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Ephesians 1:1-14

Ephesians   •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Lesson two of the Ephesians series

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Ephesians 1:1-14

As Doug, dug into to Ephesians he found there are 137 preaching themes, Christ is mentioned 46 times, God 32, Lord 28, Spirit 15 and Grace 12 times. Now I don’t know how Paul got all this into 6 chapters, a relativity small book of the Bible. There is so much in Ephesians to sink your teeth into we could eat for years.
Illus: Ever got a ribeye from a waffle house and when it arrived it was pretty thin and pathetic looking. Then you went to bite into it but your teeth hit each other because the steak was about a 1/4 inch thick. Yeah don’t go to a breakfast dinner for steak. Then you go to Outback and get a 1 and half inch ribeye. Man you can bite it for days and your teeth never touch. Well when I dig into the Word I don’t want to get a steak from a breakfast dinner. I want to sink my teeth into steak and never let go. So that is how I do my study. Get ready for some meat. unlike the old Wendy’s commercial you will never have to ask “where’s the beef” I’m more like the new Arby’s commercial “we got the meat”
Just a little on my study process for the new people here.
I first go through my workflow
Then I go through my Inductive Guide
If you would like more information then go to my YouTube Channel “Capt Logos” under sermons and you will see a three part teaching on how to study the Bible.
Capt Logos
Back to Ephesians. The first three chapters focus on what Christians should believe, unfolding the glorious riches of God’s grace in Christ. Dead sinners are made alive and gain eternal salvation “by grace … through faith” (2:8). The last three chapters explain the implications of God’s grace for the church, for individuals, and for families. The first three chapter only have one imperative verb sand it is remember. The last three chapters have 40 because the believer have lots of action to perform that is required of being In Christ.
So, lets talk about what we should believe...

Ephesians 1:1-14

Ephesians 1:1–14 NKJV
1 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. 3 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 made us accepted in the Beloved. 7 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. 13 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.
If you are wondering if all these phrases connect to each other put your mind at rest. They are. In fact, in the Greek verses 3-14 are one long run-on sentence. You though you could make a sentence run on. I dont think any of us holds a candle to Paul. If Paul was dictating this, I feel sorry for the transcriber. Don’t worry we will break it down by phrases.
The first thing that should pop out at you is the number of times ‘In Christ’ is repeated or some variant that means ‘In Christ’.

