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Ephesians

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Ep.4.13-14Contents:

INTRODUCTION
THEME
PAUL AND EPHESUS
OUTLINE
NOTES

NOTE. For more details see, McGee, Ephesians. This study is taken from that book with significant modifications mainly dealing with organization and method aligned to Bible principle and teaching. The study is also available online in audio at: Ephesians.

DATE A.D. 62

INTRODUCTION

Four men left Rome in A.D. 62 bound for Turkey. These men had four of the most sublime compositions of the Christian faith. When these men bade farewell to the Apostle Paul, each was given an epistle to bear to his particular constituency. These four letters are in the Word of God, and they are designated the “Prison Epistles of Paul,” since he wrote them while he was imprisoned in Rome. He was awaiting a hearing before Caesar Nero. The four men and their respective places of abode were: (1) Epaphroditus from Philippi who had the Epistle to the Philippinans (Philippians 4.18). (2) Tychicus from Ephesus who had the Epistle to the Ephesians (Ephesians 6.21). (3) Epaphras from Colosse who had the Epistile to the Colossians (Colossians 4.12). (4) Onesimus, a runaway slave from Colosse, who had the Epistle to Philemon, his master (Philemon 10).

These epistles present a composite picture of Christ, the church, the Christian life, and the interrelationship and functioning of all. These different facets present the Chritian life on the highest plane.

Ephesians presents the institution of the church, made up until the return of Christ of local, autonomous assemblies. Christ desires to be the only Head of every local church body, but every church chooses whether or not they will honor this commandment.

THEME

Ephesians reveals the institution of the church as God’s masterpiece, a mystery not revealed in the Old Testament (Ephesians 2.10). It is more wonderful than any temple made with hands, constructed of living stones, indwelt by the Holy Spirit. Churches are to walk as He would walk and to wrestle against the wiles of the devil. Someday, the family of God (all true believers) will leave the world and be presented to Christ as a bride (19.7-10). At that point, they will be assembled and will form a visible, universal Church (Hebrews 12.22-24).

Dr. Arthur T. Pierson called Ephesians, “Paul’s third-heaven epistle.” Another has called it “the Alps of the New Testament. This is the church epistle. Many expositors consider this the highest peak of spiritual truth, the very apex and acme of Bible revelation. Some have even suggested that Ephesians is so profound that none but the very elect (in other words, the chosen few) can understand it. Dr. McGee noticed that the folk who say this include themselves in that inner circle. To be candid with you, he says that he does not even pretend to be able to probe or plumb the depths of this epistle nor to ascend to its heights. This epistle is lofty and it is heady. It is difficult to breathe the rarefied air of this epistle—you will find this to be true when we get into it. With the Holy Spirit as guide, Dr. McGee (with my humble edits) will do the very best we can to understand and explain it.

PAUL AND EPHESUS

Ephesus is in Turkey. The Holy Spirit would not permit Paul on his second missionary journey to enter the province of Asia where Ephesus was the prominent center: Acts 16:6: “Now when they had gone throughout Phrygia and the region of Galatia, and were forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the word in Asia.” The Holy Spirit put up a roadblock and said to Paul, “You can’t go down there now.” We are not told the reason, but we know God’s timing is perfect. He would send him there later. So Paul traveled west to Berea, down to Athens, over to Corinth, and then, on the way back, he came by Ephesus. Oh, what a tremendous opportuinity he saw there! Acts 18:19: “And he came to Ephesus, and left them there: but he himself entered into the synagogue, and reasoned with the Jews.”

Paul was so favorably impressed by the opportunities for missionary work that he promised to return, which he did on his third missionary journey. He discovered that another missionary by the name of Apollos had been there in the interval between his second and third missionary journeys. Apollos had preached only the baptism of John and not the gospel of grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. At that time Apollos didn’t know about the Lord Jesus, but later on he himself became a great preacher of the gospel.

Paul began a far-reaching ministry in Ephesus. For two years he spoke in the school of Tyrannus, and the gospel penetrated into every center of the province of Asia. Evidently it was at this time that the churches addressed in the second and third chapters of Revelation were founded by this ministry of Paul.

Dr. McGee believers that the greatest ministry of the gospel ever was in what is in modern day Turkey. Millions lived there in that day. It was the very heart of the Roman Empire. The culture of Greece was no longer in Greece, but along the coast of Turkey, and Ephesus was the leading city.

