Sermon title: "The Exaltation of Christ"
Text: Ephesians 1:15-23
For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, 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 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.
1. This passage begins with Paul's thanksgiving for their faith in Christ and love for all the saints (Ephesians 1:15). How does our faith in Christ on the vertical level affect our love for others on the horizontal level of relationships? Is there a connection between the two?
2. In Ephesians 1:17-18, Paul prays that they would have a "Spirit of wisdom and revelation" in the knowledge of him. He also prays that their "eyes would be enlightened." What does this teach us about the role of the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity?
3. Can you remember how the Holy Spirit worked in your life in leading you to salvation? When did you first realize your sin and need for a Savior?
4. In what ways have you seen the Holy Spirit "illumine" the Scriptures for you?
5. Paul goes on to pray that they would know "his incomparably great power for us who believe." We often sense our need for God's power when we struggle with sin, or when we have difficulty loving someone, or when God brings us through the "severe providence" of suffering. How have you sensed your need for God's power lately?
6. The power of God is displayed through the resurrection, ascension, and seating of Christ. How do each of these display God's power on behalf of the church?
7. Sometimes Christians feel like powerless victims in a random universe, where we see terrorism, moral shifts in the culture, and the false hope of politics. How can it change us when we realize that his name is above all powers, and that God has placed all things under his feet?
8. Ephesians 1:23 gives us insight into how the power of the exalted Christ is made available to the church. We are his body, and he fills the church with himself. We connect to his power through the means of grace: worship, the Word, prayer, the sacraments, and community. How does God use these means of grace to empower his church? How are they used to empower you?
9. What is your takeaway from this passage of Scripture?