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The Unsearchable Riches of Christ - Ephesians chapter 3 verse 8 - J Stewart Gillespie  

From the prison cell Paul presents the unserachable riches of Christ, the dispensations of God's grave and the great mysteries of God's plan and purpose for this fallen world. The Divine plan for this universe centres on the revelation of Jesus Christ, the Great Mystery of Godliness, the redemption of a people for Himself and the removal of all that rebels against Him. In Christ we find a Saviour unlike any other, full of unsearchable riches! He is the bread of life, the light of the world, the way the truth and the life, the door into heaven, the Shepherd of the sheep, our great High Priest, a Saviour of Sinners and our comforter. 

What a great Saviour! 

Dr J Stewart Gillespie 

Ephesians chp 3 vs 1 to 11 - When the Prison becomes a Treasure House - JS Gillespie  

Paul, imprisoned in Ephesians chapter 3 recognises the sovereign power of Christ over that prison and discovers the Saviour in that prison! This section of Ephesians chapter 3 begins with prison and ends with purpose! There is purpose in the prison! Purpose for Joseph, Daniel, Onesimus, Silas and Paul. From that prison pours the unsearchable riches of Christ, an appreciation of the dispensations of God's Grace and of the mysteries of the New Testament, 14 in number, 2 great mysteries and 1 mystery of a great thing. 

Dr J Stewart Gillespie

Ephesians chp 3 vs 1 to 2 - Man's Search for Meaning Seeing the Plan beyond the Prison Bars - JS Gillespie {02/03/24}  

Ephesians chapter 3 describes Paul's imprisonment but not simply from the human perspective! Paul sees the plan and purpose of God in his prison cell! He is the prisoner of Jesus Christ. Through the prison and the pain God's church is being build, souls saved from Caesar's household, Christians emboldened in the Gospel and 5 prison epistels written, subsequently shared to over 9 billion souls! Paul chose how we would see and respond in these difficult circumstances. Paul's joy lay in playing his part in the dispensation of the Grace of God, one of 7 dispensations in the Bible : the dispensations of innocence, conscience, law, grace, tribulation, millenial reign and eternal state. God has His plan for Paul, for the whole world and for you.
Dr J Stewart Gillespie 

Ephesians chp 2 vs 11 to 22 - Dont Just go to Church be the Church - JS Gillespie   

Ephesians chapter 2 is a call first to reflection and to remember. Remember what once you were, dead in trespasses and sins, what you now are, raised up with Jesus Christ in the heavenly places and ask the question; so what? Does this make a difference to my life?

In Ephesians chapter 2 we see that the Christian enjoys 4 great spiritual privelages and blessings: 

1 - Peace with God 

This peace is both verticle; between the Christian and God and horizontal, between believers. We see a picture of this peace in the peac offering of Leviticus chapter 3 with the removal of the diaphragm or caul above teh kidneys. 


2 - Privelage of prayer 

This access to God by His Holy Spirit can be and is manifested in at least 5 distinct forms of prayer:

  1. Thanksgiving (Philippians 4:6)
  2. Worship (Hebrews 13:15)
  3. Intercession (Romans 8:26)
  4. Supplication (Philippians 4:6)
  5. Confession (1 John 1:9)

Here is a challenge to enjoy the blessings and privelages God has for us in Christ. 

3 - Place in God's church, as believers we are not expected simpy to ‘go to church’ nor simply to be part of the congregation, but rather to be part of the concrete, an integral component of the church which He is building! 

4 - Presence and reality of God in His church and amongst His people.

Systematic teaching from the letter to the Ephesians 

Dr J Stewart Gillespie

26th March 2024

A Little Touch of Heaven - Ephesians chapter 2 verses 5 to 10 - Dr J Stewart Gillespie  


So what is the Christian life all about? 

  • Evangelism?
  • Service?
  • Worship?
  • Testimony?
  • Fellowship with Christ?
  • Raising a family in the nurture and admonition of the Lord?
  • Playing our part in the Church?

The list could go on and grows the more we think about it! Ephesians chapter 2 helps to point us to a summary of the content and purpose of the Christian life in the proverbial nutshell! The Christian is lives out his life in 2 spheres; and in the experience of two relationships, he is both in touch with and in fellowship with Jesus Christ in heaven (Ephesians 2:6), seated and enjoying that living relationship with Christ and he is similtaneously walking amongst men on earth (Ephesians 2:10). Here is a soul once “dead in trespasses and sins” and now “alive in Christ”! This is same soul who was dead and alienated from the l life of God (Acts 3:5); who rejected the light of God (John 1:5); the love of God (John 3:16) and the language of God (John 8:43) but who now lives out his live in love (Ephesians 3:19), light (Ephesians 5:8); life (Ephesians 2:5) and enjoying the language of heaven (Ephesians 1:13)! This saved and regenerated soul has been let loose in a dark, cold, world of empty despair. It is against the deep darkness that is the night of this world that the glorious light of the gospel and of those who belong to Christ shines the most brightly. 

Dr J Stewart Gillespie

But God - Ephesians chapter 2 verse 4 - JS Gillespie  

It was an appreciation of "but God" that delivered Joseph from despair, 'but God meant it for good,' that rescued and guided Israel from the wilderness 'But God' would lead His people, it was resting in 'but God' that saved David from weakness, when his strength failed but God was the strength of his heart, it was resting on 'But God' that would redeem David from the grave and all of my hopes for heaven and salvation depend upon the 'but God' who commends His love towards us that whilst we were yet sinners Christ died for the ungodly. 

Dr J Stewart Gillespie Bible Teaching from Ephesians 

Dead in Trespasses and Sins - Ephesians chapter 2 vs 1 to 3  

Dead in trespasses and sins, what we were before Christ saved us, dieing with a 'hole in my soul, it's a real big place,' crying that we want to 'feel real love and the life ever after.' Separated from the life of God, the light of God, the love of God and the language of God. I was dead! 

From the languishing of the dieing man comes the flesh, the remnant desires corrupted in quantity and quality! Perversion and corruption motivate the dieing man trapped in the Adamic fall, seeking desperately to feel alive, just to feel anything! God's grace in Christ reaches down, saves and lifts me to be seated together with Christ in heavenly places. Just as Moses moved up mount Sinai into the cloud of God's presence, the Christian has a higher and more glorious experience than the world can ever provide, alive, raised up and seated with Jesus in heavenly places!

Dr J Stewart Gillespie

A Taste of our Inheritance to come - Ephesians chapter 1 verse 18 - J Stewart Gillespie  

That you may know what is the hope of His calling and what the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints. Ephesians chapter 1 verse 18 points the Christian to the present experience of the future expectation of his inheritance. The inheritance God has for His people will be forever shared collectively amongst His people. This experience we taste of today in His Church, the body, building and bride of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is in the church that the full variety and diversity of spiritual gifts are given to glorify and reveal Jesus and build up the Christian, transforming and conforming them to the image of Jesus! 

God indeed is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied with Him! 

Dr J Stewart Gillespie

The 3 Prayers of Ephesians - Feeding Filling and Fighting - Ephesians chapter 1 verses 15 to 23 - JS Gillespie  


Prayer, a priority to Paul, is a priority to the Christian and appropriately commences, concludes and forms the centre of the letter to the Ephesians. The letter to the Ephesians opens with a prayer of priority, a prayer that the Christians in effect may feed upon the Lord Jesus, that they might encounter the Spirit of Wisdom, and revelation in the knowledge of Him. The priority in the work of Holy Spirit is in the revelation of a Person, that is Jesus, and thus the purpose He has for us and the power which flows flows from Him. Never underestimate the power of Jesus in the life of the Christian. This power is of the same quality and is measured according to the resurrecting power seen in Jesus Christ! This is the power which raised Lazarus, liberated Israel, rebuilt Jerusalem and instated a Shepherd as a Sovereign! We may be down and week but with God we are not out! 

The Christian life in Ephesians hangs on 3 prayers:

  1. Feeding (1:15-23)
  2. Filling (3:14-21)
  3. Fighting (6:18)

We seen at least 2 previous ways we could divide up the letter:

  1. Chapters 1 to 3 – Doctrine – why we do it
  2. Chapters 4 to 6 – Practice – what we do 

Suggested that we could take the template from the OT of Israel, led by Moses and then Joshua from the Exodus to the promised land. That journey would encapsulate:

  1. Redemption – Exodus 12 – Ephesians chp 1 
  2. Sanctification – leaving the world and Satan behind (2:1-4) and moving up the mountain (Exodus 20) and into the heavenly places in Christ (Eph 2:5-10)
  3. Fellowship in the tabernacle (Exodus 25ff) which is the church of Ephesians 2:11ff – a place where God dwells (Ephesians 2:22), where we meet with God (2:18).
  4. Dimensions of Divine love – the ark of the covenant records it as 2 ½ cubits by 1 ½ cubits by 1 ½ cubits, here we have it in Ephesians 3:14-21. 
  5. The walk of God’s people (Ephesians chapter 4 and 5) – the wilderness journey 
  6. Battle and victory (Ephesians 6:10ff) 

These 3 prayers are not simply random prayers punctuating the epistle but they do reflect the structure of the letter and the pattern of the Christian life. 

The first prayer concludes the section on:

  • Election 
  • Predestination 
  • Adoption
  • Redemption 
  • Inheritance 
  • Sealed with the Spirit

With a prayer that we might appreciate what the purpose of all of this is! 

A very apt prayer! 

It is a prayer which draws us to:

  1. A Person 
  2. God’s Purpose 
  3. God’s Power 

The first ministry here in Ephesians after the Spirit of God seals me is the Revelation of God, which is of course through Christ:

  • “But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:” (John 15:26)
  • “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you. All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall show it unto you.” (John 16:13ff)
  • “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” (John 17:3)
  • “For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” (2 Co 4:6) 

The first priority to know Him! 

  • “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;” (Phil 3:10)


His Power (1:19)

The power available to us as God’s people is a power after the same type, the same kind as that which raised up Christ from the dead! (Ephesians 1:2) 

His power is a resurrecting power.

This is a power after the fashion of the power which:

  • Regenerated a lost world with 8 people
  • Made of Abraham a great nation
  • Promoted a slave and prisoner to second in command in Egypt 
  • Turned a slave and fugitive to Saviour of Israel
  • Brought water from the rock 
  • Turned a shepherd to a sovereign 
  • Raised up a ruined Jerusalem from the ashes in the days of Nehemiah
  • Rebuilt a destroyed temple in the days of Ezra 
  • Restored a lost kingdom and nation to Israel 
  • Raised Lazarus from the dead
  • Restored Onesimus from uselessness to usefulness


In Ephesians 3:14-21 the experience and reality of this power arises from the experience of the indwelling presence of Christ (3:17), His filling comes from us being “rooted and grounded in love” (3:17;19) it is that trust in Christ, in His love that brings me to surrender to Him, understanding that He can be utterly trusted and that I can safely surrender to Him (Ephesians 3:19). 

It was the experience of this love that:

  • Brought Zacchaeus to surrender half of his goods
  • Brought Paul to present his life on the alter 
  • Brought the servant to total surrender and commitment (Exodus 21:6)
  • Brought Mary to anoint Jesus 

Dr J Stewart Gillespie

Spirit Lead me from Redemption to Redemption - Ephesians chapter 1 verses 13 to 14 - J Stewart Gillespie  

“The Holy Spirit of Promise”

Consider the Spirit of God, such a vast subject! 

The actions and manifestation of the Holy Spirit, are the actions and manifestations of God! 

The subject is immense!

  1. His role in Creation (Genesis chp 1) 
  2. His role in inspiration (2 Peter 1:20ff) 
  3. His role in the Incarnation (Luke 1:35) 
  4. His role in spiritual gifts and the Gift of prophecy 
  5. His role in Sanctification 
  6. His role in Consecration 
  7. His role in the Conviction of sin (John 16:8)
  8. His role in Conversion
  9. His role in Regeneration (John 3) 
  10. His role in Comfort and consolation (John 14)
  11. His role in Education (John 14:26; 1 John 2:27) 
  12. His role in the Ministry of Christ (John 14) 
  13. His role in Spiritual gifts (1 Co12) 
  14. His role in Prayer (Romans 8) 
  15. His role in Leading and guiding (Romans 8)
  16. His role in the transformation of character – fruit of the Spirit (2 Co 3:17-18)

The Spirit of God has many and varied roles and is active wherever God is active. To fully understand or systematise the Spirit of God we would have to fully understand God! 

What we have in Ephesians is something a bit more focused however. 

