Skip to content

Having the Eyes of our Hearts Enlightened that We May Know His Resurrection Power

August 29, 2008

Today’s Resurrection Quote from Matthew Henry’s Commentary on Ephesians 1:19 –

“3. The exceeding greatness of God’s power towards those who believe, Eph_1:19. The practical belief of the all-sufficiency of God, and of the omnipotence of divine grace, is absolutely necessary to a close and steady walking with him. It is a desirable thing to know experimentally the mighty power of that grace beginning and carrying on the work of faith in our souls. It is a difficult thing to bring a soul to believe in Christ, and to venture its all upon his righteousness, and upon the hope of eternal life. It is nothing less than an almighty power that will work this in us. The apostle speaks here with a mighty fluency and copiousness of expression, and yet, at the same time, as if he wanted words to express the exceeding greatness of God’s almighty power, that power which God exerts towards his people, and by which he raised Christ from the dead, Eph_1:20. That indeed was the great proof of the truth of the gospel to the world: but the transcript of that in ourselves (our sanctification, and rising from the death of sin, in conformity to Christ’s resurrection) is the great proof to us. Though this cannot prove the truth of the gospel to another who knows nothing of the matter (there the resurrection of Christ is the proof), yet to be able to speak experimentally, as the Samaritans, “We have heard him ourselves, we have felt a mighty change in our hearts,” will make us able to say, with the fullest satisfaction, Now we believe, and are sure, that this is the Christ, the Son of God. Many understand the apostle here as speaking of that exceeding greatness of power which God will exert for raising the bodies of believers to eternal life, even the same mighty power which he wrought in Christ when he raised him, etc. And how desirable a thing must it be to become at length acquainted with that power, by being raised out of the grave thereby unto eternal life!”

________________________________

I met with my brother for our weekly breakfast this morning. As usual, we meet more for the spiritual food than the physical food. We meet to exhort, encourage, and give grace to one another to press on to know and love Jesus and His Supremacy.

So I can’t think of a better way to close out this week’s Theological Mediation on the Resurrection than what my brother suggested, Ephesians 1:15-23 (specifically verses 16-20):

15 For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love [6] 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 a 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.

This week we have looked at many aspects of the Resurrection:

  • The History and Necessity of the Resurrection – 1 Corinthians 15
  • The Gospels and the Resurrection accounts – Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John
  • Believing that Jesus IS the Resurrection and the Life for those who believe He is – John 11
  • Being Crucified, Buried, and Risen with Christ Jesus in His crucifixion, burial, and resurrection so that we may walk in newness of life killing our sin and living to righteousness by faith in Christ – Romans 6:1-14

Today I want to tackle this:

  • Having the Eyes of our Hearts Enlightened that We May Know His Resurrection Power toward us who believe – Ephesians 1:14-23

Paul opens his letter to the church at Ephesus with a prayer thanking God for their faith in the Lord Jesus and their love for one another. They were joyfully obeying the two great commandments of Jesus: Love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength and love your neighbor as yourself. Paul is encouraging them in their obedience.

But his prayer goes much deeper than just a heartfelt gratitude for their faith in love; it moves from gratitude and encouragement to an intimate prayer and desire for them to receive a “spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him”. Paul knows that what the Ephesian church needs is not just encouragement to press on in their faith in love, but a spirit of wisdom and revelation to intimately know this Jesus that has called them and saved them and to know who they are now because of that calling.

How will they know they have received this spirit of wisdom and revelation? Paul answers this with his next phrase: “having the eyes of your hearts enlightened”. What an interesting phrase “the eyes of your hearts”. So apparently there are not just physical eyes but spiritual eyes too. We know this also from Jesus when he spoke of people as being “blind guides” and Pharisees as “seeing but not seeing” or “having eyes and ears but not seeing or hearing”. And when Jesus often says, “he who has an ear let him hear” or “he that has eyes let him see”. Was Jesus always talking to physically blind and deaf people? I don’t think so. The text says otherwise and suggests that Jesus was speaking of spiritual eyes and ears. Here in Ephesians, Paul captures this same truth asking that God may open the “eyes of their hearts” by enlightening them with the light of the knowledge of Him.