In Christ

Twelve times Paul repeats the phrase “In Christ” Very seldom is there this much repetition, so we need to take note here and see what is being conveyed. This theme is continued throughout the rest of Ephesians. If I were to sub title Ephesians it would be ‘Ephesians - In Christ’.
The interesting thing is some outlines have this pericope (section of scripture) we are studying labeled ‘Redemption in Christ’ but that is just one aspect of this pericope . Yes, it is a big one but there is more emphasis on ‘In Christ’ than anything else in the section. Several others label it “praise for spiritual blessings”. A few got close to what I think is right and with “spiritual blessings in Christ”. I think “in Christ” says it all.
Let’s take a quick look at what the ‘In Christs’ are, then we will hit each one as we go through the verse by verse.
v1 - Faithful in Christ Jesus
v3 - Blessed with every spiritual blessing in Christ
v4 - He Chose us in Him
v6 - Accepted in the Beloved
v7 - Redemption in Him
v9 - Know his will in Himself
v10 - Gather all things in Christ/ in Him
v11 - Gained an inheritance in Him
v12 - Praise of His glory in Christ
V13 - Salvation in Him
v13 - Sealed in Whom
Pretty sure the main thing Paul want you to believe is every aspect of the Christian life is “In Christ”.
Ephesians 1:1 NKJV
1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, To the saints who are in Ephesus, and faithful in Christ Jesus:
The first ‘In Christ’ are the saints and faithful at Ephesus this letter is addressed to.
Notice Paul says an apostle “by the will of God” traditionally only those who were called directly by Jesus where apostles. Paul however, got his call directly from Jesus, but it came from the resurrected Jesus through a vision on the road to Damascus. So, Paul didn't have the three years of training with Jesus the other apostles had. Paul was trained by the Holy Spirit.
Paul took pride in this. Look at Gal 1:1
Galatians 1:1 NKJV
1 Paul, an apostle (not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father who raised Him from the dead),
Paul started out Colossians, 2 Corinthians, 1/2 Timothy and Titus the same way as Ephesians.
Paul addresses this letter to the saint that are faithful. The Greek word for saint is also used use for Holy, guess what else it means...nothing... yup only saint or holy so they can be used interchangeable you could say “to the holy who are in Ephesus.” it appears translators use ‘saint’ when talking about a person and ‘holy’ when using as an adjective not pertaining to a person.
We need to understand that being a Christian is synonymous with being holy. To many people who call themselves Christians are not holy. It is one thing to have a moment and fail at being holy while trying, but a whole other thing to just not try.
God is pretty clear on being holy.
1 Peter 1:16 NKJV
16 because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.”
Leviticus 11:44 NKJV
44 For I am the Lord your God. You shall therefore consecrate yourselves, and you shall be holy; for I am holy. Neither shall you defile yourselves with any creeping thing that creeps on the earth.
By addressing the saints and qualifying it with faithful one has to conclude there must have been unfaithful people who thought they were saints or there would be no reason to add the faithful qualifier.
Paul is about the lay out several doctrines and theologies in Ephesians to include all the “in Christs” but Paul is clear that he is only talking about the saints who are faithful. Notice he didn't say “Church at Ephesus” or to the “Church members at Ephesus” . You can’t be ‘in Christ’ and be halfhearted with God. Halfway with Jesus or halfway with the Holy Spirit. You have to be all in.
So, what does holy mean: “dedicated or consecrated to serve God”
Church membership doesn't equate to salvation or being holy.
Ephesians 1:2 NKJV
2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
“Grace” means God’s undeserved favor. It is through God’s kindness alone that anyone can become acceptable to God. As Paul will write later in this letter, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God” (Eph 2:8).
“Peace” refers to the peace that Christ established between believers and God through his death on the cross. True peace is available only in Christ. Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (John 14:27 niv). This peace is peace with God now that you are not sinners. This peace is not peace with the world because this peace with God will put you at enmity with the world.
James 4:4 NKJV
4 Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.
And right now, you don’t even need to be friends with the world just life a holy and blameless life and the you will feel the enmity the world has for Christ taken out on you.
Paul used “grace and peace” as a standard greeting in all of his letters (see, for example, Romans 1:7; 1 Corinthians 1:3; 2 Corinthians 1:2; Galatians 1:3). He wanted his readers to experience God’s grace and peace in their daily living.
Also, in these two words, Paul combined expressions from Jewish and Gentile customs. Jews wished one another “peace” (eirene or the Hebrew shalom); Gentiles wished each other “grace” (charis). Already Paul was underscoring the unity of all believers—Jews and Gentiles alike—by using greetings common to both groups.
~Bruce B. Barton and Philip Wesley Comfort, Ephesians, Life Application Bible Commentary (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 1996), 7.
Ephesians 1:3 NKJV
3 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,
‘In Christ’ # 2 comes with every spiritual blessing.
Why are there so many defeated Christians when we have every spiritual blessing. Why don’t we used the spiritual gifts God gave us? Please don’t underestimate the power we have ‘in Christ.’ Why is it so hard to believe in the ‘Unseen Realm’ aka ‘in heavenly places in Christ’ this place where we pray in the spirit and miracles happen. God made the natural order and God can suspend or superseded the natural order and will for the saints who are faithful.
Gun safe Illst, If I don’t believe guns are in the safe I won’t use them.
Here is some home work for you this week. Do a study on blessings. There is a lot more cultural meaning in this verse that we don’t have time to go into, but I will tease you with this: Jacob and Esau, the fathers blessing was final and could not be revoked. Jacob stole Esau’s blessing and when it was brought to light Esau begged for a blessing to but Isaac said he gave it all to Jacob thinking he was Esau. Earthly fathers have a limit on their blessings but our heavenly father does not.
You will have to stick with a study of blessing because with over 6000 reference books in my library there is only two entries covering “Spiritual Blessing”
This has never happened to me before. Normally I have thousands of entries I have to sort through for any subject or topic.

SPIRITUAL BLESSING (εὐλογία πνευματική, eulogía pneumatikḗ): Any blessing administered in the realm of the spiritual life; specifically the blessing of the Spirit in introducing the believer into “the heavenly places in Christ” (Eph 1:3); a term expressing the fulness of blessing in God’s gift of eternal life in Jesus Christ.