The Spirit of God is the believer’s:

  1. Pledge
  2. Proof 
  3. Person

He is our:

  1. Guide 
  2. Guardian 
  3. Guarantee

The ministry of the Spirit of God in the life of the Christian is a ministry from: 

Redemption (Ephesians 1:7) 


Redemption (Ephesians 1:13-14)

We are redeemed (Ephesians 1:7) 

We are to be redeemed (Ephesians 1:14) 

Redemption has 2 aspects:

  • What we are redeemed from – Egypt – slaves to pharaoh 
  • What we are redeemed to – The promised land – servants of the Lord 

In redemption there is an out and there is an in! 

Out of Egypt and into the promised land. 

Out of slavery to Pharoah and into the service of the Lord 

The ministry of God’s Holy Spirit thus runs:

  • From redemption (1:7) to redemption (1:14) 
  • From time to eternity 
  • From earth to heaven 

“The Holy Spirit of God whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption” (Eph 4:30). He is with us all that journey through! 

He is the "Holy Spirit of promise" (1:13)

Certainly He is the promised Holy Spirit: 

  • John 14:16
  • John 15:26
  • John 16:13
  • Luke 24:49
  • Acts 19:1ff 

But in the context of Ephesians chapter 1 He is more than the promised Holy Spirit. He is the guarantor of God’s promises:

  • earnest” – ‘arrabon’ – engagement ring 
  • He is the promised guarantee that the leaving we have endured will lead to an entering in to an inheritance which we can expect.
  • He takes us from redemption to redemption

That path guided by the Holy Spirit for the Christian is a picture which we see over in Genesis chapter 24, in the unnamed servant who leads Rebekah from Haran / Nahor to Canaan.

The Holy Spirit will lead us through too. 

  1. Salvation 

Set apart unto salvation – 2 Thess 2:13 

Conviction of sin (John 16:8)

Regeneration (John 3)

  1. Revelation of Jesus Christ (John 16:15; 14:26)
  2. Sanctification 

Sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit (1 Co 6:11)

Leave the world, the flesh and the Devil behind and drawn into the presence of Christ 

  1. Relationship 

Romans chapter 8

Prayer (Romans 8:26) 

  1. Consecration and transformation 

The inner working of the Spirit of God 

“The Spirit of ... power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Tim 1:7) 

Power – Ephesians 3:16 

Love – Ephesians 3:17 

Sound mind – Ephesians 3:18 

Consider 2 Corinthians 3:16ff – conformed to the image of Christ 

  1. Gifts of the Spirit for the Church 

Cf. 1 Corinthians 12:1ff 

The Spirit of God operative in the church, drawing believers together in the community of the church.


  1. Character moulded 

The transformation of the believers character 

The conformation of the Christian to Jesus 

The victory over the flesh (Romans 8:13) 

Cf. The fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22)

  1. Conduct shaped 

The transformation of conduct 

Led by the Spirit (Romans 8:1ff)

Filled by the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18ff) 

  1. Spiritual warfare 

Spiritual battle – conflict and warfare 

  1. Illuminating the Word of God 

A fairly extensive list of the ministry of the Holy Spirit 

That list of the working of the Holy Spirit is effectively an outline of the entire letter of the Ephesians! 

The Holy Spirit will lead us through too. 

  1. Salvation and sealing (Ephesians 1:13)
  2. Revelation of Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1:17) 
  3. Sanctification (Ephesians 2: 1-10)
  4. Relationship and prayer (Ephesians 2:11-3:13 )
  5. Consecration and transformation (Ephesians 3:14-21)
  6. Gifts of the Spirit for the Church (Ephesians 4:1-16)
  7. Transformation of Character (4:17-31)
  8. Transformation of Conduct (5:1-20)
  9. Spiritual warfare (6:10-20)
  10. Illuminating the Word of God (6:17) 

The Spirit of God leads us in Ephesians to lay hold of our blessings in Christ. 

Let us impose a template on the Ephesian letter – take it from the life of Moses, the journey of the nation of Israel: 

  • Redemption from Egypt – Ephesians chp 1 
  • Sanctification from Egypt and Pharaoh – Ephesians chp 2 
  • Building a sanctuary – Ephesians chp 2 
  • Inner Holy of Holies – a place of 
  • Walk through the wilderness – battling Amalek chapters 4 + 5 
  • The final victory in spiritual battle and taking the land  (Ephesians 6)

What do I take from this? 

  • Without God’s Spirit I can do nothing 
  • The first work of the Spirit of God after salvation and sealing is the revelation of Christ 
  • There are no shortcuts 
  • I cannot move from salvation to victory without sanctification, fellowship, relationship, transformation and a walk consistent with my profession!




Ephesians chapter 1 vs 11 to 18 - An Inheritance with Guarantees - JS Gillespie  


The Christian is in possession of a glorious inheritance in the Lord Jesus. This inheritance in Christ in Ephesians chapter 1 comes with a promise, a pledge, an earnest or even an engagement ring! Our inheritance in Christ comes with a promised guarantee, sealed by the Holy Spirit. We see a typical picture of this story in Genesis chapter 24 as the unnamed servant of Abraham goes to Mesopotamia to find a bride for Isaac. 

Dr J Stewart Gillespie 


Ephesians chp 1 vs 11 - Treasuring Your Inheritance - 5 Girls who Changed the World - JS Gillespie - 19th Dec 2023  


It is amazing the impact on individual lifes, the history of nations, the record of the bible and the plan and storyof redemption that valuing our inheritance can have! Naboth knew the true cost of holding onto his inheritance and refusing to surrender, swap or sell his vineyard! It cost him his life. The 5 daughters of Zelophehad so cherished their inhetitance that they forced a change in Old Testament Law with unexpected and almost unbelievable consequences. The presidence they set in Numbers chapter 27 and Numbers chapter 36 became a decisive factor in cementing the relationship between Ruth and Boaz in Ruth chapter 4 and from that relationship not only came the King of Israel David but so too the Lord Jesus Christ. Let us as Christians hold onto, value and treasure our inheritance in Christ, refusing to devalue, despise, or disregard that inheritance for a world that disappoints and material prosperity that disappears. 

Ephesians chp 1 vs 11 – Living in the Light of Our Inheritance

Heading somewhere, heading home.

We are heirs of God, let us live like it! 

Living from the gutter to Glory!

There was a latin phrase which caught on a number of years ago after the film ‘The Dead Poets Society’ – Carpe Diem – seize the day! The modern equivalent of which YOLO – you only live once! 

The believer in Ephesians chapter 1 is encouraged not simply to seize the day or live for the moment, as if you only live once but rather to:

‘Lay hold of eternity’!

We noted previously in the context of redemption the importance of our inheritance! The theme of inheritance runs through the whole bible and the importance of it.

Inheritance is linked to:

  • Identity
  • Purpose 

Bible maps, and biblical maps of the promised land are divided up:

  • Not by states
  • Not by shires

But by:

  • Tribes

Ie according to the tribes or families of the nation of Israel.

The land was their inheritance! 

The land was their inheritance, and by the way it was their inheritance in perpetuity! There was provision for this in Leviticus chapter 25, for redemption and for the return of the land as an inheritance in perpetuity to the tribes of Israel at the year of Jubilee. 

These Old Testatment land laws and registers, strangely included in the Word of God, when perhaps other material could not be so included 

“And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen.” (John 21:25)

All of this material recorded and included in the scriptures regarding land laws, inheritance laws, redemption rights and the year of Jubilee (Leviticus 25:10,13), impresses upon us as New Testament believers that when God gives an inheritance, it is forever! That is a good lesson to learn! 

Our inheritance in Christ is the next step in the flow of truth here in chapter 1:

  • Chosen – verse 4 
  • Predestined for adoption – verse 5 
  • Redeemed – verse 7 
  • Wisdom of God’s purpose worked out not as a photo but as a film! In 4 dimensions and not only 3! Wisdom projected from the Divine mind onto the canvas of time (vs 9 to 10). To gather all things in Christ, the church is the first glimpse of the new world and of this purpose (Ephesians 1:10). 


We have been chosen, predestinated, adopted, and redeemed for a purpose (Ephesians 1:11). From our perspective that purpose is our “inheritance” (Eph 1:11)

All of this of course flows from God:

  • Election 
  • Predestination to adoption 
  • Redemption 
  • Inheritance 


  1. “Chosen in Him”

Chosen not for good in me! 

God cannot chose between men for salvation the way we chose! When it comes to human choice we tend to chose the best option! The best room in the house, the best cake on display in the bakers window, the best job. When it comes to God choosing the sinner, the situation is clear (Romans 3:9ff). Just as when God formed Adam of the dust of the ground, it wasn’t that one handful of dust was any less dirty than another handful of dust! It was because of what could do with that handful of dust! 

  1. Adopted

The Old Testament is bookended by adoption! 

The Old Testament year, and redemptive calendar begins on:

  • 14th day of the 1st month Abib / Nissan with Passover 

The Old Testament calendar ends on:

  • 14th day of the last month Adar with Purim 

The first feast celebrates the nations release from a place – Egypt. 

The last feast celebrates the nations release from a person – Hamman.

With both of these feasts there is connected a prominent OT character:

  1. Purim – Esther 

Interestingly both Moses and Esther are adopted! 

The whole of the redemptive history of the Old Testament is bookended by adoption! 

  1. Redeemed

Redemption encompassing:

  1. Ransom
  2. Release
  3. Relationship 

Not purely a negative phenomenon, but redeemed for a purpose! Most clearly seen perhaps with the redemption of the nation from Egypt, seen too with Ruth and perhaps in picture form with Rebekah! 

There are some great examples of those who held fast to their inheritance! They weren’t for letting it go! 

Individual lifes, the story of the bible, the destiny of nations and the course of history was shaped by those who had an appreciation of their inheritance, so too for us. My inheritance: what I have in Christ and where I am going with the Christian faith. 

  1. Naboth – the cost of his inheritance 
  2. Daughters of Zelophehad – the commitment to their inheritance 
  3. Ruth – the consequences of holding onto that inheritance 

They will be encouraged to:

  • Deny
  • Despise
  • Disregard
  • Devalue 

Their inheritance but they didn’t and neither must I!

Live your life in the light of that inheritance. 

The believers inheritance permeates the whole of the Ephesian epistle: 

  1. Privileges of that inheritance (Ephesians 2) 
  • Prayer
  • Praise
  1. Practices of that inheritance (Ephesians 3+4) 
  • Preeminence of Christ 
  • Perfecting of the saints
  • Preaching of the word of God 
  • Practice of gifts
  1. Prospect of that inheritance (Ephesians 5)
  • Relationship
  • Resemblance

In living out our life as Christians in the light of our inheritance we can make an unexpected impact for Christ!

  1. Naboth
  • 1 Kings chp 21 
  • Naboth valued his inheritance – it wasn’t just a vineyard or a business, it was his inheritance (21:1). He wouldn’t give it up to be turned into a lawn! 
  • Naboth was encouraged to devalue his inheritance:

Naboth valued it with his life

  1. Daughters of Zelophehad
  • Numbers chapter 27 and 36 
  • The 5 daughters of Zelophehad, petition Moses as the land is about to be divided up, they too want their portion and their inheritance. 
  • In the first half of Numbers many did not value, were not prepared to fight for their inheritance in the land eg the 10 out of the 12 spies who were sent doen to spie out the land. 
  • These daughters forced a change in case law and received their right to inherit from their father in the absence of a son. 
  • They really valued their inheritance!
  • This had an unexpected consequence which arises in Numbers chapter 36. Having inherited their fathers land they are restricted to marry within the tribe. 
  • I f I were to tell you that your salvation depended on the passion and pursuit of their inheritance would you believe me? Their conviction and passion for their inheritance was used by God to direct subsequent events that lead us ultimately to the birth of Jesus Christ! 


  1. Ruth
  • Ruth chapter 4
  • What is happening here? 

Probably not as a consequence of the levirate laws of marriage in Deuteronomy 25 which applies to:

  • Brothers (Lev 25:5) and the widows “brother in law” (Lev 25:5)
  • Who “dwell together” (Lev 25:5) – taken by the Rabbis as indicating brothers with inheritance rights to the same father, ie living on the family land.
  • The child born as a result is credited to the deceased brother (Deut 25:6) 

This was not what transpired in the book of Ruth:

  • Boaz was a near kinsmen (Ruth 3:12,13), not a brother and Naomi perceived no levirate right per se of redemption by Boaz. 
  • Naomi seems quite clear regarding levirate marriage in Ruth 1:11ff this would depend upon her having another son. 
  • Boaz credits the choice of Ruth as the cause of the union rather than legal rights per se “Let it even be established, that thy name may be magnified forever, saying, The LORD of hosts is the God of Israel, even a God to Israel: and let the house of David thy servant be established before thee.” (Ruth 3:10)
  • Once the son is born he is credited to Boaz (Ruth 4:21) and not Mahlon

This does not fulfil the criteria we know of for levirate but rather fits better with the legislation given as a consequence of the problems raised by the daughters of Zelophehad in Numbers 27 and 36.

