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The 3 Prayers of Ephesians - Feeding Filling and Fighting - Ephesians chapter 1 verses 15 to 23 - JS Gillespie  

 

Prayer, a priority to Paul, is a priority to the Christian and appropriately commences, concludes and forms the centre of the letter to the Ephesians. The letter to the Ephesians opens with a prayer of priority, a prayer that the Christians in effect may feed upon the Lord Jesus, that they might encounter the Spirit of Wisdom, and revelation in the knowledge of Him. The priority in the work of Holy Spirit is in the revelation of a Person, that is Jesus, and thus the purpose He has for us and the power which flows flows from Him. Never underestimate the power of Jesus in the life of the Christian. This power is of the same quality and is measured according to the resurrecting power seen in Jesus Christ! This is the power which raised Lazarus, liberated Israel, rebuilt Jerusalem and instated a Shepherd as a Sovereign! We may be down and week but with God we are not out! 

The Christian life in Ephesians hangs on 3 prayers:

  1. Feeding (1:15-23)
  2. Filling (3:14-21)
  3. Fighting (6:18)

We seen at least 2 previous ways we could divide up the letter:

  1. Chapters 1 to 3 – Doctrine – why we do it
  2. Chapters 4 to 6 – Practice – what we do 

Suggested that we could take the template from the OT of Israel, led by Moses and then Joshua from the Exodus to the promised land. That journey would encapsulate:

  1. Redemption – Exodus 12 – Ephesians chp 1 
  2. Sanctification – leaving the world and Satan behind (2:1-4) and moving up the mountain (Exodus 20) and into the heavenly places in Christ (Eph 2:5-10)
  3. Fellowship in the tabernacle (Exodus 25ff) which is the church of Ephesians 2:11ff – a place where God dwells (Ephesians 2:22), where we meet with God (2:18).
  4. Dimensions of Divine love – the ark of the covenant records it as 2 ½ cubits by 1 ½ cubits by 1 ½ cubits, here we have it in Ephesians 3:14-21. 
  5. The walk of God’s people (Ephesians chapter 4 and 5) – the wilderness journey 
  6. Battle and victory (Ephesians 6:10ff) 

These 3 prayers are not simply random prayers punctuating the epistle but they do reflect the structure of the letter and the pattern of the Christian life. 

The first prayer concludes the section on:

  • Election 
  • Predestination 
  • Adoption
  • Redemption 
  • Inheritance 
  • Sealed with the Spirit

With a prayer that we might appreciate what the purpose of all of this is! 

A very apt prayer! 

It is a prayer which draws us to:

  1. A Person 
  2. God’s Purpose 
  3. God’s Power 

The first ministry here in Ephesians after the Spirit of God seals me is the Revelation of God, which is of course through Christ:

  • “But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:” (John 15:26)
  • “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you. All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall show it unto you.” (John 16:13ff)
  • “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” (John 17:3)
  • “For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” (2 Co 4:6) 

The first priority to know Him! 

  • “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;” (Phil 3:10)

 

His Power (1:19)

The power available to us as God’s people is a power after the same type, the same kind as that which raised up Christ from the dead! (Ephesians 1:2) 

His power is a resurrecting power.

This is a power after the fashion of the power which:

  • Regenerated a lost world with 8 people
  • Made of Abraham a great nation
  • Promoted a slave and prisoner to second in command in Egypt 
  • Turned a slave and fugitive to Saviour of Israel
  • Brought water from the rock 
  • Turned a shepherd to a sovereign 
  • Raised up a ruined Jerusalem from the ashes in the days of Nehemiah
  • Rebuilt a destroyed temple in the days of Ezra 
  • Restored a lost kingdom and nation to Israel 
  • Raised Lazarus from the dead
  • Restored Onesimus from uselessness to usefulness

 

In Ephesians 3:14-21 the experience and reality of this power arises from the experience of the indwelling presence of Christ (3:17), His filling comes from us being “rooted and grounded in love” (3:17;19) it is that trust in Christ, in His love that brings me to surrender to Him, understanding that He can be utterly trusted and that I can safely surrender to Him (Ephesians 3:19). 

It was the experience of this love that:

  • Brought Zacchaeus to surrender half of his goods
  • Brought Paul to present his life on the alter 
  • Brought the servant to total surrender and commitment (Exodus 21:6)
  • Brought Mary to anoint Jesus 

Dr J Stewart Gillespie

Spirit Lead me from Redemption to Redemption - Ephesians chapter 1 verses 13 to 14 - J Stewart Gillespie  

“The Holy Spirit of Promise”

Consider the Spirit of God, such a vast subject! 

The actions and manifestation of the Holy Spirit, are the actions and manifestations of God! 

The subject is immense!

  1. His role in Creation (Genesis chp 1) 
  2. His role in inspiration (2 Peter 1:20ff) 
  3. His role in the Incarnation (Luke 1:35) 
  4. His role in spiritual gifts and the Gift of prophecy 
  5. His role in Sanctification 
  6. His role in Consecration 
  7. His role in the Conviction of sin (John 16:8)
  8. His role in Conversion
  9. His role in Regeneration (John 3) 
  10. His role in Comfort and consolation (John 14)
  11. His role in Education (John 14:26; 1 John 2:27) 
  12. His role in the Ministry of Christ (John 14) 
  13. His role in Spiritual gifts (1 Co12) 
  14. His role in Prayer (Romans 8) 
  15. His role in Leading and guiding (Romans 8)
  16. His role in the transformation of character – fruit of the Spirit (2 Co 3:17-18)

The Spirit of God has many and varied roles and is active wherever God is active. To fully understand or systematise the Spirit of God we would have to fully understand God! 

