Imagine yourself in a Roman prison cell in Philippi along about 50 AD. People are beaten, chained in stocks . . . some awaiting death . . . everyone terrified—except for two men. Blood runs down their backs, their legs are in irons, but they’re singing—even laughing!—and rejoicing. Their names are Paul and Silas. Surely you’d think to yourself, “They know something I don’t know . . .
They see something or someone I don’t see.”
Then later you see one of those fellows writing letters stating, “This has turned out for my advantage. Rejoice in the Lord always! Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.”
You would think he was mentally ill…until you got to know him, and then you’d think, “Maybe he knows something I don’t know. Maybe he sees something or someone I don’t see. Maybe he sees with the eyes of his heart.”
Paul’s letter to the Ephesians was most likely written from a prison in Rome. Ephesians 1:3-14 is one, long sentence that just tells us the way things are. He gives us no practical application points and nothing to do. Later, Paul talks about things to do, but only after he tells us the way things are: “He has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world….He unites all things in him…accomplishes all things according to the counsel of his will….”
In this next sentence (almost as long as the second), he prays for the Church, and we’re the Church. He prays not that we’d try harder, not that we’d be more responsible and disciplined, but that we’d see something and know something.
…I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation [The Spirit, The Holy Spirit] in the knowledge of him, 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, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to 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. And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.
So what does He want us to see? We have hope, we have purpose, and He wants us to see the immeasurable greatness of His power in and toward us.
Throughout Ephesians, Paul will reveal that the whole world really is in bondage to a lie told by malevolent forces, and yet the malevolent forces (the principalities and powers) have already been defeated by the Creator through the Son of Man, who is The Truth. If we see Him, our circumstances may stay the same, or even get worse, and yet our experience of life will be radically altered. And so, Paul prays that the eyes of our hearts would be enlightened and that we’d know three things.
1.The hope to which He has called us.
Hope. I don’t know about you, but I find hope to be incredibly painful. I want to see my hopes fulfilled, or I want God to take the hope away. …I get exhausted with hope, and I’m tempted to give up hope. Paul wrote, “Hope that is seen is not hope, for who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.”
In Romans 5:5, Paul writes that hope will not disappoint us. He doesn’t say, “Certain hopes will not disappoint us.” Maybe it’s impossible to hope for anything but the good. However, we can fail to wait for the good…then we’re not hoping. Rather than hoping for the good, we seize the good and crucify the Good, and then give up on the hope and give up on the good, which is evil. But the Good doesn’t give up on us. Paul wrote, “Love hopes all things,” and God is Love.
Well, I’m just saying that maybe there’s nothing that we can hope for that will ultimately disappoint us. But if we hope for it, we wait for it with patience. And that’s faith. That’s the eyes of the heart enlightened to this astounding fact that, in Paul’s words in I Cor. 3, “All things are yours and you are Christ’s and Christ is God’s.”
In Colossians 1:27, Paul refers to “Christ in you” as “the hope of glory.” Christ in you is hope in you. Don’t give up on Hope.
In Romans 8:31, Paul writes, “He who did not spare his own son but gave him up for us all, will he not also give us all things with him?”
God is showing us His heart; that is, Jesus is the heart of God. Once we see our Father’s heart, once we see the Good, we can receive all things as good. So keep hoping and hope will not disappoint you.
1. May you know the hope to which He has called you.
2. May you know the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints.
Paul’s not talking about our inheritance; he’s talking about God’s inheritance.
So, what is God’s glorious inheritance? It’s the saints! And who are the saints? We are!
Do you realize that the people around you are God’s glorious inheritance? His sanctuary? Filled and to be filled with His glory? When we try to seize control and refuse to forgive them, they feel like Hell. But when we let them be, they are a party, and we begin to see God’s glorious grace and can laugh and sing in tribulation—like Paul and Silas in prison.
They are God’s glorious inheritance, and yet, according to scripture they also become my glorious inheritance by grace.
He’s in them, and He’s in you, and He is love. We are all a great banquet about to happen, a party about to happen. If only we could see.
So, Paul prays for the Spirit of revelation to open the eyes of our hearts so we would know:
1. The hope to which He has called us.
2. The riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints
3. The immeasurable greatness of His power in us [toward us] who believe.
Paul is praying about hyperballon megathes dunameos: hyper mega dynamite power! God is sovereign over all things, all people, and all situations. God’s power is all around us, and God’s power is in us as faith. Faith in us is Christ in us, Christ rising in us.
And because God exalts Him, I don’t have to exalt myself. I don’t have to promote myself. So I’m no longer addicted to myself. When the eyes of my heart are enlightened:
I’m no longer addicted to things but can hope all things.
I’m no longer addicted to people but can love all people.
I’m no longer addicted to myself but can sacrifice myself, my control.
That’s faith. Then I’m free.
Faith, hope, and love in me is Jesus in me, and He is free. When you know the hope, the inheritance, and the greatness of God’s power is you, you’re free from the world—not addicted to the world—so you can love the world as God so loved the world. You can love all things, all people, in all situations—like Paul did in a prison cell.
Ephesians 1:22: [God] put all things under his feet and made him the head over all things for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.
The slaughtered Lamb is the boss of all things for the Church, which is us. So, the plans of God cannot fail. His Body will not fail, but it does suffer—we will suffer. Jesus even said so, “In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” But because of the immeasurable greatness of HIS power in us, we can rejoice in all things. Even in prison, in suffering, and tribulation we can keep singing . . .
When Paul was in prison in Philippi singing songs and hymns with Silas. The quaking earth blew the jailhouse doors wide open and the immeasurable greatness of His power, His hyperballon megathes dunameos: hyper mega dynamite power was made known and the Gospel invaded Europe.
Ephesians 1:15-23 is a prayer for a revelation. And the book we call The Revelation is at least partly an answer to that prayer. It’s titled, “The Revelation of Jesus.”
The Revelation isn’t a little map to the End Times. The Revelation is the revelation of Jesus, the Lord of all time. It describes principalities and powers, the Dragon, the Beast, the Great Harlot, kings and empires, and how they are all conquered by the slaughtered Lamb and those who are “with Him”…people like those seemingly foolish believers in those seven, little churches…people like you.
And in the end, there is a party—the Wedding Supper of the Lamb in a New Jerusalem in a new heaven and new earth, where we know the good and have the good, and the good has us. God is the Good, and we are His inheritance.
That’s the end. . . . but not just the end. . .
You see? Our inheritance is all things, and all people, and all space and time filled with grace. And God is Grace. It’s all an economy of grace, and it begins right here and right now.
So, may the Spirit of Revelation open the eyes of all of our hearts so we would know:
The hope to which He has called us.
The riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints . . . AND
The immeasurable greatness of His power in us [toward us] who believe.
This devotional was prepared by Kimberly Weynen, Peter Hiett’s assistant. It is a compilation of Kimberly’s devotional thoughts and excerpts from a sermon Peter preached titled “When You Know What the World Doesn’t Know.” To read, watch or listen to the sermon in its entirety click on the sermon title.