Series EPHESIANS with Pastor Mark Finley |
Lesson 3: The Power of the Exalted Jesus |
Memory Text: Ephesians 1:19.20 – Through the Holy Spirit, believers may know “what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places. |
3.1 Prayer and Thanksgiving
In Ephesians 1:15–23 and 3:14–21, Paul shares his prayers for the believers in Ephesus. Both accounts emphasize giving thanks for God’s blessings and seeking spiritual growth and understanding. Paul’s prayer life reveals a disposition of continual thanksgiving and intercession. He encourages considering gratitude as a core element of prayer rather than emphasizing somber supplications. This underscores the importance of living in communion with God and being led by Him. The injunction to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17) does not denote constant kneeling in prayer but signifies walking through life with an open heart for God’s guidance and living in thankfulness. Paul’s stance emphasizes the seriousness and centrality of prayer in faith.
3.2 Experiencing Insight From the Holy Spirit
Paul’s prayer for spiritual insight (Ephesians 1:16–19) emphasizes three main themes: the hope of their calling, the rich inheritance of the saints, and the surpassing greatness of God’s power. He prays for the Holy Spirit to grant these believers insight into understanding their calling, their value as God’s inheritance, and the immense divine power. Paul’s prayers aim for believers to gain a deeper understanding of what has been given to them through Jesus. He requests the Holy Spirit to open their eyes to their divine calling, their precious status as heirs of God, and the tremendous power effective through faith in Jesus.
3.3 Participating in Resurrection Power
Paul emphasizes in Ephesians 1:20–23 the power of God manifested in the resurrection and exaltation of Jesus. The resurrection of Jesus is the cornerstone of the Christian faith, including the expectation of future resurrection and access to all blessings of the Gospel. The exaltation of Jesus is not only seen as an illustration of divine power but also as its source, enabling believers to partake in this powerful reality.
3.4 Christ Above All Powers
In Ephesians 1:20-21, Paul emphasizes Christ’s superior position above all spiritual forces and authorities. In a context where magic and the invocation of various spirits were practiced, Paul emphasizes that Christ surpasses all spiritual powers and any named authority to demonstrate the incomparability of His sovereignty. This not only serves to clarify the supreme position of Jesus but also to expand the understanding that His reign is not limited by time but will endure through all ages.
3.5 Jesus, All Things, and His Church
The early Christians’ vision of Christ’s exaltation and sovereignty was reflected in their understanding of Psalms such as Psalm 110:1 and 8:7, portraying Christ’s triumph and victory by placing all powers under His feet. The exaltation of Christ to the throne of the cosmos in Ephesians 1:22–23 signifies that His church – through their connection with Christ – shares in His triumph and authority over any evil power. This powerful connection enables believers not only to acknowledge Christ but also to experience God’s power in their lives by recognizing the sovereignty of Christ in prayer and requesting His effectiveness in the lives of believers.
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