Ephesus was the main city of Asia Minor and second only to Rome in the Roman Empire. Founded around 2000 B.C. by the Hittites, it was an Oriental, Asian city until around 1000 B.C. when the Greeks came in. For 2500 years, Ephesus was one of the great cities of the world. It was on a harbor that is no longer there. Today, Ephesus is about six miles from the ocean.

The Temple of Diana in Ephesus was one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. It was the largest Greek temple ever constructed, 418 feet by 239 feet. The art and wealth of the Ephesian citizens contributed to its adornment. It had 127 graceful columns, some of them richly carved and colored. It contained works of art such as the picture painted by Apelles of Alexander the Great hurling the thunderbolt. It was four times larger than the Parthenon but very similar to it.

Inside the beautiful temple was the vulgar idol of Diana, of Greek mythology, the goddess of fertility, a many breasted idol of wood. All sorts of gross immortality took place in the shadow of this temple.

A flourishing trade was carried on in the manufacture of silver shrines or models of the temple. The artistic business brought no small gain to the craftsmen.

It was to such a city that Paul came. He first spoke in the synagogue for three months. Then he went to the school of Tyrannus and continued there two years. “so that all they which dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks” (Acts 19.10). Paul stayed in Ephesus longer than any other place. The people of Ephesus heard more Bible teaching from Paul than did nay other people, which is the reason he could write to them the deep truths contained in this epistle.

Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “But I will tarry at Ephesus until Pentecost. For a great door and effectual is opened unto me, and there are many adversaries” (1 Co. 16.8-9). There was great opposition to Paul’s preaching because it was putting the silversmiths out of business. A riot resulted. Paul was preaching the gospel of the living God and life through Jesus Christ. God marvelously preserved him, which encouraged him to continue (Acts 19.23-41). Paul loved this church in Ephesus. His last meeting with the Ephesian elders was a tender farewell (Acts 20.17-38).

A great company turned to Christ. Dr. McGee thinks the gospel was more effective in this area than in any place and at any time in the history of the world. He believes the Ephesian church was the highest church spiritually. It is amazing that the believers in Ephesus understood the Epistle. He would not have written it to them if they could not have understood it. Ephesus was a church at its best, a church at the highest spiritual level.

You and I today cannot even conceive the high spiritual level that the Spirit of God had produced in these Ephesian believers. They loved the person of the Lord Jesus and were drawn to Him. Dr. McGee says that he ministered for many years and loved to minister. However, he says that we are far from Christ today. We are so enamored by various things—programs; church work; our pet projects; the influence of others who are not led by the Holy Spirit, the principles of the Bible, and the love of God; an office in the church; etc.—that we get farther and farther from the person of Christ. The really big question is how much we love Him. Paul wrote to the Ephesians that Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it. Do we return that love? Do we respond to Him? Can we say, “I love Him because He first loved me?” The letter to the Ephesians ought to bring us very close to Christ.

Ephesians and Revelation can be arranged mathematically and logically. No books are more logical than those books. Dr. McGee says that he got tired of hearing folk say, “I believe the Bible from cover to cover,” when they don’t even know what was between the covers. They were just making a pious statement. If one really believes it is God’s Word, he will try to find out what it says. We need to get off this gimmick of methods and how to communicate to the younger generation and who to better organize a church and really learn what is in the Book. Dr. McGee says that Ephesians and Revelation were the two easiest books in the Bible to outline because they were logical. He does not pretend to understand everything that is in these books, but they are logical and easy to outline.

[Dr. McGee then commented on the logic of Revelation.] Of the six chapters in Ephesians, three are about the heavenly calling of a church and are doctrinal. The  last three are about the earthly conduct of the church which is very practical. The church has a Head, Christ, and He is in heaven. We are identified with Him. But the feet of a church are down here on the earth. Paul won’t leave us sitting in the heavenlies; he says, “Walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called” (Ep. 4.1). In other words, Christian, it’s nice to sit up there in the heavenlies and boast of your position in Christ, but, for goodness’ sake, get down out of your high chair and start walking. We need to remember that in Paul’s day believers were walking in a pagan society in the Roman world. The first half is doctrinal and the last half is practical, which makes a very logical division in the book. We need both. We are not to live in the first three chapters only. They are wonderful, but the message must get down here where we live, down where the rubber meets the road. There is a battle going on and an enemy to be fought. The bugle has sounded. We need to stand for God today.

