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John Brown :: Ephesians 1

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I. INTRODUCTION

A. A Little History!

1. Written approx. 61 AD by the Apostle Paul during his Roman imprisonment.

2. There are several indications that this was a "circular" letter written to all the churches in Asia Minor.

a) In fact, some manuscripts omit the words "at Ephesus" in Eph 1:1.

b) So, in other words it was meant to be read to all the churches!

B. Ephesus

1. The city was well known as a commercial, political, and religious center!

a) Some of you may remember from your studies of the book of Acts, the great Temple of Diana was located in Ephesus.

2. Christianity first came to Ephesus during Paul's 2nd missionary journey with the help of Priscilla and Aquila.

a) On his 3rd missionary, Paul stayed in Ephesus about 3 years and Acts 19:10 tells us that....all who dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks.

b) After Paul, Timothy had oversight of the church there in Ephesus, then after Timothy, the Apostle John made it his headquarters!

C. The book theme = "God's purposes for the Church"

1. In view of this theme, Paul discusses:

a) Predestination,

b) Christ as Head of the Church,

c) The Church as the building and temple of God,

d) The great mystery of Jesus Christ,

e) Spiritual gifts,

f) And the Church as the bride of Christ!

II. TEXT

A. Ephe 1:1-2 (NKJV) Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, To the saints who are in Ephesus, and faithful in Christ Jesus: 2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

1. Paul was sure that he was an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God.

a) What are you, "by the will of God?"

b) In other words, "Are you doing what the Lord wants you to with your life?"

2. Remember "grace" is getting what we don't deserve! Which is everything Christianity offers!

3. Paul greets them grace and peace = "shalom".

a) And of course you cannot have peace to any lasting degree without accepting the Grace of God, which is His Son, Jesus Christ!

B. Ephe 1:3-6 (NKJV) Blessed [be] the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly [places] in Christ, 4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, 5 having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He has made us accepted in the Beloved.

1. The "blessed be" can also be interpreted as "praise be" the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

a) Paul is actually "describing" the Lord here (the word is an adjective), not just making a proclamation.

b) When he tells us that Jesus has "blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places", that can be interpreted "caused us to prosper in every spiritual blessing that heaven has to offer!"

(1) Nothing has been held back.

(2) We are heirs to all the riches of the kingdom!

There was once a lady known as "America's Greatest Miser". She ate cold oatmeal because it cost too much to heat it up. Her son had to have his leg amputated because she waited too long for medical attention while looking for a "free" clinic. She even died from a ruptured blood vessel in the brain while arguing about the benefits of skimmed milk! Was she crazy? Maybe. Eccentric? Without a doubt!! But, one thing was for sure. She wasn't poor? When "Hetty Green died she left an estate valued at over $100 million dollars!!!!! The tragedy is that most Christians live like that. Living like poor orphans instead of the King's kids!

c) We, (those who have accepted Him as Savior), have been "chosen", "predestined", and "accepted"!!

(1) Chosen = "to pick one out of many"

(a) 2Pet 3:9 (NKJV) The Lord is... not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.

(b) John 3:16 (NKJV) "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

(c) It is not God's will for anyone to miss heaven, but He know many will reject His offer!

(d) So, He has "chosen" us because we have "chosen" Him!

(2) Predestined = "decided beforehand"

(a) Since the Lord has no beginning and no end, he is able to let people be free to "chose" and yet go ahead and "decide beforehand" their future!!

(i) And it is His "benevolent delight" = (good pleasure vs. 5) to adopt them as His sons and daughters!

(3) He has made us Accepted (vs. 6)= "charming, lovely, graceful, and agreeable.

(a) And all this is because of His love!

C. Ephe 1:7-12 (NKJV) In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace 8 which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, 9 having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, 10 that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth--in Him. 11 In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, 12 that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.

1. The Greek word used here for "redemption" means = "liberation procured by the payment of a ransom".

a) And of course, the ransom was His blood = His life for ours!

(1) Hebr 9:22 (NKJV)... without shedding of blood there is no remission.

(2) The "ransom note" required "unmarked bills", not ones that had already been tainted!

(a) Our lives were tainted with sin, therefore the perfect blood of Christ was the only way to fulfill the demand of the ransom note!!!

2. Paul reminds us one again of God's abounding grace in verse 7.

3. He tells us in verse 8 that what was once a great mystery, was revealed to us through Jesus!

a) That all of God's riches in heaven and earth are all rolled up into the Savior!

(1) And we will inherit all those good things simply because we trusted in Christ!!

D. Ephe 1:13-14 (NKJV) In Him you also [trusted], after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.

1. The word "sealed" here carries with it the eastern tradition of the King's signet ring.

a) It carried all the power of the King Himself!!

b) So, the Holy Spirit that has been "deposited" in each believer carries the same weight as the King of Kings!!

(1) In fact, He speaks for the King!

c) The Holy Spirit, just like the security deposit on a house, is the Lord's "promise" to come back and take us home with Him!

E. Ephe 1:15-16 (NKJV) Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, 16 do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers:

1. And this is what Paul prays for re: the Ephesians.

F. Ephe 1:17-21 (NKJV) that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, 18 the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, 19 and what [is] the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power 20 which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated [Him] at His right hand in the heavenly [places], 21 far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.

1. Many of us have knowledge, but few have wisdom!

2. And we all need the Lord to "reveal" to us, a great knowledge of Him! (vs. 17)

3. The "hope of His calling" in verse 18 is ="a confident expectation" as we wait for His return!

4. Jesus' "right-hand" position in heaven is a place of authority and the fact that He is "seated" signifies that His work is completed!

a) "It is finished" as He said on the cross.

b) And just so that we will have no doubt how far that authority extends, Paul assures us that it is above all "angelic rule", and all ages now, and to come!

G. Ephe 1:22-23 (NKJV) And He put all [things] under His feet, and gave Him [to] [be] head over all [things] to the church, 23 which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.

1. Do you notice the word "all" in these too verses?

a) That's pretty inclusive!!

CONTENT DISCLAIMER:

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.

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