After Conversion . . . . What Then? Pt 3.
Scripture: Eph 1:15-23.
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We have been considering Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians and how it highlights both God’s method of instruction and the matter He would have us instructed in. We noted last week how that knowledge comes by the grace of the Holy Spirit Who opens the eyes of our understanding.
Just what we should come to understand is not left to ourselves any more than any pupil pick what they wish to study.
Christian knowledge is progressive. The Ephesians knew much, verse 9, but we must add to what we know.
There are three subject matters which the Holy Spirit particularly instructs us in. These are listed in verses 18-19.
We will deal with the first of these today, in the will of God.
The hope of his calling.
The “hope” spoken of here is not that hoped for, heaven with all its glories, but the thing, hope, itself. Hope in the Bible has not the meaning commonly given to it today. It means “confidence,” “assurance.”
I. The Christian is a person of hope.
This is elementary but vitally important. He possesses a confident expectation of passing to glory when he dies.
1. Man by nature is without hope. Paul says that in 2:12. No hope of heaven, no hope of escape from hell. Men may entertain hopes but they are empty, vain hopes. When the sinner dies, he has no hope awaiting him. 1 Thess 4:13.
2. The gospel offers sinners hope. It presents to us salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ. Our response should be to lay hold upon that hope, Heb 6:18-19.
3. The believer’s hope is an anchor. We are anchored to Christ the Rock. We face death in peace and calmness, Ps 16:9.
II. IT IS THE PRIVILEGE OF THE BELIEVER TO GROW IN HOPE.
“Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.” Romans 15:13. Filled, abounding. In a world of dwindling hopes and confidences; a world of suicides and brokenness of spirit, how good to possess an ever strengthening hope.
1. It grows as we become more acquainted with it. It is revealed in the Word of God, Col 1:5.
2. It grows as we live in accordance with our hope. 1 John 3:3.
3. It grows as we openly confess our hope. 1 Peter 3:15.
III. THE BELIEVER’S HOPE IS THE RESULT OF GOD’S CALLING.
The call of God may be heard generally in the gospel. And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent, Acts 17:30. But there is also an effectual or particular call. This call is referred to in Rom 8:28-30.
1. It is His calling. It is God who has called us to this hope. He spoke personally and directly to us by His Word and His Spirit. He is the fountainhead of our hope. Therefore, it shall not fail us.
2. It is a heavenly calling. Hebs 3:1, Phil 3:14. It is from above and calls us upward. Hebs 12:1-2.
3. It is a holy calling. 2 Tim 1:9. You can easily tell those who are answering this call, 2 Thess 1:11-12, Eph 4:1. There life concurs with their calling.