Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 1 * PART 3 * BOOK 36
Now let’s look at the next verse in Ephesians chapter 1. Here the apostle Paul is going to utter a prayer on behalf of the believers. He is praying for them, and as such he is praying for us today. I think it’s also a lesson on how we can pray for ourselves as well as for others. Now when we think of the Lord’s prayer back in Matthew 6, which the Lord Jesus gave as an example to the twelve, so this prayer is an example for us today, and is so appropriate. The prayer starts out with “Wherefore…” Now what have I told you over the years aboutwherefore? When the apostle Paul says “Wherefore” what is he reflecting on? Well what he’s just said in the previous few verses, and here he’s just proven that here we are positioned in Christ, indwelt by the Holy Spirit, who leads us and reproves in all the things that we need. And we’re waiting for the day of redemption when this old body will disappear, and we’ll have a new body, but until that day of redemption-
“Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith…”
I want to make people aware, when you read Paul’s letters, how he’s always referring to believing and faith. Not what we can do, but rather that we trust in what God has already done. And then on that basis we can move into what he’s now asking for on our behalf.
“Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints.” Now that reminds me of a verse in I John chapter 3. Let’s just start at verse 11, because I don’t like to just jump on one verse. I think most of you realize that by now.
I John 3:11-12
“For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. 12. Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother’s righteous.” Boy now that’s plain language isn’t it? And it’s never changed. The unbelieving world hates the believer. He might not always show it, but he would if he had a chance, and so Cain had his chance, and sure enough he showed it. Verse 13.
I John 3:13
“Marvel not my brethren, if the world hate you.”
A lot of people have the idea that since Christianity is such a tremendous experience, and lifestyle, because there isn’t another lifestyle on earth that can come close to it. You look at a good Bible based Christian home, and you couldn’t ask for anything better. But you see, the world can’t see it that way. The world thinks we’re a bunch of kooks, and we’ve got our heads in the sand, and all these other things. So don’t be amazed if they don’t like your lifestyle, and that’s what John is saying here.
I John 3:13-14a
“Marvel not my brethren, if the world hate you. 14. We know that we have passed from death unto life, (from an unsaved state to a saved state) because we love the brethren.”
John is speaking of fellow believers. The world won’t necessarily, but we have that affinity to other believers that no matter where we go we can have a love for them, and it’s an immediate love. I’ve shared this with you before, wherever Iris and I travel, and spend the night with believers, you’re not strangers for 5 minutes, why is that? Because there’s that affinity, you can’t see it or put your finger on it, but it’s there. And the moment we sit down at their table and have a cup of coffee, we don’t talk about sports or the weather or politics, but rather we talk about the BOOK! And that’s the way it should be, because “we know we have passed from death unto life because we love the brethren.” Now back to Ephesians chapter 1.
“Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints. 16. Cease not (I never stop) to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers;” (now here’s his real prayer) 17. That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit (the Pneuma) of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him:”
Now what’s the purpose? Well you see the more we love Him, the more capable we are of serving Him. And it’s the same way in a marriage relationship. The more that husband and wife love each other, the better influence they’re going to have on family, relatives and everybody else, it spreads. And it’s the same way here. Paul prays that we might have such a God given wisdom and knowledge. Now I’ve learned from my class people here in Oklahoma that they were always afraid to share the Gospel with people because they just didn’t have enough knowledge of the Scriptures to be able to answer questions, or confront, rebuke, and so forth. But after they’ve been in our class for a while and get skilled in the Scriptures, they love to witness, they love to talk about the Scriptures. And that’s the way it should be, as we grow in Grace and knowledge it becomes easier to share with people.
You can talk to people in any kind of an occupation, and I like to use an auto mechanic as an example. You talk to one about engines, and cars, is he bashful? Is he shy to talk about his trade? Is he going to put his head down, and act like he doesn’t want to talk about what he does best? Heavens no, because you’re in his bailiwick now, and he’s ready to tell you everything he knows, and that’s as it should be. Now that’s the way we should be with the Book. We have to be so skilled in our knowledge of it that we don’t have to back away when someone comes up with a question or rebuke. We can say, “look this is what the Book says.” This is always my best argument. It’s not what I think, or what my denomination says, but rather it’s, “But what does the Word of God say.” Now this is what Paul is praying even for these early believers, that their wisdom and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ might be so great. Verse 18.