OUTLINE

I. DOCTRINAL, the Heavenly Calling of A Church (Vocalization), Chapters 1-3

A. A Church Is a BODY, Chapter 1
1. Introduction, verses 1, 2
2. God the Father Planned and Ordained the Institution of the Church, verses 3-6
3. God the Son Paid the Price for the Church, verses 7-12, “redemption through his blood
4. God the Holy Spirit Protects a Church, verses 13, 14 “by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body
5.Prayer for Knowledge and Power, verses 15-23

B. A Church Is a TEMPLE, CHAPTER 2
1. The Material for Construction, verses 1-10 “The dead in trespasses” are made into a living temple
2. The Method of Construction, verses 11-18
3. The Meaning of the Construction (quo animo), verses 19-22, “growth into an holy temple in the Lord””

C. The Church Is a Mystery, Chapter 3
1. The Explanation of the Mystery, verses 1-4 Not revealed in the Old Testament
2. The Definition of the Mystery, verses 5-13 Jews and Gentiles are partakers of the same Body—manifested on earth in local assemblies
3. Prayer for Power and Knowledge, verses 14,21 “strengthened with might” and to “know the love of Christ”

II. PRACTICAL, the Earthly Conduct of A Church (Vocation), Chapters 4-6

A. A Church is a NEW MAN, CHAPTER 4
1. The Exhibition of the New Man, verses 1-6 “endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit”
2. The Inhibition of the New Man, verses 7-16 “no more children” grow up into Him” “perfect man”
3. The Prohibition of the New Man, verses 17-32 “walk not as other Gentiles walk” “be ye kind one to another”

B. The Family of God Will Be a Bride which Will Christ Will Lead in Eternity as One Universal Church, Chapter 5
1. The Engagement of a Church, verses 1-17 “for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ”
2. The Experience of a Church, verses 18-24 “be filled with the Spirit”
3. The Expectation of a Church, verses 25-33 “that he might present it to himself a glorious church”

C. A Church Is a Soldier, Chapter 6
1. The Soldier’s Relationships. verses 1-9 “no man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life
2. The Soldier’s Enemy, verses 10-12 “the wiles of the devil
3. The Soldier’s Protection, verses 13-18 “the whole armour of God
4. The Soldier’s Example—Paul, a Good Soldier of Jesus Christ, verses 19-22
5. The Soldier’s Benediction, verses 23, 24

NOTES

I. DOCTRINAL, the Heavenly Calling of A Church (Vocalization), Chapters 1-3

A. A Church Is a BODY, Chapter 1, Ephesians begins with the doctrinal section concerning the heavenly calling of a church, the vocalization.

1. Introduction

vv1, 2.  This letter is to a local church, the church at Ephesus. However, as with all Paul’s epistles which deal with the doctrine or the church, the principles are to be applied by all churches. One cannot infer that Paul was writing to a universal church, since such a church will not and cannot exist until the Marriage of the Lamb. See Re. 19.7-10, and Heb. 12.21-24.

A church is a living spiritual body, an assembly of believers, as will be seen. One cannot have a foot in China, a toe in South Africa, and an arm in the United States: such an organism could not be a body and could not function as required by the Church Doctrine laid out in the Bible. The epistle speaks to the family of God (all believers) and to local churches. Those members of the church at Ephesus were fellowcitizens with the saints and of the household of God. They were built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ being the chief cornerstone. A building is all one, not part here and part somewhere else. They were a living organism, made of living stones, founded upon a living stone who is the chief cornerstone (1 Pe. 2.4-8, Ep. 2.1-10, Ro. 8.1-13).

Paul states, “I am an apostle.” An apostle is the highest office the church has ever had. No one today is an apostle because no one can meet the requirements. The requirements of an apostle are:

(1) The apostles received their commission directly from the living lips of Jesus Christ. Paul made that claim for himself. He wrote, “Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead” (Ga. 1.1). This is the reason Paul took the place of Judas, according to Dr. McGee. The disciples had selected Matthias, but one can find no where in the Bible that Jesus Christ made him an apostle. Apparently all the apostles received their commission directly from the Lord Jesus.

(2) The apostles saw the Saviour after His resurrection. Paul could meet that requirement.

(3) The apostles exercised a special inspiration. They expounded and wrote Scripture (See John 14.26; 16.13; Ga. 1.11, 12). Paul measures up to that  more than any apostle.

(4) They exercised supreme authority (Jn. 20.22, 23; 2 Co. 10.8);

(5) The badge of authority was the power to work miracles (Mk. 6.13; Lk. 9.1, 2; Ac. 2.43). Such power is not invested in men today. That was the badge of an apostle. John wrote at the end of the first centruy, “If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speec” (2 Jn. 10). The badge was no longer the ability to work miricles but having right doctrine.

