Ephesians is a letter written by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit through the Apostle Paul while he was in prison to the church in Ephesus and others. The main focus on the letter is THE CHURCH and what it means to be the church of Jesus Christ. This letter has so much that we can learn from. The believer and the church must stand on the word found in Ephesians especially when there is so much division and problems in the world and in the church.
I believe there are two main ideas that we can take away from Ephesians chapter 1: The establishment of the church by the Trinity and a prayer for the church.
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 for adoption to sonship 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 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 reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under 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 put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. 13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you 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.
The letter of Ephesians opens with these amazing statements of things God has done for us, the Church. we find that this is how He established the church. When we read these words we come to the understanding that the Church was not build on man, but on God alone.
Thank God the church was not built on the strength of men. If it had been we would have to be the ones to keep it going and grow it. Thankfully God the Father adopted US through the saving work of Jesus Christ on the cross. The adoption was completed when we were sealed with the Holy Spirit or marked as His.
When you adopt a child you have to do a lot of work for the child. You must first decide to make the commitment to having a new child in your family with all the benefits and difficulties that come with that. Then there is a price to be paid. In every adoption it costs something. I remember when my cousin was adopted from China. It was not easy for my aunt and uncle and they had to travel back and forth and there was a great cost, but the adoption of a new family member was worth it! Once everything is in order there is a sealing that needs to happen. Today that is on documents; often a notary with their fancy little paper stamper. There is a visible and physical mark on that document stating it is official and no one can change it.
As we see in Ephesians 1 this is what happened for the church.
First our Father God decided He wanted others in His great Heavenly family. He desired to extend His great love onto more; namely humans. He made the commitment to bring these adopted children into His family.
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.
“Who has blessed us in the heavenly realms” does not mean He gave us amazingly good gifts, but in the Greek it means: “to speak well of.” God our Father before the creation of the world He began speaking and planning for the great adoption of new joining of sons and daughters into His family!
Before the beginning of time God was thinking and talking about you!
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 for adoption to sonship 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.
If you are a parent; it is likely that you thought and talked about the great hopes you have for your children when that day comes. You probably thought about the things in life that will be great and the things that will be difficult. Hoping and praying that when those evil things come they will make the right choice.
God our Father did the same when He planned the church. “He chose us in Him BEFORE the creation of the world.” Before we were around He chose us to be the church. Knowing that there will be good and bad choices made by us and those who came before us. But as any loving parent God made a way for the church to know the right way to go. He planned with Jesus Christ that at the proper time He (Jesus) would be the teacher of the people.
Just as earthly parents choose things that we believe will help them learn and walk in the best way. God sent Jesus to instruct and help us know what choices to make and what to avoid.
Before the beginning of time God spoke of and planned the great things the church would do for the world. Praise God we have a loving and supportive Father. A father who never misses a game, a performance, or any other major event in your life. When we as the church desire to grow Spiritually and Numerically; we must remember that God is our loving Dad who is right there with us.
When my son was little and learning to play t-ball; there were many times when I would stand behind him holding his arms and the bat. I would do all the work for him to feel like he hit the ball. He had to be there, but I was the one who really did everything. We as the church need to stop pushing our loving Father way trying to do it on our own and accept the strength and ability of the one who made us.
As in earthly adoption, God the Father has done so much, but once the planning is finished the payment or effort must take place. This is where Ephesians goes in verse 7.
7 In him (Jesus Christ) we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace 8 that he (Father God) lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, 9 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 reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under 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 put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory.
The plan was set for the adoption into the family of God, but the work needed to happen. This is because of the choices we, humans, have made. Just like the t-ball example; we have spent so much of our time pushing God away and swinging at the air. Our sin has broken the unity we had with the Father, but Jesus did the work through His death on the cross to pay for our adoption into the family of God. Jesus made the way AND brought wisdom and understanding of the truth. Through what He did and taught we are able to accept the adoption into the family of God. Again we are that little child acknowledging our inability to succeed and asking for help again.
Now that the plan and the payment is done all that is left is our the finishing work of the Holy Spirit to seal the deal or mark us as the Family of God.
13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you 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.
The Holy Spirit places that mark on you as set apart for God’s family. No other family can claim you, because the mark or seal of the Holy Spirit is on you! Praise God that no matter what troubles may come the Holy Spirit stands in defense of you.
As the church, we must remember that our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the powers in the spiritual world. This theme is discussed throughout Ephesians, but in order to understand that we must first know that before the beginning of time God did the work. We are active participants in this world, but without the plan of God, the work of Jesus, and the sealing power of the Holy Spirit we will always fail.
The church was not made by man and it will not grow through man. Ephesians begins with an understanding that the church is and must always be God’s!
This is so freeing to know. We must keep swinging, but know that our swinging will succeed when we are allowing His arms to be the strength and aim. Our strength and aim will fail.
“FOR THIS REASON…”
After finishing the background of how the church or the family of God was created and established Paul writes, “for this reason.” Because our effort isn’t enough when we put our faith in Jesus Christ we are able to continue and succeed in the work of God in loving others.
15 For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all God’s people, 16 I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers.
After our acknowledgement of God as our foundation of the people of God. Paul writes the prayer for the church. As we work toward fulfilling the will of God in our lives and in our church we need to pray what Paul prayed: Calling, Hope, Family, Power of Christ, and Christ’s leadership.
17 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. 18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, 19 and his (Christ) incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength 20 he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him (Christ) to be head over everything for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.
God give us wisdom and revelation to know You and Your will (calling) in our church!
God give us a steadfast faith in our future hope of inheritance in heaven. Not looking for this world to fill our wants and needs to, but putting our trust in you that we have a glorious hope coming into the fullness of God’s family in Heaven. Giving us proper perspective while on earth.
God give us the strength and aim through Jesus Christ. So we can stand for truth against the authorities, powers, dominions, and every name. The authority and power of Jesus Christ as the head of the Church gives us the ability stand in Him.
God give us humility to put Jesus Christ first in our lives and in our church. As our source and our leader.
When we pray these prayers we will be putting our faith and trust not in what we can do, but what we know God will do in and through us for His glory in the church and in the world.
The first chapter of Ephesians is all about God is the one who created the church and it is only through faith and prayer that we continue to grow. We will continue to study Ephesians and as we do the central theme we must remember is “After you have done everything to stand…Stand firm then!”
Stand firm on the foundation that is Christ Jesus!