It appears to have been their faithfulness and commitment to ensuring their inheritance in Numbers chapter 27 and the subsequent issues which arose in Numbers 36 with legislation that committed the daughter who inherits her fathers property to marry within the tribe. The faithfulness of the daughters of Zelophehad had unexpected consequences, reaching far beyond the daughters of Zelophehad! Their faithfulness in a sense turned the course of history, bringing to pass the marriage of Ruth and Boaz and thus the line of David and of Messiah! 

Bible teaching from Ephesians chapter 1 

Dr J Stewart Gillespie

Ephesians chapter 1 vs 8 - The Wisdom of God   

It is a great mistake to judge the wisdom of God simply by considering a snap shot or a picture of a moment in time. The wisdom of God cannot be seen in the imprisonment of Joseph, in the punishment of Daniel, in the death of Lazarus nor in the suffering of the man born blind. Take a step back and consider the way God works over time and through the generations, intertwinning the stories of patriachs, kings and prophets, in bringing to pass His appointed purpose in Christ and then we grasp His wisdom. This is a wisdom dispensed and worked out in the fullness of time (Ephesians chp 1 vs 10). 

“Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence” Ephesians 1:8

An interesting and practical verse 

Over the years a distinction has been drawn between:

  • Wisdom
  • Knowledge

Distinction emphasised:

  • Wisdom is knowledge applied 

Knowledge – what truth is 

Wisdom – what we do with that knowledge / truth. How we use that knowledge. 

In the OT we do see that distinction:

  • Knowledge is the raw material of wisdom the substrate of wisdom (Proverbs 18:15; Proverbs 15:2, 14) 
  • Wisdom is the application and use of that knowledge (2 Chronicles 1:10ff; 1 Kings 3:16ff)

Knowledge – what truth is

Wisdom – how we use that knowledge 

Knowledge is 3 dimensional in Ephesians chapter 3 

That knowledge is applied and expressed over time (v10) by God displaying His wisdom. 

We may perceive the knowledge of God in a snap shot of time but whilst knowledge is 3 dimensional (Ephesians 3:18-19); the wisdom of God is perceived over time, a 4th dimension (Ephesians 1:8-10).

  • Knowledge – a picture 
  • Wisdom – a video 

10 That in the dispensation of the fullness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, …” Ephesians 1:10

“As a plan for the fullness of time” – ESV

“The ordering of the times when they are complete”  - BBE

As God works out His knowledge in time we begin to perceive His wisdom! That is a very practical thing! 

Perhaps this is one of the most practical thoughts we have in Ephesians!

If you want to see the ‘knowledge’ of God you can glimpse that in creation: Psalm 19:1-2; Romans 1:19.

If you want to get a glimpse of the ‘knowledge of God’ – see that in Creation.

If you wish to perceive the ‘wisdom’ of God that will be seen in the story of redemption! 

Johannes Kepler once famously desired to “think God’s thoughts after Him.” To think God’s thoughts after Him we will need to look at more than creation, we will need to consider the story of redemption!

We can gain a glimpse into the knowledge of God from Creation; the “eternal power and Godhead” of God – Romans chapter 1. 


5 grams of sugar = 1.5 X 10 power of 62 joules 

1 megaton nuclear bomb 10 to 15 joules 

More than enough power to wipe out the whole earth 

In creation we glimpse the raw power, the eternal power and Godhead of God! 

It is in redemption we see more than the raw power and knowledge of God; we see the wisdom of God. 

God’s wisdom is perceived over time.

God’s wisdom is worked out according to His good pleasure (v9); for His purpose, His pleasure, and not for mine! 

Mary and Martha

“If you had been here my brother had not died” 

Don’t judge God by that snapshot! 

See the wisdom working out over time! 

In delaying His coming the Lord would demonstrate something far more glorious than His power to heal the sick. Through these events we would see the power of Jesus to raise the dead. This brought blessing not only to Mary, Martha and Lazarus in John 11 but to all believers of all ages!

Scattering of the Jerusalem church

Why the scattering and persecution, suffering, death and martyrdom?

If you just assessed that story by a snapshot in time you would miss what God was actually doing! The seed of the Gospel, was being scattered throughout the whole world! 


The man born blind (John 9:3)

You may well question the wisdom of God if you just look at that snap shot of the man born blind in John chapter 9!

“but that the work of God should be made manifest in him” 


John on the Isle of Patmos

You may well question the wisdom of God in constraining John to the Isle of Patmos and yet it is in that seclusion that the greatest prophetic revelation ever is given! 

Daniel in the Lion’s Den – Question the wisdom of God?

You may question the wisdom of God in putting Daniel, faithful, prayerful, righteous Daniel in the den of lions! Look at the whole story however! 

  • Daniel becomes a glorious type of Christ. 
  • Evidence that God’s pleasure in His people is not limited to the provision of favourable nor easy circumstances!
  • God’s name is glorified and His purposes fulfilled as the Lord’s servant places himself upon the altar for Christ! (Romans 12:1ff)
  • For God to increase I must decrease! God is glorified when my life is placed on the altar to Him! 


The Cross of Calvary – Question the wisdom of God? 

The 2 on the road to Emmaus certainly did! 

Esther in Babylon – Question the wisdom of God? 

Taken captive in Babylon and then ends up in the harem of Ahasuerus, yet God has a role uniquely to be fulfilled by Esther.


We can see the wisdom of God in the plan of redemption worked out down through the ages in the:

  • Pictures 
  • Patterns
  • Prophecies 

Through the whole of the OT scriptures. 

See the pieces coming together:

  • Tree of life 
  • Ark of Noah pitched within and without with pitch 
  • Lamb of Isaac
  • Types of Joseph 
  • Passover 
  • Types of tabernacle
  • Feasts of Jehovah 
  • Types of Elijah 
  • Slaying of Goliath

In the prophecies of:

  • Psalms
  • Isaiah
  • Micah
  • Zechariah 

Here is the practical impact; I can look at my life and see the problems, the difficulties; discouragements; and obstacles and fail to perceive the wisdom of God from that single picture! I need to consider the whole story, over time before I can truly see that wisdom! 


David and Svea Flood and their 2 year old son left Sweden to go to the Belgian Congo in 1921. 

Met up with the Ericksons and then headed inland to Ndolera 

They found themselves forbidden to enter the village by the chief, in fear of offending the tribal gods! 

The Floods had only 1 regular contact from the village, a delivery bow who brought chickens and eggs 

Svea spoke to him about Christ 

The Ericksons left 

Svea died aged 27 giving birth to Aggie 

David Flood left the station, his calling and the faith “I’m going back to Sweden, I’ve lost my wife and I obviously can’t take care of this baby. God has ruined my life.”

He gave the baby Aggie to the Ericksons, they died and she was adopted by a couple who returned to USA> 

Aggie attended a missionary conference in London years later, the speaker was from Zaire. He had been the young lad with whom Svea had shared Christ. He became a teacher and lead most of his pupils to Christ. There were now > 600 believers in the town and he represented a church of > 100, 000 believers. 

We need to perceive the wisdom of God over time, through the years, centuries and generations, it is not just a snap shot nor a picture but the entire panoramic view of what God is doing that portrays the wisdom of God.

Dr J Stewart Gillespie 


Ephesians chapter 1 verse 7 - Redemption - JS Gillespie  

The theme of Redemption runs through the whole of the bible. In Leviticus chapter 25 people, places, possessions and property could be redeemed, Generally in the Old Testament redemption came by money or by silver and occasionally, by blood. Redemption teaches the truths of ransom, release and relationship. These truths we see worked out in the bible stories of Rebekah in Genesis chapter 24, Ruth and the nation of Israel in Exodus chapter 12. In the New Testament, redemption has a powerful message for us as believers, freedom from sin and judgment is purchased at an unestimable cost to secure my release into a glorious relationship with Christ, like Ruth and like Rebekah that redemption has bought for Christ a bride, ransomed, released and now in an eternal relationship with Jesus Christ.

There is running through the pages of Old Testament scripture the truth of Redemption:

  • Sometimes in picture
  • Sometimes in practice 
  • Sometimes in word
  • Sometimes in work

Redemption often begins with a:

  • Debt
  • Bondage 
  • Obligation 
  • Responsibility 


  1. The Plan of Salvation – chps 1 to 2 
  2. The Privileges of Salvation – chps 2 to 3 
  3. The Practice of Salvation – chps 4 to 6 

Over each section is Christ 

It is the Lord Jesus who brings to effect the Plan of Salvation 

V4 – Chosen in Christ 

V5 – Adopted by Jesus Christ 

V7 – Redemption by the blood of Christ

V15 – Faith in the Lord Jesus 

Privileges of Adoption:

All of these are ours because of Jesus Christ: 

  • Brought near by the blood of Christ (2:13) 
  • Broken down the middle wall of partition (2:14) 
  • Reconciled to God (2:15-16) 
  • Built on Christ the chief corner stone (2:20)
  • Part of the church (3:6) 
  • Indwelt by Christ (3:17)

Practice of Adoption 

Christ is supreme here too

  • Source of gifts – Christ (4:8) 
  • Secret of life – Christ (4:22,24)
  • Supreme pattern for marriage (5:25ff)

In the Old Testament, redemption applied to:

  • Possessions (Lev 25:24)
  • Property (Lev 25:29ff)
  • Places -land (Lev 25:23ff; Jer 32:6-7)
  • People (Lev 25:48ff, Numb 3:45; Exodus 21:8). The firstborn were to be redeemed by 5 shekels of silver. 

Note that we cannot redeem what already belongs to God (Lev 27:28ff) 

In the New Testament redemption is uniquely applied to People! (Ephesians 1:14)

In the New Testament Redemption is uniquely from sin! (Ephesians 1:7; Col 1:14; Hebrews 9:15)

In the old redemption could be effected by:

  • Silver
  • Money
  • Blood

In the New Testament Redemption is effected uniquely by means of blood. (1 Peter 1:18)

Redemption included 3 aspects of truth: 

  1. Ransom
  2. Release

The truth of redemption answers one of the commonest criticism of the gospel; ‘you mean you can ask God to forgive your sin and get out of jail free?’

You mean it doesn’t matter how you live your life? 

Is the gospel merely a thumbs up to hedonism or libertinism?

This was an accusation thrown at Paul (Romans 6:1; 3:8) 

You can do as you please and go to heaven since salvation does not depend upon works? 

Justification is to be declared righteous and is part of Redemption! (Romans 3:25) 

The Lord Jesus declares you righteous, the same time He purchases you and I.

Good works are not the cause of salvation

Good works are the consequence of salvation.

God does not save us to leave us where we are nor to leave us as what we were! God justifies those He redeemed. 

We cannot be justified without being redeemed! 

We are not justified in our sin.

We are justified from our sin. 

Redemption is found in the Old Testament 

It is a legal phenomenon and encompasses 3 truths:

  • Ransom 
  • Release 
  • Relationship 

3 great examples of redemption: 

  1. Rebekah by Abraham and his servant 
  2. Israel from Egypt 
  3. Ruth by Boaz


  1. Rebekah by Abraham and his servant 

For Rebekah there was a price paid (Genesis 24:22) 

A half shekel compare the redemption price of Exodus 30

Genesis 24:53 – a down payment, a promise from a wealthy master.

That price and redemption comes in in Ephesians 1:14 


  1. Israel from Egypt 

Uniquely redeemed by blood, the blood of the lamb

Redeemed from slavery in Egypt 

Brought out not only to break their bondage in Egypt but to bring them into service with God.

Ransom – Release – Relationship 

Not only a case of what they were brought out from but what they are brought into! 

Exodus 15:13 “Thou in thy mercy hast led forth the people which thou hast redeemed: thou hast guided them in thy strength unto thy holy habitation.”

1 Chron 17:21 “to be His own people” 

From them God would build a “house” : 

“Thou in thy mercy hast led forth the people which thou hast redeemed: thou hast guided them in thy strength unto thy holy habitation.” (1 Chron 17:24) 

  1. Ruth by Boaz

Ruth chapter 4 

Boaz is a close kinsman – redeemed by a person, a close relative.

