This was even Paul's desire expressed so powerfully in Philippians writing...
Warren Wiersbe sums up Paul's prayer for the saints to know the power they possess - The power of the Holy Spirit, through the resurrected, ascended Christ, is available to all Christians—by faith. His power is to “us-ward who believe” (Eph. 1:19). It is grace that supplies the wealth, but it is faith that lays hold of the wealth (cp 2Cor 5:7-note). We are saved “by grace, through faith” (Eph. 2:8–9), and we live “by grace,” through faith (1Cor. 15:10-note). In the four Gospels, we see God’s power at work in the ministry of Jesus Christ, but in the Book of Acts, we see that same power at work in ordinary men and women, members of the body of Christ. What a transformation took place in Peter’s life between the end of the Gospels and the beginning of Acts. What made the difference? The resurrection power of Jesus Christ (Acts 1:8-note, cp Col 1:29-note, Eph 3:20-note). (Ibid)
John Piper - Resurrection Power Now - So my message for believers in Jesus is this: The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and what became of him after his resurrection, shows the greatness of God’s power toward us now in this life. Perhaps you can remember three words to capture this message: resurrection power now. I’m taking this message from this phrase in Ephesians 1:19: “the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe.” I know that the vast majority of you do not feel that power. It sounds idealistic. It sounds like religious hype. It sounds vague and theoretical. It does not correspond to experience, and so you instinctively feel like this sermon is going to be like a piece of fiction. I don’t blame you for feeling that way. I have often felt that way myself. But by God’s grace the word of God may change your mind and your heart. I can’t. God can. God may. (The Immeasurable Greatness of His Power Toward Us)
Adrian Rogers on Heaven Will Break Loose! - Now, I want to ask you a question: Are you sitting in this auditorium, this morning, or are you sitting in heavenly places? The answer is yes, yes, yes. Physically, we are here; but, in Christ, we have been raised. When He died, we died. His death had our name on it. When He was raised from the grave, we were raised from the grave. When He ascended, we ascended. When He is seated at the right hand of God, so are we, in Christ. If I were to put you in a barrel and put that barrel in the Mississippi River, where would you be? In the Mississippi River, right? Well, if you're in Christ, and Christ is at the right hand of God, where are you? Seated with Him. The devil hopes you don't understand this. That's the reason Paul said, "I am praying that your eyes will be opened, that you will be enlightened, that you will understand this" (Ephesians 1:18). That's my prayer, that you'll understand it: "the exceeding greatness of His power" (Ephesians 1:19). Imagine a couple of demons speaking. One demon says to the other, "Demon, if those liberal theologians ever really let Jesus Christ out of that tomb, and those so-called Baptist preachers begin to preach it—whew! Hell help us, all Heaven will break loose." Don't you think it's time all Heaven broke loose? Don't you think it's time that the people of God begin to understand and to exercise Kingdom Authority?
Morning and Evening, Spurgeon - In the resurrection of Christ, as in our salvation, there was put forth nothing short of a divine power. What shall we say of those who think that conversion is wrought by the free will of man, and is due to his own betterness of disposition? When we shall see the dead rise from the grave by their own power, then may we expect to see ungodly sinners of their own free will turning to Christ. It is not the word preached, nor the word read in itself; all quickening power proceeds from the Holy Ghost. This power was irresistible. All the soldiers and the high priests could not keep the body of Christ in the tomb; Death himself could not hold Jesus in his bonds: even thus irresistible is the power put forth in the believer when he is raised to newness of life. No sin, no corruption, no devils in hell nor sinners upon earth, can stay the hand of God's grace when it intends to convert a man. If God omnipotently says, "Thou shalt," man shall not say, "I will not." Observe that the power which raised Christ from the dead was glorious. It reflected honour upon God and wrought dismay in the hosts of evil. So there is great glory to God in the conversion of every sinner. It was everlasting power. "Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him." So we, being raised from the dead, go not back to our dead works nor to our old corruptions, but we live unto God. "Because he lives we live also." "For we are dead, and our life is hid with Christ in God." "Like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. " Lastly, in the text mark the union of the new life to Jesus. The same power which raised the Head works life in the members. What a blessing to be quickened together with Christ!
