Recently, during a get together, there was discussion of how great God is. We read in Ephesians 1:15-23 about the prayer that Paul prayed for the believers. He reveals to us his heart for the people he is teaching and guiding. And we saw that Paul is asking God for growth in knowledge and wisdom to know God. And in knowing God, we see the glorious riches He has for His inheritance.
The text in Ephesians 1:15-23 is as follows:
"For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, 16 I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, 18 having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might 20 that 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 rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. 22 And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all"
There were a few things that the pastor had taught us, all three of them coming from main idea that “we need the Spirit’s help to grow in what we know” about them. If we were to think about what this means, it makes sense stating this main idea in this way. For one, we can’t know anything about God unless He reveals Himself to us. Also, as believers, we know something about Jesus Christ, Son of God. We know that Jesus came into the world by the Spirit and through being born of a virgin, Mary. We know that he lived a perfect life and died a horrendous death on the cross after being beaten, spit upon, and reviled. After he died, he was buried in a tomb and rose again 3 days later. We know that he ascended up to the Father where he is seated on the right hand of the Father. And we know that Jesus sent the Spirit to be with and seal each one of the believers until the day of redemption. That is the foundation upon which the Spirit grows us. That is the fertile soil that Jesus alludes to in his parable of the sower in Matthew 13:3-8 (Mark 4:3-8; Luke 8:5-8). He explains the meaning of this parable in Matthew 13:18-23 (Mark 4:14-20; Luke 8:11-15).
The first being, “We need the Spirit’s help to grow in what we know about the hope to which God has called us.” In the NLT of Ephesians 1:18, it is rendered, “I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance. [highlights mine]” I like how it says, “flooded with light” and “confident hope“. Flooded as though it is overwhelming and inescapable. When someone or something is flooded, there is no escaping it. Our hearts will be overrun with light. And this gives us understanding of this hope, which is the joyful and confident expectation of eternal salvation.
The second is, “We need the Spirit’s help to grow in what we know about the riches of God’s glorious inheritance in the saints.” Here, the pastor pointed out that this is God’s inheritance. This is not our inheritance, but we are God’s inheritance. As our group discussed the personal interpretations behind this concept, we marveled at the fact that we are His inheritance. And we reflected on how unworthy we are of this attribute that God gives us. He says that we are His “rich and glorious” inheritance. We are not some left over change in His pocket. No. The word inheritance here means, “what is given to one as a possession; the eternal blessedness of the consummated kingdom of God which is to be expected after the visible return of Christ; the share which an individual will have in that eternal blessedness. [G2817 in Strong’s Concordance]” And it is not just a mere inheritance; we are the riches [fullness, abundance, plenitude, that in which one is enriched] of God’s glorious [a most glorious condition, most exalted state, the glorious condition of blessedness into which is appointed and promised that true Christians shall enter after their Savior’s return from heaven] inheritance. This should bolster our confidence in Him. This should have us grinning all the time with our joyful disposition. At least, for me, this is a major mental shift that I really need to be reminded of often.
And the last one is, “We need the Spirit’s help to grow in what we know about the immeasurable greatness of God’s power.” Immeasurable is exceeding, excelling, transcending, and surpassing what we can think of. And greatness in Greek is only used one time and that is right here. The Greek word megethos is translated as simply greatness (Strong’s Concordance G3174). There is no other word to describe it. Looking it up in the Oxford dictionary, greatness is defined as “the quality of being great, distinguished, or eminent.” How else can we describe God’s power? And His power is His strength and ability. It is “inherent power, power residing in a thing by virtue of its nature, or which a person or thing exerts and puts forth.” God is innately powerful. And His power flows through us in the Spirit to be used for His will to be completed.
Remembering the sermon, the pastor used an example of kinsugi, which is an Asian pottery art where a broken piece of pottery is repaired using a gold or especially ornate compound to bring the attention of the viewer to the crack. This is to highlight the brokenness as a beautiful reminder of how we are all broken. All of these repaired cracks and breaks are filled in with a compound that ultimately makes the piece stronger, more durable. That led me to a visual in my head of each and every person being like a building block. Each and every repair that God made to us makes us stronger. And each of us are a building block in the ultimate body of Christ. God is repairing each and every break in Christ’s body, perfecting it. I picture the excitement of the Father as He works on each intricate process that involves all of us in the Body of Christ. He is eager for the body to be repaired so that “every tear may be wiped away (Revelation 21:4)”. Every crack is being filled in a way that makes us stronger, not just for ourselves, but for the whole of the body of Christ.
That is what I got out of the sermon. I understand that the main message was to recognize that we need the Spirit to know God, but just where I am at in life brought me to see this from a different angle. Because I have cancer that has left behind devastating damage that includes “innumerable fractures”, I understand the healing process a little differently than most that I talk to. This is all hopeful, and it reminds me of the promise that God gave me when I asked to be used for His glory in any way He sees fit.
Gotta go fill up my cup…..