Good evening everyone,
God bless you. It’s good to have another opportunity to open the scripture with you, and we are very thankful for the breakthroughs that people are experiencing. We are continuing to hear wonderful news over the past week. We thank God for all the ones who are breaking free from systems of abuse and deception, and I am so glad again for all the different ones who have reached out over the past week. We are glad for the ones finding their way to freedom in Jesus Christ. There are so many who reach out and share with us; it is always a blessing to hear from you. I was exchanging messages with one of the brothers in South Africa earlier today, and he was expressing the situation there, and we are praying for you, brother. There are quite a few now in South Africa who have left the message to walk with Jesus. We are thankful for all of you.
Also exchanged messages with some of the saints out in Arizona again this week, and also in Canada and Africa. We are praying for you all, as we know you are also praying for us.
And for the ones who are still inside, we are praying for you, especially all of our friends in Faith Assembly and the churches where we fellowshipped for so many years. And I am thankful for the conversations I was able to have with some of the ones still on the inside. I encourage you to not give up. The devil may be raging, seeking to destroy, but you just stand for what is right. Don’t compromise yourself with the corruption, and it may be that God will move you to be able to make a change in the situation. So we are praying for that.
And the situation in Israel is still very tense. I received some additional messages from the saints in Israel over the past week, and they still desire your prayers. It’s hard sometimes to know just how things may go, and we want to pray for peace in Israel.
And we know that the United States already has one battle group just off the coast of Israel, and a second battle group is on the way now. It sounds like perhaps the United States is deploying special forces into Israel to try and help rescue the American hostages that Hamas has taken. So let us also pray for our own soldiers and countrymen, that God will bring them all home safely again. Maybe later this week, Lord willing, I might take a short service and spend some time talking about Israel. I have had lots of people sending questions about that. So just pray for me, and if the Lord gives me an opportunity, I will do that.
And today, we are on our second lesson in our series on the book of Ephesians. You can open your Bibles to Ephesians chapter 1, and the passage we will be looking at today is verses 3 to 14. Let me read.
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, 4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, 8 which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight 9 making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ 10 as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.
11 In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, 12 so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. 13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.Ephesians 1:3-14
Let us pray.
Lord God, thank you for the Bible. Thank you for the wonderful words of life we find written in it. We thank you for the promises we have in Jesus. Lord God, as we approach this passage of scripture, we pray that you enlighten us by the Holy Spirit. Help us to see and understand. In Jesus’ name, we ask it. Amen.
Well, brothers and sisters, as we read these opening verses of chapter 1 here in the book of Ephesians, we see that the apostle Paul dives straight into the deep end of things. He opens his letter talking about some deep subjects, and he does so without giving very much background information on these things.
As I stated in the last message, Paul had spent years of his life in Ephesus. The Ephesians had heard Paul preach hundreds of sermons to them, in person. They were not in need of a deep explanation of these topics Paul mentions in his opening statements. Because Paul is really just reminding them of things he taught them in detail when he had been with them. Paul has already taught them these foundational things in person, and he is just briefly mentioning these things at a high level as he begins his letter, bringing these topics to their remembrance.
In that way, as he opens this letter, Paul is weaving together some of the greatest and most important doctrines of the Christian faith to capture the attention of his readers. Paul is inspiring awe, wonder, and amazement as he writes these verses.
And as you start verse 3, Paul writes this one really, really long sentence. Verse three, all the way to verse 10, is just one long sentence. In our modern translations, they have added some punctuation to break it up, but none of that is in the original. It’s just one really long statement as Paul packs all this amazing information into his opening.
What is the main point here? What is Paul chiefly driving at as he writes these opening verses? I believe chiefly, Paul wants his readers to see the wonder and the majesty and awesomeness of God. Paul is telling us that God loves us, that he desires a relationship with us.
And that God has, quite literally, moved heaven and earth to redeem us. He has moved heaven and earth to draw us to himself. God has personally sacrificed in order to redeem us.
God sent his own son to die for us. In the book of Acts, Paul said that God shed his own blood so that we might be saved. He sent his dearly beloved son to die on the cross. And God poured out the wrath and judgment which you and I deserved; he poured it out on Jesus Christ.
The death that we deserved, the judgment we deserved, the penalty we deserved, Jesus was punished in our place. Jesus was judged in our place. Jesus died in our place.
