OUR SPIRITUAL BLESSINGS AND PRIVILEGES ARE IDENTICAL TO THOSE OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST
Our thinking and how we act are based too much on our short-sighted focus on our own personal limitations and our own lack of personal significance or influence. This passage should wake us up to the riches that are ours right now in Christ..
How can our spiritual blessings and privileges be identical to those of our Lord Jesus Christ? Because they have been graciously given to us by a loving heavenly Father who is the omnipotent God of the universe. Our spiritual belssings and privileges depend solely on the work of God — not on who I am or what I’ve done in the past or will do this next week. God wants us to view ourselves as He views us — so totally incorporated into Christ that right now we are seated at the right hand of God in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus. That’s the place of power and authority and will be the key to spiritual power for us living right now like the saints we are and have been called to be.
(:1-2) INTRODUCTION: OUR MANDATE IN LIFE — WHAT IS IT THAT GOD WANTS US TO BE AND DO
A. Author = Paul
1. His Calling and Authority– “an apostle of Christ Jesus”
He had every right and obligation to address them with authority and provide such instruction and exhortation.
MacArthur: “The apostolic duties were to preach the gospel (1 Cor. 1:17), teach and pray (Acts 6:4), work miracles (2 Cor. 12:12), build up other leaders of the church (Acts 14:23, and write the Word of God (Eph. 1:1; etc.).”
2. His Submission and Authority– “by the will of God”
Guthrie: “Paul was deeply conscious that God had overruled his life, from his conversion, and throughout his missionary call… Paul’s tone, therefore, is not that of pride but rather of sheer amazement and humble obedience.”
1. Their Calling — “to the saints”
called to be holy; to be different
Hoke: “Don’t be misled by the mistaken idea that sainthood is something which can only be conferred upon certain dead people by some ecclesiastical body. According to God’s Word, all believers are already saints. From God’s perspective, we are saints, not because of who men say we are, but because of what Christ did for us. We are not holy because of our own good works or righteousness.”
2. Their Physical Location — “who are at Ephesus”
Stedman: The Epistle to the Ephesians is, in many ways, the crowning glory of the New Testament. But perhaps this letter ought not to be called “Ephesians” for we do not really know to whom it was written. The Christians at Ephesus were certainly among the recipients of this letter, but undoubtedly there were others. In many of the original Greek manuscripts there is a blank where the King James translation has the words ‘at Ephesus;’ just a line where the names of other recipients were apparently to be filled in. That is why the Revised Standard Version does not say, ‘To the saints at Ephesus,’ but simply ‘To the saints who are also faithful in Christ Jesus…'”
3. Their Submission — “and who are faithful in Christ Jesus”
Faith and Perseverance
Stott: “To be ‘in Christ’ is to be personally and vitally united to Christ, as branches are to the vine and members to the body, and thereby also to Christ’s people. For it is impossible to be part of the body without being related to both the Head and the members. Much of what the epistle later develops is already here in bud… to be a Christian is in essence to be ‘in Christ’, one with him and with his people.”
“Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Stedman: “The two great heritages of the Christian are grace and peace. These are two things you can always have, no matter what your circumstances. Grace is all God’s power, all his love, all his beauty, available to you. It is a marvelous term which wraps up all that God is and offers to us. It comes from the same Greek word from which we get our English word charm. Grace is charming, lovely, pleasant. It is something which pleases, which imparts charm and loveliness to a life. Peace is freedom from anxiety, fear and worry. These are the two characteristics which ought to mark Christians all the time:
– Grace — God at work in their life; and
– Peace — a sense of security, of trust.”
I. (:3A) GOD DESERVES OUR BLESSING
A. Concept of Blessing — “speak well of”
our English word “eulogize”; only used in the NT of either God or Christ;
Think of how much God gets cursed rather than praised in our culture. Think of our own thought life and how many grumblings and complainings come to our mind.
Think of how you feel as a parent when one of your children sincerely expresses their appreciation. One mark of our maturity is our devotion to God and how we express it. God deserves our blessing. Is He getting it?
MacArthur: “Nothing is more appropriate for God’s people than to bless Him for His great goodness. In all things — whether pain, struggle, trials, frustration, opposition, or adversity — we are to praise God, because He is good in the midst of it all. For that we praise and bless Him…
When we bless God we speak good of Him. When God blesses us, He communicates good to us. We bless Him with words; He blesses us with deeds. All we can do is to speak well of Him because in ourselves we have nothing good to give, and in Himself He lacks no goodness. But when He blesses us the situation is reversed. He cannot bless us for our goodness, because we have none. Rather, He blesses us with goodness. Our heavenly Father lavishes us with every goodness, every good gift, every blessing. That is His nature, and that is our need.”
B. Designation of God — “the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ”
Paul points to our unity with Christ as he describes God in terms of relationships that can apply to both Christ and to us
II. (:3B) BECAUSE HE TOTALLY BLESSED US
Study the concept of spiritual riches in Ephesians — 1:7; 3:8; 3:16;
Here’s our answer to those who hold to a special second blessing — a baptism of the Holy Spirit that will elevate one to a constant mountaintop Christian expereince. We have been blessed already with every spiritual blessing — not just the second blessing.
A. Source of our Riches — God Himself — “who has blessed us”
His Will 1:5,9,11
His Grace 1:6,7
His Glory 1:12,14
His Good Pleasure 1:9
His Purpose 1:11
Conclusion: Total security because God guarantees these riches
B. Recipients of these riches — all the saints — “us”
C. Nature of these riches — spiritual — “with every spiritual blessing”
“Spiritual” in the sense that they are the blessings of grace, blessings of a divine order, belonging to the sphere of immediate relations between God and man. It is true that these blessings come from God through the Spirit but the point in view is what they are, not how they reach us.
D. Location of these riches
1. “in the heavenly places”
Kent: “Believers today have a new existence in that realm of spiritual reality where God is the source of life. Spiritual warfare is being waged in this realm today, but when Christ returns to establish His kingdom He will accomplish His will completely, ‘on earth as it is in heaven.'”
2. “in Christ”