Faith Bible Church of Lake Charles
Wake Up and Smell the Riches
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  • Wake Up and Smell the Riches

    Many of us, if not most of us have a handicap. And it affects just about every area of our life. And to make it worse, society encourages it.
    That’s right. Everywhere we turn, all we hear about is what’s wrong. What we don’t have. We focus on the negative. We don’t rejoice enough about the good things we have. Or worse yet, we don’t realize what we have.
    We may be like the late newspaper publisher, William Randolph Hearst, who invested a fortune collecting art treasures from around the world.
    One day Mr. Hearst found a description of some valuable items that he felt he must own, so he sent his agent abroad to find them. After months of searching, the agent reported that he had finally found the treasures.
    They were in Mr. Hearst’s warehouse. Hearst had been searching frantically for treasures he already owned! Had he read the catalog of his treasures, he would have saved himself a great deal of money and trouble.
    The Apostle Paul understood that we’re not always aware of what we have. So he sets out to make the Ephesian Christians aware of the riches that were theirs as part of their spiritual inheritance.
    We’ve already discovered in the previous verses that we were “born rich” when we trusted Christ. But that’s not enough. We must grow in our understanding of our riches if we’re ever going to use them for the glory of God.
    We need to wake up and smell the riches. Too many Christians have never “read the bank book” to find out the vast spiritual wealth that God has put to their account through Jesus Christ. Let’s read:
    Ephesians 1:15–23 NKJV
    15 Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, 16 do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers: 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, 18 the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power 20 which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come. 22 And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, 23 which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.
    Before we study Paul’s requests in this “prayer for enlightenment,” we should notice two facts.
    Enlightenment comes from the Holy Spirit. It doesn’t come from the natural mind. It’s not reserved for the intelligent. It’s available only to the inherited.
    This enlightenment comes to the heart of the believer (vs. 18). We normally 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 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. Let’s begin with Paul’s first request in this “prayer.”

    That They Might Know God

    Ephesians 1:17 NKJV
    17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him,
    This, of course, is the highest knowledge possible. The atheist claims there is no God for us to know, and the agnostic states that if there is a God we cannot know Him. But Paul has met God in the person of Jesus Christ, and he knows that a man really cannot understand much of anything else without a knowledge of God.
    The believer must grow in his knowledge of God. To know God personally is salvation (John 17:3). To know Him increasingly is sanctification (Phil. 3:10). To know Him perfectly is glorification (1 Cor. 13:9–12). Since we are made in the image of God (Gen. 1:26–28), the better we know God, the better we know ourselves and each other.
    It is not enough to know God only as Saviour. We must get to know Him as Father, Friend, Guide, and the better we know Him, the more satisfying our spiritual lives will be. Second,

    That We Might Know God’s Calling

    Ephesians 1:18 NKJV
    18 the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints,
    The word called is an important word in the Christian’s vocabulary. The word church is a combination of two Greek words that mean “called out.”
    Paul never tired of saying that God called him “by His grace” (Gal. 1:15); and he reminded Timothy that the believer has a “holy calling” (2 Tim. 1:9).
    We have been “called out of darkness into His marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9), and have even been “called to glory” (1 Peter 5:10). God calls us by His grace and not because of any merit that we may possess.
    Paul wants us to understand the hope that is ours because of this calling (Eph. 4:4).
    Some callings offer no hope, but the calling we have in Christ assures us of a delightful future.
    Keep in mind that the word hope in the Bible does not mean “hope so,” like a child hoping for a doll or a bike at Christmas.
    The word carries with it “assurance for the future.” The believer’s hope is, of course, the return of Jesus Christ for His church (1 Thes. 4:13–18; 1 John 3:1–3). When we were lost, we were “without hope” (Eph. 2:12); but in Jesus Christ, we have a “living hope” (1 Peter 1:3) that encourages us day by day.
    Without being aware of our calling, we’re prone to give up. We have a purpose. We have God’s calling on our life to make a difference in this world. Third,

    That We Might Know God’s Riches

    Ephesians 1:18 NKJV
    18 the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints,
    This phrase does not refer to our inheritance in Christ (Eph. 1:11), but His inheritance in us. This is an amazing truth—that God should look on us as a part of His great wealth!
    Just as a man’s wealth brings glory to his name, so God will get glory from the church because of what He has invested in us. When Jesus Christ returns, we shall be “to the praise of the glory of His grace” (Eph. 1:6).
    God deals with us on the basis of our future, not our past. He said to cowardly Gideon, “The Lord is with thee, thou mighty man of valor” (Judg. 6:12). Jesus said to Andrew’s brother, “Thou art Simon … thou shalt be called Cephas [a stone]” (John 1:42).
    Gideon did become a mighty man of valor, and Simon did become Peter, a rock.
    We Christians live in the future tense, our lives controlled by what we shall be when Christ returns. Because we are God’s inheritance, we live to please and glorify Him.
    This truth suggests to us that Christ will not enter into His promised glory until the church is there to share it with Him. He prayed for this before He died, and this prayer will be answered (John 17:24).
    Christ will be glorified in us (2 Thes. 1:10), and we will be glorified in Him (Col. 3:4). Knowing this should lead the believer into a life of dedication and devotion to the Lord. And lastly,

    That We Might Know God’s Power

    Ephesians 1:19–23 NKJV
    19 and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power 20 which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come. 22 And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, 23 which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.
    By making us His inheritance, God has shown His love. By promising us a wonderful future, He has encouraged our hope. Paul offered something to challenge our faith: “the exceeding greatness of His power to us-ward who believe” (Eph. 1:19).
    So awesome is this truth that Paul used many different words from the Greek vocabulary to get his point across: dunamis—“power” as in dynamo and dynamite; energeia—“working” as in energy; kratos—“mighty”; ischus—“power.” Ephesians 1:19 can be translated, “What is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the operation of the might of His strength.” 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.
    There are enemies who want to rob us of our wealth (Eph. 1:21; 6:11–12).
    We could never defeat these spiritual foes in our own power, but we can through the Spirit’s power. Paul wants us to know the greatness of God’s power so that we will not fail to use our wealth, and so that the enemy will not deprive us of our wealth.
    But how does this apply to you and me today?
    Ephesians 1:22–23 NKJV
    22 And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, 23 which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.
    Paul explains the practical application. Because we are believers, we are in the church, which is Christ’s body—and He is the Head.
    This means that there is a living connection between you and Christ. Physically speaking, the head controls the body and keeps the body functioning properly. Injure certain parts of the brain and you handicap or paralyze corresponding parts of the body. Christ is our spiritual Head.
    Through the Spirit, we are united to Him as the members of His body. This means that we share His resurrection, ascension, and exaltation. (Paul will amplify this later.) We too are seated, in the heavenlies (Eph. 2:6), and all things are under our feet.
    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?
      • Ephesians 1:15–23NKJV

      • Ephesians 1:17NKJV

      • Ephesians 1:18NKJV

      • Ephesians 1:18NKJV

      • Ephesians 1:19–23NKJV

      • Ephesians 1:22–23NKJV

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