Redemption here is both of:


  1. Property – as per Leviticus 25
  2. Person – Ruth herself, probably not as a consequence of the levirate laws of marriage in Deuteronomy 25 which applies to:

This was not what transpired in the book of Ruth:

  • Boaz was a near kinsmen (Ruth 3:12,13), not a brother and Naomi perceived no levirate right per se of redemption by Boaz. 
  • Naomi seems quite clear regarding levirate marriage in Ruth 1:11ff this would depend upon her having another son. 
  • Boaz credits the choice of Ruth as the cause of the union rather than legal rights per se “Let it even be established, that thy name may be magnified forever, saying, The LORD of hosts is the God of Israel, even a God to Israel: and let the house of David thy servant be established before thee.” (Ruth 3:10)
  • Once the son is born he is credited to Boaz (Ruth 4:21) and not Mahlon

This does not fulfil the criteria we know of for levirate but rather fits better with the legislation given as a consequence of the problems raised by the daughters of Zelophehad in Numbers 27 and 36.

It appears to have been their faithfulness and commitment to ensuring their inheritance in Numbers chapter 27 and the subsequent issues which arose in Numbers 36 with legislation that committed the daughter who inherits her fathers property to marry within the tribe. The faithfulness of the daughters of Zelophehad had unexpected consequences, reaching far beyond the daughters of Zelophehad! Their faithfulness in a sense turned the course of history, bringing to pass the marriage of Ruth and Boaz and thus the line of David and of Messiah! 

Boaz contributed to “building the house of Israel” (Ruth 4:6) 

In the Old Testament we see the redemption of:

  • People
  • Places – land 
  • Property – houses
  • Possessions 

There is a transfer of ownership, release by ransom

In NT redemption is uniquely of people

Redemption in the OT:

  • By silver 
  • By money 
  • By blood 

Redemption in the NT – uniquely by blood 

Redemption is a legal phenomenon 

Redemption; released from:

Satan – cf Pharaoh 

System – world 




Released from that which has power and authority over me 

In Ephesians we have the substance of the type and picture:

  1. Ransom – by blood
  2. Release – forgiveness of sins 
  3. Relationship established (Ephesians 1:5-6)

It is from sin and it’s power we have been redeemed

  • Galatians 3:13
  • 1 Peter 1:18 
  • Romans 3:24 
  • Ephesians 1:7 
  • Colossians 1:14 
  • Hebrews 9:12

Ephesians 2:1ff

Practical challenge: 

My salvation is part of redemption 

As a Christian maybe I am happy to accept justification, but what of redemption? 

Are there things I must leave behind? 

  • Satan 
  • Sin 
  • Self 
  • System 

What holds me back? 

  • Ananias and Sapphira – wealth
  • Demas – world 
  • Rich young man – wealth and self 
  • Corinth – Satan and idols 
  • Colossae – spirits and false Gods


Practical consequences of my redemption:

  1. I have been bought out from the power of sin – PAST, I was not purchased to be left in the old life but brought out of Egypt, Moab, Haran. 
  2. This answers one of the great questions thrown at the gospel; am I saying that simply by professing faith I can be saved? I can receive salvation and just live as I please? Justification is part of redemption (Romans 3:26) 
  3. Purpose and prospect – the best is yet to come (Ephesians 1:14) 

Consider Ruth and her redemption

  • Redemption of a person
  • Redeemed by a near kinsman – Boaz
  • Redeemed to become a bride.



Dr J Stewart Gillespie

Ephesians chp 1 verse 4 - The Love we Know is the Love we Show  

Ephesians chapter 1 verse 4 "according as he has chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world that we should be holy without blame before Him in love" Love is the 3rd purpose in God's election of the believer in Ephesians chapter 1. This is a love we experience, know and show in our lives through an encounter with the grace of God in preserving, restoring, saving, sustaining and strengthening the Christian day by day. Encountering the love of God in Christ allows us to express that love to others. 

Jacob was saved by that love

Moses and Israel was sustained by that love

Elijah's left was kept and he did not die because of that love

David was restored by that love

Peter recovered by that love

Lazarus arose from the dead by that love

“that we should be holy, without blame before Him in love” 

It is according to some scholars and translations legitimate to attach the “in love” with the beginning of verse 5 as an alternative, a translation used in the HCSB: 

“For He chose us in Him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless in His sight. In love He predestined us to be adopted through Jesus Christ for Himself, according to His favor and will,” (Ephesians 1:1-4)

The “in love” could be linked with “He predestined” and that as I am sure you would see would be very understandable. 

I do prefer the AV translation, maybe out of personal prejudice / tradition, yet “in love” as the object and purpose of our election fits very well with one of the big sub themes of Ephesians.

The believer in Ephesians is:

  • Chosen
  • Predestinated 
  • Saved 
  • Redeemed
  • Under new management (2:1ff)
  • Sealed (1:13) and indwelt by the Spirit of God 
  • Transformed by the work of God’s Holy Spirit into the character of Jesus Christ (Eph 2:10)
  • Living out the Christian life in the power of the Person of Christ and the work of the Holy Spirit, by putting off the old man and putting on the new (Eph 4:22ff)
  • At the core of that aspiration for the Christian lies the prayer of the apostle in Ephesians 3:14ff that the believer, the adopted child of God might be:

Thus to be “holy, without blame before Him in love” is a purpose for the Christian echoed throughout the epistle. 

It is the purpose and plan of God that we might both:

  1. Experience that love
  2. Express that love

It is that love encountered in Christ by the believer (Eph 3:19) that is then worked out through life in:

  • Church
  • Marriage (Ephesians 5:25ff)
  • Family 
  • Work 

That “love” which fills the believer is the product of an encounter with that love, it is the consequence of “experience” of that love Ephesians 3:16,19.

As I wander through the wilderness for 40 years, through a dry barren place, a desert, going round in circles and ask; why is it I have not starved to death or died of thirst in this barren place of lost souls and fallen carcases? Why is it I am still alive? Did I not:

  • Construct and worship an idolatorous golden calf? 
  • Grumble and murmur against Moses, God’s appointed leader? 
  • Complain in my heart and to God?
  • Desire a return to my bondage in Egypt because the food was better back then? 

And yet here I am, sustained in the wilderness!

Why am I still alive?

Why does bread fall from heaven? 

Why am I sustained with water from the rock? 

Why do my shoes not wear done? 

The only answer I receive “But because the LORD loved -- you, and because he would keep -- the oath which he had sworn unto your fathers, hath the LORD brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondmen, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt” (Deut 7:8)

Those 40 years were an encounter, an experience, a knowledge of the love of God! 

Why do I hear a voice, an echo from beyond the stony wall of the tomb “Lazarus come forth”? Because “behold, he whom thou lovest is sick.” (John 11:3) 

Why is it not enough when I pray “it is enough”:

But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree: and he requested -- for himself that he might die; and said, It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers.” (1 Kings 19:4) 

Why does God not just let me die? 

Why is there a cake baked on the coals to sustain me? 

Why does God still speak to me? 

Why does God not just give up on me? 

I’ve had enough! Does He not see it? 

My life is a failure, my mission unsuccessful, I’ve preached and prayed and demonstrated the power of God on mount Carmel, performed miracles and yet no revival, just rejection and a people who do not listen nor respond. I’ve had enough! Why doesn’t God just leave me alone? 

Why are there cakes cooked on the coals (1Kings 19:6)? 

Why that touch from the angel (1Kings 19:5)? 

Why do I hear again the sound of the still small voice (1Kings 19:12)?

Why does God not just give up? Because Elijah is “His servant Elijah” 

God did not give up on Elijah because God loved Elijah, this strengthening of His servant was because God loved His servant! This was a personal experience of the love of God in His life. 

I’ve gone back to the fishing, leave me alone! 

The Lord finds Peter and restores Peter to useful and effective service, Peter experiences the Love of Christ in His life. 

It is by the experience of that love:

  • In sustaining
  • In restoring
  • In forgiving
  • In fitting for service 

That we know and experience the love of God 


Dr J Stewart Gillespie

Ephesians chapter 1 verse 5 - Adoption - JS Gillespie  


Adoption is not only a New Testament truth but we see it pictured book ending the Old Testament festivals and story of redemption. This is the story of adoption in the Old Testament and its meaning for Christians today. 

“Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will”

It is interesting to reflect on the Old Testament: 

  1. Annual calendar 
  2. Annual cycle of feasts 
  3. Story of redemption

It is interesting to note that the annual cycle of feasts begins and ends with:

A deliverance:

  • Passover at the beginning – 14 th day of the 1st month – Abib / Nissan 
  • Purim marks the end of the year of feasts – 14th day of the final month Adar 

With both of these festivals, at the beginning and at the end of the year are marked by 2 noteable individuals:

  • Moses
  • Esther 

It is remarkable, that whilst in the Old Testament story, adoption is unusual, that both Moses and Esther are adopted.

  • Moses adopted by Pharoah’s daughter (Exodus 2:10)
  • Esther adopted by her cousin Mordecai (Esther 2:7); “And he brought up -- Hadassah, that is, Esther, his uncle’s daughter: for she had neither father nor mother, and the maid was fair and beautiful; whom Mordecai, when her father and mother were dead, took for his own daughter.”

The whole of the Old Testament calendar, annual cycle of religious feasts and the whole of the old testament story of redemption are thus bookended by the theme of adoption.

It is interesting to note that:

  • Moses delivered from a place – from Egypt 
  • Esther delivered from a person – Haman, recall what the book of Esther says about  “And Esther said, The adversary and enemy is this wicked Haman” (Esther 7:6). It was that Haman who devised a plan for the genocide of the Jews and who particulary constructed the “gallows” or “tree” (Heb) for the destruction of righteous Mordecai. By a twist of providence it was by his own designed means of death that he died! "Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;” (Heb 2:14)

Perhaps we need not reflect too hard on these to see a picture of our own adoption: 

  • From a PLACE – the world
  • From a PERSON – Satan 

To complete the picture, perhaps we can note a third individual in the Old Testament system who was adopted: Samuel. It was the task of Samuel not to deliver from a:

  • Place – Egypt
  • Person – Haman 

But rather from a:

  • Principle – Flesh (1 Samuel 2:13ff) – consider the condition of the nation in those days, even amongst those who ought to be leading God’s people, they were very much controlled by the flesh.

It is from these 3 that God’s people are delivered in New Testament days too:

"And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.” (Ephesians 2:1-3)

It is interesting to see that in the OT with adoption, with the privilege there came great responsibility.

  1. Moses – Dignity of Sonship – as the son of Pharoah’s daughter he no longer spent his days in the dirt making bricks and behaving as a slave! 
  2. Samuel – Service marked his adoption in the temple 
  3. Esther – Responsibility was integral to her adoption! Esther had opportunity of access to the King and grasped it for the salvation of her people! 

Old Testament adoption is a picture of what God has for His people here in Ephesians 1:5. 

Even in the Old Testament days, the entire workings of God were under the umbrella of grace and adoption. God did not have to deliver fallen humanity, an enslaved people nor the Jews from Haman in Babylon, but He did. 

In the principle of adoption we have to the fore the thoughts of:

  1. Grace as the motive behind salvation 
  2. Gratitude as the response to that salvation

In response to God’s salvation the challenge is to live to make our Father proud, to live to the “praise of the Glory of His Grace.”

In the spiritual reality of adoption we have something that goes beyond the human equivalent of adoption. In the case of human adoption the issue is one of NURTURE, ie one fallen human being adopts and cares for another fallen human being. When God adopts us it is the Divine adopting one who was fallen and sinful. For this adoption there must be a change in our NATURE. Christian adoption is a matter of:

  1. Nurture
  2. Nature

Adoption forms a major sub theme in the Ephesian epistle:

  1. Chapters 1 to 2 – God’s PLAN of adoption / salvation 
  2. Chapters 2 to 3 – The PRIVELAGES of adoption / salvation 
  3. Chapters 4 to 6 – The PRACTICE of adoption


In each and every step it is to the “praise of His Glory”


Dr J Stewart Gillespie

What God will do with a Handful of Dust - Ephesians chapter 1 verse 4  


The Christian is "chosen in Him before the foundation of the world" with a Divine sovereign, personal and particular election which infuses purpose and meaning into the Christian life.

 Just as God's choice and election is personal and particular of each believer so too His purpose is personal and particular. God's electing Grace is not corporate, God not only chooses the means of salvation, but just as God personally chose Jeremiah, John the baptist and the apostle Paul in Acts 9, by His sovereign will so too God choses the believer today. This infuses meaning and purpose into the Christian life. 

Allow me to remind you of what God can do with a handful of dust! 

From a handful of dust God brought:

  • Abraham – the father of the faithful 
  • Solomon – the wisest man on the earth 
  • Samson – the mightiest man 
  • Kings, prophets, poets
  • Men of science and understanding 

From that handful of dust emerged a:

  • Saviour – Joseph
  • Deliverer – Moses 
  • Wise man – Solomon 
  • King – David 

Men who turned the world upside down! 

In the secular sphere from that handful of dust came men whose mind penetrated the depths of the universe – Einstein and the details of the cell – Kreb, the miracle of life - Watson and Crick, the physics of the creation – Newton, Farraday.

A flavour of what God can do with a handful of dust! 

Yet all of that pales into relative insignificance with what God WILL do with a handful of dust!

“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

What God has done with a handful of dust is nothing compared to what God will do with a handful of dust! 

In Ephesians chapter 1 verse 4 we see that for the believer the Christian life comes with purpose built it! The Christian life is better by design! The Christian life has destiny built in! 

It is today part of secular ideology to encourage men and women to find a purpose or a meaning for their life, to set out a route to get there. It is different for the believer! 

Ephesians 1:4 “chosen … that

Chosen with a purpose. The purpose of the believer precedes their conscience, life and capacity. The believer is not a life looking for a purpose, the believer is a purpose looking for a life! As believers we come with purpose built in! 

Believers are men and women with a sense of purpose, we see this so often in the pages of scripture; people who fit like a jigsaw piece into the great:

  • Drama of redemption 
  • Story of the bible 
  • Pages of history

Men and women like:

  • Abraham
  • Sarah
  • Isaac
  • Rebekah
  • Joseph
  • Moses 
  • Rahab
  • Ruth 
  • Esther
  • Joshua
  • David
  • Samuel
  • Mary 
  • John baptist
  • Paul 
  • Apostles 

He hath chosen us in Him” (Ephesians 1:4

A text misunderstood or perhaps misrepresented! 

Misunderstood to perhaps indicate that as believers we were not actually personally chosen at all! Some have used a text like this to teach ‘corporate election’ that God appoints merely the means of salvation ie the Lord Jesus and we find our way to Christ! 

This idea of group or corporate election, or election of the means of salvation rather than personal, individual and sovereign election to salvation is quite false and of course fails to resolve the problem which it sets out to tackle ie the perceived unfairness of God sovereignly choosing men to salvation, instead it abandons men to the luck of the draw, the capriciousness of circumstances, the opportunities of life and temperament. 

We don’t need the whole of the bible to see the fallacy of this idea, we only need:

  • One book – Ephesians

No only

  • One chapter – chapter 1

No infact only

  • One verse Ephesians chapter 1 verse 1 

“Paul an apostle of Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 1:1) 

Did Paul find his own way to the means of salvation?

Is that seriously your understanding of Acts chapter 9? 

What is your testimony Paul? 

“Paul an apostle of Jesus Christ by the WILL of God” (Ephesians 1:4)

Paul’s conversion to Christ was whilst he was spiritually going in the opposite direction, actively attacking persecuting Christ and Christians, attacking the gospel and the church! His conversion was Divine, sovereign, and personal!

Consider also the sovereign hand of God on:

  • John the Baptist (Luke 1:15) 
  • Jeremiah (Jer 1:5) 
  • Esau and Jacob (Rom 9:11) 

What does it mean to be “chosen in Him” (Eph 1:4)?

This is the only way God could chose you or I. How else would God make that choice? Would it be the same way that you and I make choices in life? 

Is that the way God chooses? Does He choose the better option? 

9 What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin;
10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one” Romans 3:9-10

God choses us for the only reason He can choose us, not because of the raw material but because of the finished product! It wasn’t that the handful of dust from which God formed Adam was any less dirty than any other handful of dirt! 

It is not because of what we are but rather it is because of what God can do with us! It is not that one handful of dust is any better than any other handful of dust!

We are chosen with a purpose (Ephesians 1:4).

It is important to appreciate that God’s choice is personal in the first half of this verse, so that we might appreciate that God’s purpose in the second half of this verse is also personal! If His choice is personal, then His purpose is personal! Holiness, blamelessness, and love are not simply general aspirations for all believers. These are personal, particular and tailored destinies. The path for my life is different from the path which another believer will travel, that path is different by design! That path to:

  • Holiness
  • Blamelessness
  • Love 

Is particular, tailored and personal for you and I. It is not valid for me to look at the life of another believer and ask the question, why is my life, my path not easier? Why can I not have fewer problems, less of a challenge and lighter burdens? We cannot compare and we cannot complain! To achieve these goals of:

  • Holiness
  • Harmlessness 
  • Love 

God has a path uniquely tailored for my life and yours. That path may not be easy but it is designed to bring us to the intended destination, wither that be by means of:

  • 40 days in the ark
  • 40 years in the wilderness
  • 400 years in captivity
  • 40 chapters of suffering  for Job 

Love isn’t easy, love grows in adversity!

Love is that ‘together glue of perfectness’ (Col 3:14) – the most succinct description of love in bible. 

For the disciples that love grows in adversity (John 6:66ff), Peter and the disciples stay with the Lord!


Bible teaching from the book of Ephesians Ephesians chapter 1 verse 4. 

Dr J Stewart Gillespie

The Secret of Satisfaction - Ephesians chapter 1 verse 3 - Dr J Stewart Gillespie  

The Christian is blessed with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ Jesus (Ephesians chapter 1 verse 3). This means that Christian satisfaction arises from the same source and comes by the same means as salvation. Satisfaction, sanctification and salvation all come from Christ and all come by faith in Christ. Our blessings and rescources are no more the product of our own effort and striving than is our salvation! These blessings in heavenly places in Christ are ours by reason of our relationship with Jesus. Those blessings are in heaven (Ephesians 1:3), Jesus is in heaven (Ephesians 1:20) and we are in Jesus (Ephesians 2:6). From this our blessings flow and over flow. It is through Divine strengthening, Divine gift, personal exercise in trials, tests and afflictions and in our daily spiritual battles, that we begin to tap into these blessings. These blessings become experience in the testings of life. 

The Flor de la Mar, sunk in 1511 off the coast of Malayasia with the largest as yet undiscovered treasure of any sunkken vessel, approximately £2 billion of gold, silver and precious stones, taken from the Sultan of Malacca by the Portuguese. It’s yours for the taking, if you can find it! 

Ephesians presents the believer with a rich treasure trove of spiritual blessings (Ephesians 1:3). There does initially appear to be a catch. These blessings are in heavenly places! They are as high as the treasure of the Flor de la Mar is deep and maybe as inaccessible too!

These blessings are not only in heavenly place (v3) – PLACE which may seem out of reach but they are also:

In a PERSON (v3) – In Christ 

Just as our salvation and justification is in a person (Romans 10:6-8) so too is our sanctification and spiritual growth in a person (Eph 1:3-4).

We would be aghast if the preacher on Sunday in the gospel service got up and informed the audience that the good news of the gospel was that salvation was possible so long as you just follow the:

  • Rules 
  • Regulations 
  • Join the church
  • Get baptised 

And earn your way to heaven 

We would rightly regard that as absurd.

We rejoice in the truth of the gospel.

  1. Christ brought down righteousness in His Person (Romans 8:6)
  2. Christ raised up righteousness after His finished work at Calvary evidenced by His resurrection (Romans 8:7)

Christ brought down righteousness in the holiness and uniqueness of His Person and character.

Christ raised up righteousness in His saving work.

Here is maybe a problem in the Christian life I stumble over, that just as salvation is uniquely found in the person and work of Christ so too is:

  • Satisfaction 
  • Sanctification 
  • Sustenance 

All found here, our blessings are all found here! 

Would it be possible to forget this? The apostle speaks of this in a later letter to the Ephesians  (1 Timothy 5:11). They forgot where the true source of satisfaction lay, it lies in the same place as the true source of our salvation; in Christ! 

There seems to be a problem however! These blessings are in “heavenly places”, in a PLACE inaccessible? 

These blessings are also in a PERSON, in Christ (v3). 

That PERSON is also in the PLACE (Ephesians


Dr J Stewart Gillespie Systematic bible teaching from Ephesians

Ephesians chp 1 vs 1 to 3 - Tapping into our Treasure Trove in Christ, An Introduction to Ephesians - JS Gillespie  

An introduction to Paul's letter to the Ephesians. We consider an outline of the epistle, the main themes of the letter to the Ephesians and the structure of the letter. We note the division of the letter into doctrinal and practical sections and the the rich treasure trove of blessings which are ours as 'blessed with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.' Part of our systematic study through the letter to the Ephesians. 

Notes on Ephesians chapter 1 verses 1 to 3:

Ephesians – Ephesus from a natural perspective was a strange place to send this letter to!

Ephesus was a place of:

  • Pagan Temples 
  • Pagan gods
  • Pagan statues 
  • Artemis 
  • Cult of Caesar 
  • Physical altars and temples 

The letter to the Ephesians was spiritual:

  • His people become His temple / building. 
  • God indwells His people!

This new way was not so much a RELIGION as a RELATIONSHIP with the one true and living God and that was counterculture and revolutionary!

Such was the impact of the gospel at Ephesus! 

  1. Chapters 1 to 3 – Doctrinal 
  2. Chapters 4 to 6 – Practical:

These 2 main sections are joined together by the prayer of 3:14-21, the keystone of the Ephesian letter.


Some of the old preachers used to remind us that practice is dependant upon doctrine. There is probably nowhere else that this is so clearly seen as in the letter to the Ephesians. It is evident in the very structure of the epistle. The concluding three chapters of practice rest in the first 3 verses of doctrine.

4:1 – illustrates the connection between doctrine and practice quite clearly! 



  1. God’s Plan of Adoption – chps 1 to 2
  2. The Privileges of Adoption – chps 2 to 3 
  3. The Practice of Adoption and Salvation – chps 4 to 6

No nation rises higher than its gods! 

If your god commits:

  • Murder
  • Incest
  • Theft
  • Adultery
  • Drunkenness
  • Capricious 
  • Cruelty
  • War 

If these are your gods, then you really don’t have much to walk worthy of, your standards aren’t very high. 

Bring that to a contemporary setting; if you believe that life has no meaning, no purpose, no destiny and that no one is in control, that we are but the random products of a million chemical reactions and accidents, you may rightly as the question; ‘what is the point to it all?’ From thence it is but a small step to despair and oblivion! 

“Paul an apostle of Jesus Christ” (1:1) 

Some struggle with the teaching of Ephesians chapter 1:

  • Election 
  • Predestination 
  • God’s choice to salvation 

Some do their best to evade the clear and simple teaching of this chapter:

  • Arminianism – God chooses those whom He foreknows would choose Him!
  • Corporate election – God chooses the means of salvation, ie Christ but not those who are to be saved. God chooses Christ and we choose to be in Christ. 

We really don’t need the whole bible to disprove these ideas and establish the principle of Divine, sovereign, personal, individual election to salvation. 

We just need one book – Ephesians.

We just need one chapter – Ephesians chapter 1.

We just need one verse – Ephesians chapter 1 verse 1!

God clearly did not choose Paul because Saul would choose God!

God did not clearly appoint the means of salvation and leave Saul of Tarsus to find Christ! That is a million miles away from the events recorded in Acts 9. Not only did Saul ‘not seek after God’ (Romans 3:11) but Saul actively rebelled against God and rejected Christ (Acts 9:13). 

Paul’s apostleship is “by the will of God” as all salvation and calling is “by the will of God”.

“to the saints, to the faithful in Christ Jesus” (v1) 

“The Saints” 

  • Holy ones – set apart for God 
  • What God makes us 
  • We do not make ourselves saints 
  • God does that 
  • What God does for me!

“To the faithful” 

  • What we do for God 

Consider John chapter 6 “will you also go away?”

Consider Luke chapter 17 and the 10 lepers and only 1 returns.

There were many faithful in the New Testament:

  • Timothy
  • Epaphroditus
  • Paul
  • John 
  • Priscilla and Aquila

I believe it is a terrible tragedy when we claim what God did for us as Saints and then deny and reject what we are to do for God as “faithful”.

