Ephesians 1_ 1-14      Heavenly Blessings

Rev. David Holwick  ZD

First Baptist Church

Ledgewood, New Jersey

September 8, 1991

Ephesians 1:1-14


HEAVENLY BLESSINGS



  I. What is the ultimate purpose in your life?

      A. Modern philosophers are stumped.

          1) Their burden is to face a life without meaning.

          2) They have not found anything to replace God.


      B. The Bible says God does have a purpose for us.

          1) He has good things for us now and in the future.

          2) But we must claim it by faith.


II. Ephesians 1 and what God has in store for us.

      A. Expression of thanks is normal, but he starts with a doxology.

          1) Our singing of the doxology takes 25 words.

          2) Paul's doxology is 202 - in Greek, from verse 3 to 14.

              a) If we had doxologies like that, you'd walk out.


      B. Content of doxology:  Spiritual blessings in heavenly places.

          1) Jews expected supernatural benefits in heaven.

          2) Paul says Christians get them now.

          3) Each member of the Trinity makes a contribution.


III. God the Father has chosen us.   Predestination.      1:3-5

      A. Difficult to understand.

          1) God chose us before foundation of world.

              a) He predestined us to be His children.

          2) He chose us before we chose Him.


      B. Two unhappy consequences of predestination:

          1) People say wickedness must also be God's doing.

          2) Those who think they are among the chosen begin to

               fell superior, and grow slack in spiritual matters.


      C. Predestination is a mystery.

          1) It is not to tease our minds but to evoke our praise.

              a) Our lives are in the hands of God Almighty.  1:6

              b) No human or inhuman force can seize us from His hands.

                                                     John 10:28-29

          2) Since we cannot do anything to save ourselves, we can only

               praise God for it.


IV. God the Son has redeemed us.                         1:6-9

      A. Jesus, "the one God loves", has redeemed us through his blood.  1:7

          1) Redemption contains idea of ransom from captivity.

              a) Prisoners not released until a large sum paid.

              b) Humans are captives of sin, price is Christ's blood.

          2) Redemption is a harsh concept.

              a) Many prefer to see Jesus as a good teacher.

              b) But no redemption without blood.    Hebrews 9:22


      B. Forgiveness of sins.                1:8

          1) Usually seen as God's taking away of our guilt.

              a) But literally means "removal."

              b) Not just our guilt removed, but our sins as well.

          2) God's motive is grace.

              a) Redemption and forgiveness are unmerited gifts.

              b) Even our faith is a gift from God.         1:8


      C. Mystery made known.                 1:9

          1) In NT, a mystery is something hidden from the world

               but revealed to believers.   (Not secret mumbo-jumbo)

              a) Here the mystery is God's plan for uniting creation. 1:10

              b) All warring factions on earth and in the

                  supernatural realms will come together under

                  Jesus Christ.

                  1> Universalism ? ? ? ?

          2) This begins with the "dispensation of fullness of times."

              a) Dispensation = ministry.  Christ's ministry in view.

              b) Fullness of time = just the right moment.   (Mark 1:15)


  V. God the Holy Spirit has sealed us.                  1:11-14

      A. The idea of inheritance is tied to the concept of predestination.

          1) Literally, "we have been made an inheritance."

          2) Reflects O.T., where Israel is called God's inheritance.

          3) God owns us.

              a) Includes believing Jews.  ("we")      1:12

              b) Also includes believing Gentiles.     1:13


      B. The order of salvation.                           Cf. Rom 10:14

          1) Hear the gospel.

          2) Believe the gospel.

          3) Be sealed with the Holy Spirit.

              a) Billy Graham crusade inquirer:  confused about when she

                    became a Christian.  Birth, baptism, confirmation?


      C. The Spirit as the seal of God's ownership.

          1) Nature of a seal.

              a) Similar to a cattle brand.

              b) Antichrist's mark:  666.

              c) God has invisibly marked us as His own.

          2) Meaning of seal.

              a) Traditionally:  water baptism, or laying on of hands.

              b) More likely:    baptism in the Spirit.

                  1> Pentecostals say this can follow conversion.

                  2> Bible says it happens the moment we believe.

              c) Spirit comes by faith, not by baptism or laying of hands.


      D. The Spirit was promised long ago.

          1) Jews associated coming of Spirit with millennium.   Joel 2

              a) Peter says it happened on Day of Pentecost.       Acts 2

          2) We have a taste of the millennium right now.

              a) KJV:  earnest.   NIV:  down payment.

              b) God can give us flashes of inspiration and joy.

                  1> But we must wait for full inheritance.


VI. God has good things in store for us.

      A. Spiritual treasures are available right now.

          1) God has chosen us.

          2) Jesus has redeemed us.

          3) The Spirit has sealed us.


      B. "Meat" will come later.


      C. Praise God for all He has done, and will do for you.

          1) Indeed, an English writer, G.K. Chesterton, has observed

                that the origin of theology is gratitude.



      D. A poem written by Russian Archpriest Grigory Petrov shortly before

            his death in a Siberian prison camp shows true meaning:


         What is my praise before you?

         I have not heard the cherubim singing,

             that is the lot of souls sublime,

             but I know how nature praises you.

         In winter I have thought about the whole earth praying quietly

             to you in the silence of the moon,

                wrapped around in a mantle of white,

                sparkling with diamonds of snow.


         I have seen how the rising sun rejoiced in you,

             and choirs of birds sang forth glory.

         I have heard how secretly the forest announces [noises] you abroad,

             how the winds sing, the waters gurgle,

             how the choirs of stars preach of you in serried motion

                through unending space.


         Recall that the apostle Paul himself was in prison in Rome when

            he wrote Ephesians.

         There is no more poignant testimony to the difference between

            Marxism and Christianity than that a Christian martyr would

                end his earthly existence in a spirit of praise to God

                    rather than bitterness towards his oppressor.

                                                                  #1518



Copyright 2017 by Rev. David Holwick

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