And that satisfies the wrath of God. God is a just God, and he must punish sin, he must punish wickedness. If you are guilty of sin, it must be punished, and every sin that has ever been committed will absolutely be punished by God. There is not a single sin; there is not a single act of wickedness which will go unpunished by God.
And that is a dreadful thing. If you are a sinner today, if you have done things in your life that are wrong, be assured, be totally assured, God will punish that sin. And that presents a great quandary, a great wrinkle. How can you and I be forgiven of our sins? How can we avoid being punished when we are guilty?
How can a God who is a God of justice not carry out justice on us and give us the punishment that we deserve? How can it be? The answer to that lies right here in these opening verses of Ephesians. The answer is Jesus. There had to be a punishment; there had to be a penalty. If there was no penalty, then God would not be a just God.
But God, in his mercy and his love, he sent his son to be punished in our place. And that is what lays at the very heart of our faith in Christ. We believe that he was punished in our place. We recognize that it should have been us who was punished, and we acknowledge that Jesus Christ, as an act of pure mercy, as an act of pure love, he took the punishment which we deserved. And now, you and I, we will not be punished because Jesus took our punishment for us.
Jesus Christ has already borne the penalty for every sin that you may ever commit in your life, and in him, you are saved.
Let’s read this passage again, and let me point these things out to you.
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ.Ephesians 1
Notice that it is “in Christ.” It is in Christ that we have been blessed, or you might say, through Christ. Christ’s sacrifice is the means by which all of these blessings have been procured for us. Which blessings? I like this next part.
With every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.
With every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places. Every spiritual blessing. God is not holding back; there are no limitations on this. Every spiritual blessing that exists in the heavenly places is available and given to us through Jesus Christ.
And when we think of spiritual blessings, Paul in the later chapters will explain what those are in more detail. But chiefly, what are the spiritual blessings? It’s chiefly the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, patience, self-control, faith, gentleness, humility. It’s all those spiritual graces, those spiritual blessings. It is chiefly those that we have been blessed with, the same thing as the fruit of the Spirit.
It contains every blessing that God can bestow upon us as spiritual creatures. I want to point out that spiritual blessings are not carnal things. God does tell us that He will meet our needs in this life, but what Paul is speaking of here in verse 3 is something far greater than food, drink, raiment, and earthly possessions. Paul is speaking about the treasure that you can lay up in heaven, which will never rust and decay, something eternal. It’s the spiritual blessings in the heavenly places.
Jesus spoke about it in the Sermon on the Mount; he explained what those things are, and so did Paul. If you went to 1 Corinthians chapter 13, Paul wrote there about the treasures that last forever, that never fail. And it is love, first and foremost, the spiritual blessings in the heavenly places, the treasure in heaven that moths and rust cannot corrupt, the treasures that never pass away.
Tongues, prophecy, and knowledge – all those things will cease; they are for a time. But there is a heavenly spiritual treasure and blessing that never ceases, that never fails, that will be ours for eternity. And it is chiefly love, the love of God, and love, and all the fruit of the Spirit, is an eternal spiritual treasure and blessing.
Verse 3: Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places. 4 Even as He chose us in Him.Ephesians 1
Notice there in verse 3, we are chosen IN HIM. As we read through this passage, you are going to see that phrase over and over: “In Him.” That is the refrain of these verses: “In Him.” In verse three, we have been blessed in Christ, and in verse 4, we have been chosen in Him too.
And when were we chosen in Him? Before the foundation of the world. Before time began, before there was even an Earth hanging here in space, we were chosen in Him. It’s hard to imagine, but in the mind of God, however many million years ago you want to go back in time, God had chosen you in Christ. God saw you, the person you are, the nature of your being, and He chose you in Jesus. He didn’t simply choose you, but He chose you in Christ. He already saw that you would need a Savior, in eternity past, and before the foundation of the world, the whole plan lay there for your redemption. His plan for you was always a plan of redemption, through Jesus Christ. Why did He choose us IN CHRIST before the foundation of the world?
That we should be holy and blameless before Him.
That is what being in Christ does for you and me. It makes us holy and blameless before God. If we were not in Christ, we would be unholy and guilty, and we would be headed for judgment. But in Christ, we are holy and blameless.
