Opening Our Heart To God

W. Terry Varner
July 6, 2014

Paul was familiar with the church at Ephesus (Acts 19). Later, Paul stayed at Ephesus for three years (Acts 20:31). It was from Ephesus that Paul wrote First and Second Corinthians (1 Cor. 16:8; 2 Cor. 2:4; 7:8). Ephesians was one of Paul’s prison letters, Philemon, Colossians, and Philippians, written from Roman (AD 60-62). Tychius carried Paul’s letter to the Ephesus (Eph. 6:21-22).

While in the Roman prison, Paul had “heard of [their] faith in the Lord Jesus and [their] love for all the saints” (Eph. 1:17). He prays for their growth in the knowledge of God. Jesus taught that it is primary for men to come to the knowledge of God. “And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent” (John 17:3). If we do not grow in knowledge of God we are in the dark spiritually. Several years ago, my wife and I visited Mammoth Cave in Kentucky. While in the cave the lights were momentarily turned of and we were in thick darkness. Our eyes were wide open but we could not see. This darkness illustrates our hearts in sin. If we turn off the light of God, we live in darkness. Our heart must be open to God.

What Is the Hope of His Calling” (Eph. 1:18)? Man is filled with hope—a sunny day, an easy rain, a job, a vacation, a happy life, etc. Worldly hope is really the expression of a wish. The wish may or may not happen. The hope of the world is futile. “The hope of the unjust perishes” (Prov. 11:17). Biblical hope is not a wish but a conviction of spiritual things based on evidence. Paul was convicted about God. “He who calls you is faithful, who will also do it” (1 Thess. 5:24). God can and God will do what He says. Paul illustrates the Christian’s conviction of hope. “For we are saved in hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly await for it with perseverance” (Rom. 8:24-25). We do not see heaven, but we hope for heaven with the conviction that God will deliver what He says. Paul had heard of their faith and love but desired that they know the hope to which God called them. Because of a faithful Christian’s life, the Christian has the conviction and confidence in the hope of heaven.

What Is the Riches of the Glory of His Inheritance (Eph. 3:18)? It is not clear whether the meaning is (1) what the Christians inherit or (2) that the Christians themselves is what God will inherit at the judgment. It is possible that the phrase refers to both. First, the Bible teaches that Christians receive “the reward of the inheritance” (Col. 3:24; Rev. 21:4). Second, God considers His children “My inheritance” (Isa. 19:25). If it refers to both, then it serves as motivation for the Christian to live faithfully.

What Is the Exceeding Greatness of His Power for Us Who Believe (Eph. 1:19)? Christians worship God who is Almighty (Gen. 17:1; Rev. 21:22), All-Powerful (Ps. 29:4), etc. To encourage the Ephesians to know, rely, and depend on God’s power, he describes God’s work in raising Christ from the dead, His ascension, and coronation (Eph. 1:20-21). In addition, he shows the authority of Christ as the head of the church, His body (Eph. 1:21-23). God’s power “toward us” refers to His defeat of Satan and offering sinful man a way to escape the wages of sin (cf. Rom. 6:23).

Are your eyes open to the hope God offers?