We must also not forget that it is God who gives this spirit of wisdom and revelation. The word “gives” implies that there is a Giver and that there is a gift. We do not attain it somehow by our working. But it must be given or granted to us by God. Interestingly here this happens through Paul’s interceding on our behalf.

So Paul prays for the believers that God may do something (give a spirit of wisdom and revelation) to cause something else to happen (the eyes of their hearts enlightened or illumined or go open) so that believers may do something (know three great things of Him). A powerful picture of God’s Sovereign Grace!

What does Paul ask that they know? I see three main things in the text, one of which is the topic of our discussion today:

  1. “that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you”,
  2. “what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints”,
  3. “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.”

These aren’t just small bits of intellectual information and spiritual facts. These are weighty glorious truths that Paul is praying these Ephesians have their hearts’ eyes enlightened to through this spirit of wisdom and revelation in knowing Him.

Even though their faith in Christ Jesus and love for another was worthy of being thankful for, Paul still prays that they would truly “know” these truths. First that they would know the “hope to which he has called you”. Knowing this hope, that we have an eternal home of rest and joy in Christ Jesus, to which he has called us will give us strength and renew our faith in His faithfulness to keep His word. Second Paul asks that they may know “what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints”. Wow, what a prayer! Paul wants these Ephesians to know just how rich and glorious it is to be a saint of God in Jesus Christ. That the treasure of being His and knowing Him is glorious. That what we inherit, namely the glory of God in Christ, is rich and glorious. That Jesus’ glorious inheritance in his saints is rich and full of splendor, majesty, and beauty. All other things are rubbish in comparison. Paul wants them and us to know that we are inheriting a wealthy glory of knowing and worshiping Jesus forever!

And finally Paul asks that they may know “what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe”. What power? The power that is “according the working of His great might that He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, 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”. Now that’s a power to seek to know! And what’s really mind-blowing is not only is the greatness of his power “immeasurable”, but it is “toward us who believe”. This power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him at God’s right hand in heaven, Supreme over all authorities and power, is the same power that is toward us “who believe”! Wow, how humbling and awesome this is!

The same immeasurably great power that raised Christ from death and placed Him next to God, reigning Sovereign, is the same power that is directed to us and in us if we believe! That’s the glorious, rich, and mysterious power of the resurrection in the life of the believer.

And Paul wants to reminds us that we possess this power and that we need to press on to know the immeasurable greatness of it. Its not enough to just receive this resurrection power through faith, but we must seek to know it, to truly and passionately know it. Like a husband knows his wife sexually, we must seek to know this power very intimately and passionately.

Paul prays that they may know the hope, inheritance, and power of being in the resurrected Christ! And to know that its not by us, but by “the working of His great might that He worked in Christ Jesus”. God is the one who did the work. His power did the work and now we receive that power and work through faith!

So today, saint, live and move in this resurrection power by faith. Trust that God is who He says He is; that He did what He said He would; and that He’ll do what He said He’ll do! Trust that the resurrection was not only a historic event but an eternally, spiritually significant foreordained plan. See the uniqueness of this event in the pages of the Gospels. Study them and know them intimately. Trust that Jesus was not only resurrected to life but IS the resurrection and the life. That means His work was resurrection and His person is resurrection. He is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6). In Him we have hope of never dying, no fear of death. But of knowing that by faith we will see life when He returns. We are victorious over the grave by faith because He was victorious. Trust that by faith we have been already crucified, buried, and risen with Christ so that we can now walk in newness of life. That means we leave behind the old life of sin and death and now embrace who we are in Christ, alive to God living in submission to His righteousness. We must consider ourselves now dead to sin because we died to sin with Christ on the cross and now alive to God because we were risen with Him by God through faith!

And finally saint, seek to know intimately and have the eyes of your heart enlightened in the knowledge of Him and the hope of his calling, the inheritance of being his saint, and the immeasurable greatness of his resurrection power. Press on to know these great truths because they are true. Pray that your head and heart would be joined together in thinking and feeling and studying and burning these truths into your soul.

May God graciously grant you the grace to meditate on the truth and power of the resurrection of His Son Jesus Christ so that you will truly know this power and how immeasurably great it really is. May God grant you faith to believe these things and embrace them as your treasure! May God grant you wisdom to see that the resurrection power is what sustains you daily through faith in God and His Spirit working in us.

Advertisements
Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: