September 7th Ephesians 1 A. Introduction Greeting and blessing
1: Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus: 2: Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
B. Doctrinal (The Body of Christ) Blessed be God
3: Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: 4: According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: 5: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, 6: To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. 7: In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; 8: Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; 9: Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: 10: That in the dispensation of the fullness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:
The Letter of Paul to the Ephesians (which probably included the other small churches nearby) is a wonderful document because it outlines the teaching of Paul which he received by direct revelation from God concerning the Church - which is the body of Christ. Paul raises no errors in the church because he had spent two years in Ephesus and therefore the church was in a sound theological and spiritual state. After his initial greetings he begins by breaking forth into a Psalm of praise in which he blesses God who has blessed us, with all spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ. He is not saying that there are no more daily blessings to receive but that all our blessings come from the heavenlies and that there is a sense in which we have received already everything that God could ever give. All Gods blessings are ours already, we have only to move into the realisation of them. Paul continues, He says, the blessings we have received are because we were chosen in Christ to receive them, even before the foundation of the world was laid. Paul is not saying that our salvation was set before the world began, but that our blessing were set then and we were chosen then to stand before him in a future day, holy in Gods sight and blameless before men. Paul continues, He says, we were foreordained to be adopted as his sons by Jesus Christ. Again the idea is not foreordained to salvation but we have been foreordained to the status and service of sons of God. And God did this because it delighted his own heart to do it. Paul is thrilled with the way in which God has revealed himself in showing unmerited kindness to sinful men because in this he has made us to be accepted - in Christ. We do not need to live our lives hoping that he will accept us, let alone trying to do things to make him accept us. He has accepted us unreservedly - in Christ. These great truthes causes Paul to burst forth in praise and worship. The acceptance that God has for his Son is the acceptance which we enjoy. In Christ we have been freely given freedom from the bondage of sin through the blood of Christ. And so our trespasses are forgiven according to the unbounding resources of his kindness toward us. Paul also says, God has made us to abound in godly understanding and sensible christian living. Because he has made known unto us his will, which was hidden, but has recently been revealed. The will of God to us, was what God was delighted in himself to do. The mystery that he purposed in himself was to bring about a new administration, in his own full time, in which he would gather everything up into one all things in Christ. And so the unity which Christ has to his church is but a foretaste of the time when God will make a new Heaven and new Earth and he will bring everything to completeness in Christ.