Ephesians Chapter 1Verses 1,2 are typical of Paul's introduction - Apostle - Sent - sent by the choice or the Will of God. This is the Word of God - not just the words of Paul.
Paul is not writing here simply giving us his own opinion.
We can accept the apostle's words as The Word of God.
We know there was that day when Paul wanted to kill the Gospel dead - and every disciple of Jesus with it - but God had other plans.
Paul becomes an apostle - and it was GOD Who chose him.
He describes himself – and he describes the recipients of this letter.
To whom is it written? To the saints - the called ones - the believers who were in Ephesus - to those who are faithful in Christ Jesus - the work and witness of the Church of Jesus Christ depends upon those who are faithful.
No matter what the weather or the situation or circumstances - you can rely upon them being present - worshipping - serving - whatever their ministry might be.
This man was once the great hater of the church of Jesus Christ – he is now so very different – born again – totally changed – radically transformed.
Grace and Peace - we have looked at these words before - but Paul was never afraid of repetition - and God appears to be underlining this - as each letter begins in similar fashion.
The opening greeting is so different from the way we open letters.
Grace - God's Love and Mercy - and Peace - that Shalom - that harmony - be with you.
Grace was a gentile word - used by non-Jews.
Peace - Shalom - was the Jewish word for harmony - total harmony with no disharmony.
Paul takes both words - and also puts God and Jesus on the same plane. In Paul's sight they are equal. And like the Psalmist, Paul begins with praise.
This was a total surprise to the young infant church. They could hardly believe it. If it could happen to him – it can happen to others.
He had been violent and hostile to the Gospel message.
This Grace and Peace had come to these pagan Gentiles – and it can come to anyone – as God sovereignly moves.
Verses 3 - 10 - this is one sentence - right through to verse 14.
It just tumbles out - at times the Holy Spirit is no respecter of grammar.
It flows - with repetition again - yes.
About 14 times he uses IN - IN - IN - in Him - in the beloved - not just you in Christ, but Christ in you. You put on Christ - you are living in Christ.
In verse 4, Paul speaks of our calling – before we even existed. That is a staggering thought – that we were known to God before the beginning of time – and we were wanted by Him. This might be difficult to believe if it were not written in God’s Holy Word. This is our spiritual pedigree – our enhanced importance to Almighty God – that should dispel and notion of inferiority – yet, humbling us to bow in sheer worship.
God has placed us in Christ. It is almost too much to take in. He is enjoying placing us in Christ. There is a Divine pleasure revealed here – but when we come to verse 7 we are reminded of the cost – and Paul, led by the Holy Spirit, blends all this so beautifully.
Paul goes on to explain how God has lavished things upon us - and he is almost using extravagant language - the riches of His Grace - almost saying that God was a "reckless Spender" - pouring out all this upon us.
Paul is trying to get us to look at things from God's perspective.
There are times when we have to look at things from God's point of view - if that is possible - and in these days this is becoming more and more necessary.
These believers were together – Jew and Gentile – Jew and Jew – and Gentile and Gentile. This letter will help us in 2019.
What does God get out of our Worship Services? What we present before His Throne – is it real – is it sincere – is it genuine – is it worthy?
We see in this letter something of God's Plan and Purpose. It is unfolding. It is being revealed.
There is no other God but the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. All others are illusions. They do not exist. There is no other.
Here is Paul writing strong stuff – which would be difficult to be received in many circles today – even in ‘church circles’
How does it resound in your heart and mind?
Verses 4 to 6 – We have been chosen and adopted. God called and chose Abraham – God called and chose Moses – God used the life of Joseph – this is how it works!
Look at every point in History – God takes the initiative.
David says – let me build a Temple for YOU – no, David that is not going to happen – it will be done when I choose that it should be done.
Is this not material for praise?
It was decided before the creation of the world – so we did not have much say in the whole matter?
When we were forgiven we did not enter into any negotiation with God – No – He took the initiative.
And we are adopted as sons of the Father – what used to happen was – if your father was a farmer your father would teach you to be a farmer – or a potter he would teach you how to become a potter - if your father was a carpenter you became a carpenter.
We are adopted to become like God – holy and blameless – not omnipotent, nor omniscient. There are characteristics which are kept and reserved for God alone.
“Loving God, help me to be open and responsive to the revelation of the Scriptures. Where I read of matters that go against the current cultural climate, may I willing embrace and choose what is written in Your Holy Word. Help me to pray for those who find Your Word difficult to accept. Amen”
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