And we realize this is positional. We are positionally holy, positionally blameless. It doesn’t mean that the full reality of those things are entirely in fruition in our lives today. We know, because Paul has explained in his other letters, that this work of redemption is a work in progress. In this life, we still make mistakes, we still lack total perfection, and we are a work in progress, or you might say, a redemption in progress. This thing is not finished yet, not in creation, not in our own lives as individuals. The plan of redemption is a work in progress. We still have some things that God needs to fix in our lives. But positionally, in the eyes of God, we are already holy and blameless, because we are in Christ. God sees what the finished work will be when He sees us, even though He is still working to transform us into that finished work. And in the meantime, our penalty, our judgment, our death sentence – it has already been executed once and for all time. The punishment for our sins has already fallen on Jesus Christ, and God does not double-punish sin; He punishes it once. Our sin has been punished already, in Jesus Christ, and now, positionally, we are holy and blameless before God. Let me read on.
And I have looked at several different translations to try and understand this next part because verse 4 ends with the words, “In Love,” and there is a question here of whether “In Love” goes with verse 4, or if it goes with verse 5. In our Bibles, we have punctuation here, but in the original that Paul wrote, there is no punctuation here. This is just one really long sentence. The King James puts “In Love” with verse 4, but almost every other translation puts it as the start of verse 5. In looking at this, I am not sure it really matters either way; this is telling us that God did all these things because He loves us. It was in love that He chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world, and with verse 5, it is in love that He predestined us to adoption to Himself. For God so loved the world that He sent His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him might have eternal life. Paul is pointing out to us that love is the motive behind all of God’s actions towards us. Love is the characteristic of God’s divine nature that caused Him to enact this whole plan of redemption, so that we could be reconciled and saved from judgment. And as we read on here…
5. In love, he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will.Ephesians 1
He predestined us. Lord willing, we will look at predestination in our next message, but let’s touch on it in a basic way here. Predestined means He predetermined it. God foreordained it according to the purpose of His will. He foreordained that we would be adopted as sons.
And notice again, what phrase do we see there in verse 5? Through Jesus Christ. It’s all in Him. It’s in and through Jesus Christ. That is Paul’s refrain continually in these verses. He keeps drawing our attention that each of these wonderful blessings, promises, and works are all because of Jesus Christ.
This is a worship of our Savior, as much as anything else. When Jesus came into the world, the angels worshipped Him. Throughout His ministry, you see people fall down before Jesus and worship Him. They praise Jesus for who He is and what He did. Paul is doing that here by acknowledging the wondrous things that we have in Christ.
And through Jesus, we are adopted as sons of God.
That is a really important concept, adoption. It’s not something I had ever heard much about in the places we come from. I think I heard it preached just once.
But as you take time to study it out, you actually find this concept of spiritual adoption is right across the New Testament.
And it ties back to original sin. In the Garden of Eden, Adam sinned. He did the thing that God forbid him from doing, and he rebelled against God, along with Eve, his wife. Right there, all of mankind fell in Adam, and every child born from Adam’s family was born in sin.
When you consider the way Paul explains it in the book of Galatians, there is a way in which we are our parents. Part of me is my parents. We know that, even though modern science, our very DNA, is a creation of our parents. Just like I am a product of my parents, my children are a product of me. What produced my children was bodily part of me; it is me. My body is me, and when children are conceived, the seeds that produce children are part of the parents.
In that way, all of mankind was in Adam. The seeds of all humanity lay in the man from whom we are all descended. And that whole family is cursed. Adam was cursed with death, and the curse of death passed to all his offspring. The seed that would become his offspring was within him when he was cursed.
So, when Adam fell, he fell with all his offspring, who were yet within him. Adam’s entire family became doomed. If you are part of Adam’s family, you are doomed, lost without hope. And not just because of what you inherited from Adam, but also because you sinned yourself. It’s not just that we are descended from a sinner, but we are ourselves sinners.
We have hearts that, at times, have become jealous, proud, greedy, lustful, hateful, or all such things. Every person has committed sins like that in their hearts at some point or another. For some people, it’s even worse; those sins in the heart come out and manifest on the outside. Jealousy turns into action. Pride turns into action. Greed turns into action. Lust turns into action. Hate turns into action. You know, for people like that, their sin is even more obvious than people who are able to keep their sin hidden in their hearts. But it’s a sin whether it turns into action or not.
