2542.) Ephesians 1:1-14

Ephesus (located on the west coast of present-day Turkey) was second only to Rome in size and importance in the first century. It is one of the seven churches in Asia cited in the Book of Revelation.

About Ephesus:   Ephesus (located on the west coast of present-day Turkey) was second only to Rome in size and importance in the first century–a commercial, political, and religious center. It is one of the seven churches in Asia cited in the Book of Revelation. Paul spent time in Ephesus during his third missionary journey (Acts 19:1-20:1).

Ephesians 1:1-14   (NRSV)

Salutation

Karl Marx wrote about a new man and a new society, but he saw man and society both in almost purely economic terms and offered only economic answers. In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul also saw the new man and a new society, but he saw it all accomplished by the work of Jesus.

And it is important to remember that Paul wrote this letter focusing on the great themes of God’s work in the church — from prison.

–David Guzik

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To the saints who are in Ephesus and are faithful in Christ Jesus:

2Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Spiritual Blessings in Christ, from the Father

1. flower

In ancient Greek (the language Paul originally wrote in), Ephesians 1:3-14 form one long sentence. As an opera has an overture, setting the tone for all the melodies that will follow, so this passage sets the tone for the rest of Ephesians.

–David Guzik

3Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, 4just as he chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless before him in love.

How do we bless God? The English Anglican priest and theologian C. F. D. Moule says we are to “praise with worshipping love.”

from Tozer on the Holy Spirit, ed. by Marilynne E. Foster:

Genuine holiness can be put into the place of testing without fear. Whenever there is a breakdown of holiness, that is proof there was never any real degree of holiness in the first place.

Personally, I truly have been affected in my heart by reading the testimonies and commentaries of humble people of God whom I consider to be among the great souls of Christian Church history. I have learned from them that the word and idea of holiness as originally used in the Hebrew did not have first of all the moral connotation. It did not mean that God first of all was pure, for that was taken for granted!

The original root of the word holy was of something beyond, something strange and mysterious and awe-inspiring. When we consider the holiness of God we talk about something heavenly, full of awe, mysterious, and fear-inspiring. Now, this is supreme when it relates to God, but it is also marked in men and women of God and deepens as we become more like God.

Holiness is not a condition wrought in us. It is simply the Holy One in us ruling, filling.

5He destined us for adoption as his children through Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of his will, 6to the praise of his glorious grace that he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.

We are God’s children! This high position in the family of God gives us something in Jesus that Adam never had. “When people ask us the speculative question why God went ahead with the creation when he knew that it would be followed by the fall, one answer we can tentatively give is that he destined us for a higher dignity than even creation would bestow on us.”

–John Stott

Spiritual Blessings in Christ, from the Son

1. fjord

7In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace 8that he lavished on us.

Jesus does not redeem us by His sinless life or His moral example, but only by His death in our place – by His blood. “Observe, it is not redemption through his power, it is through his blood. It is not redemption through his love, it is through his blood.”

–Charles Haddon Spurgeon

With all wisdom and insight 9he has made known to us the mystery of his will,

“In the New Testament sense a mystery is something which is hidden to the heathen but clear to the Christian.”

–William Barclay

according to his good pleasure that he set forth in Christ, 10as a plan for the fullness of time, to gather up all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.

11In Christ we have also obtained an inheritance, having been destined according to the purpose of him who accomplishes all things according to his counsel and will, 12so that we, who were the first to set our hope on Christ, might live for the praise of his glory.

We see three aspects of God’s plan working together. It begins with His purpose, then the counsel of His will, and finally results in His work. God made His plan carefully according to an eternal purpose, taking counsel within the Godhead, and then He works with all wisdom.

“Our God is a God who not only wills; He works; and He works according to His will… The word counsel stands for deliberate planning and arranging, in which the ways and means of carrying out the will are considered and provided for.” (Morgan)

Spiritual Blessings in Christ, from the Spirit

red seal jpg

13In him you also, when you had heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and had believed in him, were marked with the seal of the promised Holy Spirit; 14this is the pledge of our inheritance toward redemption as God’s own people, to the praise of his glory.

Welcome, Holy Spirit!

_________________________

Music:

HERE  is Andre Crouch’s classic “To God Be the Glory,” sung by the Oslo Gospel Choir.

How can I say thanks
For all the things you have done for me
Things so undeserved
Yet You gave to prove your love for me
And the voices of a million angels
Could not express my gratitude
All that I am and ever hope to be
I owe it all to Thee

To God be the glory, to God be the glory
To God be the glory,
For the things He has done
With His blood He has saved me
And with His power He has raised me
To God be the glory,
For the things He has done

Just let me live my life
And let it be pleasing Lord to Thee
And should I gain any praise
Let it go to Calvary

With His blood He has saved me
With His power He has raised me
To God be the glory
For the things He has done

To God be the glory, to God be the glory
To God be the glory,
For the things He has done
With His blood He has saved me
And with His power He has raised me
To God be the glory,
For the things He has done.

_________________________

The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
map.  http://www.jesuswalk.com/ephesians/images/ephesus_map.gif
flower.   http://www.creatorlutheran.net/sermons/the-growing-church
Holiness.    http://www.fggam.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/holiness.jpg
fjord.  https://thegracecommunity.files.wordpress.com/2010/08/ephesians1_7.jpg
seal.   https://i3.wp.com/img.heartlight.org/cards/g/ephesians1_14.jpg

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