Ephesus was a big place I read this week it was believed to have over ¼ million people in it. I love the way the Bible fits directly into Acts. Paul visited Ephesus on his 2nd missionary journey for a lil bit. (Acts 18:19-21) His next journey he stayed about 3yrs. (Acts 19) His preaching was so successful that the local metal and wood idol/shrine makers were going out of business and basically started a riot. (Acts 19:24-29) That caused Paul to leave, but he called later the Elders from Ephesus and gave them his last farewell. (Acts 20:17-38) This Epistle stresses doctrine, one bady, and practical Christian duties.
I. This book is written to the SAINTS at Ephesus.
VV1,2 Tells us Paul is the author, the SAINTS at Ephesus are the recipients, and Paul wishes grace and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ be on the recipients. *** From this point on we cannot apply any doctrine we learn of to someone outside of the ekklesia or the Lord’s Church. This book is not written to the lost. It is written to the faithful saints! These people have been blood washed, born again, and converted from sinner to saint!
II. All Spiritual blessings are for those who are in CHRIST. V3
- This verse tells us the source of our blessings (God), the scope of our blessings (all/every; not a few), and the sphere of our blessings (heavenly places; CHURCH)
-ILLUS Henrietta Howland Robinson got married and became known as Hetty Green! She died a millionaire, but lived so cheap she only wore one black dress until it worn out so they called her “The Witch of Wallstreet.” There are numerous stories of her being cheap, but ot all are true. CAN YOU IMAGINE HAVING ALL THAT MONEY AT YOUR DISPOSAL AND NOT USING IT? What about a person that is “in Christ” and wastes away “all the spiritual blessings” for a job, ballgame, family party? SAME THING RIGHT?
-“us” Who is the “us?” Some say Gentiles. (Paul is a Jew) Some say Jews. (Probably not as the Jews were usually trying to kill him) **We must always allow the Bible to commentate on itself. When Paul says “us” he includes himself with those who the letter is intended for. WHO ARE THE RECEPIENTS? SAINTS The ekklesia or the Church are the ones receiving “all spiritual blessings”
III. All those in Christ are to be HOLY. V4
-“chosen us” This verse frequently gets used out of context. Men focus on the word “chosen” which means to pick out. I want to look at the other word “us.” We just said in vs3 “us” are the saints or the church. Those who claim predestination and election from this verse attempts to change the word “us.” This word in the Greek DOES NOT CHANGE from verse 3-4. People try to make this “choosing” as an individual act. That makes the word “us” singular not plural, which makes this choosing a individual thing, not corporate. It makes it a particular picking out and not general.
Christ didn’t die for a certain individuals. 1Jn 2:2 Many teach this as an individual choosing (only certain individuals are chosen), Only determined by God’s mysterious will, regardless of knowledge of good and evil. It is unconditional and final! THAT TAKES AWAY MAN’S LIBERTY TO CHOOSE!
God doesn’t pick me over you. He doesn’t pick this congregation over that congregation. Scripture doesn’t support that. THAT IS RESPECT OF PERSONS Rom 2:11 THAT IS NOT WANTING ALL TO BE SAVED 1Ti 2:3,4 THAT IS GOD WILLING THAT SOME SHOULD PERISH 2Pe 3:9
-“holy &w/out blame” Keep in mind this is the purpose of our chosing. God didn’t choose the church just to get us to heaven, he choose us to be first HOLY! Holy is defined as separated. ***Being in the church, or a saint, IS NOT AN ATTAINMENT! It is a state into which God in grace calls men; yet believers are called to sanctify themselves, cleansing themselves from all defilement, forsaking sin, living a "holy" manner of life, and experiencing fellowship with God in His holiness. The saints are thus figuratively spoken of as "a holy temple," 1 Cor. 3:17; Eph. 2:21 (the whole Church); "a holy priesthood," 1 Pet. 2:5; "a holy nation," 1 Pet. 2:9.
Being HOLY in its basic form is the intention of God to change the moral character of people in order for their lives to conform more and more to the standards of the will of God!
-with out blame We are to live so others cannot find legal fault with us. Our goal as saints is to live without blemishes. Jesus was blameless he said Jn 8:46 We are to model our lives after him in this aspect!
IV. We are Christ’s brother and ADOPTED into God’s family.
-“predestined” Similar to Rom 8:29 This word is taken way to far by some men. Let’s break it down logically. Men say people are chosen (which we just disproved) and are predestined to salvation! They are right, but not a select group of people!
Look at the word “predestined” lets remove the prefix “pre” we know that is a reference to time! WHAT IS THE TIME? V4 says “before the foundation of the world”
Now we are left with the word “destined.” Defined as intending to be
*****These verses say that God “pre” before the foundation of the world “destined” intended “us” the church to be adopted as sons through Jesus according to the will of the Father! That is found in the scriptures we read above!!
-“adopted” It takes more than belief. Jn 1:12. It’s about obeying the Word and abiding in Christ! Jn 15:6-8
V. We are accepted by God’s GRACE.
It is by grace we are saved. Many people get grace and mercy confused.
-Grace- Root= rejoice/joy An unearned or unmerited favor done w/out expectation of return
-Mercy- outward manifestation of pity. Alleviation of the consequences of sin.
-I say, “grace is an unearned gift from God; mercy is the removal of earned consequences!”
**GRACE must always come before MERCY. 1Ti 1:2; 2Ti 1:2; Tit 1:4; 2Jn 1:3
**God’s plan of redeeming man is the same way! By the grace of God he sent his Son (an unearned gift) to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins (removal of earned consequences). When we believe that Biblical truth and respond with obedience to His Son’s commands we are adopted and accepted into God’s family.
Today, if you think you need to earn God’s grace you are severely wrong. God’s wants all mankind to be saved. Today, by the grace and mercy of God, obey Christ’s command to have your sins washed away, receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, and rise from the watery grave to walk in the newness of life!