The believer is a man with a PURPOSE
One of the key words in the chapter (1:9,11)
Epistle to the Ephesians, like all other epistles, an Epistle with a PURPOSE, unlike all other’s an Epistle about a PURPOSE:
1. God’s PURPOSE for believers
2. God’s PURPOSE for His SON
3. God’s PURPOSE for believers & His Son together.
Says Paul: “The church is like:”
1. A Building – but Christ is the chief corner stone (Eph2:20)
2. A Body – but Christ is the Head (Eph4:15, 5:23)
3. A Bride – one day to be united with Christ (Eph 5:32)
Ephesians 1: 1-14 Introduction
3 Sections each ending with an Exclamation of Praise:
1) God the Father (v3-6)
2) God the Son (v7-12)
3) God the Spirit (v13-14)
The believer is a man greatly blessed, by all 3 persons of the Godhead!
Overview of our Blessings in Christ:
“blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places” (v2)
1) Election (v4)
2) Sanctification (v4)
3) Predestination (v5)
4) Adoption (v5)
5) Redemption (v7)
6) Absolution (v7)
7) Wisdom & Understanding (v8)
8) Revelation (v9)
9) Consummation (v10)
10) Worship & Adoration (v6, v12, v14)
11) Reception of the Holy Spirit (v13-14)
A Purpose which:
1) PREDATES this world (v4)
2) SEPARATES us from the world (v4)
3) PREDESTINATES us out of this world (v5)
4) INSTATES us as Sons (v5)
5) REGENERATES & REDEEMS (v7)
6) CONSUMMATES with everything under the headship of Christ (v10)
7) GENERATES praise & worship forever (v6, v12, v14)
8) ANTICIPATES the fulfillment of the Divine Promise (v13-14)
Overview of our Blessings in Christ: (v3)
As we consider our blessings, “in Christ,” – ought to have an effect upon us:
“Blessed be…” (v3): describing what God is, “inherently worthy to be praised.”
“Hath blessed us…” (v3):
As we appreciate what God has done for us, our hearts return in praise & worship to Him. How is our worship? How is our appreciation of our blessings in Christ? By the end of our study in Ephesians chp1 our heart ought to be lifted up in worship to God.
1) The SOURCE of blessings, “the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Blessings come from God & worship returns to God
2) The SCOPE of blessings, “all spiritual blessings” If I were to say that we had “a lot” of spiritual blessings in Christ, tell me I’m talking nonsense, don’t have a lot, have “all” or “every” spiritual blessing.
3) The SPHERE of blessings, “in heavenly places,” To begin to appreciate what we have in Christ , have to move into the heavenly sphere. Let go of the earthly & mundane, work & worries etc, move into the heavenlies.
1) Election & Sanctification (v4)
“he hath chosen us in him” – Strange phrase, now we’re saved we’re, “in Him.” But here we are chosen, “in Him before the foundation of the world.”
God chose us not because of what we were before we were saved but because of what God would make us after we were saved.
ELECTION excludes PRIDE & SELF-WORTH. God’s sovereign Grace.
Paul deals with ELECTION Practically, not like the theologians. Doesn’t debate Divine sovereignty & Human responsibility, or explain the how & the wherefores:
1. With respect to SANCTIFICATION (Eph1:4). God has chosen you. There must be some purpose to Divine chose. God must have something for you that is: SANCTIFICATION.
Not MYSTICAL, not MAGICAL, but PRACTICAL.
Rom12:1-2: Biblical double definition of holiness!
2. With respect to SECURITY (Rom8:29,33ff). God has chosen me; therefore my salvation doesn’t depend upon me! Not upon my grasp of Him but upon His eternal PURPOSES & COUNSELS. Plagued with doubts about your salvation? Am I good enough? Probably not! Am I trying hard enough? Probably not! Is my faith strong enough? Probably not! But for the purposes of eternal security it matters not one whit! (May affect reward of course).
“Holy” – POSITIVE & “Without blame” – NEGATIVE
“In love” – the whole issue of election is encompassed in an atmosphere of perfect love.
2) Predestination & Adoption (v5)
v4 – Show the family likeness. v5 – Adopted into the family (Heb2:11)
Adoption unknown in the OT. In Roman law the adopted son has the same rights as the natural son.
3) Worship & Adoration (v6, v12, v14)
God’s ultimate purpose, to have a people who will both worship Him & cause Him to be worshiped for ever.
Worship & Adoration, begins in time & perfected in eternity
4) Redemption & Absolution (v7)
Purchased at a great cost (1Pet1:18). Redemption – Bought from something:
1. Freedom from the Guilt of Sin: Rom3:24
2. Freedom from Presence of Sin: Rom8:23
3. Freedom from Penalty or Punishment of Sin: Eph1:7, redemption is seen here as synonymous with forgiveness.
Redemption ; therefore we are not our own.
5) Wisdom & Understanding (v8)
God has given us all of these blessings, & with them the ability to understand/appreciate them.
Sometimes wonder how folks can sit under gospel preaching & remain oblivious. Wisdom & understanding – a Divine gift.
6) Revelation (v9)
Something hidden & now revealed – “a mystery”
7) Consummation (v10-11)
“Dispensation”: originally referred to the management of a household. This is the Divine management of the universe.
All things headed up in Christ.
“We have obtained an inheritance,” – really The inheritance which we are, rather than the inheritance which we have:
1. The context emphasises us as God’s portion (1:4,5)
2. “Have obtained an inheritance,” is in the passive voice (Bruce)
3. OT background, Israel as God’s inheritance (Deut32:8-9;Ps33:12) “Then all the “seasons,” of the story of redemption will attain their “fullness,” will be fulfilled, accomplished, so that the actual result shall correspond to the Divine ideal.” (HCG Moule)
1) Reception of the Holy Spirit (v13-14)
Hear , Believe , Receive (v13)– Note the order. The Spirit is a first blessing, not a second blessing.
The Holy Spirit:
God’s Seal Upon us: Property & slaves had a seal upon them.
God’s Promise to us: The Holy Spirit which was promised? (Jo15:26, 16:7, Acts1:4). More to it than that. This is the Spirit who leads us into & guarantees for us, our blessings & purposes in Christ (Eph1:14; 4:30). Here at the end of all our blessings in Christ, we have ministry on the Spirit of God. No coincidence. The abiding work of the Spirit, cf. Jo16:15. Not tongues (1Co13:8), not healings (IITim4:20).
God’s Pledge for us: “Earnest”: a guarantee, pledge, deposit payed by the buyer until purchase price paid in full, compare the modern Greek: an engagement ring.
Bible teaching from Paul's letter to the Ephesians chapter 1. A message from our systematic bible study in the Ephesian epistle. Join us as we preach and study through the New Testament, in this expository verse by verse Bible Teaching series. Yours by Grace in Christ, Dr J Stewart Gillespie.