Eleventh Sunday after Trinity – August 23, 2020

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  1. Intro
    • (Slide 1) For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the holy ones, I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, in the knowledge of Him. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy ones, and his (slide 2)incomparably great power for us who believe.That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way. (Slide 3)
    • (Slide 4a) Couple introductory thoughts
      • The prayer has a seven-fold nature to it
      • Wisdom, revelation, knowledge (of God), enlightened eyes of the heart, hope of calling, riches of His inheritance, power for those who believe.
        • Compare with Isaiah 11 (Slide 4b)
        • Both passages are dealing with a seven-fold work of the Holy Spirit, who is deeply associated with wisdom, knowledge, revelation, insight and understand, what we might call the wisdom package…
        • In the dialogue about fruit of the Spirit vs gifts of the Spirit, we need to include wisdom from the Spirit.
      • Paul’s prayer request for them is very different than the kinds of things they might have preferred to get prayer for.
    • After praying that the Holy Spirit will give them greater revelation to know God, Paul prays for them to have enlightenment or understanding about three things. He prays this because he believes that knowing these three things will be important for their Christian lives. These issues are central to the main theme of the letter.
      • Hope of their calling
      • Riches of His glorious inheritance in His Holy people
      • His incomparably great power for us who believe.
      • These issues are very close to the main theme of the letter.
  1. (Slide 5) “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened
    • Literally reads: having been enlightened, the eyes of your heart
    • The phrase “eyes of the heart” in v. 18 has no biblical precedent,[1]
      • Apparently, Paul is inventing a phrase to discuss the revelation they were receiving or had received.
    • Heart:
      • The heart was considered to refer to the entire inner person – the mind, will and emotions. (Slide 6)
      • Means the entire inner person
    • Eyes –
      • “The eyes are the window to your soul” William Shakespeare
      • Matt. 6:22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness! NIV
      • (Slide 7) Your spiritual eyes have been opened. God has given or is giving us spiritual sight which allows His revelation to illuminate our entire inner being.
    • Enlightenment – Root word “Photizo”
      • Used for “bring to light”, give light, illuminate, shine, etc.
      • 12 When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” [2] John 8:12
      • A key thought related to the gospel is that Jesus is the light and we need God to open our eyes to see the Gospel. John 1:9,
    • Summary: to have the eyes of the heart enlightened is to receive revelation so that we understand spiritual truths clearly.
    • The phrasing of this verse can be either interpreted as something Paul is praying for (which both NIV and ESV opt for) or it can be a past tense phrase referring to something that already happened – probably when they had received the Gospel (see 1:13)
    • Summary: Just as Paul was praying that they would have revelation to know God better, He is also praying that they will have revelation about 3 things. Although they have already been enlightened through the Gospel, his prayer to God is for this revelation to increase and become clearer. (Slide 8)