“The eyes of your understanding being enlightened;…”
Now listen that takes time to accomplish. I mean the moment we’re saved we don’t have a full knowledge of all these things, but rather it’s a growth process. In fact that’s the whole idea of the early chapters of Romans, and we call it those 3 chapters on sanctification. Now you want to remember that at salvation, yes we’re sanctified, we’re set apart, but in our everyday experience it’s a process of sanctification. It’s a continuous growth in our Christian experience, and in our knowledge of the Scripture. Now that comes with continuous effort on our part. We have to put something into it. Now that doesn’t add to our salvation, because that’s complete. But if we want to really gain the knowledge and wisdom of God, now we’ve got to put some feet to it. We’ve also got to put some time into the Word of God. Another thing that just thrills Iris and I is when we get letter after letter from people saying that for the first time in their lives they are studying their Bible. Some of these people have been Christians for over 50 years. Well, listen nothing could thrill us more, because this is what we want people to do. You don’t go by what I say, but rather get into the Word of God.
And once you understand this graphic difference between Law and Grace, between Peter’s preaching and Paul’s preaching. when you’re able to separate those two, then studying this Book gets so exciting. When you’re able to see that, then you’ll see how it all fits. There won’t be anymore contradiction, there’s no more gobbledy gook to it, and I say that reverently. It’s not confusing, it’s all laid out so perfectly, but you have to learn to discern these things. So that’s all part of what Paul is talking about.
“The eyes of your understanding, being enlightened; (or opened up) that ye may know (you don’t go through this life groping and wondering and hoping, but rather) what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,”
Now again I dare say if we ask the average believer, “What’s in store for you after this life?” And they’ll reply, “I’m going to go to heaven after I die.” Well that’s great and that’s nice to know, but is that all you can tell me? Well for most of them they will say, “Is there more than that?” Yeah there’s a lot more than that. It’s not enough to know that we’re going to go to heaven when we die, which will be great, but God wants us to get at least as much as He has revealed of what’s out there. I mean, it’s not just an empty darkness. God is getting something fantastic ready for us, and there’s a lot the Scripture doesn’t tell us, but on the other hand He’s already revealed some of what’s in store for us. We’re going to have a glorified body, like Christ’s glorified, resurrected body. Never again an ache or pain, never again an injury, illness, or disease. In the next life we’re going to have power to go from one place to another in that split second of time as He did. We’re going to be able to go through walls like He did, in fact it says so in I Corinthians.
I Corinthians 2:9
“But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.”
Eye has not see nor ear heard. Now what does that tell you? There is nothing in our earthly experiences that can even come close to that which God is preparing for us. And again I’ve had men who just love to fish? They just think that’s the epitome of living, and they’ll say, “Well what greater thing can there be than fishing?” And I say, now look when you get to eternity, I don’t know exactly how it’s going to be, but God has something in store for you that will make your fishing experience pale in comparison. And it will be the same way with anything else that we may think is great in this life. Once we get into the realm of glory, what God has prepared for us is going to be so much greater that it’s beyond human comprehension, and this is what we have to get excited about.
We’re not just going to die and go to heaven, and what will be will be. No, God wants us to get a glimpse of glory, and a glimpse of what it’s going to like to be in His presence forever and ever. You know I never set dates but I believe that we’re getting so close to the time we will find ourselves in heaven with Him. Now coming back to Ephesians chapter 1, and now verse 19 as Paul continues his prayer. Not only does he want us to understand the inheritances that waiting for us, but also that we’re to understand.
“And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe,…”
Salvation always come down to believing doesn’t it? It’s not what our denomination demands. Oh you ought to hear some of the things that we hear on our telephone from people who have been told wrong. We hear, “Well someone says I must do this, and someone else tells me I’ve got to do that. I just say to all that, “Forget it!” There’s only one requirement and that is faith, and believing, but it must be genuine, and not just a mental accent. Oh I could show you over and over how many verses that it’s all faith on our believing the Gospel + NOTHING! And remember the only way you can do that in Scripture is rightly divide the Word. Keep Peter’s teaching and the Law separate from Paul’s teaching and Grace. If you don’t separate the two then you will wind up with a mixture of Law and Grace, and God won’t have any part of it.
You know we’ve got some pins or buttons that say, “Faith + Nothing = Salvation!” And while we were in Israel we had just enough buttons for the number of people who were with us, so everyone received one to wear. While coming out of Jordan, I’ll never forget my own experience, as we were waiting in the passport line, and a gentlemen in another line probably 15 or 20 feet over from us was looking at the message on the buttons and finally he couldn’t take it any longer. So he comes up to me and read the button, “Faith + Nothing = Salvation? “ he said. Now this man was a middle easterner I’m sure, but he talked perfect English. So he said, “You mean it’s not work, work, work like my religion teaches?” I told him no, and he said, “What?!” He then went back and got in line.