And one from my ‘Spirit Filled Life Bible’ about having access to the spiritual gifts as part of ‘all spiritual blessings’ as 1 Cor 12:1 uses the same Greek work for spiritual gifts.
I think the ISBE folks hit the nail on the head as this pericope is focuses on ‘in Christ’. We are blessed, chosen, accepted, redeemed, have salvation and are sealed as His. So, half the ‘in Christs’ pertain to being part of the family of God aka adopted as Eph 1:5 declares. This gives us access to everything the father has not just eternal life but the gifts of the spirit too.
The Greek word for blessed here in Eph 1:3 eulogētós is used only 8 times in the New Testament all only pertaining to God the Father. Mk 14:61, Lk 1:68, Ro 1:25, Ro 9:5, 2 c o 1:3, 2 Co 11:31, Eph 1:3, and 1 Pe 1:3.
The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament 2128. εὐλογητός eulogētós

εὐλογητός eulogētós

Only God is the blessed one. We can be blessed but we are not the blessed one. Blessed here means worthy to be praised.
Paul uses the phrase ‘blessed be the God and Father’ several times to open his letters. This phrase echoes his Jewish past as exuberant praise to God was prevalent in the synagogue and Jewish Talmud. Now he ads ‘of our Lord Jesus Christ’ of course.
Verse 3 is topic sentence of the pericope (Spiritual Blessings in Christ from God the blessed. Verses 4-14 describe the basis of the spiritual blessings.
And of course, all the Spiritual Blessings of the father come as we are ‘in Christ’
Ephesians 1:4 NKJV
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,
‘In Christ’ #3 - we are chosen in Him.
The first requirement for spiritual blessings is being chosen and accepting that by striving for holiness, being blameless and loving God. We are chosen ‘in Him.’ Nothing happens until God does his part first, then we have a part to do. We can’t be holy and blameless and get chosen or salvation. We get chosen and given salvation then we become holy and blameless.
You see the first way is man’s righteousness which is as fifthly rags Isa 64:6 but the second way is all God’s doing and if all I do is be obedient, then what claim do we have to being blameless and holy other than ‘in Christ’. Which is why obedience is better than sacrifice 1 Sam 15:22.
God created Adam and Even to walk and talk with Him. They sinned and were kicked out of the garden. Now as the church, the bride of Christ, we are adopted as children and restored to relationship where we can walk and talk with the creator. In Christ on earth through the spirit but in heaven face to face as it was originally in the garden and God’s plan all along.
Ephesians 1:5 NKJV
5 having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will,
v5 in the nkjv says adopted as sons, other translations say either leave son off or translate children. The Greek manuscript used the word for male child, so we should use the same term in the translation. Then foot note it as we know the word son is used to mean children. This is where we get into ‘sense’ what does the Greek word mean in context. Context, context, context. What is the big deal? CS Lewis says: the farther we get away from the original, the harder it is to know the original and what is truly being conveyed.
MSG Bible illustration
illst - I had a Pastor’s wife at a previous church using a word study as the basis for her sermon. She wrapped the whole sermon around that one word. I didn't have the heart to tell her the word she used was not a Greek or Hebrew word. So she preached an inspirational English lesson, but not the word.
Predestined: Some theologians believe there is not a choice that God has predestined some to Him and other not so much. This is Calvin’s position which leads to the once saved always saved doctrine because if your predestined then nothing you can do, even sin can’t change your predestination to God. But there are a few problems with that thought. One, it does away with free will...so, we have to discard it. It also takes us into double predestination…if some are predestined to heaven them others are predestined to hell which is not in line with God’s character or his word as in Jn 3:16
John 3:16 NKJV
16 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.
If some are destined to hell then Jn 3:16 would have to be discarded, so we must discard the thought on an absolute predetermination.
Put another way this means that God created someone to go to hell…what an awful God that would be. That is out of God’s character so we must discard any though or doctrine that would violate God’s character.
The Greek word used here is translated three ways:
~Predestine as in Rom 8:29, 30 and both Eph verse here in chapter 1.
Romans 8:29 NKJV
29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.
Here is a clue foreknew. Just because you know something is going to happen doesn't mean you made it happen.
~Determined before as in act 4:28
Acts 4:28 NKJV
28 to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose determined before to be done.
and
~Ordained as in 1 co 2:7
1 Corinthians 2:7 NKJV
7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory,
So how should we think about predestination?
Talk about predestination using Ric football analogy.
We see another repeated theme in verse 5 according to
There are several other repeating themes in this pericope. ‘according to...’ is repeated 5 times;
~Good pleasure of his will
~Riches of His glory
~His good pleasure
~His purpose
~Counsel of His will
Take a look at the repeating themes and see this as a run on sentence. I turned it back into one sentence.
~in Christ
~Blessed
~According to
~Grace
~To the praise of His glory
In case you missed it, the Son of God takes good pleasure in adopting us as his children…think about that for a moment. You are precious to Him.
Ephesians 1:5 NKJV
5 having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will,
