"“For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.” (Ephesians 1:4-6)
Do you remember a time when toys came in cereal boxes? In my family, we all raced to see who could get the toys first. I remember one prize—a special pair of glasses used to read the “secret” message on the box. To the naked eye, the message looked like only patterns and colors, but after I put on the glasses, I saw the true message.
To the casual observer, this is probably how believers also look—just like everybody else. But God sees us as holy and blameless because He looks at us through the lens of Christ Jesus and that colors everything!
“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.” (Ephesians 1:3)
This morning, I spent an hour studying this verse, looking up the meaning of every word and piecing them together to grasp what it means to be “blessed in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.”
After spending time consumed by this passage, I stopped and grabbed a journal written 10 years ago. The rest of my journals are in boxes, but this particular one has a permanent place on my desk. I leafed through it, reading my thoughts from so many years ago. It contained page after page of me wrestling with scripture, my calling, and the desire to feel God’s presence. It was a crucial time in my life as this is when the Lord started revealing Himself and His purpose for me.
“Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, to the saints in Ephesus, the faithful in Christ Jesus: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Ephesians 1:1-2)
When I was young, my best friend moved away. It was before the age of email, and long-distance phones calls were quite expensive, so we diligently set out to write letters back and forth. We wrote nearly every week for many years. Our good friendship stayed strong many years after she moved away. This childhood friend still holds a dear place in my heart because of the time we spent writing to each other.
Paul spent three years firmly establishing the church at Ephesus during his third missionary journey. He taught and shared his life with them, and as he moved on, I am confident that this special bond continued. Years later while in prison, he penned this amazing letter meant to encourage the congregation he pastored and cared for.
I asked and you voted, so welcome to the study of Ephesians!
Have you ever wondered how so much heretical teaching infiltrated the early church?
Several years ago, a couple started coming to our church. Right away, they were interested in helping with our children’s ministry. We needed more volunteers, so they were integrated effortlessly and seamlessly. After a while, we started getting unsettling reports on what they were teaching. Many of the parents were questioning their ideas because they were slightly skewed from what the church taught.
While this whole scenario played out in a matter of weeks, the result was critically dangerous. First, because what they were teaching was slightly off and seemed harmless enough, it could have gone unnoticed for a lot longer. Second, because this teaching was aimed at the children’s ministry, it could have had long-term devastating effects on the health of the church.
by John Macarthur; copyright The MacArthur Bible Commentary
The Book of Ephesians is a beautiful revelation of the Church and the spiritual blessings we have in Christ Jesus. What was hidden throughout the ages was revealed to us when Christ came. Paul explains the mystery of the church and gives practical insight into living as believers.
Ephesians 1: Spiritual Blessings in Christ
Ephesians 1 is a beautiful introduction to how we have received every spiritual blessing in Christ Jesus. We have been adopted to sonship, we have been chosen, forgiven and redeemed. We have been marked with a seal and given the Holy Spirit as a down payment of our inheritance. Then Paul prays that we will have the revelation of Christ so we can know the hope and power we have been called to as His body, the Church of whom He is the head.
Ephesians 2: Made Alive in Christ