Man looks on the outward, but God judges according to the heart. As a man thinketh, so he is. And at some level, everyone who is descended from Adam has sinned on a personal level. You take the Apostle Paul, the man who wrote this letter to the Ephesians. He is a man who, at some point in his life, struggled with covetousness. He described his struggle in the book of Romans, and he wasn’t out murdering people because he was covetous, he wasn’t out robbing people because he was covetous. In his heart, he struggled with covetousness at times, and that was enough to condemn him, and he knew it.
God’s standard is perfection. That’s hard maybe for us to understand, but God does not grade on a curve. God requires perfection, no mistake, not once, never ever. That is God’s standard, perfection. Not a single fallen man or woman can measure up to that. When we understand that God requires perfection, we can begin to understand that no matter how good we are, we have not been perfect, cradle to grave.
Because we are all fallen and sinful and part of a family descended from Adam that was fallen and sinful, God arranged for us to be adopted into a new family. We can change our family name. We are born children of Adam, and by our first birth, we are children of wrath, children of disobedience, children of the devil. We are children of the devil when we sin. Every sinner is a spiritual child of the devil because the devil is the father of the sinful lifestyle, the father of rebellion against God. But God has made a way for you and me to be adopted. We can change our parentage.
And Jesus Christ is the means by which God can adopt us. If you are someone’s child, you get to inherit from your parents. When we are children of the devil, we had an inheritance from that father. We have a bad inheritance – we inherited sin, death, curses, and judgment. Our inheritance as children of Adam and children of the devil is pretty bad. I’ll be honest – I don’t really want to inherit anything from Adam; I don’t want to inherit anything from the devil.
When we change our parents, when we are adopted through Jesus Christ, then we have a new Father, a heavenly Father, and that brings us a new inheritance. It brings us blessings and promises we could not otherwise have.
As we come to verse 6, Paul tells us why. He tells us why God adopted us as His children. We know the motive was love; that is verse 5. And verse 6 tells us what for.
To the Glory of God:
6. To the praise of His glorious grace, with which He has blessed us in the Beloved.Ephesians 1
He did this to the praise of His glorious grace. God desires worship; He desires adoration. He desires us to have thankful hearts toward Him, hearts of praise and worship. He wants us to recognize His glorious grace and realize how wonderful He is. He wants us to know we are beloved, and He wants us to look on Him as beloved.
A lot of times, people may ask, “What is the meaning of life? What is the meaning of everything? What is the purpose of it all? What does God want from me?” And often, that comes from a place of great perplexity, a place of great wonderment. But here is the truth: in the grand view of eternity, what is God after? Why did He make you? Why did He save you? Why does He bless you? It’s because He loves you, and because He wants you to love Him. It’s really that simple. God wants a loving relationship with us. It’s not something of infinitely complicated reasoning; it really is just that simple. God wants a relationship with us.
In the here and now, there are times when God calls on us for different things. But when it’s all over, when this life is accomplished, when redemption is over, and when we are no longer a redemption in progress but when we are shining forth like the stars of heaven, arrayed in glory, then in that day, it’s going to be love. That is what will remain—love. He loves us, and we love Him. And guess what? We will all love each other too.
We will have all eternity to get to know each other. You may not know me very well today, but you know, we are going to have eternity to get to know each other. And guess what? You are going to love me (laughs). And I am going to love you. That is what we can expect in eternity.
6 to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.Ephesians 1
Amen. Let me go on to verse 7.
The Plan of Redemption:
7. In Him, we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses.Ephesians 1
There’s that phrase again: “In Him.” It’s actually the title of the message today: “In Him.” It’s all in Him—in Jesus Christ. And in Him, we have redemption. Redemption is a huge topic; it’s a wonderful, beautiful topic. God is redeeming everything through Jesus Christ. He is today redeeming the souls of lost mankind, the first phase of the plan of redemption—the redemption of our souls. This is for whosoever will. At His second coming, He will redeem our mortal bodies, the second phase of redemption. And in the age to come, He will redeem the earth itself and all of creation, the third phase of redemption. All of creation will be redeemed.
Redemption is a work in progress, and we are really just in the first part of it today.