(6) They were given a universal commission to found churches (2 Co. 11.28).

Paul expressly met these six requirements for apostleship. “By the will of God.” He rested his apostleship upon the will of God rather than any personal ambition or will of man or request of the church. He wrote to the Galatians: “But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace, To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood” (Ga. 1:15-16). Paul said to Timothy, “And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry; Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief” (1 Ti. 1:12-13 ). Paul made constant reference to the will of God as the foundation of his apostleship. He says it in 1 Co. 1.1, 2 Co. 1.1, Col. 1.1, and 2 Ti. 1.1.

“To the saints in Ephesus.” Saint means holy or separated. The primary intent of the word is “set aside for the sole use of God, that which belongs to God.” The pots and pans in the Tabernacle were called holy vessels because they were for the use of God. A saint, my friend, is one who has trusted Christ and is set aside for the sole use of God. There are only two types of people, the saints, and the ain’ts. If you are not a saint, then you are not an ain’t. If you ain’t an ain’t, then you are a saint. There are some saints who are not being used of God. That is their fault. They are set aside for the use of God and for His service. Saints are not saints because of the way they act, but because of their position in Christ. They belong to Him to be used of Him.

“At Ephesus.” Yes, this was written to a local body of believers, but the principles are for believers in every local body.

“And to the faithful in Christ Jesus.” These are believers. A saint should be saintly, and a believer should be faithful.

“In Christ Jesus.” This epistle is going to amplify this wonderful thing. To be saved means to be in Christ. A believer is irrevocably and organically joined to Christ by baptism of the Holy Spirit (1 Co. 12.12, 13). Once saved, a person belongs to the family of God.  “He that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit” (1 Co. 6.17). Believers belong to Him. The Lord Jesus said, “Ye in me and I in you.” Believers are in Christ and Christ is in a believers. We are joined to Him. Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, and Ephesians, according to Dr. McGee, should be given top priority among the epistles. Ephesians is the book of Joshua of the New Testament, and it speaks directly to the believer in a personal way.

v2 “Grace to you, and peace.” These two words are Paul’s greeting. The grace of God is the means by which He saves us. You must know the grace of God before you can know the peace of God. Paul always put them in that order – grace and peace. “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ro. 5.1).

You see the word peace everywhere today, generally referring to peace in some section of the world, or world peace. But the world can never know peace until it knows the grace of God. You don’t see the word grace very much. You see the word love and the word peace. They are very familiar words, and they are supposed to be taken from the Bible, but they don’t mean what they mean in the Word of God. Peace is peace with God because our sins are forgiven. Our sins can never be forgiven until we know the grace of God.

“From God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.” The grace and peace are from God our Father. He becomes our Father when we experience the grace of God and are regenerated by the Spirit of God. Grace and peace also come from the Lord Jesus Christ. Why didn’t Paul say they also came from the Holy Spirit. Because the Holy Spirit was already indwelling believers. The Lord Jesus was seated at God’s right hand in the heavens. When we get our geography right, it even helps our theology.

2. God the Father Planned and Ordained the Institution of the Church, verses 3-6

v1 He blessed us and we praise Him with our lips because of that. Our blessing is a declaration, His blessings are deeds. We pronounce Him blessed. He makes us blessed. The word blessed is the thought of happiness and joy.

“In heavenly places in Christ. Here we are, blessed with all spiritual blessings, and it’s in the heavenlies. If you’re going to heaven, you’re already there in Christ. The believer is in the heavenlies in Christ even when he is down in the dumps. This is the position He has given us.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” We praise Him because He has blessed us with all spiritual blessings.The parallel is Joshua in the Old Testament. Canaan is a picture of where we live today. It could never be heaven because there are enemies to be fought and battles to be won. When we get to heaven, there will be no more battles.

There are two ways to treat your spiritual possessions: either to lay hold of them or not to lay hold of them. Children of God today are not to live off the little wine of this world. They are not to engage in cheap entertainment. God wants the believer to know that he has been blessed with all spiritual blessings. He has not promised us physical blessings, but spiritual ones, and these are in the heavenlies in Christ. The believer will not have any spiritual blessing that does not come through Jesus Christ.

Now we come to God’s blueprint. What did God do in planning the church? He did three things: (1) He chose us in Christ. (2) He predestinated us to the place of sonship. (He accepted us in the Beloved.

The Bible now talks about election and predestination. This passage of Scripture is very difficult. The meaning of these words is very important. For Dr. McGee’s complete teaching on these verses, see the teaching on the relevant verses at Ephesians. I include here some choice selections from those teachings.