What we have in Ephesians is something a bit more focused however. 

The Spirit of God is the believer’s:

  1. Pledge
  2. Proof 
  3. Person

He is our:

  1. Guide 
  2. Guardian 
  3. Guarantee

The ministry of the Spirit of God in the life of the Christian is a ministry from: 

Redemption (Ephesians 1:7) 

To: 

Redemption (Ephesians 1:13-14)

We are redeemed (Ephesians 1:7) 

We are to be redeemed (Ephesians 1:14) 

Redemption has 2 aspects:

  • What we are redeemed from – Egypt – slaves to pharaoh 
  • What we are redeemed to – The promised land – servants of the Lord 

In redemption there is an out and there is an in! 

Out of Egypt and into the promised land. 

Out of slavery to Pharoah and into the service of the Lord 

The ministry of God’s Holy Spirit thus runs:

  • From redemption (1:7) to redemption (1:14) 
  • From time to eternity 
  • From earth to heaven 

“The Holy Spirit of God whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption” (Eph 4:30). He is with us all that journey through! 

He is the "Holy Spirit of promise" (1:13)

Certainly He is the promised Holy Spirit: 

  • John 14:16
  • John 15:26
  • John 16:13
  • Luke 24:49
  • Acts 19:1ff 

But in the context of Ephesians chapter 1 He is more than the promised Holy Spirit. He is the guarantor of God’s promises:

  • earnest” – ‘arrabon’ – engagement ring 
  • He is the promised guarantee that the leaving we have endured will lead to an entering in to an inheritance which we can expect.
  • He takes us from redemption to redemption

That path guided by the Holy Spirit for the Christian is a picture which we see over in Genesis chapter 24, in the unnamed servant who leads Rebekah from Haran / Nahor to Canaan.

The Holy Spirit will lead us through too. 

  1. Salvation 

Set apart unto salvation – 2 Thess 2:13 

Conviction of sin (John 16:8)

Regeneration (John 3)

  1. Revelation of Jesus Christ (John 16:15; 14:26)
  2. Sanctification 

Sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit (1 Co 6:11)

Leave the world, the flesh and the Devil behind and drawn into the presence of Christ 

  1. Relationship 

Romans chapter 8

Prayer (Romans 8:26) 

  1. Consecration and transformation 

The inner working of the Spirit of God 

“The Spirit of ... power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Tim 1:7) 

Power – Ephesians 3:16 

Love – Ephesians 3:17 

Sound mind – Ephesians 3:18 

Consider 2 Corinthians 3:16ff – conformed to the image of Christ 

  1. Gifts of the Spirit for the Church 

Cf. 1 Corinthians 12:1ff 

The Spirit of God operative in the church, drawing believers together in the community of the church.

 

  1. Character moulded 

The transformation of the believers character 

The conformation of the Christian to Jesus 

The victory over the flesh (Romans 8:13) 

Cf. The fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22)

  1. Conduct shaped 

The transformation of conduct 

Led by the Spirit (Romans 8:1ff)

Filled by the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18ff) 

  1. Spiritual warfare 

Spiritual battle – conflict and warfare 

  1. Illuminating the Word of God 

A fairly extensive list of the ministry of the Holy Spirit 

That list of the working of the Holy Spirit is effectively an outline of the entire letter of the Ephesians! 

The Holy Spirit will lead us through too. 

  1. Salvation and sealing (Ephesians 1:13)
  2. Revelation of Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1:17) 
  3. Sanctification (Ephesians 2: 1-10)
  4. Relationship and prayer (Ephesians 2:11-3:13 )
  5. Consecration and transformation (Ephesians 3:14-21)
  6. Gifts of the Spirit for the Church (Ephesians 4:1-16)
  7. Transformation of Character (4:17-31)
  8. Transformation of Conduct (5:1-20)
  9. Spiritual warfare (6:10-20)
  10. Illuminating the Word of God (6:17) 

The Spirit of God leads us in Ephesians to lay hold of our blessings in Christ. 

Let us impose a template on the Ephesian letter – take it from the life of Moses, the journey of the nation of Israel: 

  • Redemption from Egypt – Ephesians chp 1 
  • Sanctification from Egypt and Pharaoh – Ephesians chp 2 
  • Building a sanctuary – Ephesians chp 2 
  • Inner Holy of Holies – a place of 
  • Walk through the wilderness – battling Amalek chapters 4 + 5 
  • The final victory in spiritual battle and taking the land  (Ephesians 6)

What do I take from this? 

  • Without God’s Spirit I can do nothing 
  • The first work of the Spirit of God after salvation and sealing is the revelation of Christ 
  • There are no shortcuts 
  • I cannot move from salvation to victory without sanctification, fellowship, relationship, transformation and a walk consistent with my profession!