  1. Hope to which He has called you
    • Either Calling or Hope are elevated OR like a pair of binoculars – need to understand both. (Slide 9)
    • Calling – Eph 3:20 – 4:1, 4-6
      • 20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. 4 As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.[3] There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism;[4]
      • Play on words (Slide 10)
        • Calling with which you have been called (Slide 11)
          • Klesis (noun),
          • Kaleo (verb)
        • (Slide 12) Urge (parakaleo) –
          • Called alongside
          • Call you strongly – calling with which you have been called (Slide 13)
        • Called to calling (Klesis, Kaleo)
        • (Slide 14) Ekklesia – Called out
          • Greek translation of synagogue
          • Assembly or gathering (Acts 19:32,39, 40 – secular)
          • Church: Worldwide people of God who have been called out of the Kingdom of darkness into the Kingdom of God
          • Global body from diverse backgrounds
          • Local Congregations
        • The concept of our calling is rooted in the idea of church
          • The called out ones, or called together ones.
          • Called out of our spiritual Egypts, the Kingdom of Darkness, and called together at a spiritual Mt. Sinai to become the new people of God.
            • Hos. 11:1 – Out of Egypt I called my son
    • (Slide 15) On this basis, what does the NT tell us about our calling:
      • 24 even us, whom he also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles? 25 As he says in Hosea: “I will call them ‘my people’ who are not my people; and I will call her ‘my loved one’ who is not my loved one,” i 26 and, “In the very place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’ there they will be called ‘children of the living God.’ ” j NIV (Ro 9:24–26).
      • 9 God is faithful, who has called you into fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. NIV(1 Co 1:9).
      • live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory. (1 Th 2:12) NIV
      • (Slide 16) In Ephesians 1, Paul is looking forward to the rest of the letter where he is going to describe the calling they have received, although he will not use those terms. By the time we get to chapter 4 he is looking back at the glorious revelation he has just given about who they now are, i.e., their calling.
      • His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, 16 and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. 18 For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit. 19 Consequently, you are…fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22 And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit. (Eph 2:15–22). NIV
      • (Slide 17) Our calling
        • God has called us to be reconciled to Himself through the Lord Jesus Christ and to have direct access to Him as our father.
        • God has called us to belong to His worldwide family, which is made up of people from all cultures and ages, and men and women. We are to be reconciled to one another.
        • We are called to be connected to Jesus, and together with Him to be the temple of God, the Holy Spirit and the dwelling place of God here on earth in the present age.
        • As the people of God, we are called to reveal to Him to the world (and even the unseen world) around us.
        • This was always God’s plan “A”, it was His hidden purpose from the beginning of time.
      • The rest of Ephesians is about how to live and behave towards one another in a way that grows and builds up the church rather than damages and hinders it.
    • (Slide 18) Hope (5 great ideas) –
      • Usually when we think about hope we are thinking about something we desire that is not yet certain. Biblical hope refers to something that is already certain just not yet obtained.
        • Example of hoping someday to own a TV versus purchasing a TV online and waiting for it to show up. I own it, but I don’t yet possess it.
        • Example of sealed by the Holy Spirit. My inheritance is guaranteed, but I don’t fully possess it.
        • 130:5-6 – I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope. I wait for the Lord, more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning.
          • Morning is certain, watchmen wait for it, but know that it is guaranteed to come.
          • We “hope” watch and wait, with an absolute guarantee. It is an unstoppable reality that is guaranteed to come.
      • (Slide 19) Jesus is coming back – Titus 2:14
        • while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, 14 
      • Resurrection from the dead and transformation into his likeness – Acts 23:6, 1 Jn. 3:2-3
        • And now it is because of my hope in what God has promised our ancestors that I am on trial today… It is because of this hope that these Jews are accusing me. Why should any of you consider it incredible that God raises the dead?
        • But we know that when Christ appears, r we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.
      • Eternal Life – Titus 3:7 – so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life
      • (Slide 20) All of creation will be redeemed and restored – Rom. 8:23-25

19 For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. 20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God. 22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. [5]

        1. (Slide 21) Inheritance – Eph. 1:18, 1:14 – All that God has in store for us, of which the Holy Spirit is just a deposit, is also part of our hope!
      • The Hope contained in our calling is: Since we are Called to belong to the one people of God (who are also His family) who are reconciled to the Father, joined to Jesus, filled with His Spirit, growing together and revealing God to the world… we have the absolutely certain Hope that we will rise from the dead, receive transformed and immortal bodies, live together with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit in the redeemed and renewed creation (new heavens and earth) and inherit everything God has promised. And this will come about at the sure and certain return of Christ!
      • The only people who inherit the Hope are those who respond to the calling…
  1. (Slide 22) Conclusion: Why do we need to know the hope of our calling?
    • Eternal hope is the anchor for temporal hope
      • This life is filled with ups and downs, challenges and difficulties, joys and sorrows.
      • Our hope for happiness, victory, productivity, love, wholeness, etc. cannot be built on the circumstances of life in this world. We will eventually be let down.
      • But we can take courage that God is able to invade our circumstances and answer our prayers
      • One day God is going to fix it all!
    • It inspires us to continue serving the Lord and one another in this age, because we know that it is not a waste of time, but has eternal value.
      • 1 Cor 15:56-58 (1 Thes 1:3) –Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters… always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.
    • Anchor for faith and love
      • We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all God’s people—the faith and love that spring from the hope stored up for you in heaven and about which you have already heard in the true message of the gospel that has come to you.[6]
      • Hope is the basis for faith and love
        • Faith, because we know that Jesus is the only way to access the hope. So we stay faithful to Him
        • Love, because as people of Hope we are called to walk in love. It is the ethic or commandment or lifestyle God has given to the eklesia. The God in whom we have placed our hope calls us to Love as the lifestyle for His family.
    • Conclusion:
      • Paul prays for us to know the Hope of our calling because we need to know who and what we are in this age and the one to come and what we have been called to do in this age and the one to come. Second, because knowing this becomes a powerful motivator for hope filled endurance in present difficulties, as an encouragement for us to walk in love in our relationships and to inspire us to give ourselves fully to the work of the Lord. Because nothing we do in serving God is worthless or wasted, but it all has value.


[1] Witherington, B., III. (2007). The letters to Philemon, the Colossians, and the Ephesians : a socio-rhetorical commentary on the captivity Epistles (p. 241). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

[2] The New International Version. (2011). (Jn 8:12). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[3] The New International Version. (2011). (Eph 3:20–4:1). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[4] The New International Version. (2011). (Eph 4:4–5). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[5] The New International Version. (2011). (Ro 8:19–25). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[6] The New International Version. (2011). (Col 1:3–6). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.