In Ephesians faithfulness to God in Christ is very much with the setting of the church:

  • Playing our part in His body as members 
  • Being part of the temple in worship 
  • Gifts God has given to us (4:1-16) 
  • Walk in chapters 4 to 6 


Verse 3: “blessed with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ Jesus” 

Consider the Flor del la Mar, sunk in 1511 off of the coast of Malaysia, full of stolen treasure from the Sultan of Malaca. It contained gold, silver, precious stones valued today at about £2 billion. It is yours for the taking. Problem is, that treasure is as far down as our treasure is up! How do we get to it? 


Dr J Stewart Gillespie

Nurturing the New Nature - Ephesians chapter 4 verses 17 to 32 - JS Gillespie  

We note from 1 Timothy that the Ephesians had problems with letting go of the old life. These seemed to carry the baggage of their society and of what they once were before they were saved: 

Status of women in Ephesus and the religion of Diana of Ephesians, with it’s prostitute priestesses. The religious dominance of women within the religions of Ephesus were perhaps carried into the assembly, and had to be addressed in 1 Timothy: 

“But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence” (1Timothy 2:12) 

The way women dressed was perhaps too a carry over from the surrounding pagan society of Ephesus. Leading to the exhortation: 

“that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array.” (1Timothy 2:9) 

Drunkenness, a further echo of the old preconversion life is referenced in : “Not given to wine,” (1Timothy 3:3) 

Deceit and lies had to be left too in the past (1Timothy 4:2). 

Gossip whilst accepted perhaps by society at large had no place in the Christian church, “And withal they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not” (1Timothy 5:13) 

Natural desires and the priorities of a materialistic culture were at loggerheads with their new found joy and satisfaction in Jesus: “For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows” (1Timothy 6:10) 

1 Timothy – The habits of the, “old man” bring them down collectively 

Ephesians chapter 4 – The habits of the, “old man” bring them down individually  

Ephesians chapter 4 is realistic in its portrayal of a Christian under tension. 

See the portrayal of a Christian as he chooses between 2 paths or 2 ‘walks’ that of the, “old man” (v22) or the “new man” (v24). 

The believer above and beyond all men is undoubtedly a man under tension. He is constantly pulled in 2 directions and often feels the tension of his spiritual condition. 

It is way much easier when in the world alone and unconverted! To be under the control of the world, the flesh and the devil (Ephesians 2:1-3) is a far simpler state. Satan said, “jump,” we said, “how high?” 

Now that we are saved, it’s different, now we have a choice we never had before. 

Choose between Satan & God (1Jo4:4) 

Choose between Sin & Righteousness (Rom6:12-16) 

Choose between Flesh & Spirit (Rom8:1) 

There are choices to be made, and with it there is now the power to make those choices by strength of the indwelling Spirit of God, power to “put off” and to “put on.” 

This is the practical meaning of Ephesians 2:5-6, (3 fold “sun”- words), the 3 fold identification of the believer, “together with,” Christ in: 


His Resurrection (v5)  

His Ascension (v6)  

His Session (v6) 

These are past events with present consequences (note the significance of the aorist or point tense here). 

By virtue of our standing, “in Christ,” we are already partakers of His victory, raised above the sphere of the world & the, “Prince of the power of the air,” (Eph2:2) 


We are “Sealed,” with the Holy Spirit (1:13) individually and ‘gifted’ by the same Holy Spirit (4:7) particularly. The new nature is produced by the Holy Spirit (4:17ff) internally. 

The believer is in a whole different situation from the man or woman lost in the world. The believer has a real choice to make, and a real will to surrender, and very real flesh to subvert. 

The believer does have the power to make that choice, by the indwelling Spirit of God and to live a victorious Christian life. 

One of Satan’s lies is that we are powerless & helpless to resist every urge to sin. That was the case before we were saved, but it is not now. 

 In Ephesians chapter 4 we are encouraged to: ‘Nurture the New Nature.’ We say ‘nurture,’ it and not ‘produce it.’ 

 The nature is already created by God and in the image of God (v24) 

 This new nature is not the product of self-effort, it is a work of God created in us (Ephesians 2:10). 

“And that ye put on the new man…” (v24) 

It is worth noting that practically what we mean here, is putting on the character of Christ, as we see it in vs 25ff, eg verse 26 and 1 John 2:16ff 

Christ is the teaching (v20) 

Christ is the teacher (v21) 

It is worth bearing in mind, that as we listen to the word of God expounded accurately and truthfully, we listen to Christ and are consequentially responsible to Him for how we act upon His word. 

 The extent to which we minister the word of God accurately, is the extent to which you are responsible to Christ personally. 

Christ is the sphere or school of teaching (v21). 

To “put on” the “new man” is to “put on” Christ, but not just Christ as an example or pattern, we would be powerless to live such a pattern out. It is Christ who is the power for this new life (Ephesians 2:5-6; 4:23). 


Christ as: “The Way” 

Recall John 14:6, Christ claimed to be objectively, “the way, the truth and the life.” In response to the statement of doubting Thomas; “we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?” (John 14:5). 

Christ is “the way,” objectively & absolutely. The way to God in heaven. 


 In Ephesians chapter 4 Christ is “the way” – personally, subjectively, and practically; that is Christ as, “the way,” we live out our Christian life. ‘How do you walk?’ (4:17). You walk in the way you have learned in Christ (v20) 

Christ as: “The Truth” 

 “the truth is in Jesus,” (4:21) 


As the “way” and the “truth” are worked out there is “life” (4:23) 

We are exhorted to “put off … put on the new man…” (v22, 24) 

We have noticed already that we are exhorted to, “put on” something which is already “created”; created in the image of God (v24). By this the fall of  Adam in Genesis is now overcome (Genesis 1:27). 

Scholars debate the translation; it could be translated, “since you have put off…since you have put on…” cf. Colossians 3:9-10. 

The Greek text seems to favour the Authorised Version; it is an instruction rather than description; the context also favours instruction (4:25-31). 

The main thought is that of behaviour; there is a nature to be nurtured “put off concerning the former conversation the old man” (v22). Putting on and putting off practically what we already are (Colossians 3:9-10). 

What about the, “new man” we’ve to, “put on.” What’s he like? 

You would notice that he was different in his: 


Walk (4:17) – He walked not as other gentiles walked 

Words (4:25,29) - A conversation with him would stick out in stark contrast to the many conversations we have each day, on the telephone, down the street. Unlike other conversations you might have, a conversation with this, “new man” would, ‘build you up,’ (v29) not, pull you down – morally, spiritually nor personally. Every conversation was a ministry meeting in itself. Both an absence of, “lies,” as well as the positive presence of “truth”  (v25); there was nothing “rotten” (v29) here. 

Work (4:28) 

 If you had the pleasure to work with him in an office, on the factory floor, or in the building site, you would notice a special diligence in what he did; he was working for the Lord! He had given up thieving. He was no longer taking of others possessions, nor of employers time and goods. Nothing ever went ‘missing’ from his office nor building site. He worked hard, he “laboured” to feel fatigue; and by it became wearied, (v28). 

The way he handled things was different: 

Wealth (4:28) 

This man gave rather than took (v28). He realised that only riches laid up in heaven had any abiding value and so when he found need he gave liberally, to the Lord’s work, to the Lord’s poor & for the Lord’s sake. 

Wrath (4:31); he put it away (v31)! 

He was a man in control: not so much of his life; he didn’t know what another day would bring forth (Proverbs 27:1) and not of his destiny; he had committed that to another (2 Timothy 1:12), rather he was in control of things other men were not in control of: 

Temper (4:26); he started each day with a clean slate (v26), either by: 

forgiving and forgetting (Matthew 18:21; Ephesians 4:32) or by confronting and hammering out the problem; not the person mind you but the problem (Matthew 18:15ff) 

 Because he was in control of his temper this prevented an: 

Objective problem of sin against God (v26); consider Cain in this respect. 

Subjective problem of Satan getting in and bringing about “bitterness” (v31). 

Tongue (4:29) – Nothing “rotten” 

 It would be great to know a man like that! 

 Maybe you do know a man like that! It’s you we’re speaking of! 

 Perhaps then if we “put off” and “put on” these things the Spirit of God will move ‘ungrieved’ and unhindered in our life (v30). The environment will be right for the Spirit of God to move, we will have ‘nurtured the new nature.’

A message from our systematic bible study through Paul's letter to the Ephesians.

Audio recording below for free download or listen online as you study the book of Ephesians with us.

Yours by Grace in Christ

Dr J Stewart Gillespie

Ephesians chapter 3 verses 14 to 21 - Christ Resident and President - Dr J Stewart Gillespie  

Structure & Setting: 

There are 6 chapter in letter to the Ephesians: 

Chapters 1 to 3 are Doctrinal 

Chapters 4 to 6 are Practical 

There appears to be a clear division in the letter to the Ephesians, marked clearly by the closing doxology at the end of chapter 3. 

3:14-21 – is a transitional section where we move from Doctrine to Practice, from theory and thence into life 

We shall endeavour to expound this prayer within the limitations of our understanding & experience. 

All 3 persons of the Godhead are involved individually (3:14, 16, 17) and also  collectively (3:19) 

We are not speaking about salvation, but rather we are speaking about consecration, that is practical sanctification. 

Ever before we can, “walk” (4:1) we must first learn to crawl. 

Before the believer can “Walk” (4:1) for God, he must “Bow the knee” to God (3:14). “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up” (James4:10) 

Paul is looking for Great Results in the life of the believer: 

“to comprehend,” (v18) the Love of Christ 

‘to have an experiential knowledge’ (v19) of Love of Christ 

“be filled with all the fullness of God,” (20) 

Don’t despair, Great Results are expected but Great Resources are available: 

The Spirit of God (v16) 

“the riches of His Glory” (v16) 

A God who “is able” (v20) 

A “Power that worketh in us” (v20) 

3:14-21: The Deeper Work of Christ: 

“For this cause…” (3:14), In view of God’s work collectively in building His Church (chp2; 3:6), Paul prays for a work individually. 

The Church collectively will only be as spiritual as believers individually. 

Note at the outset: 

The Principle of Relationship: “Father” (3:14) – this is a  “Family” relationship. Paul’s prayer is for a deeper relationship with Christ & God. 

The Atmosphere of Love: This is the character and substance of the family relationship. Draw near to our Father not in fear to God. Cf. vs17 & 19. 

Note 7 Key Requests (8 Verbs in Total): 

“to be strengthened.” (v16) 

God’s Spirit comes & strengthens the believer in the, “inner man.” 

Note the purpose, note the conjunction, “that” (v17) – ‘in order that’ 

The Spirit does a preparatory work in the believer’s heart 

Remember how the Spirit performed a preparatory work when you were not saved, convicted you of, “sin and of righteousness and of judgement,” (Jo16:8). 

“The opening of the heart’s innermost door to the personal presence of Christ…& so the full appreciation of His salvation.” HCG Moule (p129) 

“That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith” (v17) 

Paul is praying that God would do individually in the Christian what He has done collectively in the church.  

You know that Christ is already “in” the believer, “how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates.” (2Co13:5) 

Paul is not praying that Christ would be, “in” them but rather that He would “dwell in,” them. 

Even that might not satisfy you, knowing Romans 8:9 goes further that the “Spirit of God” “dwells in” the believer as does the “Spirit of Christ.” 

Here is Paul apparently praying for something which has already happened? So what is Paul praying for? 

2 words used for “dwell” in those 2 verses: Rom8:9 & Eph3:17. 

Not just Christ present in the heart but Christ at home in the heart. 

The word for dwell in Ephesians 3:17 is more intensive, not just to be there but to stay there, settled and at home there, 

Not just Christ Present in our Heart – That is already our PRIVELAGE 

but Christ at Home in our Heart – That is our PROSPECT. 

It is possible to be at the point PERSONALLY where Laodicea was COLLECTIVELY (Rev3:20). Doors in our life and activity can at times be effectively closed to Christ. There can be areas of the believers life, in which Christ’s Lordship is denied, where Christ isn’t even at the negotiating table, e.g. choice of partner – unequal yolk, job, house etc. 

Notice it’s, “by faith,” (3:17), not pursuing some esoteric/physical experience, that wouldn’t be, “by faith.” A deep work of the Spirit of God in our life. 

 “being rooted and grounded in love” (v17) 

“Rooted” – Biological term      

“Grounded,” – Architectural term 

In both cases the ‘soil’ is the same – “love”         

We’ve been, ‘strengthened,’ & ‘indwelt’ by Christ & with His indwelling comes, “love.” 

The characteristic feature of the heart in which Christ dwells – “Love” 

Why “Love”? Surely Christ brings with Him a whole host of graces & virtues? 

Love as a Divine characteristic is fundamental and can’t be simplified it any further. 

There are some graces you can simplify. 

Take ‘Grace’ – Reduced back to ‘Love’ eg John3:16. 

“Love” is an Irreducible Spiritual Principle. It lies at the root of a whole variety of spiritual graces & virtues: 1Corinthians 13:5ff. 

Galatians 5:22 – A single “fruit of the Spirit,” all sharing the same character of that first fruit of “love” 

So basic/irreducible is this Spiritual Principle that it can only be traced back to the character of God Himself: “God is love.” (1 John 4:8) 

 “be able to comprehend” (v18) &  “to know” (v19) 

Consider these 2 together, joined together by, “and” 

“Comprehend,”– to apprehend, to attain 

“to know,” 

Notice the contrast between the experience mentioned in v18 & v19: 

v18 – For a Collective appreciation– “all saints” 

v19 – For an Individual appreciation – “ye” 

v18 – For our mind – The Love of Christ appreciated 

v19 – For our heart – “passeth knowledge” – The Love of Christ experienced 

v18 – Objective – dimensions 

v19 – Subjective – ‘Better felt than telt’ 

Recall the contrast with the unregenerate man of Eph4:18: 

“understanding,” is in darkness – nothing for his mind       

“heart” is blind – nothing for his heart   

The believer has an enlightened “mind” & a full “heart”   

v18 – Is not this what we have just done in chp 2? Considered the Objective/Demonstrated love of Christ to us all in God’s plan of salvation. Considered the: 

“Breadth” – 2:14-16 – Encompassing Jew & Gentile 

“Length” – 2:7 – Extending on into Eternity 

“Depth” – 2:1-2 – To which His love reached down to us 

“Height” – 2:5-6 – To which His love raised us 

Here is something for all believers to meditate upon collectively. The love of Christ towards us. The love of Christ demonstrated at Calvary & beyond. 

“to know” (v19) 

The love of Christ experienced in the life of the individual believer, yet always surpassing the merely intellectual. 

Christ is ‘dwelling in the heart’ (v17) 

With Him comes the irreducible spiritual principle of, “Love.” 

The believer’s character is changed. This ushers in the revolution of Love in Believer’s Heart 

The presence of live is evidenced by its outpouring to others: “If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.” (1Jo4:12) 

From that love grows all of those graces of 1 Corinthians 13, accompanied by the fruit of Galatians 5:22. See what’s happening, something of the very character of God is being seen in the life of the believer. Christ is being formed in them (Gal4:19), We are approaching “unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ” (Eph4:13). 

“be filled with all the fullness of God” (v19) 

We are being: “Filled with all the fullness of God.” 

“But even though the love of Christ surpasses human knowledge yet you shall know it if you have Christ dwelling in you.” (Theophylact) 

I don’t measure up – It’s too difficult – I’m not able 

Human Inability is combined with Divine Ability: “He is able.” (3:20)


Notes from a message preached on Ephesians chapter 3 in our systematic series of bible studies in Paul's letter to the Ephesians, audio recordings free to download as mp3 files or listen online to the bible teaching preached in the Bridgend Gospel Hall New Cumnock.


Yours by Grace in Christ 

Dr J Stewart Gillespie

1 Timothy chapter 3 - The Unsearchable Riches of Christ - J Stewart Gillespie  

Paul the Prisoner (v1-2) 
Paul the Prophet (v3-6) – forthtelling the mind of God 
Paul the Preacher (v7-13) – what he has received he now speaks 
Paul the Priest (v14-21) – undertakes a priestly activity 

 Not just about Paul, applicable to us: 

A Suffering Saint (v1-2) Lessons for us in our suffering 
A Privileged Saint (v3-6) Privileges believer brought into 
A Serving Saint (v7-13) The service of Christian life. 
A Praying saint (v14-21) The apostle’s burden for evangelism & for others has as a consequence v14, “For this cause.” 

The sanctuary is the preparation place for service 

Prayer is the prerequisite for preaching 

Paul the Prisoner: A Suffering Saint (v1-2) 

Situation – imprisoned, unjustly accuse, restricted movements. 

Had been given the task of evangelising the Gentile world, but now immobilised & incarcerated imprisoned. 

Depressed? Disheartened? Discouraged? Defeated? 

Through his suffering we can see a remarkable prisoner who can see: 

               The Purpose in a Prison Cell 

If there’s purpose in a prison cell, there’s purpose in a believers suffering 

Seen it at Philippi (Acts16) – Philippian Jailor & household saved. 

v13 continues the thought. 

Paul thought of his role as apostle to the Gentiles (v1). He could see his sufferings for their greater glory (v13) & for the building of the church, “For you Gentiles.” (v1)   

Thought developed in Phil Chapter 1, tells us exactly how this happened: 

His sufferings brought him into a whole new mission field (1:13). 

By the end of the Philippian epistle he is able to send greetings from, “They that are of Caesar’s household,” (Philippians 4:22). 

Was this experience in prison described in the Philippian epistle, one of the occasions when Satan overstepped himself? 

Apostle Paul was then brought in chains to Rome. 

By this means he was placed at the very centre of the Empire and thus able to exert an influence in perhaps even in Caesar’s household. 

God moves, and a fledgling Church is established. 

Right in the very midst is the apostle himself. 

Proverbs 16:7, “When a man’s ways please the LORD, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.” 

Paul can see the hand of God in it all. 

His sufferings encouraged others to go out to a whole new mission field (Phil1:14). 

His sufferings brought Glory to Christ by the way he conducted himself during those sufferings (Phil1:20). 


 A purpose in Paul’s sufferings, a purpose in ours. (Rom8:28) 

 Don’t always know the purpose in them - Job 

Paul the Prophet:  A Privileged Saint (v3-6) 

 “Wrote afore in few words,” (v3) – refer back to chp2, when he wrote of Jew & Gentile in 1 body. 

v5 – A Brief Definition of Mysteries in General. 

 Not esoteric knowledge. Truth previously hidden & now revealed. 

 Not something only for the select few. 

 Not like the Masons. 


v6 – A Brief Definition of this Mystery in Particular. 

 Dealt with in Eph2:11-22. 

 Note 3 words with the Greek prefix of “sun,” (v6), cf 2:5,6. Three great  ‘Together’ words 

“Fellow heirs,” & 
“Same body,” & 
“Partakers of His promise.” 

 “Same body,”- only here in the New Testament. This is the earliest occurrence of this word in Greek literature. This word is not known in secular Gk. Could this be a new word for a new revelation? 

 Almost as though Paul is saying the Greek language is inadequate to describe this new revelation. 

 Perhaps we could best translate the word as “concorporate” – Jew & Gentile on equal terms. Not so much the idea of the Gentile being brought into Israel. 

“The Gentiles have not been added to an already existing entity; they are fully equal, joint members, totally necessary for the life of the body.” (Lincoln p181) 


 v6 – The Content of the Mystery 

 v4 – The Communication of the Mystery 

 The mystery is ‘revealed unto’ the apostle (v3) but it is to be ‘understood’ by the believer (v4). 

 The Privilege of the NT believer to understand & enjoy these truths previously hidden. (1Pet1:12) 

 Paul expects us to enjoy them: “when ye read,” (v4) not, “if ye read” 

Paul the Preacher : A Serving Saint (v7-13) 

 Principle of scripture: what God pours in is to be poured out (Jo7:38).  

 Note the humility with which the service of Paul is marked. 

“minister,” or “servant” this is not a clergyman of course, no such division between laity and clerisy was known in the days of the New Testament church. 1 Timothy 3 envisages many teachers or overseers and many deacons in 1 assembly. No 1man ministry ministry, not one man over 1 church or even one man over many churches! This would deny the truth of 1Corinthians 12. 

According to the “Gift” (v7) 
“the Grace of God.” (v7) 

 What his service is all about (v8): 

 The Missionary: “Unto me who am less than the least…” – A correct view of self. Paul takes a SUPERLATIVE & turns it into a COMPARATIVE – “leaster,” – another new word (cf. v6) 

 The Mission: “I should preach” – A fervour for our mission, single minded, undistracted & focused. 

 The Mission Field: “among the gentiles” – Clearly identified. If the unsaved are the mission field, why preach the gospel to converted we may wonder? 

 The Message: “Unsearchable riches of Christ.” – An appreciation of what we have. 

 “Unsearchable,” (v8) – Unfathomable, inexhaustible 

 “A wealth the limit of which no man can ever find,” (Wm Barclay). 

 “Suggests the picture of a reservoir so deep that soundings cannot reach the bottom of it. No limit can therefore be put to its resources.” (Lincoln) 

 Perhaps true to say the “unsearched riches of Christ,” for many. 

 Have a little glimpse into the “Unsearchable riches,” in Ephesians: 

Christ Personally: 

Christ as Prophet (2:17) 
Christ as Priest (2:11) 
Christ as King (5:5) 

Christ & His Relationship to the Church: 

Christ as Head of the Body (1:22) 
Christ as Chief Corner Stone of the Temple (2:20) 
Christ as Bridegroom to the Church (Chp5) 

Christ Presented As: 

Lord of Life: 2:5 
Lord of Love:  3:17ff 
Lord of Light: 5:14ff 

Christ Is The: 

Sphere of our Blessings (1:3) – All due to our relationship with Christ. 
Purpose of our Sanctification  (1:4) 
Origin of our Salvation (1:7; 5:23) 
Focus & End of the Dispensation (1:10; 3:9) – “Whatever’s the world coming to?” 
Object of our Adoration (1:12) – Now & forever. 
Means of Reconciliation (Chp2:11-22) 
Route of Communication (2:18; 3:12) 
Means of Creation (3:9) 
Bestower of our Gifts (4:7ff) 
Example of Dedication (5:2) 
Source of Illumination (5:14) 
Standard of Affection (5:25) 

This is what we have to offer men & women. Christ & nothing else. Especially not entertainment/Social Club 

 As Jew & Gentiles are saved by the preaching of the gospel, & incorporated into, “one body,” (v6), so the “administration” (not “fellowship,”) of the mystery is         ‘seen’ (v9). 

 Are these the longest verses in Bible??? (v9-11). They span in time from ‘creation’ onto ‘now’ and ultimately to ‘eternity’! 

 “the principalities and powers,” look on, (v10). From their appreciation of spiritual truth, perhaps not just evil angelic forces as per 6:12. (cf. Matt16:23) 

 When world was created, angelic powers present. 

 In garden of Eden Satan interested (Gen3:1ff) 

 Cherubim observed the fall & implemented the judgment (Gen3:24) 

 Perhaps in days of Noah angelic forces were interested in man (Gen6:4) 

 Angels involved with Abraham, Lot & destruction of Sodom (Gen18&19) 

 Michael in days of Daniel (Dan12:1) 

 Angels observe the birth (Lk1:11,19, 26; 2:9), temptation (Matt4:11) & sufferings (Lk22:43), & death (Jo20) of Christ. 

 Angelic forces saw man fall, creation crumble, world corrupted, Christ crucified. Was God’s work to come to nought? 

 But now “by the church” they see the, “manifold wisdom of God,” 

 “Manifold” – “much-variegated,” or “multi-coloured” 

 They see the working out of God’s “eternal purpose,” in Christ (v11), cf. 1:10. Thought of God’s purposes for believers in chp1 – at a practical level, but here is God’s one, “Eternal Purpose.” 

Paul the Priest : A Praying saint (v14-21)


Notes from a message preached on Ephesians chapter 3 in our systematic series of bible studies in Paul's letter to the Ephesians, audio recordings free to download as mp3 files or listen online to the bible teaching preached in the Bridgend Gospel Hall New Cumnock. 

Yours by Grace in Christ  

Dr J Stewart Gillespie

Ephesians Chapter 2 Vs 11 to 17 - He is our Peace - J Stewart Gillespie  

Afraid to live? 
Afraid to die? 
We have the answer. “He is our peace.” 

Ephesians chapter 2 verse 11: 
“Remember,” – Good to remember, “the hole of the pit whence ye are digged,” (Isa51:1). 

This is of course not so much remembering our sin! Rather remember the “mercy” (v4), “love” (v4) and “grace” (v5,8) of God. 

“The humility which springs from the removal of our sins must ever be deeper than that which springs from the discovery of them. The former connects us with God: the latter has to do with self.” (CH Mackintosh p313) 

Sometimes we might be tempted to think that now we’re saved, we’ve something to glory in, but all we are is what Christ has made us (2:8,10) 

“Gentiles,” & “Circumcision,” is “in the flesh.” 