Well we had several experiences like that all over Israel, those people have never heard of such a thing. But we’ve got millions right here in our own country who have heard it and read it, but refuse to believe it. Well those buttons are a good conversational piece anyway. But you see that’s where it’s at – “Faith + NOTHING!” But that faith has to be in that finished work of the cross as Paul describes in I Corinthians 15:1-4. When Christ said while on the cross that, “It is finished” how in the world can people then say, that you have to do this and that? If that’s the case then our Lord lied! If He said it was finished, and it wasn’t, then Christ lied. But we all know that our Lord did not lie, because He did finish it! And all He’s asking us to do is to believe it with all our heart, and then let these other work things follow. That’s all well and good, but don’t try to tie them to salvation. So looking at the verse again.
“And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, 20. Which he wrought in Christ, (not only when He died on that Roman cross, but it was epitomized, it was crescendo) when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,”
You don’t hear about Him being raised from the dead much any more do you? You don’t hear much about resurrection power, but listen that where it’s at. Had Christ, as Paul says in I Corinthians 15, not been raised from the dead, we’d be as lost as dogs. I mean we wouldn’t have any hope at all, but He was raised from the dead. In fact let’s look at a verse in Romans chapter 1.
“Paul a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God, 2. (Which (Gospel) he had promised afore by his prophets in the holy scriptures,) 3. Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh. 4. And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by (what event?) the resurrection from the dead.”
Had He not been resurrected there would have been no power. Had He not been resurrected we would yet be in our sins. Satan would yet be in total control, and death would still be an absolute. But on the flip side, since He did resurrect, since He was raised from the dead, now we know Satan is defeated, we know death is defeated, and we know that we have an eternity where He is alive forever more. And it was because of the power that was manifested in His resurrection. Now then, what does Paul also teach? That as Christ was resurrected from His earthly tomb, we have been resurrected from our deadness in transposes and sins. We’ll be coming to that real soon in Ephesians chapter 2. And what has happened? Well let’s just take a quick look see right there in verse 1.
“And you hath he quickened, (made alive) who were (past tense) dead in trespasses and sins:” Well what kind of power did it take to make us alive from being dead? Resurrection power. The same power that raised Christ from the dead. Look at Romans 8 for moment to compare. Now this is Bible study. We’re not here to preach at you, but rather just show you what the Bible says. These verses all fit so beautifully together.
“And if Christ be in you, (by the person of the Holy Spirit) the body is dead because of sin; (we were born in sins, and we’re sons of Adam) but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11. But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken (or make alive) your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.”
Is it all ringing true? Oh I hope so. The indwelling Holy Spirit is the mark, the ownership of God. It’s also that power that raises us out of our lost condition, and gave us life. It’s that same power that’s literally going to propel us on up until we meet the Lord in the air. And it’s that power of the Holy Spirit that guides us and directs us every moment of our existence. That’s why I don’t have to have, “Thou shalt not, and Thou shalt.” I have never ran across a true believer who says, “Oh I can go ahead and steal from my neighbor, it doesn’t bother me a bit.” Can you imagine a believer saying something like that? No. If that happened, then I’d have to say, Well I don’t think you’re a believer, because the Holy Spirit would never give you that kind of freedom. The Holy Spirit absolutely forbids those kinds of activities, and when we’re under His control, it’s going to effect us. Now back to Ephesians chapter 1.
“Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead,…”
In order for God to raise Christ from the dead, what powers did God have to over come? Satanic, didn’t He? He had to defeat Satan on his own ground, and all the powers of Satan, and hell itself had to be overcome in order for Christ to be raise from the dead. Remember that’s the last thing that Satan wanted to happen. If Satan could have kept Christ in the grave, then he would have finally gotten what he wanted, and that is to be God. But Satan couldn’t hold a candle to God, because all the power of heaven was released for you and I when God raised Him from the dead. Let’s look at the second part of that verse.
“…and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places.”
For us Christ is not the King sitting on the throne of David on Mount Zion. He will be for Israel yet someday, but for us He ascended back to glory, sat down figuratively speaking, at the right hand of the Father to become now the Head of the Body, which is you and I, the Church here on earth. We have that union with Him that Israel knew nothing of, we have a union that no one in antiquity knew nothing of, but it’s only unique to the Church Age believer that as we live and move on this earth we are connected to our Head who is in heaven.