Ephesians 1:1-6

INTRODUCTION: Do you ever feel like you don't have any good things happening in your life? Do you feel like everyone else gets all the breaks? But we need to remember how Christians are abundantly blessed.

Today we begin a series on the book of Ephesians. Paul addresses the church of Ephesus and declares the they have been blessed richly.



A. Christians have access to Every Spiritual Blessing.
1. Our blessings are not physical in nature. Christians are promised the physical necessities, not great riches.
a. Matthew 6:33-34 ""But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble."
2. Our blessings are spiritual in nature. Since our eternal nature is spiritual, we would expect God to be most interested in it and that those things which help us spiritually will tend to give us true satisfaction.

3. What are some of the great blessings that God has given to His children.

a. Ephesians 1:7 - the forgiveness of sins

b. Romans 8:28 - God's providential care for us.

c. 1 John 3:22 - "And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight." - The assurance that God hears and answers our prayers.

d. Romans 8:15 - "For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, "Abba, Father."" -The joy of having the heavenly Father to call our father.

B. Those blessings are "in Christ."
1. Such phrases as in Christ, and their equivalent, occur 164 times in the writings of Paul.

2. "In Christ" simply means in the body of Christ.

3. 2 Corinthians 5:17 - "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new."

C. How do we get "into Christ?"
1. Galatians 3:27 - "For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have
put on Christ."

2. Romans 6:3-4 "Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was  raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life."

A. God chose us before the world began.
1. Before creation God had a plan for the salvation of mankind. This implied that God knew before the creation of man that mankind would choose to sin and depart from God's way.

2. Revelation 13:8 - "All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world."

3. 1 Corinthians 2:7 - "But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory," 

B. How are we chosen by God?
1. Calvinists claim that God chooses each Christian individually.
a. "By the decree of God, for the manifestation of his glory, some men and angels are predestinated unto everlasting life, and others fore-ordained to everlasting death. These angels and men, thus predestinated and fore-ordained, are particularly and unchangeably designed; and their number is so certain and definite that it cannot be either increased or decreased."

b. There can be no doubt that "Predestination" is taught in the New Testament.

i. Romans 8:30 - "Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified."
2. But this doctrine directly contradicts the biblical principle that men and women have a free-will to obey or disobey God.
a. 1 Timothy 2:3-4 "For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth."

b. Revelation 22:17 - "And the Spirit and the bride say, "Come!" And let him who hears say, "Come!" And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely."

3. God does predestine us.
a. God predestined all who obey the gospel to be saved.

b. The text here tells us. God chooses "us in him." God predestines that all who accept the gospel and are "faithful unto death" will be saved. All those outside of Christ are lost, based on their sin.

c. Ephesians 1:11 - "In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will,"

A. Because we are part of God's elect, we have an obligation to live holy lives.
1. This involves the putting off of the old man and the putting on of the new man.
a. Ephesians 4:22-24 "that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness."
2. 2 Corinthians 7:1 - "Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God."

3. While we cannot be holy in the absolute sense, as God is, we can live differently from the world.

a. Hebrews 12:14 - "Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord:"
B. We are to live lives "without blame." 
1. How can we live "without blame?" Can we live sinless as Christians?
a. 1 John 1:8 - "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us."

b. Matthew 5:48- ""Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect."

2. We are made perfect (sinless) by the blood of Christ.
a. Acts 22:16
3. We are continually sinless through the blood of Jesus.
a. 1 John 1:7 - "But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin."

b. As we walk in the light we will continue to receive forgiveness. But this also requires continued faithfulness and repentance of sins.

A. We cannot be saved by our own efforts.
1. There is nothing we can do which can cause us to deserve salvation.

2. Titus 3:5 - "not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit,"

3. Ephesians 2:7-9

B. It is according to God's "good pleasure."
1. God did not depend on us. He did not need us. We rebelled against Him.

2. God conceived the plan, set it into place, sent His Son, allowed Him to die.

3. Romans 5:8, 10 - "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us....For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life."

CONCLUSION: During the Depression, Charles Darrow could find no work. Although he was broke and his wife was expecting a baby, he wasn't discouraged. Every evening they played a game which he had devised. Remembering happy vacations in nearby Atlantic City, he laid out his own little boardwalk on a square piece of cardboard and pretended to be rich. On his "properties" he put miniature houses and hotels he had carved out of small pieces of wood. The game, called "Monopoly," was later marketed by Parker Brothers and ultimately made Darrow a millionaire. Christians may not have earthly wealth, but they have a wealth that should cause us to never get discouraged. We have the wealth of our heavenly Father.

Copyright 2000 by John L. Kachelman Jr. may be reproducted for non-commercial purposes at no cost to others.

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