A Final Look at Chapter One

I realize I haven’t gotten too far in our study of Ephesians, yet, but Paul’s comments are so rich, so important to us, as believers, I don’t want you to rush through them. In fact, I would say that we should never read any of Paul’s writings, especially the first three chapters of this letter, as though they were mere Bible fluff. No, siree! They are facts! They are what Yahweh says is real. They are what is actually happening in the world, and what is available to us. And, if you read them this way you will never treat Paul’s letters as being mere theological treatises. You will discover what should become the foundation of your faith!

Let’s take a final look at the statements Paul made at the beginning of this letter and gather up the great themes of this letter to which, by the way, he will continually return. In the third verse, which we have already seen, has a perfect summary of this letter:

Praise the God and Father of our Lord Yeshua Christ! Through Christ, God has blessed us with every spiritual blessing that heaven has to offer. Before the creation of the world, he chose us through Christ to be holy and perfect in his presence (Ephesians 1:3-4)

But it doesn’t end there:

. . . Before the creation of the world, he chose us through Christ to be holy and perfect in his presence (Ephesians 1:4)

Fascinating. This goes back before the beginning of time, before the foundation of the universe. Wow!

Because of his love he had already decided to adopt us through Yeshua Christ. He freely chose to do this  so that the kindness he had given us in his dear Son would be praised and given glory. (Ephesians 1:5-6)

What an unbelievable thing! We became members of Yahweh’s family, made to be partakers of the divine nature.

Through the blood of his Son, we are set free from our sins. God forgives our failures because of his overflowing kindness.  He poured out his kindness by giving us every kind of wisdom and insight  when he revealed the mystery of his plan to us (Ephesians 1:7-8)

Think of that! Our guilt is completely removed; utterly gone!

He had decided to do this through Christ.  He planned to bring all of history to its goal in Christ. Then Christ would be the head of everything in heaven and on earth (Ephesians 1:9-10)

We have entered Yahweh’s secret councils. He has unfolded for us what he had planned to do, and what he is going to accomplish in the future.

In him, according to the purpose of him who accomplishes all things according to the counsel of his will, we who first hoped in Christ have been destined and appointed to live for the praise of his glory. (Ephesians 1:11-12)

That is why we gather each week. Our Father has appointed us to be a demonstration of all these great truths, to live for the praise of his glory.

You heard and believed the message of truth, the Good News that he has saved you, (Ephesians 1:13)

All that, you see, comes as a part of the work of the word of truth.

In him you were sealed with the Holy Spirit whom he promised.  This Holy Spirit is the guarantee that we will receive our inheritance. We have this guarantee until we are set free to belong to him. God receives praise and glory for this. (Ephesians 1:13-14)

Amazing! I don’t know, if this doesn’t get you excited, then there is something wrong. These truths are the things that make life worthwhile. Without them, life is unbearable, desolate, dull, boring, and we can hardly stand ourselves or each other. It is a list, if you will, of mankind’s inabilities and weaknesses. There is nothing “man” can provide that will come close to matching its power. No political party; no social committee; no alternative lifestyle; nothing!  They only come from our God, and Him alone. No one else can offer these to us. They are the gifts of our Father.

All this comes to us in Christ, in the Person and the work of the Lord Jesus Himself. This fact is going to be stressed again and again throughout this letter. No two words appear more frequently than “in Christ,” or “in Him.” Over and over it is emphasized that everything comes to us through our relationship and submission to our Lord Jesus.

Do you remember the story in the Old Testament about Elisha and his servant? They were in a small city and surrounded by the armies of Syria. The servant looked out the window and became frozen with fear because all he saw was a vast enemy army with a cavalry and armed chariots. Oh, my! He got scared and turned to Elisha and said, “Egad! Everything is hopeless! Look! We’re surrounded! What on Earth are we going to do?” Elisha frustratingly told him, “Don’t be afraid — there are more on our side than on their side.” And he prayed, “Lord,  just open his eyes.” (II  Kings 6:15-17). And indeed the Lord opened the young man’s eyes and he saw the mountain around Elisha full of fiery horses and chariots, manned by hundreds and thousands of angels, and he realized the true situation. Glory to God!

