Message: As the Spirit reveals Him
As the Spirit reveals Him
Last week we started looking at Ephesians in our ongoing study of pursuing a deeper and growing intimate, relational knowing of Jesus our Lord.
What we know so far is that – in coming to know Jesus in this way we:
- Begin to be transformed into His image
- Our events of suffering increase to oppose this happening
- God allows this suffering, because if we are unwilling to suffer to know Him more than we are unworthy of that knowledge. God does not cause, nor take pleasure in our suffering, but since we are in a fallen world and there is still sin and death in our bodies and our souls are still in a process of glorification – it is necessary for now.
- This has the positive effect of causing those of us who truly love and value Him to cling to Him all the tighter.
- Both the devil and our flesh will resist us in our interest of Him, but when we have pressed through the suffering without succumbing to temptation or pressure – we are honored with becoming more like Him and knowing Him even more.
In this letter to the growing church of the Ephesians we see the connection between our growth in Christ and our knowing Him and that makes it a great letter to read in this study.
As I told you last week, this letter to the Ephesians was not written so much to address issues as is so typical of Paul’s letters, nor is it simply for encouragement in doing good. This was written to lay out before and explain to this church some of the great themes and truths of the Christian life. It addresses some of the most elevated aspects of the new covenant, the kingdom and our role and response to both. The goals and desired ends of the Christian life found in the plans and purposes in the heart of God which include our glorification into His image.
We concluded our teaching last week with verse 11-13 which speaks of our existing to the praise of His glory. To capture the meaning of this we used the comparison of a godly wife with her husband.
She builds him up, gives him aid, supports his endeavors and is his greatest ally. She believes in him, thinks good of him and her admiration of him is obvious to all. All of these things conspire together to honor and glorify the man which was one of the primary reasons for her creation.
This ALL works to illustrate the church and Christ. We exist to the praise of His glory and it only works when it is real. When our love is real, our admiration is real, our devotion is real, our passion is real – THEN and THEN ONLY does it work!
Moving on to Ephesians 1:14…
“(14) He [the Holy Spirit] is the down payment of our inheritance, for the redemption of the possession, to the praise of His glory.
(15) This is why,
Paul knew that God had set His seal of acceptance and approval on the Ephesians that ever…
since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, (16) I never stop giving thanks for you as I remember you in my prayers.”
“(17) I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, would give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him.”
Now last week, we saw in verses 7 & 8 that Paul spoke about God giving these Ephesians and therefore us as well wisdom (sophia) and (understanding) phronēsis. Which meant wisdom and practical discernment on how to live our that wisdom to attain its desired ends.
“(7) In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace (8) that He lavished on us with all [EVERY] wisdom and understanding.”
Now Paul’s prayer is that these gentile believers would receive sophia and apokálupsis by the Spirit.
This word apokálupsis simply means to uncover, reveal and disclose. It, along with the word epipháneia is a word which is closely tied to His return for us.
We see it in many verses in the New Testament and I will read a few to you, but I want to at the same time to notice that when these words are used (and I will point them out to you) they are always together with the things we’ve been learning about.
Suffering, saying no to temptations of various kinds, endurance, approved character, hope, being devoted and dedicated to Him…etc.
We begin with 2Thess. 1:6-7,
“(6) For it is right for God to repay with affliction those who afflict you, (7) and to you who are being afflicted to give rest together with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed [apokálupsis] from heaven with his mighty angels.”
1Peter 1:7; 13-17,
“Such trials show the proven character of your faith, which is much more valuable than gold – gold that is tested by fire, even though it is passing away – and will bring praise and glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed[apokálupsis].
(13) Therefore, get your minds ready for action by being fully sober, and set your hope completely on the grace that will be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed[apokálupsis]. (14) Like obedient children, do not comply with the evil urges you used to follow in your ignorance, (15) but, like the Holy One who called you, become holy yourselves in all of your conduct, (16) for it is written, “You shall be holy, because I am holy.” (17) And if you address as Father the One Who impartially judges according to each one’s work, live out the time of your temporary residence here in reverence.”
