Ephesians Session 2
A Blessed Community
There is no audio file for this session, however you can review the powerpoint file Tim used by clicking here
Do you enjoy getting a letter? I suppose it depends on the letter; but if it is not in a brown envelope and has a hand written address, it can be quite exciting. Certainly for the Church in Ephesus the letter they received from the Apostle Paul was cause for great excitement.
Two weeks ago Keith helped us to understand how it is that the letter to the Ephesians does have relevance for us. How the people of Ephesus had a great deal in common with us.
He helped us to set the scene- to begin to look at this astonishing letter
Frequently Asked Questions
We know that in this letter there are also what we are calling some Frequently Asked Questions, knotty problems about which there are differing opinions. We don’t want to duck these but Sunday mornings is not the best time for long explanations or complex discussion. We will be providing some support materials to explore these questions either on your own or in a group
We are going to read verses 1-14
The passage is one sentence that’s right in the original text you do not stop until you get to verse 14.
It is like trying eat a whole donut in one go or down a pint of beer, not impossible but very difficult
3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. 4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5 he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will– 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace 8 that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. 9 And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10 to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment –to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ.
11 In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, 12 in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. 13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession–to the praise of his glory.
There is no way that we can today get across the amazing love and grace of God that this passage is communicating
This is why we have chosen that worship and word today will be woven together. To give us all an opportunity to respond to the words that the Holy Spirit speak into your heart.
There is far too much for us to get our heads around or unpack in just a few minutes. But let these truths from the word speak to you.
It may be that you have your first FAQ from this passage, I think I do
How can it be that we have Free will if we were predestined to be chosen before the foundation of the world and if we were chosen does that mean that some people are not?
I am going to say but one thing about this today and that is that traditional jewish thought of the day ran on similar lines that God had chosen His people… The difference here that is significantly absent compared to contemporary Jewish texts Paul says that we were chosen to be holy but it does not say the wicked were abandoned to judgement… and that he does not say it here may be significant. more of that another time.
It may be that just one word or phrase will reach out to you touch you, help you even heal you.
So that it might read
Blessed with every Spiritual Blessing in the heavenly places
We are not promised physical blessings but spiritual ones, blessings that go to the heart- joy, peace of mind, hope and of course love
Chosen so that our love will be holy and blameless.
Most commentators agree that the English full stop is wrongly placed.
For he chose us in him before the creation of the world so that our love would be holy and blameless in his sight.
We are adopted as His children.
An exploration of how those Ephesian people would have understood adoption is a wonderful but very different thing The roman Father had absolute power including life & death and full legal ownership of everything in the family therefore adoption was huge –The adoption had two steps adopter bought the tne son twice and then released back to natural father then third time that was it the adopted son gained full rights and on death of the father became owner of all with no responsibility toward natural father
He has freely poured out His grace on us
Grace is sometimes described as Gods Riches at Christ’s expense and it is here that we see this most. Freely and without counting the cost
We have redemption through His blood-
The sense of captivity being locked up by all that the enemy throws at us and by our own disobedience is taken from us as we are literally bought back in a sacrifice that frees us. He loved us so much.
We have His forgiveness out of His rich Grace that He lavished on us
His grace is literally poured out beyond measure beyond our capacity to understand and ultimately that is what is true –
we can never grasp the amazing grace that these verses show us.
We have already said that this letter explores our identity in Christ and this idea of being In Him runs like a thread through the verses we have looked at today.
V 3. Every blessing In Christ
V 4 He chose us –In Him
V5 adopted as His sons through Christ
V6 Grace bestowed – In the beloved –The beloved there is Christ
V7 we have redemption In Him
V9 made known the mystery which he purposed In Christ
V10 All things together in Christ
V 11 In Him we were also chosen
And perhaps most important
V13 In Him you also
Instrumental use of In Him- Being In Him provides ability to or access to This can be likened to our having been placed inside an exosuit with abilities beyond our own.
Locative use of In Him –It is our identity (where we ARE) WHO WE ARE
Chosen Adopted Forgiven Loved richly abundantly
We can with full rights pray to Our Father.