Ephesians 1:15-23, 3-4a …after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love
unto all the saints,
16 Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers;
17 That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him:
18 The eyes of your understanding (Greek: kardia, “heart”) being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, and what the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints,
19 And what is the exceeding greatness of His power to us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power,
20 Which He wrought in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead, and set Him at His own right hand in the heavenly places,
21 Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world (Greek: aion, “age”), but also in that which is to come:
22 And has put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be the Head over all things to the church,
23 Which is His body, the fullness of Him that fills all in all.
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:
4a According as He has chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world…
Have you ever given much thought to that last statement? He has chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world. That almost sounds like an existence before the creation of the world, or does it mean that He just knew you would be born one day? I know that when Jesus prayed in John chapter 17, He said, I have finished the work which Thou gave Me to do. And now, O Father, glorify Thou Me with Thine own self with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was (John 17:4-5). Regardless of how you look at it, He has chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world.
Ephesians 1:4b-5 …that we should be holy and without blame before Him
5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children (Greek: huiothesia, “placing as a son”) by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will.
Notice the different things Paul mentions in this chapter. He is saying, “Saints, you have been chosen in the Lord! Even before this old earth was ever created, God had you in mind. He has chosen you for a purpose; He has a reason for your existence.” We are not here by accident. It is not just by chance that we are all gathered together in this church building this evening. It is something ordained of God. We have been chosen in Him before the foundation of the world.
In verse 18 Paul said, “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, that you may know what is the hope of His calling.” Why has God called us? What has He chosen us for? Think about it; it must have been something important that God had in mind. When you read Genesis chapter one, it talks about the different works of each day. At the end of each day He looked at His work, and said, “It is good.” But even before that, He had chosen you in Him. He had a plan for you, a purpose for your life. And if that’s true, I’m inclined to believe that how you walk before Him, how you open your heart to Him and His Word, is very, very, important. We can’t take lightly the life we have.
I remember an illustration given by a certain pastor. He said, “A man stood before the Lord at the end of his life. The Lord had a projector, and He showed him a film of the man’s life. He said, ‘Son, this is what you did and what you were. This is the way you lived your life.’ At first, the man felt very proud. He had done a lot of good things for God and was sure that his reward would be great. Then the Lord showed another film, and said, ‘This is what I had chosen for you.’ His face fell and his smile vanished. The two films were not the same. God had chosen him for something special, but he had missed it.” It is so easy to get caught up in the trivia of life and the things of this world, and miss that which is most important. Have you noticed how some churches get into squabbles and fall out over little differences of opinion so easily? If they had a revelation of God’s calling, a revelation of what He had intended for their church, they wouldn’t be wasting their time bickering among themselves.
Paul understood this very well. That is why he said, “I pray that the Father of glory may give unto you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened that you may know what is the hope of His calling.” We have an inheritance in the Lord. But it is not so automatic that we can’t miss it. He has chosen us in Him for a particular purpose, but He also gives us a free will. We get to choose! We get to choose whether we accept Jesus Christ as Savior or not. We also get to choose how we will walk with Him, how dedicated we are going to be. The responsibility is ours to take the initiative to come into the revelation Paul is speaking of. Finding out what the Lord has called us for is our responsibility. I don’t know how you feel about it, but I do not want to miss the will of God for my life. I do not want to get so caught up in everyday living that the days, the weeks, the months, and the years begin to roll by, and the will of God wasn’t impressed upon my heart the whole time. It is sad that many Christians do not know God’s purpose for their lives. They’ve never gotten close enough to the Lord to receive the revelation. Some aren’t even aware that there is a calling.
“Well, I was called to be saved and go to heaven.” That’s fine, but I believe the calling of God involves a lot more than that. He’s got more in mind for us than just our personal salvation. Stop, and think about it. God loves us, but His motive for our salvation involves a lot more than just the forgiveness of our sins. It is not so much what we are going to get out of this, as it is, what is God going to get out of it? What is He going to receive? Do you think that He just saved you and now you can live a good moral life and go to heaven? He chose us in Him for a purpose. And we have the responsibility of finding out what that purpose is. Then we have the responsibility of being sure that our lives line up with that calling. Let’s read verse 18 again, giving close attention to the last part.