Ephesians 1:4: “According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:”

The whole thought is: Open your gift and see what God has done for you, and then move out in faith and lay hold of it and live today on the high plane to which God has brought you. He’s made you a son and blessed you with all spiritual blessings. This was all according to His plan.

God the Father planned the church, God the Son paid the price for the church, and God the Holy Spirit protects the church. The source of all our blessings is God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ. Salvation is altogether of God and not at all of ourselves. You and I are not the originators nor the promoters nor the consummators of our salvation. God did it all.

“According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world.” God planned our salvation way back yonder in eternity. God did the saving. Our part was the sinning. Dr. Ironside tells this story. A little boy was asked, “Have you found Jesus?” The little fellow answered, “Sir, I didn’t know He was lost. But I was lost and He found me.” You don’t find Jesus. He finds you. He is the One who went out after the lost sheep, and He is the One who found that sheep.

God chose believers before the foundation of the world. He did not choose us because we were good or because we had done some good. The entire choice is thrown back upon the sovereignty of the wisdom and goodness of God alone. If He did the choosing, then he’s responsible.

God choose Israel. (See Amos 3.1,2). God chose the church in eternity. He knew the end from the beginning. He knew the end from the beginning (see Acts 15.18)

God did all this for a purpose: “… that we should be holy and without blame before him in love.” God chose us in order to save and sanctify us. He saves and sanctifies us that we might be holy. A holy life is demanded by God’s election. Don’t tell me that you can say, “Well, I’m one of the elected. I have been saved by grace, and now I can do as I please” (see Romans 6.1, 2). You can’t use grace as a license to sin. If you go on living in sin, it is because you are a sinner who hasn’t been saved.

God also elected us so that we should be “without blame.” The believer is seen before God as without blame. We see an example o fthis in Israel. God would not permit Balaam to curse Israel or to find fault with His people (see Nu. 23.21).

The believer’s life has been changed. If there is no evidence of change, then you are not one of the elect.  … He has made every provision to absolve them of all blame (see 1 Jn. 2.1, 2).

By the way, that answers once and for all the question of limited atonement, that is, that Christ died only for the elect. 1 Jn. 2.1, 2 makes clear that He died for the sins of the whole world: “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. A legitimate offer has been sent out to you today from God, and that offer is that esus Christ has died for you. You can’t hide and say, “I am not one of the elect.” You are of the elect if you hear His voice. You can choose not to hear His voice. “And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.  But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God” (John 3.19-21). “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (Jn. 14.6). “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture” (Jn. 10.9). “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out” (Jn. 6.37). “… I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” (Jn. 10.10).

“The whosoeverwills are the elect and the whosoeverwon’ts are the non-elect.”It is up to you. The Lord has made the invitation. The Lord has extended the invitation. Whosoever will may come. Don’t try to say you are left out. God so loved the world. Whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish. Dr. McGee does not believe that you can have “mental reservations.” The problem is that you have sin in your life, and the Bible condemns it. If you come to Christ, to the light, you will have to turn from that sin, and some just don’t want to turn from their sin.

“Chosen us in him.” Again and again the Word of God emphasizes God’s sovereign choice (see 2 Thes. 2.13, 14; 1 Pe. 1.2). Election and sanctification seem to go together and they are both in the Lord Jesus Christ. If God has saved you, He hasn’t saved you because you are good but because you are not good (Ro. 9.14-16), you recognized it, had a Godly sorrow because of your sin, and you turned to God (repented) because you realized that only He could save you from your sin (Tit. 2.11-14; Jn. 3.16-22; 2 Co. 7.8-11). God will have mercy and compassion upon anyone who turns to Him and trusts the Lord Jesus Christ to save him.

A good illustration is in Acts 27. Paul told the men on the ship that no man’s life would be lost in the storm (Ac. 27.22-24). That is election. God had elected that no man should be lost. Later, Paul told a group of sailors who were about to let down a boat into the sea. Paul told the captain, “Except these abide in the ship, ye cannot be saved.” God’s side of it was that none should be lost. But the condition was, “Except these abide in the ship, ye cannot be saved.” That was man’s side of it—they had to stay in the ship.

God knows who the elect are. I don’t Someone came to Spurgeon one time and said, “Mr. Spurgeon, if I believed as you do, I would not preach like you do. You say you believe that there are the elect, and yet you preach as if everybody can be saved.” Spurgeon’s answer was, “They can all be saved. If God had put a yellow streak up and down the backs of the elect, I’d go up and down the streets lifting up shirt tails to find out who had the yellow streak up and down his back. Then I’d give that person the gospel. But God didn’t do that. He told me to preach the gospel to every creature and that whosoever will may come.” That is our marching order.