Sublimal Messages Don't Work - Americans spend $50 million a year on subliminal message tapes designed to help them do everything from improve their self-image to stop smoking. But there's no hidden message in the National Research Council's verdict on such techniques. The Council's report, released in September 1991, concludes that subliminal messages simply don't work. They don't deliver the life-transforming power they promise. What a disappointment to someone who helped contribute to that $50 million figure! But while countless people place, or rather misplace, their faith in the transforming power of subliminal messages, living faith in Jesus Christ cannot fail to do its transforming work. (6000 Plus Illustrations for Communicating Biblical Truths)
Help Them To Achieve (Ephesians 1:15-23) - Newspaper columnist Jean Calmen once wrote about a teacher she called Miss K. In her youth, Calmen had been a student of Miss K's, so she sent the teacher a copy of a column she was especially proud of.
Miss K had always taught her students to have confidence in their abilities. That's why Calmen was disappointed when her aging teacher responded with a handwritten note that said, "I was aware of the fact that you were intelligent, but I never thought that someday I would be reading articles from your pen in the newspaper." Calmen had expected her former teacher to say, "I knew you could do that."
If anyone should instill hope and bring out the best in others, it should be the Christian. In Ephesians 1, the apostle Paul let his "students" know that he prayed for them constantly. And he did so with great expectations. He wanted them to rise above self-serving behavior and develop the character and likeness of Christ. He told them they could do anything God wanted them to do through Christ who would strengthen them (Phil. 4:13).
As we experience God's power in our own lives, we can encourage others. Together we can help each other achieve great things for Him. --M R De Haan II (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
Illustration - In 218 b.c. Hannibal invaded Italy in the second of three Punic Wars that determined the fate of Rome and Carthage. From her own people Rome raised an army, animated it with patriotism, and ordered it to fight. The wealthy devoted their treasure to the cause, and all classes sacrificed everyday amenities for troops in the field. For fifteen years the Romans defended their homeland against the brilliant Carthaginian—and could never drive him out. But their willingness to persevere assured victory, for Hannibal could never conquer them. He finally disembarked his troops from a lack of support at home. God demands that we obstinately oppose Satan, as those Romans untiringly harried Hannibal. Victory is ours! We may not be able to conquer Satan all at once, but he cannot conquer us at all. No, not at all. We shall conquer him eventually, for God has willed his truth to triumph through us. (Hurley, V. Speaker's Sourcebook of New Illustrations Dallas: Word Publishers)
Power for You-Today! by Theodore Epp - Ephesians 1: 19-23 The Scriptures frequently refer to God's power as it relates to the believer.
Ephesians 6:10 says, "Be strong in the Lord and in the power of his might."
Philippians 1:6 says, "Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ."
Colossians 1:29 records Paul's testimony: "I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily."
God's power is sufficient for our every need. None of us has to live a defeated life. But those who do not make use of God's available power live miserable, defeated lives.
There's more than enough power to break the hold of all sinful habits; more than enough to give deliverance from temptation; more than enough to enable the believer to live above circumstances. Paul said that God's power is "to us-ward who believe" (Eph. 1:19).
God's power is made available to us by His indwelling presence. Paul referred to this when he told the Colossians that God's power "worketh in me mightily" (1:29).
So the dynamo of Christian living is within the believer because God is within the believer. Hebrews 13:21 records the prayer, "Make you perfect [mature] in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight."
The person who has received Christ is a new creation. Referring to himself as a believer, Paul wrote: "I am [have been] crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me" (Gal. 2:20).
"Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us" (Eph. 3:20). (Back to the Bible)