Ephesians 1:18 The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, and what the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints.
This is not talking about our inheritance in Him; it’s talking about His inheritance in us. Have you thought along those lines? Are you aware that He is looking for an inheritance in us? You say, “God has a lot for me. He is going to bless me. He’s going to meet my heart’s desires.” All the while God is saying, “He’s got a lot for Me. He is going to bless Me. He is going to worship Me. I wonder when he is going to get around to it? He is so caught up with Me blessing him; he doesn’t realize that I’ve called him to minister to Me.” Does that sound strange? It shouldn’t, because God is seeking worshipers. But the hour comes, and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in Spirit and in Truth: for the Father seeks such to worship Him. John 4:23.
God wants a people that will worship Him. You could think of all the good things you could do – you could be diligent to read the Bible, to pray, attend church, pay tithes, etc., and still miss His will. We must have a revelation of God’s purpose for our lives. First of all, we are called to minister to Him.
I like to be blessed as much as anyone. The time came, though, that I realized it was more important for me to minister unto the Lord than for Him to bless me. I repented that I had ever bargained with God like Jacob did (Genesis 28:20-22). I’m sure you remember how Jacob had the vision of the angels of God ascending and descending on a ladder reaching from earth to heaven. When he awoke he said, "Surely the Lord is in this place, and I knew it not" (Genesis 28:16). Then he bargained with God, saying, “God, if you will do this for me, and that for me, etc., then I will give You a tenth of everything that You give Me.” Big Deal! God is not interested in a tenth! He is interested in one hundred per cent! And that is not just a hundred per cent of what we have either. It is one hundred per cent of what we are. He wants us more than He wants what we have.
Peter had denied the Lord three times. After Jesus was resurrected, He appeared unto His disciples at the sea of Tiberias and confronted Peter, saying, “Peter, do you love Me?” “Yes,” Peter said, “You know that I love You.” Jesus said, “Feed My lambs.”
A second time Jesus said, “Peter, do you love Me?” And Peter said, “Yes, Lord, You know that I love You.” Jesus said, “Feed My sheep.”
Then Jesus asked a third time, “Peter, do you love Me?” And Peter responded, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.” And Jesus said, “Feed My sheep” (John 21:15-17).
Jesus didn’t say, “Well, Peter, since you love Me and your heart is set on Me, I’m going to bless you.” What did the Lord do? He gave Peter a job. “Peter, you’re going to minister to My people. You’re going to bless them and feed them. You’re going to minister the bread of life to them.” He didn’t say anything about blessing Peter. Instead, Jesus gave him the responsibility of feeding His sheep. Then He told him how he was going to die out to self. Verily, verily, I say unto you, When you were young, you girded yourself, and walked where you would: but when you shall be old, you shall stretch forth your hands, and another shall gird you, and carry you where you would not. John 21:18. In other words, Jesus was saying, “Peter, while you are immature, a young Christian, you do what you want to do – you do your own thing. But when you grow older and become mature in the Lord, the Lordship of Jesus Christ will gird you, and you will do things you wouldn’t have done before.” Peter was going to grow up. Instead of the flesh nature with its desires being the lord over him, Jesus Christ was going to be his Lord. The Lord had a purpose for Peter’s life, and He was preparing him for it.
Is God getting what He wants from your life? Is He getting what He wants from your church? What is His purpose for your life? This is something each and every one of us must know. If we don’t know, how are we going to fulfill His will? Think about it! Pray about it! If you don’t know what God’s purpose is for your church, begin seeking the Lord; find out! Why? Because it is His will for you to know. Do the same thing for your personal life. What has God called you to be? What is His purpose for your life?
Copyright © 1994 by Henry DuBose