God is in the redeeming business. Redeeming something means taking something that is busted and broken and fixing it, repairing it, redeeming it. God is not throwing away our souls and starting over; He is redeeming our souls. He is not going to throw our bodies away and give us new ones; He is going to redeem the bodies we have today, even if He has to resurrect them from the ground to do it. And this old world, creation itself, He is not going to utterly destroy and start over; He is going to redeem what is here. It will be a new heaven and a new earth, and we will have new bodies and new lives.
But not new in the sense that God is going to start again from scratch because that would be letting the devil win. God is going to take what the devil has corrupted, purify it, restore it, and redeem it. What the devil polluted, God is going to remove the pollution.
That is redemption.
Rich in Grace:
7. In Him, we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace.Ephesians 1
Verse 7 connects us back to Isaiah chapter 53. To understand verse 7, Isaiah chapter 53 provides the full explanation. Jesus died in our place to redeem us from sin, and He did it because of His grace.
I like how it says, “the riches of His grace.” It’s not just a little grace; it’s not a meager amount. He is rich in grace, having lots and lots of grace. There’s no shortage of grace, and look at what He does with it in verse 8.
He lavished the grace on us. That’s the language of luxury. He didn’t just give us a little dab of grace; He lavished us with grace. He bestowed it upon us liberally.
And in verse 9, it mentions, “in all wisdom and insight,” which means He made known to us the mystery of His will. He showed us something; He made us understand something. He brought something to our attention. This thing He brought to our attention had been a mystery in times past—the mystery of God, the mystery of His will. But it’s not a mystery anymore.
Verse 10 tells us what this mystery is.
10 … a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.
That is the mystery of God. That God had a plan. That in the fullness of time, he would unite all things in him, in heaven and earth.
He will unite all things with him. What is the refrain we keep reading? In Him. In him. It’s all in him.
And what do we read here in verse 10? Redemption itself is working through this union with Christ. And this is the unity of the faith. The unity, as being one with Christ, through which the plan of redemption operates. And this is the mystery that had been hidden in ages past.
That God is going to unite all things in Christ. Not right now, not immediately. But in the fullness of time. This thing is not completed yet. The mystery of God is not finished yet. Not everything is yet united in Christ. But in the fullness of time, that will happen.
It’s bought, it’s paid for, it’s predestined, it’s foreordained.
Jesus died on the cross. And we’re in him, on the cross. He paid the penalty in his body, on the cross. And we have to be in Christ, we have to be bone of his bone, flesh of his flesh. We have to be united with him. Because in being united with him, our sin was also paid on the cross.
If you are not united with Christ, your sin was not paid for. But if you are united with Christ, you were united with him on the cross. Your sin was paid for.
In that way, our sins were on the cross in the person of Jesus Christ. You think about that. How did Jesus take your sins upon himself? He took our sins upon himself because he united himself with us.
And, as we read in Romans, we are dead with Christ. Because we are united with him, in his death.
And, what am I talking about? I am talking about unity. Not fake unity. Not the false unity ideas of the places we come from. But I am talking about true unity. Scriptural unity.
Not a kind of unity that is make-believed by fake preachers who just use so-called unity as a tool to control people. But true unity.
Unity with Christ. The true unity of the faith. Where we are united in him. Like Jesus said, “I in them, and thou in me, that we may all be made perfect in one.”
It’s the true unity that saves you. It’s that true unity that allowed us to die on the cross with Christ. And it’s that unity that allows us to be risen with Christ. And it’s that unity that will allow us to be glorified with Christ too.
And that is the true kind of unity that the true Christian church has believed in for 2000 years. Not the false kind of unity that was invented by the leaders of the latter rain movement in the 1950s. But the true unity that was taught by the early church, which we can read about in the bible, which Paul is speaking of in these verses.
And that unity is in him. It’s in Christ. It’s true unity. We will talk more on Unity as we go through the book of Ephesians.
But I want you to recognize here, Paul is talking about true unity right here in his opening verses. And unity is one of the main themes of the book of Ephesians. You can’t go into chapter 3 or 4 or 5 and cherry-pick a verse here or there and invent your own idea of what unity is. You have to start right here in chapter 1, and see how Paul builds this whole picture of unity across the entire book.
And it’s In Jesus. Read verse 11.
11 In him.
There we go again. In him. United with him. He is us, and us in him.
