“Being the Church, A prayer of Illumination”

Eph. 1:15-23 – Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers: that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to 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, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power

Paul is talking to a church that has it all…but are living as if they have nothing. They have everything going for them but are short sighted on the potential they possess. Paul wrote to them to encourage them to walk in the light of Christ and to draw upon the marvelous riches that were available to them.

He wanted them to draw from the spiritual bank account that they had access and rights to. The access of adoption, acceptance, redemption, forgiveness, wisdom, inheritance, the seal of the Holy Spirit, life, grace, citizenship, in short every spiritual blessing needed for living the full life that Jesus promised we could have.

This letter to the Ephesians is more than a way of life for individuals, but for the church. We must ask ourselves where our church is today? The question could be asked, where does our hope lie? What is our source and our provision for living the Christian life? Is your church living to the fullest potential or just existing? This prayer in Ephesians 1 is a prayer that God would enable the believer (the church) to see and understand the resources that are available in Christ. That seems to be a basic and fundamental reality but it is lost to so many people and churches today.

The letter lends itself to the fact that the Ephesian’s were not living up to the fullness that God provided. They were living as if being a follower of Christ was not enough for salvation. They were also hanging on to old ways, the old life. We got all that God had to offer when we accepted Jesus as our Savior and when the blood was applied to our sins. Our spiritual bank was filled up at that point. Paul talks about the importance and command to walk in the Spirit of God. Read Romans 8:1-5.

The main point in Ephesians is the concept and term “in Christ.” It is “in Christ” that we as individuals and especially the church become and are transformed into the image of Christ and heirs of God.

In chapter 1 Paul writes that we are chosen by the Father, redeemed by the Son, and sealed by the Spirit. Paul knew the importance of walking in the hope, riches, and the power of God. This is why he prayed this first prayer. This prayer was prayed with precision and with purpose. So that we could comprehend our hope, our riches, His power, and our responsibility. This is the thrust or commination of the prayer. That we as the church could live out loud. That we live in front of and live the life of Christ to the world around us. In a way that people could say there is something different, something out side of ourselves. That our light shines in such a way that is unmistakable.

“Jesus is…head over all things to the church, which is His body, (his eyes, ears, hands feet, and heart). That we as the church could be the fullness of Him (completeness, attributes, character, and likeness). The One who fills all in all (everything He is. His presence, His compassion, and His heart). May your church be the reflection of Him.

A Church must be a sign of contradiction in the world…A illuminated church is one who all their life chooses between good and evil, lies and truth, love and hate, God and Satan…Today more than ever there is a need for our light to shine, so that through us, through our deeds, through our choices, people can see the Father who is in Heaven.

The holiest moment of the church service is the moment when God’s people, strengthened by the Presence and Spirit of God, go outside of the church walls into the world to be the Church. We don’t go to church, we are the Church.

Rob Beckett

Rest in God’s love, which is offered in complete salvation. Because of what God has done for you as the church, see yourself as very important in mission of Christ in your community. Be grateful for the forgiveness that God offers, but don’t stop there, share it with others. Christianity is meant to be contagious. Thank God that he took the initiative in your relationship with Him. Thank God that you can GO and be Christ to the world.

Don’t let your church live as if they have nothing to offer, because they have everything to offer a community that desperately needs Jesus and His salvation He offers. Be the carriers of that illuminating light. As Paul did for the Ephesian church pray for God to shine His light into the heart of the church you are serving. Ask God to make your spirit unsatisfied with status-quo and to light you up.

Pastor Rob Beckett, pastor at Shepherdsville First Church of the Nazarene. “Restoring the ‘image of God’ to the broken and hurting”

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