Someone put it like this. On the door to heaven, from our side, it says, “Whosoever will may enter. I am the door: by Me if any man ….” Any man means you. You can come in, and find pasture and find life. When you get on the other side of the door someday in heaven, you’re going to look back, and on that door you will find written, “Chosen in Him before the foundation of the world.”

A blueprint for a beautiful building depicts the building, that when finished, shows the building in all its glory. So much more so, God has planned the church, “According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love.” The words “In love” are connected with verse 5:

Ephesians 1:5: “Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,”

We are treading on the mountain tops in Ephesians. We’re in eternity past when God planned the church. God says, “Take it or leave it. This is the way I did it. You may not like it, but this is the way I did it, and I’m the one running this universe, you see.” God has not turned it over to any political party or to any individual yet. He certainly hasn’t turned it over to me, and all of us can shout a hearty “Amen” to that and thank Him He didn’t do it that way. God has done these three things in planning the institution of the church: First, He chose us. Second, he predestineated us to the place of sonship. Thirdly, He made us accepted of the beloved.

Men are not lost because they have not been elected. They are lost because they are sinners and that is the way they want it, the way they have chosen. The lost man makes his own choice. If there be not free will grace in God, how can He save the world? And if there be not free will in man, how can the world by God be judged?

God saves no one because he comes forward at an evangelistic campaign, because we were nice little boys or girls, because we have joined a church, or because we have an inclination to turn to Him. He saves us because He extends mercy. God said, “I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy and compassion on whom I will have compassion.” God told Moses He was going to hear and answer his prayer because, “… it’s not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy.”

All are in the same boat. All are lost sinners. A believer will not be in heaven because he has been baptized, because he is a pastor or a deacon, because he joined a church, or because he partakes of Sacraments. One will be in heaven because of the mercy of God. One is at best a sinner. Until one is willing to come to God as a nobody and then let Him make us somebody, you and I will never be saved.

In verse five we come to the next thing God did for us. “In love having predestined us.” Love and predestination, believe it or not, are in the same verse. Love required a choice. God’s love is involved in this word which has been frightful to a great many people. Predestination has to do with God’s purpose with those he chooses.

Predestination is never used in reference to unsaved people. God has never predestined anyone to be lost. If you are lost, it is because you have rejected God’s remedy. One has to determine for himself what his choice will be.

Predestination refers only to those who are saved. It means that when God starts out with 100 sheep, He is ging to come through with 100 sheep. “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren” (Ro. 8:28-29). Those who are called according to His purpose are predestinated to be conformed to the image of His Son. Romans goes on to tell how people are saved. “Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified” (Ro. 8.30). When God starts out with 100 sheep, he will come through with 100 sheep.

A sheep can get lost (out of fellowship with Christ Jesus). But that little sheep is still a sheep even though he is way out yonder and lost. “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Is. 53.6)—That’s our propensity, that’s our tendency; that’s the direction we go. So the Shepherd goes out and looks for that one lost sheep. Predestination means that He is going to bring me and every single sheep in. “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand” (Jn. 10.27-28). Sheep are stupid little fellows. They are save only because they have a wonderful shepherd.

We are predestinated “unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself.” Adoption means that we are brought into the place of sons. It implies two things. Adoption means regeneration by the Holy Spirit. The child of God has been born again “not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever” (1 Pe. 1.23). He is born again into a new relationship. Adoption means a place of position and privilege. When we are saved, we are born into the family of God as a babe in Christ; but, in addition, we are given the position of an adult son. We are in a position where we can understand the Word of the Father because He has given us the Holy Spirit as our Teacher. God communicates with us now. Paul tells us how: “Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God” (1 Co. 2.12).

v6 All is for the glory of God. “Wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.” The Beloved is the Lord Jesus Christ who said “Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world” (Jn. 17.24). God sees the believer in Christ and accepts the believer just as He receives His own Son. “I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me” (Jn. 17.23).

God gets all the praise. He did it all. He chose us in Christ. He predestinated us to the place of sonship. He made us accepted in the beloved.

3. God the Son Paid the Price for the Church, verses 7-12, “redemption through his blood

4. God the Holy Spirit Protects a Church, verses 13, 14 “by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body

5.Prayer for Knowledge and Power, verses 15-23


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