Ephesians 1:6 NKJV
6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.
‘In Christ’ #4 - accepted in the Beloved
Said another way; Jesus is worthy of praise because by His grace we are accepted in Christ.
The Greek word translated glory here has other meanings: Praise, Honor and worship. Jesus is worthy of glory, honor, praise and worship.
Ephesians 1:7 NKJV
7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace
‘In Christ’ #5 - redemption
Paul in his run-on sentence has enough information and deep theological implications to keep us studying for years and just this one verse of the 14 has tons of theology. Redemption, blood of Christ, forgiveness, sin, riches, grace.
Now I have been told I teach too deep for people but I don’t hold a candle to Paul. Talk about thick meat to dig into.
Several commentators believe the goal or purpose of redemption, adoption and forging our sins is for us to bring him Glory.
How are you doing? - Self-reflection for this week
Ephesians 1:8 NKJV
8 which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence,
Because this is one run-on sentence it is real distracting to have it broken down in verse format as subjects and verbs get separated by verses. The object of ‘abound toward us’ is in verse 7…according the riches of his grace... that in Christ he gave us all wisdom and prudence.
Why? So, we can be gathered together to Him in the fulness of time which is all they way in verse 10.
Once again, we are just hitting the wave tops. Lots of preaching material in wisdom and prudence. It was God’s wisdom and prudence that we should be redeemed and our sins forgiven.
Ephesians 1:9 NKJV
9 having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself,
‘In Christ’ #6 - Jesus purposed in Himself to show us his will.
Because we were adopted, loved, redeemed, accepted, blessed he made know the mystery of His will to us.
Part of the mystery is bringing salvation to the gentiles. And that salvation extended to all people by Grace through Jesus blood.
Grace enables us to understand and know God’s mysteries and his will. Not only that I believe Jesus gives us the power to do Him will.
Do a search on the word grace and read the each verse where grace is and replace grace with “the power to do his will’ Let’s try one.
Ephesians 2:8 NKJV
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,
The reason I do this is to take the focus off of you having no responsibility and showing you that you do have responsibility to do God’s will because He gives you the power through the Holy Spirit to do His will.
What is his will? To praise and love Him and spread the good news of your: adoption, being loved, redemption, acceptance, and blessings to the rest of humanity. You are responsible to share the gospel to all the people God has placed in your circle of influence.
How are you doing? - Another self-reflection for this week.
Ephesians 1:10 NKJV
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.
‘In Christ’ #7/8 - We get a twofer here - gathered all things in Christ and In Him
This is an eschatological (end time) statement about gather both the dead and alive to Christ at the rapture.
No time to dig into end time eschatological theology but let me just say this. Every generation from the 12 Apostles on have though Jesus would come in their time. But never before has all the prophecies that need to be fulfilled been fulfilled. When Israel became a nation (may 14 1948) that was the last prophecy that need to be fulfilled to open the way for the second coming. The remaining prophesies literally could be fulfilled overnight. Never before has the church in the US church been under attack so be ready, heed my warning we are living in the last days.
Ephesians 1:11 NKJV
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,
‘In Christ’ # 9 - in Him we have an Inheritance
Some people think the goal of salvation is heaven aka fire insurance from hell. But look “also” the inheritance is not a main aspect of salvation but a benefit. The goal of salvation is a Christ-like-life here and now and when you have a Christ-like-life then you get heaven too.
Let me also point out here; ‘who works all things according to the counsel of His will’. Just because something bad happens to you doesn't mean it was God’s will, but he will use the bad thing to work toward his will.
Romans 8:28 NKJV
28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
All things work out not that God caused all things
Ephesians 1:12 NKJV
12 that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.
‘In Christ’ #10 -who first trusted in Christ
Looks like Paul is saying the very first believer in Christ should be to the praise of his glory, but this statements is also several other places pertaining to all believers. Paul is counting himself with the apostles who first believe to raise his credibility with the Ephesians believers. If not then I can’t think of another reason to make the statement.
Also, because the next verse
Ephesians 1:13 NKJV
13 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,
‘In Christ’ #11/12 - in Him you trusted, In Whom you believed
Paul believed first, then told others, so they could believe what he was preaching.
Trusting the word of truth of the Gospel brings salvation to the believer and then a promissory guarantee of the inheritance talked about earlier.
Once again, the “once saved always saved” doctrine uses this verse for as evidence of their position, but this Greek word is nothing more than a seal like the seal of a king’s letter in wax. This marking assures the bearer of the inheritance when they go to collect. It does not force the holder to collect. Hence verse 14.
Ephesians 1:14 NKJV
14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.
The sealing is the guarantee of our inheritance in Christ.
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