“(9) Those who long to be rich, however, stumble into temptation and a trap and many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. (10) For the love of money is the root of all evils. Some people in reaching for it have strayed from the faith and stabbed themselves with many pains. (11) But you, as a person dedicated to God, keep away from all that. Instead pursue righteousness, godliness, faithfulness, love, endurance, and gentleness. (12) Compete well for the faith and lay hold of that eternal life you were called for and made your good confession for in the presence of many witnesses. (13) I charge you before God Who gives life to all things and Christ Jesus Who made His good confession before Pontius Pilate, (14) to obey this command without fault or failure until the appearing [epipháneia] of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
But perhaps most beautifully we find these words in 1Cor. 1:4-9,
“(4) I always thank my God for you because of the grace of God that was given to you in Christ Jesus. (5) For you were made rich in every way in Him, in all your speech and in every kind of knowledge – (6) just as the testimony about Christ has been confirmed among you – (7) so that you do not lack any spiritual gift as you wait for the revelation[apokálupsis] of our Lord Jesus Christ. (8) He will also strengthen you to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. (9) God is faithful, by Whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.”
So Paul is putting together this word apokalupsis with the word epignosis here in Ephesians 1:17 in his request to the Father in order to have Jesus made known to them relationally and intimately through a series on progressive and ongoing revelations of Him.
This revealing of Jesus is both a progressive reality in our everyday life, and a crescendo at its end or when He returns for us. In either of these two potential ends of our physical existence we will see Him for Who He really is. He will finally be apokalupsis (revealed) to us!
This daily revelation in the life of the believer is one of the very reasons stated for the giving of the person of the Holy Spirit to the church in the first place.
This seems both logical and a necessary next step in their walk in Christ due to what Paul next says, which is “since the eyes of your heart have been enlightened already – so that you can know what is the hope of His calling…etc.”
This was not always true of mankind as is seen in John 16:12 –
“I still have many things to tell you, but you can’t bear them now.”
The NEXT words of Christ seem to point to what Paul is here referring to –
“(13) When the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all the truth. For He will not speak on His own, but He will speak whatever He hears. He will also declare to you what is to come. (14) He will glorify Me, because He will take from what is Mine and declare it to you. (15) Everything the Father has is Mine. This is why I told you that He takes from what is Mine and will declare it to you.” – John 16:13-15
And 1 Cor. 2:9-16, “(9) But as it is written: What no eye has seen and no ear has heard, and what has never come into a man’s heart, is what God has prepared for those who love Him. (10) Now God has REVEALED them to us by the Spirit, for the Spirit searches everything, even the deep things of God. (11) For who among men knows the concerns of a man except the spirit of the man that is in him? In the same way, no one knows the concerns of God except the Spirit of God. (12) Now we have not received the spirit of the world, but the Spirit Who is from God, in order to know what has been freely given to us by God. (13) We also speak these things, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual things to spiritual people. (14) But the natural man does not welcome what comes from God’s Spirit, because it is foolishness to him; he is not able to know it since it is evaluated spiritually. (15) The spiritual person, however, can evaluate everything, yet he himself cannot be evaluated by anyone. (16) For: who has known the Lord’s mind, that he may instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ.”
So Paul continues…
“(18) I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened so you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the glorious riches of His inheritance among the saints, (19) and what is the immeasurable greatness of His power to us who believe, according to the working of His vast strength.”
“(20) He demonstrated this power in the Messiah by raising Him from the dead and seating Him at His right hand in the heavens– (21) far above every ruler and authority, power and dominion, and every title given, not only in this age but also in the one to come. (22) And He put everything under His feet and appointed Him as head over everything for the church, (23) which is His body, the fullness of the One who fills all things in every way.”