STUDY TWO OF EPHESIANS

August 25, 2009 · Print This Article

A Study Of Ephesians

1:12-23

 

 

(Eph. 1:12) Gods glory is the (Supreme purpose of our redemption.

 

(Eph 1:13) Because the word “we” in 1:12 most likely refers to Jews, the words you also refer to Gentile believers who were identified as Christ’s own along with the Jewish believers. The believers, both Jews and Gentiles, heard the truth (see also Colossians 1:5; 2 Timothy 2:15; James 1:18), also called the Good News. These people believed and were given the Holy Spirit. God marks his people as his own through the presence of the Holy Spirit in their lives. The Holy Spirit fills us with a sense of God’s love (Romans 5:5), assures us that God has adopted us as his children (Romans 8:15-16), and helps us to manifest our Christlikeness. The Spirit is a once-and-for-all identification that gives us continued assurance that we are God’s children, entitled to his riches and goodness, now as well as in eternity. The Holy Spirit had been promised in the Old Testament (Isaiah 32:15; 44:3; Joel 2:28) and was promised by Jesus to his disciples (John 14:16-17, 25-26; 15:26; 16:7-15; Acts 1:4-5; 2:38-39). After Christ returned to heaven, he would be spiritually present everywhere through the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit came so that God would be within his followers after Christ returned to heaven. At Pentecost (Acts 2) the Holy Spirit came upon all who believed in Jesus. Believers received the Holy Spirit when they received Jesus Christ. The transformation that the Holy Spirit makes in a believer’s life (as described in Galatians 5:22-23) undeniably marks God’s presence in and ownership of that life. In like manner, the God revealed gospel of Jesus Christ must be heard by unbelieving society, and once believed, bring to them also, Gods wondrous salvation.

 

(Eph 1:14) The word guarantee was used in ancient times to describe a down payment, promising that the buyer would complete the transaction and pay the full amount. The seal in ancient times signified four primary truths. First that of authenticity, that the guarantee was binding. In the same way, the Holy Spirit is God’s guarantee that he will give us everything he promised. He is the first payment of all the treasures that will be ours because he has purchased us to be his own people. The presence of the Holy Spirit in us demonstrates the genuineness of our faith, proves that we are God’s children, and secures eternal life for us. The sealing which Paul speaks of refers to an official mark, or identification placed on a letter, contract or document.  This seal on the believer, puts he or she under His power and allows His works in us to transform us now, and what we experience now is a taste of the total change we will experience in eternity. This confirms Gods ownership of us, secondly, and gives the believer the security, thirdly, of knowing in whom he has believed, fourth and lastly, is the authority which the believer has in Christ, because of the seal of the Holy Spirit upon him. As a final ringing note echoing 1:6 (praising God) and 1:12 (praising Jesus Christ), Paul declared that the Holy Spirit’s presence in believers is one more reason for us to praise our glorious God.

 

(Eph 1:15-17) After describing the glorious blessings given to believers (1:3-14), thoughts of the great promises of God led Paul to give praise and to pray for the church—the people chosen to receive those blessings. The phrase ever since I first heard of your strong faith in the Lord Jesus could mean that Paul had heard a good report of the Ephesians’ growth in the faith. It could also be a way of including the believers in the surrounding churches. Paul knew the Ephesian church well but not all the surrounding churches. Yet he may have heard a positive report of all the churches in the area, and thus he could thank God for their faith and remember them in his prayers. Paul never stopped thanking God for these believers. That Paul prayed for them constantly demonstrates personal attention. Paul was truly a prayer warrior—remembering the churches in his personal prayers: for example, the Romans (Romans 1:9), the Philippians (Philippians 1:3-4), the Colossians (Colossians 1:3-4), and the Thessalonians (1 Thessalonians 1:2-3). Paul kept asking on behalf of these believers that God would give them spiritual wisdom and understanding. The Holy Spirit gives “wisdom” (see also 1:8)—the ability to see life from God’s perspective, to have discernment. He also gives “understanding,” which refers to enlightened understanding in their knowledge of God and the mysteries of divine truth. (See 1 Corinthians 2:14, 16 and Colossians 1:9.)

 

(Eph 1:18) For the Jew, the heart was the core of personality, the total inner person, the center of thought and moral judgment. The imagery of hearts flooded with light pictures an ability to see the reality of our wonderful future. Believers look forward to a glorious inheritance (Colossians 1:5) as well as blessings in this present world (1:19; Colossians 1:27) because of an action by God in the past (those he called).

 

(Eph 1:19-21) Paul prayed that the believers would begin to understand the incredible greatness of God’s power on behalf of those who believe him. Because of his power, believers know that:

1. God is on their side, ready to help them meet each and every obstacle 2. God’s power is never stagnant or out of commission—it is always actively working on their behalf 3. God is always fighting against the forces of evil on believers’ behalf 4. no human strength or spiritual power from the evil world (not even Satan himself) can deter or change God’s inherent power. Only God’s power can change weak human beings into strong believers who are willing to sacrifice everything for the God who loves them. After impressively describing the completeness of God’s power, Paul pointed out three instances of God’s power: (1) he raised Christ from the dead, (2) he seated Christ in the place of honor in the heavenly realms, and (3) he is far above any ruler or authority. Christ has no equal and no rival. He is supreme over all other beings. These words ought to encourage believers, because the higher the honor of Christ, the Head, the higher the honor of his people.

 

(Eph 1:22-23) Paul probably had a Psalms in mind as he wrote these words. This alludes to Psalms8:6, a kingly messianic Psalms describing sovereign power and enthronement. Christ is the obvious application for the verse. Just as the Psalms writer described people as having dominion on earth, so Paul described Christ as having authority over all of creation—all things (1 Corinthians 15:20-28). The church receives the benefit of his universal headship because the church is his body. Paul used the analogy elsewhere when he wrote about the interrelationships of believers in the church (Romans 12:4-5; 1 Corinthians 12:22-27; Colossians 1:18-19). This passage focuses on Christ as the head of that body, the church (see also 4:4, 12, 16; 5:30). The church is not a building (or all the church buildings on earth)—it includes all believers in a living, growing, moving, working organism deriving existence and power from Christ. The church obeys Christ’s commands to carry out his work in the world. All believers, as part of Christ’s body, are filled by Christ who fills everything everywhere with his presence. Christ fills all things with himself and with his blessings, bringing all believers to the state of obedience and praise for which God created them (as in 1:10; 4:10, 13, 16). The church is being filled with and by Christ, who fills all things totally. Thus, Christ, who is the fullness of God (Colossians 1:19), finds full expression in the church. By Christ’s resurrection and exaltation, he is head over all things for the church. Christ fills the church and then uses the gifts he bestows to fulfill his mission—revealing himself to the world and drawing people to himself by that witness. The image of the body shows the church’s unity. Each member is involved with all the others as they go about doing Christ’s work on earth. We should not attempt to work, serve, or worship on our own. We need the entire body.

 

Before we close, I always like to take the opportunity to see if there is someone who would like to make Christ Lord over your life.  All you need to do is approach His throne of grace with child like faith, and a repentant heart and say Christ, I know I’m a sinner, and that I can’t do this without You, I repent of my sins and ask you to come into my life, and I accept and make you my Lord and Savior.  Create in me a new heart that I may partake of your love and unmerited favor, which the Father freely offers me, through Your sacrifice for my sins, right now, In Christ Jesus Name I ask this.  Amen.

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