Sunday, February 16, 2013 pm                    Ephesians Index 

Blessed with Every Spiritual Blessing - 1
Ephesians 1:3-14

     Toward the end of last year we began a systematic study of the book of Ephesians.  We introduced the background of this book.  My plan is on the 3rd Sunday of each month to preach through this book.  Today we begin our study of the text of the book of Ephesians.

     The book of Ephesians is a book about Christ and His church and how it is a part of God’s eternal purpose.  It is also a book about our redemption which is found in Him.  The two are related.   Paul begins this letter with praise for God and what He has done for us.  Today we will begin studying this first section.  Today we will engage in an overview of this section.  With our next lesson we will begin examining some of the qualities that we will describe tonight.

 I.                     Every Spiritual Blessing –  1-14

a.       Blessed” God is praised – “Blessed” is a Greek word from which we get our English word, eulogy.    It is a word that means one who is worthy of praise or commendation.  The word in this form (as an adjective) is found 8 times in the NT and always has reference to God. 
Luke 1:68 where Zacharias praises God when John is born.  He says, “Blessed is the Lord God of Israel, For He has visited and redeemed His people.
Romans 9:5 describes Him as, “the eternally blessed God.”
(NOT the same word as “blessed” in the “Beatitudes”, but akin to the blessings  we receive in Him)
There is no better way to begin a letter than with acknowledgment of the worthiness of our God and Creator, especially when you are addressing our salvation. Throughout our study of the psalms we see the significance of this.   As you see the throne of God in heaven described in Revelation 4 & 5 you see the great praise afforded Him.
NOTE: I have heard lessons questioning our approaching God with “flowery language”.  They say, when you approach your earthly father you don’t use great speech but simply call him dad or father.  They reason that you can approach God with simplicity simply calling Him God.  While there are times where that is true, I also believe in our prayers we need to frequently acknowledge who He is.   Why?  Because he NOT your daddy!  He is NOT to be put on the same level as someone on earth.  He is God!  He is your Creator!  He is highly exalted.  Even Jesus, in teaching us to pray began said, “Our Father in Heaven, hallowed be Your name…” (Matt. 6:9) 
Psa. 111:9 says, “Holy and awesome is His name.”
Hebrews 13:15 says, “Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name. Do NOT seek to humanize God!

b.       God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ – This description of God demonstrates reverence.  He is due the respect of a father (and beyond) – Heb. 12:9 speaks of His being worthy of such. 
Even Jesus while on earth acknowledged Him often as His Father – a description of authority in the plan for our redemption. 
In John 17:1-5 Jesus prayed to Him as His Father. 
NOTE: This does not mean that Jesus was created.  For in that text (vs. 5) He requests, ““And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.
In this book, they work together, along with the Holy Spirit to accomplish our salvation and spiritual blessings.
So how is Jesus the Son and God the Father?  This is a discussion associated with the “triune” nature of God – ONE God in 3 Persons.  The concept of God as Father and Jesus as the Son has to do with His nature.  One author observed that Jesus freely subjected Himself and thus surrendered His equality with the Father for our sakes when He became a man (see Phil. 2:5-8). 
We will discuss Jesus as God next month in our “Back to Basics-2014” series.

c.        Blessed us with every spiritual blessing

                                                   i.      God has blessed us – that is He has bestowed favor (grace) upon us. 
The root of the word blessed is the same as that discussed previously.  However here it is in its verb form and has a different meaning – it is a word that means to provide benefits or to speak well of.   It is a word used by Jesus when He blessed the loaves and fish (Matt. 14:19) and also descriptive of us blessing those who curse us. (Matt. 5:44)
Also used of God in passages such as Luke 1:64 where Zechariah was “praising God.”
Blessing” is also based upon the same root word (λεγω, lego) but here it is a noun and means that good will or praise that is received.
Notice that these are spiritual blessings.  The idea of spiritual blessings is things of the spiritual realm.  God has provided benefits to us, even as we live upon this earth and we have examples of physical blessings, some of which we are told we can ask for (such as food – Matt. 6:11, business success - Jas. 4:13-16, safe travels – Rom. 1:10, etc.) our focus and greater blessings are spiritual, as these are associated with eternal life.

   ii.      In heavenly places in Christ. 

1.       The expression simply means the realm of spiritual things.

2.       The expression “heavenly places” is found only in Ephesians where it is mentioned 5 times. 

a.       Our text in vs. 3.

b.       1:20 which speaks Christ being seated at the right hand of God

c.        2:6 – we sit together with Christ in heavenly places

d.       3:10 – the church was made known by His manifold wisdom in heavenly places – God wisdom demonstrated there.

e.         6:12 – our warfare includes wrestling against hosts of wickedness in heavenly places.

3.       IN these examples we can see the reference is to the realm of spiritual things – it involves Christians, wicked forces (the realm of Satan) and God. 

 iii.      HE has given us “every spiritual blessing”
In this text we find listed at least 7 spiritual blessings:

1.       He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world. (1:4)
This is an expression that means a plan was formulated through which the type of man God would chose was implemented.  The choice has to do with qualifications.  In fact our text says that through this choice, “we should be holy and without blame before Him in love.” Furthermore, this choice was made “before the foundation of the world” indicating this was something God planned even before this earth came into existence. 

2.       He predestined us to adoption as sons. (1:5) Similar to the idea of being chosen, predestinEped means that He predetermined those who would be adopted (accepted into His family).  Again this is not an involuntary and arbitrary determination.  The word is misunderstood by many.  We will discuss this in great detail in our next lesson.

3.       Through His grace He made us acceptable in the Beloved (1:6)  John 3:16 – God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son. 

4.       He has redeemed us through the blood of Jesus and forgiven our sins  (1:7-8)  One of the products of His grace is our forgiveness, again accomplished through Jesus. 

5.       He has made known to us the mystery of His will (1:9-10)  The word of God is His message to us.  In it He reveals that which we need to obtain life and godliness. 

He has gathered together in one all things in Christ (1:9)  A little later in this book Paul will address the mystery in greater detail.  One thing involved is the bringing together of Jew and Gentile.

6.       In Him we have obtained an inheritance (1:11)  Our blessings are not merely limited to this life.  They also include a home in heaven after this life.  Isn’t that our ultimate goal.

7.       He has sealed us with the Spirit of promise. (1:13)  The Holy Spirit was sent by the Father after Jesus ascended to heaven.  The Holy Spirit and His work are a demonstration of God’s blessings. 

8.       In coming lessons we will examine each of these in more detail.  One preacher categorized these “blessings” into those which come from God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit.  Worthy of consideration.  And these are just a sampling of the blessings we enjoy “in Him.”

 Paul’s point in these verses is to declare how blessed we are in God and by Him.  With that as a foundation we can overcome the wickedness of the world, achieve unity and live a life with hope fully pleasing in Him.  If we are children of God we enjoy these spiritual blessings.  Will we bless God because of this?