This DIVISION of humanity is at the level of the FLESH. (2:11-17) 
The new and eternal DIVISION of humanity is at the level of the SPIRIT. (2:1-10) 
1. Those who are DEAD – Spiritually (v1-3) 
2. Those who are ALIVE in Christ – Spiritually (v5-10) 

Reconciliation therefore must also be at the level of FLESH (v15) 
“Flesh,” - Sometimes used of muscle tissue; It is used in this way in the last mention of, “flesh,” in NT (Rev19:21). 
More often in the Bible the idea od the flesh is used of the “fallen human nature,” eg when speaking of the “Works of the flesh,” (Gal5:19), cf Eph2:13 

Flesh can also be used in the sense of a “living humanity,” John 1:14, Hebrews 5:7, Ephesians 5:30, the word ‘flesh’ is used in this sense here. 

Note the 5 fold condition, mainly relative to the flesh: 

“Without Christ,” – refers to the Messianic hope in the context, cf. Romans 9:5 “The God of Hope,” (Rom15:13). “Without God,” thus, “no hope,” 

“Christless, stateless, friendless, hopeless & Godless.” (W. Hendricksen) 

“No Hope,” A deep source of problems and of despair in our society. A deep seated problem underpinning spiraling suicide rates amongst the young, drug addiction, and alcohol abuse. Do we have a genuine care and thought for others? If so ought not this to spur us onto evangelism? 

Position (v13) 
“But now,” – The turning point of Division at the level of the Flesh 
cf. 2:4 – Turning point of Division, at the level of the Spirit. 
Position – “in Christ Jesus,” 
Reconciliation: Notice the Sphere of Reconciliation (v14-15) 

“in His flesh” & “in Himself” (v15) 

“He is our peace,” – Peace in a person, compare John 20:19, Isaiah 9:6 

PEACE with God & PEACE with one another this is OBJECTIVE PEACE 
There is also the personal experience of that peace consider the illustration of this in Mark 4:35,39,5:1 

“And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still,” (Mark 4:39) : This is a SUBJECTIVE PEACE. 

When Christ presents redeemed humanity to God, doesn’t present a humanity that is divided. Chris presents a united humanity to God. 
It is significant that it was at the level of the flesh there was division (2:11). 

Thus division is put away at the LEVEL OF THE FLESH (2:15). 
Consider also the division at the LEVEL OF THE SPIRIT (2:5). 

“Flesh”(v15), significant choice of words. Not just the death of Christ, as indicated by, “Body,” or “Blood,” but indicates the life of Christ (John1:14, Hebrews 5:7, Ephesians 5:30), given in death (Romans 7:4), to abolish the law, but continuing on as a new humanity (2:15). Cf. Luke 24:39. 

“These ordinances had their sphere of action in the flesh. But Christ (as living in connection with all that), being dead, has abolished the enmity to form in Himself of the two – Jew and Gentile – one new man…” (JND) 

Consider the Peace Offering of Leviticus chapter 3: 

Peace that on the basis of shed blood (Leviticus 3:8) 
Peace that was on the basis of a sacrifice (Leviticus 3:6) 

In the peace offering we note that God and the Priest and the offerer all having a portion (Leviticus chp7). This is a unique scenario in the law of the offerings! 

We are able to describe a procedure characteristic of the Peace Offering, found also in the Sin Offering (Leviticus 4:9), but only as the sin offering relates back to the Peace Offering (Leviticus 4:10). 
This procedure is performed upon the sacrificial animal. We note that in the Peace Offering that the priest is always to be careful to remove, “The caul above the liver,” (Leviticus 3:4,10,15). 

There is only one organ that is above the liver & kidneys; that is the DIAPHRAGM 
The priest was always careful to take the animal, to remove the diaphragm, the organ that divided the animal in 2 parts, chest and abdomen, “the middle wall of partition,” and to make, “both one.” The New Testament believer would understand this. 
There was to be no division in the peace offering. 
What Christ has made, we keep. 
“in His flesh” & “in Himself” (v15) - the Sphere of Reconciliation 
Saved Jew & Saved gentile both in Christ; brought together with that dividing wall between them taken down forever as it was in the peace offering, both are now part of a New Humanity in Christ. 

The Means of Reconciliation (v16) 

“By the Cross,” – The Means cf. “In his flesh,” (v15) – The Sphere 

“The Cross,” – Put away the law, which prevented Jew & Gentile coming together, (Rom7:4) 

“The Cross,” – Put away sin, which prevented Jew & Gentile coming to God, (Heb9:26) 

Bible teaching from Paul's letter to the Ephesians chapter 2. "He is our Peace". A message from our systematic bible study in the Ephesian epistle. Join us as we preach and study through the letter to the Ephesians, in this expository verse by verse Bible Teaching series. Yours by Grace in Christ, Dr J Stewart Gillespie.



Ephesians Chapter 2 Vs 1 to 10 - The Doctrinal Basis of Sanctification - J Stewart Gillespie  

The Doctrinal Basis of Sanctification 

Ephesians chapter 2 is the middle of the doctrinal section in Ephesians 
Chapters 1 to 3 – Lays the foundation of the doctrinal basis for Chapters 4 through to 6 of Ephesians. 
We see the development of the doctrine of sanctification in the Ephesian epsitel in both negative and positive terms: 4:1, 17; 4:22, 24; 5:18 
Paul lays the foundation for sanctification in this section here (2:1-10) 
There are 2 fundamental errors which will undermine your sanctification: 
1. An elevated appreciation of the world: A world which seems to the Christian so appealing, a place it would seem of unimagined possibilities, adventure, excitement, riches, pleasure 
2. An impoverished appreciation of Christ: What we have in the Lord Jesus seems hardly worth holding onto, let alone sacrificing anything for. 
The second of these two errors is usually the greater and more fundamental of the two! Perhaps the illustration of the strength and sanctity of a marriage bond is relevant here. A married couple stay together, not so much because everyone else becomes ugly to them but rather because they appreciate and value supremely what they have in one another. 
There are two ways you can preach sanctification: 
1. We could attempt to preach believers away from the world, exposing it for what it is. 
2. Preach & present Christ, what we have & can find in Him. 
Paul does both: 
1. What We Were in the World: Dead in Sins: Condemnation (v1-3) 
2. What We Have in Christ: Alive in Christ: Transformation (v4-10) 

What We Were in the World: Dead in Sins: Condemnation (v1-3) 
There are 3 great powers or influences that controlled our pre-conversion self: 
1. The World (v2) 
2. The Devil (v2) 
3. The Flesh (v3) 
The World (v2) – “the age of this world,” – an unusual phrase. This would indicate everything that characterizes this present age: 
• In the secular sphere of the world – Repudiating God 
• In the moral sphere of the world – Amoral – Repudiating Absolutes 
• In the physical sphere of the world – it is Materialistic – Glorifying money & possessions 

The Devil (v2): “The prince of the power of the air.” Paul chooses his title for Satan carefully, relates him to the earth, “air,” – used by Greeks to refer to lower atmosphere, between earth & moon, surrounding the earth.The REPRESSIVE, MALEVOLENT influence of Satan. 
The authorised text omits an “of,” at the beginning of this phrase in verse 2 – “of the spirit that now worketh,” – A Greek genitive. It is that spirit, which brings a pervading influence of evil in, “the children of disobedience,” 
Perhaps here we are able to perceive the all pervasive influence and atmosphere of Satan in the world! 
We recall at Ephesus the world and the entertainment it provided in the amphitheatre (Acts19:29), the world & its commerce seen in the silver shrines (Acts19:27) and the world & its religion; that of the great Temple of Diana of Ephesians. None of these secular influence were of positive spiritual value to a genuine believer; in fact they actively opposed and distracted from the Lord Jesus Christ! God sees all of this activity as under the influence of Satan! 
We have perhaps heard the question, what harm is in it? Perhaps we must first perceive, as the apostle does here in Ephesians chapter 2 that in examining the anatomy and structure of this world we discover that Satan is in it!! 
For the Christian the question often arises as to where to draw the line? Perhaps the correct answer is the one that many are most reluctant to apply in practice: ‘As far away from this world as possible!” 
Jim Elliot: “We cannot have both heaven and earth for our part & as our portion, a wise man chooses that which lasts the longest.” 

We notice that there were three features that characterised us in our pre conversion days: 
1. Death (v1) 
2. Disobedience (v2) 
3. Desires of the flesh (v3) 
We were spiritually dead in: “Trespasses,” – Broken Laws – Sins of commission and in “Sins,” – Missed Standards – Sins of omission 
That’s the mess, that’s what you were in the past 2:1,2,3, “were…times past,” – Don’t go back to it! The antidote to this is personal sanctification. 
What We Have in Christ: We are alive in Christ: Transformation (v4-10) 
“But God,” (v4) – Only God could do something in these circumstances 
God & His, “mercy,” (v4), “love” (v4), “grace” (v4,8) 
Notice in this section the 3 words beginning with the Greek prefix of ‘sun’ “συν”: 
v5 – “Quickened together” – linked with His RESURRECTION 
v6 –“Raised up together” – Linked with His ASCENSION 
v6 – “Sit together” – Linked with His SESSION 
Yet what do these 3 great statements all mean for me? I’m very much here on earth! These are great statements of what we refer to as positional truth: “with Christ,” (v5), “in Christ” (v6), “through Christ,” (v7). These are not theoretical nor abstract and certainly not pie-in-the-sky statements of truth! 
These are positional truths; meaning that these truths, these conditions and blessings which we have been brought into we personally do nothing to bring them about. As a consequence of course nothing you do will shake them either! Cf. Salvation John 10:28-29; Ephesians 1:4. These great positional truths are ours because of our ‘position’ in or perhaps better still because of our personal relationship with the Lord Jesus. Because we are personally connected the Lord Jesus certain attributes and blessings which rightfully belong to Jesus become ours too! 

“Quickened together” – linked with His RESURRECTION (v5) 
Perhaps we can understand a bit about ‘quickening’. We were once “Dead in trespasses & sins,” but by conversion and by salvation our condition has been radically transformed so that we now are the possessors of new life in Jesus Christ (John chapter 3). 
We can surely recognise the evidences of that new life by: 
• Our Appetite for spiritual food and nourishment, bread to sustain this new life in Christ – Heb5:12; 1Pet2:2. 
• Our Alienation from the world – Gal6:14; we really feel estranged from this world and it’s values, morality (or lack of it) and spirituality. We don’t belong here 
• Desire for the word – 1Pet2:2; a sure evidence of the new Divine nature in a human soul. 
• Fellowship with believers – 1 John 3:14 – a desire given by God; an attraction of like for like! 
• A Delight in the things of Christ – 1 John 2:3 – a phenomenon incomprehensible to a fallen world. 

“Raised up together” – Linked with His ASCENSION (v6) 
Does this refer to a time in the future? (1 Thessalonians 4:17, 2 Timothy 2:12) Note the tenses here however: an aorist tense or point tense, usually in the past. Notice too the timing here: “together with Christ,” associated with what happened to Christ in the past. If verses 1 to 3 tell us what we were in the world then verses 4 to 10 surely tell us what we have in Christ. We now move in a different sphere and belong to a different order. We belong to those “Heavenly places,” places above “the World,” and above “The prince of the power of the air.” We left all of that behind us. We are no longer under the old repressive regime of, the world, the flesh, and the devil. It used to be the case that when Satan said, “jump,” we jumped. We are now marked by: 
1. ELEVATION → Above it all, diff. Sphere/atmosphere 
2. LIBERATION→ Not controlled by the world, flesh, devil. 
• We share in Christ’s victory (1:20-22; 2:2) 
• 1Jo4:4, “greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world” 
• Rom6:18, “Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness” 
• Rom8:1, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit” 
• We may of course even as Christians fall or sin, but power is given to resist, when we fall we make a choice. We are now under a new regime and under a new authority. 
God did not “quicken us together with Christ,” simply to bring us back under the same old repressive forces. Brought us into a liberty & freedom. 
Here’s what we have in Christ, we now have the power to: 
• “walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,” (Eph4:1) 
• “walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind” (Eph4:17) 

“As living evidences of His kindness, we shall point people, away & beyond ourselves to Him, to whom we owe our salvation.” 
(Stott p82 on verse 7) 

Bible teaching from Paul's letter to the Ephesians chapter 2. A study in the sanctification of the Christian. A message from our systematic bible study in the Ephesian epistle. Join us as we preach and study through the letter to the Ephesians, in this expository verse by verse Bible Teaching series. Yours by Grace in Christ, Dr J Stewart Gillespie.