United For Unity #1 — United To Blessings (Ephesians 1.1-14)

Before the people entered into the Promised Land, Moses sang his song to them.

  • In it he reminded them who God is: God, Rock, Father.
  • And he reminded them who they were: his children, his creation, made and established by God.
  • Then he told them how to live.
  • His conclusion: Deuteronomy 32:46–47 (ESV)—46 he said to them, “Take to heart all the words by which I am warning you today… 47 For it is no empty word for you, but your very life…”
  • This seemed to be Paul’s heart in writing Ephesians.

Purpose of Ephesians: Unite us — individually and collectively — to our elevated position in Christ.

  • Chapter 1-3 What Christ has done
  • Chapter 4-6 What Christ asks us to do

Chapter 3 ends with the word “amen” (Ephesians 3:21). Chapter 4 begins with the word “urge you” (Greek, Ephesians 4:1).

Ephesians 2:10 (ESV)—10 [CHAPTERS 1-3] For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus [CHAPTERS 4-6] for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Today’s Theme: God has blessed us in Christ, so we must allow the Spirit to actively unite us to those blessings so that we can live them out to His glory.

I. Introduction (1:1-2)

1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To the saints who are in Ephesus, and are faithful in Christ Jesus: 2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Primer on Paul: the messenger to the non-Jewish world. Jewish / Pharisee (one of 600) / member of Sanhedrin (one of seventy, like a State Senator) / University professor / Bilingual / From “no obscure city,” Tarsus, which had surpassed Alexandria and Athens as an intellectual center by Paul’s day (Acts 21:39) / Full Roman citizen

Paul was custom made to bridge the gospel to the non-Jewish world!

II. Blessings From God (1:3)

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,

Paul launches out with a single long sentence (verse 3-14).

  • He does this seven times in Ephesians — here, 1:15-23, 2:1-7, 3:1-13, 4:1-7, 4:11-16, 6:14-20
  • Some have wondered if this is actually a hymn (it is definitely praise — blessed be).

We praise the God who has blessed us!

Blessed: An unused word in classical Greek literature. Zeus and Artemis were never said to bless anyone — but to bestow luck or fortune on others. But God bestows real blessings — benefits — on His children through faith.

These blessings are spiritual in nature.

  • Spiritual vs. Physical (i.e. Israel vs. Church)
  • Superior vs. Inferior — we are primarily spiritual beings, no matter how much we might be told otherwise.

Conclusion 1: These blessing affect our spirits. Conclusion 2: We need the Holy Spirit to help us connect to these blessings.

A. Blessings From God The Father (1:4-6)

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.

Like Paul, believers today feel very chosen by God before the foundation of the world! But, as is usually the case with Paul, the point of election and predestination is what we have been chosen for and predestined to!

We have been chosen to be holy and blameless before Him.

  • A fact to turn into an experience, rather than an experience which produces a fact.
  • At creation God looked from the foundation of the world at the holiness He would produce in you!

We have been predestined for adoption as His children.

Adoption in Biblical times: More than become his technical child, but gaining a position of sonship, taking a minor and making him or her the rightful heir.

  • We are children of God by birth (John 3).
  • But we are heirs of God through adoption.

God’s vision is for you to live as His adopted child.

B. Blessings From God The Son (1:7-12)

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

Redemption which leads to forgiveness.

Bible words.

  • Justification - accused/declared righteous.
  • Adoption - stranger/son.
  • Reconciliation - enemy/friend.
  • Redemption - slave/freedom.
  • Forgiveness - debtor/cancellation of debt.

Redemption: an act of God by which He Himself pays as a ransom the price for sin which has outraged His holiness.

John 8:11 (ESV)—11 She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.”

Romans 8:13 (ESV)—13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.

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.

God: Has been purposing and planning for our unification with Him for a long time.

  • Do you see what God is doing?
  • Note: Let us not make Paul contradict himself — he is no universalist.
  • This must be cosmic renewal, for we live in a divided world: nature, class, gender, nation, ideologies, Jew/Gentile, human nature, spiritual division, God and mankind.
  • Christ will end all this fragmentation. He is the only one who can, and the only place which can.

C. Blessings From The Spirit (1:13-14)

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.

The Holy Spirit has come to live within us!

  • John 3:5 (ESV)—5 Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.

He has sealed us.

  • Security: Daniel’s den was sealed (Jesus’ tomb).
  • Authenticity: The Spirit makes you genuine.
  • Transaction: Receipt.
  • Authority: Kingly seal.

God did not withhold Himself from us.

  • He gave us the Son.
  • But also the Spirit!

He is our surety (guarantee) that we belong to God (and God to us).

Romans 8:15 (ESV)—15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”

He must open us up to these blessings.

  • 1 John 2:26–27 (ESV)—26 I write these things to you about those who are trying to deceive you. 27 But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as it has taught you, abide in him.

III. The Location Of The Blessings (1:3-14)

Verse 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 In / Through / Christ / In Him: These blessings are found in Christ.

IV. The Purpose Of The Blessings (1:3-14)

Ephesians 1:6, 12, 14 (ESV)—6 to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. 12 so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.

The goal of the Christian life — God’s glory! These blessings are so we’ll live in a way that glorifies God.

Close

So we have been blessed by God.

  • Chosen for holiness.
  • Predestined for adoption.
  • Redeemed and forgiven from sin.
  • In the know regarding God’s mysterious plan.
  • Sealed with the Spirit.
  • Guaranteed to belong to God (and He to us).

Ephesians 4:1 (ESV)—1 I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called…