11 In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, 12 so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory.
Paul is writing this to early Christians. And notice how he says that, we who were the first to hope. Paul is saying they are among the first to come to faith in Christ.
And compare that back to 10. In verse 10, he is talking about the fullness of time, when all things are united in Christ. In Verse 10, Paul is looking forward to the completion of redemption. And in verse 11, Paul is acknowledging this thing is in progress. And that he and the Ephesians, they are just among the first to believe. And they are not going to be the last. There is more to come. And that is true today. There will be more. And until the mystery of God is finished, there will be yet more.
If you are in a church where the preachers tell you there is not enough time for people to come in, and be saved, and get up to speed to be part of the bride of Christ, I want you to run away from them. Those are people who have abandoned the gospel. They have become so obsessed with doomsday ideas, they can’t see anyone else making it. And they aren’t even going to waste their time sharing the hope of the gospel with others.
Those people are unfaithful servants. They do not serve meat in due season. And they have forsaken stewardship of the gospel and the grace of God. It’s not going to be a happy ending for them.
But for those who are in Christ Jesus, for those who have true unity, for those who have placed their hope of salvation in the one who can truly save them, we are going to be just fine.
13 In him.
There it is again. In Him. United with Christ.
13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.
Amen, praise the Lord.
In him, we are sealing with the Holy Spirit. And that Holy Spirit is a guarantee. It assures of our inheritance.
And what I want you to notice there at first is that it’s not a 25 step plan to get this guarantee. It’s a one-step plan to get this guarantee. It is believing in him. That’s it. Believing in him as Savior, and you are guaranteed an inheritance, just like you are guaranteed to be delivered from the wrath to come.
And we don’t have possession of our inheritance today. We have a sample of it, but we don’t have the fullness of our inheritance. It’s something so great and so grand that we can scarcely even comprehend it. There are ways in which we can start to wrap our thoughts and our minds around what God has for us on the other side of redemption. There are aspects which we can grasp, but then there are aspects which, in these lowly conditions, we simply cannot fathom. But the Holy Spirit guarantees it to us.
And notice how he ends verse 14. Once more, it is to the praise of his glory. This is all to the praise and glory of God, to cause us to worship and praise him, not just in the here and now, but even then, in the hereafter when we do have possession of that inheritance. All this is to engender us to love and praise and worship our God.
Call to Worship
And as we bring this lesson to a close today, let me end with that point. This opening section, I believe it is ultimately aimed at causing Paul’s readers to rejoice and to worship and to praise God. It’s to draw their attention to all these wonderful things God has done for them.
And to draw their attention to the fact that it’s all in Christ. As Paul draws their attention to these wonderful things in an effort to call them to the worship of God, Paul is also setting up his explanation of unity, which is going to come as we progress through the next chapters. As he briefly spoke of predestination, adoption, and redemption, each of those are really big topics, and Paul has said just enough to capture the ears of the Ephesians, to bring to remembrance things he taught them about this before, ultimately for the purpose of calling them to praise and worship God. Amen.
And that is what this passage should do for you and me when we read these things. It should cause us to bow down in wonder and amazement before almighty God. It should cause us to praise and worship him for his love, for his goodness, for what he has done, for what he is doing, and for what he will do.
In his infinite love, he planned for our redemption before we even existed. He provisioned everything needed, and he set to work to accomplish it. And when the redemption is accomplished, we will spend eternity in love of God. That should move our hearts and souls to worship him.
And if you read these things, don’t ever get so lost in the weeds that you miss Paul’s chief purpose here, which is the call for us to praise God. Amen.
So as we end this lesson, you are welcome to join us next week. We will be looking at these exact same verses of scripture, but I want to spend a little more time speaking to what Paul says here concerning predestination.
God bless you all, and let me close in prayer.’
We worship your greatness. When we think about how, in eternity past, you planned to save us by Jesus Christ, it humbles us, and it fills our heart to know your love towards us. When we think about the sacrifice of Jesus Christ to procure it for us, Lord, we are humbled, and we thank you. And when we think of what we have waiting as our inheritance in eternity, we are filled with joy and thankfulness.
Help us today to walk worthy, to be reflections of Jesus Christ, as we long for the day when all creation stands before you redeemed and perfect.
In Jesus Christ’s name, we ask it. Amen.