I. GRACE BE TO YOU AND PEACE.
A. Paul begins here the opening salutation to the church.
1. Verse one is like addressing the envelope.
a. Up in the left hand corner he puts his name and title.
b. The envelope is addressed to the saints in Ephesus and the faithful in Christ Jesus.
2. He now begins his letter with a common salutation at least among the apostles.
a. Paul begins all of his letters with this salutation. There is only a slight variation and that is in his letters to Timothy and Titus, where he adds mercy.
b. Peter uses it in his letters.
c. John uses it in his third letter.
B. They are called the Siamese twins of the New Testament in that you so often find them coupled together.
1. They are a combination of the Greek and Hebrew common greetings.
a. The Greek "Charis" was used much like the Hawaiian word "aloha," that is, it was used when meeting or departing.
1. The word means rejoice, or that which causes joy or pleasure.
2. When used in a greeting it had the idea of every kind of favor, blessing, good.
b. The Hebrews to the present day use the word "shalom," in the same fashion. The word of course means peace.
2. When used in the scriptures you will note that the word grace always precedes the word peace. I believe that this is by design for you can never truly know the peace of God until you have known His grace.
C. There are two ways by which men seek to approach God, by works or by grace.
1. Grace and works as a means of approach to God are mutually exclusive.
2. A true experience of the grace of God will produce fruit in a person's life, and a part of that fruit is peace.
3. For years I sought by works to receive the grace of God.
a. I wanted to earn His blessings and favor.
b. I worked hard to develop my relationship with Him.
4. As long as I was seeking to relate to God on the basis of my goodness and good works, my relationship was tenuous.
a. There were times I felt very close to God because I had some commendable thing for Him.
b. Most often I felt alienated because of some nagging sin in my life.
c. If I had driven on the freeway without getting frustrated and angry. I hadn't honked my horn or shaken my fist at some stupid driver I felt free to commune with God and even ask a favor or blessing.
d. But if I had lost my temper and laid on the horn, then I felt like turning around and going home, no sense even going to church tonight for God, certainly will not want to speak to me much less bless me.
5. I relate to God on the basis of His goodness, or my goodness.
a. Note how broken that relationship often is if it is based on my goodness.
b. Yet it is unbroken if I relate to Him on His goodness.
6. Thus as I relate to God on the basis of His grace, the result in my own life is peace.
II. THIS GRACE AND PEACE COMES FROM GOD THE FATHER, AND OUR LORD JESUS CRIST.
A. In learning of the nature of God we realize that one of the foremost of all His traits is His graciousness.
1. God said in Ex.22:27
"For I am gracious."
And he said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and will proclaim the name of the LORD before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom will shew mercy
And the LORD was gracious unto them, and had compassion on them, and had respect unto them, because of his covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and would not destroy them, neither cast he them from his presence as yet.
but thou [art] a God ready to pardon, gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness,
But thou, O Lord, [art] a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth.
He hath made his wonderful works to be remembered: the LORD [is] gracious and full of compassion.
Unto the upright there ariseth light in the darkness: [he is] gracious, and full of compassion, and righteous.
Gracious [is] the LORD, and righteous; yea, our God [is] merciful
The LORD [is] gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy.
And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the LORD your God: for he [is] gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil.
And he prayed unto the LORD, and said, I pray thee, O LORD, [was] not this my saying, when I was yet in my country? Therefore I fled before unto Tarshish: for I knew that thou [art] a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repentest thee of the evil.
B. It is the desire of Paul that they be the beneficiaries of this grace.
C. His second desire is that they might experience the peace of God, and of our Lord Jesus Christ.
1. Paul uses the phrase the God of peace, 4 times in his epistles, and if he is indeed the author of Hebrews, 5 times.
2. Isaiah prophesied that the name of the Son that would be given would be Wonderful Counselor, The Mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.
a. Jesus said to His disciples, "Peace I leave with you, My peace, I give unto you, not as the world giveth give I unto you, let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
b. A troubled heart and a fearful heart is not a heart of peace.
III. AGAIN I WOULD LIKE TO POINT OUT THAT LORD JESUS CHRIST IS NOT HIS FIRST, MIDDLE, AND LAST NAME.
A. Lord is not a name at all, but a title. It is much like and synonymous with the title of God. It is the one that rules over your life. The one that you have chosen to serve. Elijah cried to the people choose ye this day whom you will serve, if Jehovah is God then serve Him, but if Baal be god, then serve him.
1. The title lord signifies relationship. If Jesus is my Lord, then I am His servant.
2. It means that I am obedient to Him.
a. He said that there were many who said Lord, Lord, that would never enter the kingdom of heaven.
b. He questioned, "Why do you call Me Lord, Lord, and yet you do not the things that I command you?"
A son honoureth [his] father, and a servant his master: if then I [be] a father, where [is] mine honour? and if I [be] a master, where [is] my fear? saith the LORD of hosts unto you, O priests, that despise my name.
B. Jesus is His name. It is one of the compound names of Jehovah that declares what God has become to us.
1. Jesus is Greek for the Hebrew name Joshua which is a contraction of Jehoshua, which is the first name that Moses gave to his servant, it was later contracted to Joshua.
2. The name describes His mission. He said that He had come to seek and to save those who were lost.
3. The angel said to Joseph, "Thou shalt call His name Jesus for He shall save His people from their sins."
C. Christ is the Greek translation of the Hebrew word "mashiach" which means anointed and was used concerning the priest or king for they were anointed with oil when inaugurated into their office. The English word is Messiah.
The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, [saying],
1. When Peter said, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God." he was saying you are the Messiah.
2. The High Priest commanded Him, "Tell us plainly, are you the Christ the Son of God." The question was "are you the Messiah?"
3. Martha said to Him, "I believe that you are the Christ the Son of God." She was saying you are the Messiah.
D. Grace and peace come to us from the Father and His Son, our Lord, Jesus, the Messiah.