I don’t know about you, but I often need to have my eyes opened! I need to be reminded that my Father’s army is much larger than the enemies. Here we are, living in a world where most of the important things are not visible. You can’t touch them or seen them or taste them or weighed them or measure them. They are never subject to the study of science, and they are not available to any of the philosophies we hear on TV or the radio or read in our self-help books. But I assure you, they are there! And if we have any hope of successfully living by faith, we must recognize this fact.

I apologize if I seem to be repeating myself, but we need to be continually reminded of these great spiritual blessings. These promises can change our lives and cause us to become different people! It is only through the Grace of our loving and generous Father. He is the one who does all this!

In these verses, you won’t find any demands placed you. Paul is only talking about what our God can do and what He has already done. I came to the Lord October 27th, 1979 in the basement of my parent’s home and I have discovered that all progress in the spiritual life only comes when you fully grab hold of the truth which is already true. It is not something that God is going to do, but something he has already done.

It is available to you the minute you understand it and grab ahold of it. Go ahead and take a pen and underline the finite verbs of this passage. Notice that they all refer to our Gracious and Loving Father. “He chose us;” “He destined us;” “in him, we have redemption;” “He has made His will known to us.” Go through each verse and what you will see is our Father at work.

All around us in the world today, men are doing things, and they should. Men are working and planning, and dreaming and hoping, and attempting to accomplish things. This is good. Governments should seek to improve the lives of their citizens and for political leaders to try to achieve their goals (as long as those goals are to liberate and free the people). All of us have our parts to play. But what we have forgotten is that the only thing which will ultimately change anyone is what Yahweh does, not what men do. That is where we need to focus our thoughts. And we need to see what it is that our God is doing.

You don’t want to think about it, but one of these days, all of us will recognize and know that all the vaunted and proud symbols of our civilization; all of our great inventions and technological advancements; all of our supposed wisdom and insights are going to crumble into dust and be lost in the dust of the past. All the knowledge we pride ourselves in today will be lost to some forgotten tomb. The wonders that men glory in will fade. The only things that will endure are the works of our Father. The realities that are revealed in this letter, will remain as brilliant and untarnished as when Paul wrote them. Regarding the might and glory of the British Empire, Rudyard Kipling once wrote:

Far flung, our navies melt away, on dune and headland sinks the fire. Lo, all our pomp of yesterday is one with Nineveh and Tyre.

A time will come when America’s greatness is going to fade. So is Russia’s, as will every nation of the earth. But when that day comes, the things which will be true are the great facts we are studying today. What I am saying is that if we want to endure; if we want to lift our eyes above the plodding, puny circumstances of our present experience to the greatness of what our God is doing, we must focus our attention on these great thoughts. What He has planned before the foundation of the world, begun even before there was an earth, was designed to reveal the greatness of His grace, his compassion, his tenderhearted love, his ability to forgive, his power to restore, is available through the one Person who in all the scope of history is able to accomplish what no other man could do, Jesus Christ Himself, and resulting at last in the healing of all division and the breaking down of every barrier. That is what Ephesians is all about. It is a story of how God is breaking down our divisions.

Oh, Glory to God, I am out of breath! I have warned many of you that I have only two speeds: dead stop and full bore. When I get to full bore, ooh baby, watch out!

Let me ask you, are you a part of this scheme? Are you part of this family? You are the only one who can make this declaration. You must join the family of God through Jesus Christ our Lord? If your haven’t, you can do it right now. You can say, ”

“I come to You in the Name of Jesus., so here I am in all of my weakness and need. I ask You to forgive me of all my sins. The Bible says if I confess with my mouth that “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in my heart that God raised Him from the dead, I will be saved. I believe with my heart and I confess with my mouth that Jesus is the Lord and Savior of my life! Thank You for saving me! In Jesus’ Name I pray. Amen!

On this day ________ (enter the date) I confess that Jesus, you are my Lord!

Now, give your thanks to your new Father.

Doulos Studies

(I send out messages like this each morning in emails, and if you are interested in receiving them, send me your email address and I will add you to the list: Mail List)

I do thank you for your gifts. It is your faithful and continued support that makes these messages possible.

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