csibiblestudy


Blessings from God, Ephesians 1:1-14

Read the Scripture:   Ephesians 1:1-14

1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus: 2 Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.   (Ephesians 1:1-2)

Ephesians 1:1-2 is the briefest salutation in any of Paul’s letters. There are just three simple things to which I will call your attention in passing:

First, Paul’s credentials: notice how he describes himself, “an apostle … by the will of God.”

An apostle was one sent with a message, a messenger. Pau was a messenger who delivered the message he received from the Lord Jesus Christ.   He speaks by the authority of Christ.

Second, Paul was always amazed by the fact that it was “by the will of God” that he was an apostle. God’s plan for his life was that he turned from one who persecuted the followers of Christ to one who proclaim faith in Christ to the world.  Paul recognized that he was fulfilling God’s plan through God’s power.

Third, these Christians are described: “saints who are faithful in Christ Jesus.” Saints is a word which means “set apart ones”.  God describes Christians as those who belong to God and reflect Him in their different attitudes and lifestyle.  These Christians are followers of Jesus Christ.  Let’s stop here for a moment.  We have developed classes of Christians.  Foundational are the believers in Christ.  These are the average Christians.  Second are the followers of Christ.  These are the people who take their commitment to Christ more seriously.  They are the ones we call “on fire for Jesus”.  The first group, we might call “normal”.  In terms of temperature, the followers are “hot” while the normal are “lukewarm”.  Read in Revelation 3:14-22 and see what a literal interpretation reveals.  Is there such a thing as “luke-warm” Christians.  5 times in the gospels, Jesus tells us to believe.  20 times, he tells us to follow.

Fourth, the greeting of Paul to these groups of followers: “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” The two great heritages of the Christian are grace and peace. These are two things you can always have, no matter what your circumstances. Grace is unearned favor with God.  Peace is the freedom from anxiety, fear, and worry. These are the two characteristics which ought to mark Christians all the time: Grace — God at work in their life; and peace — a sense of security, of trust.

Also characteristic of Paul is to gather everything up in one great prefatory statement, and then break it down into its detail.  In Verse 3 we have a tremendous summary of the teachings of this letter:

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:  (Ephesians 1:3-4)

There are four elements in this summary that I want you to note.

  1. 1.  The first element is the starting point with which Paul begins, is with the One who is behind all these blessings, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Questions:  Do you start your thinking with God?

  1. 2.  The second element is the aim of the work of God: “blessed” or blessings. God’s goal is to bring about a universe, filled with blessing. Frequently throughout this letter you find the repeated phrase that everything occurs “to the praise of God’s glory,” i.e., in order that God should be praised, in order that his people should be so struck by the wonder of what has happened to them that their hearts reflect without limit and without their being able to prevent it — the praise and the glory and the blessing of God.

In the verses that follow, those blessings are listed for you.

  1. a.   First blessing,

4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love (Ephesians 1:4)

  1. b.   The second blessing:

5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, 6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. (Ephesians 1:5-6)

“Beloved” means “the One He loves”.  What a fantastic thing that is! We are members of the family of God, made to be partakers of the divine nature.

  1. c.    The third blessing:

7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; 8 Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; possession, unto the praise of his glory. (Ephesians 1:7-8)

Redemption- to buy back

His blood- the price of our redemption

  1. d.   The fourth blessing:

9 Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: 10 That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven , and which are on earth; even in him. (Ephesians 1:9-10)

  1. e.   The fifth blessing:

11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: 12 That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. (Ephesians 1:11-12)

  1. f.    The sixth blessing:

13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the words of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, (Ephesians 1:13)

  1. g.   The seventh blessing:

…ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, 14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory (Ephesians 1:13b-14)

These come from God, and God alone — God at work. It is absolutely impossible for us to achieve them by ourselves. They are the gifts of God.

1:13 The seal or mark of ownership in believers’ lives is the Holy Spirit.

1:14 The guarantee of our inheritance is the Holy Spirit Himself. Interestingly, the Greek word for guarantee can also be used to indicate an engagement ring. As Christ is the Bridegroom and the church is the bride, so the Holy Spirit is the down payment, the earnest money, in the long-awaited marriage of the two (see Rev. 19:7, 8). purchased possession: The Old Testament described the nation of Israel as God’s special treasure, one He had purchased by His mighty acts of deliverance during the Exodus (Ex. 19:5; Deut. 7:6). Here Paul describes Christians as the Lord’s own possession, one bought with the blood of His own Son.

  1. 3.  The third element of this great verse is that the apostle points out that all this blessing is “in Christ.” All this comes to us in Christ, in the Person and the work of the Lord Jesus himself. This fact is going to be stressed again and again in this letter. No two words appear in it more frequently than “in Christ,” or “in him.” Over and over it is emphasized that everything comes to us through him.

Fourth and finally, notice the locale where all this occurs — “in heaven” or “in the heavenlies.” Think of this as the absolute reality that exist right now.  It is the invisible, supernatural realm.  Look at II Corinthians 4:18.   While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.

Do you remember the story in the Old Testament about Elisha and his servant? They were in a small city one day when they were surrounded by the armies of Syria. The servant looked out upon this vast enemy army and he saw the cavalry and the armed chariots. Fearfully he turned to Elisha and said, “Everything’s hopeless! Look! We’re surrounded, what shall we do?” Elisha said, “Fear not, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” And he prayed, “Lord, open his eyes,” (2 Kings 6:15-17). And the Lord opened the young man’s eyes and he saw ringing the horizon all the fiery chariots of God, manned by hundreds and thousands of angels, and he realized the true situation.

I want to close by returning to that great initial thought of the Apostle Paul and pointing out to you how he underlines the fact that it is God who does all this.  In fact it is a truth which has already been done.  We have nothing to do with the events of chapter 1.  Looking at the chapter, it is God who is doing, not us.

That is what Ephesians is all about. It is a story of how God is breaking down division.  He is healing it. He has already begun. He is breaking down the barriers, removing the hate and enmity, restoring and bringing together.

Remember what Jesus said: “All those who are with me gather, and all those who are against me scatter,” (Matthew 12:30, Luke 11:23). You can tell whose side you are on by the effect of your life. Are you gathering, or scattering? Are you healing, or hurting? Are you bringing together, or breaking up? Which is the direction of your life? Well, God’s great movement in our lives, as individuals, and in history at large, is to heal and make whole, to bring together all things in Christ, to restore harmony once

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