Tuesday Morning Bible Study, July 1, 2024

Sunday, January 25, 2015, the Year of Our Lord

Pastor Carolyn Sissom


Ephesians 1: 1-3:  “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, to the saints who are at Ephesus, and who are faithful in Christ Jesus.  Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.”


‘In Christ” – this term occurs 77 times in the New Testament.  Paul had been caught up to the third heaven.  He saw the mystery of the Glory of God.  He understood the journey from Salvation and Baptism of the Holy Spirit when we receive Christ in us, the Hope of Glory; to being “in Christ”, living in the Presence of His Glory. 


Paul purposed to give us more understanding of what it means to be “IN CHRIST”.


THE WORD, Grace occurs 13-times in the epistle.  This is that which is totally undeserving on our part.  God confers fantastic spiritual properties on His saints.  It is an important word in this letter which seeks to explain some of our holdings in Christ.  But even the marvelous Greek language fails.  How can human language explain that which is unexplainable?


Grace- charis: “That which affords joy, pleasure, delight, sweetness, charm, loveliness; grace of speech.  Good will loving-kindness, favor;  of the merciful kindness by which God exerting his holy influence upon souls, turn them to Christ, keeps, strengthens, increases us in Christian faith, knowledge, affection, and kindles us to the exercise of the Christian virtues.  The spiritual condition of one governed by the power of divine grace.  Grace is a gift.”     


1:4: Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him, in love.


Even before the foundations of the universe were established, God selected us from the envisioned human stream to become His beloved in Christ.  It was His intention to bring us to such holiness that He wouldn’t be able to find a single blemish.  It was love that moved Him to do this.  Since we are to spend eternity with a Holy God, then as His companions we cannot be anything but holy.   His plan included a means for bringing sinful men to perfection.


The love of God is the foundation of our redemption and salvation.  Election is an eternal act of the will of God and cannot be based on anything but that which is God himself.   We did nothing to persuade God to choose us. 


Eph. 1: 4-5: According as He has chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love; having predestinated us to the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will.  To the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He has made us accepted in the beloved.


For the pure pleasure it brought Him, He determined (predestined) ahead of time that we should be raised to adult son-ship (adopted) in Jesus Christ, fully capable of mature fellowship with Himself, according to the kind intention of His Will.


1:6: to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.


Our minds continue to be staggered by what it really means to become an adult son of God and the Bride of Christ.   Still, His Spirit witnesses that undreamed things are in store for those who love Him (1 Cor. 2: 9, 10). 


1:7: In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace.


It was because the Son of God loved us that he was willing to become our mediator and so the whole purpose of the Father’s love was carried out by Christ.  The whole number of society who would receive the love of God through his son, Jesus Christ were, therefore loved by God.  All that we were, are and hope for comes from God’s goodness and love.  The very life and well being of our soul depend on our response to the love of God shown by our obedience to His will.


 Redeemed:  The Greek word points to rescue by ransom, regardless of price.  For our redemption, the stated price was the privilege of slaying the sinless Son of God.  Satan, who held us captive, asked this price thinking such a death would give him victory in his war with God.  Instead, it released us from his grasp providing total forgiveness for our sins.  Since Jesus was fully man, He could serve as our “Kinsman Redeemer” in paying the stated price (Lev. 25:48).


And if that were not enough, he lavishes still more grace (riches of His grace) upon us to know and understand the inner workings of His plan.  Now why should He shower such wondrous grace?  Because it gives Him extreme pleasure to have us understand His secret purposes in Christ in His wisdom and insight.


1:9:   He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which he purposed in Him.


The simple truths of God are knowable only through revelation.  They remain concealed or veiled until God is ready to reveal them.  While these things remain hidden to those outside of Christ, it is His desire that we should be in on His plans.


God has poured out His spirit for the purpose of opening the book, opening our eyes and ears that we may behold His glory.   Jesus taught us that:


Jn. 14:26: The comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you…when He, the Spirit of Truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth; for He shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speak and He will show you things to come.


God wants to open His Word!  In studying the writings of John Owen in the 1600’s.  I am blessed and amazed at his longing to know Christ better and his quest to see the Glory of Christ more clearly and to serve him more faithfully. 


The doctrines of men have “watered down” the power, “Parousia, Holy Spirit and the sweet gifts of the Holy Spirit attempting to rob our understanding of the treasures of Heaven which are ours.  But there have always been those souls on the earth who have looked for the revelation of the whole mystery of the wisdom of God in Christ, as did the angels.


Eph. 3: 9-10: And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world has been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ; to the intent that now to the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, according to the eternal purpose which He purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord.


The Lord spoke to Daniel that in the time of the end, there will be two kinds of people; the wise and the wicked--- those who turn at the reproof of His Word and those who scorn His principles.  But one has prevailed to open the Book (Rev. 5:5).  Paul is telling us this is the Day that God has chosen to unlock the secrets of His heart!  We are the people upon whom the end of the age has come (1 Cor. 10:11).  When the brethren speak of an end-time message, they are declaring that the end of this age is upon us and a new age has dawned.  Even the devil knows that. 


Daniel was instructed to: 12:4:  Shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end; many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased… (9-10) the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end.  Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly; and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand.


Is the Book open or closed to each of us individually.   Do we have a blinded mind or an open face? 


The eyes of our understanding are opened by the Holy Spirit that we may see with our eyes and hear with our ears the glories of Christ.  In order to see the glory of Christ, our spiritual eyes will be opened to the Spirit. 


In our flesh our minds are hindered by that which is corrupt, subject to sickness, tiredness, and old age.  However, in the realm of the Spirit the light of glory is implanted into us.


Man is born with a natural light enabling him to understand,  acquire knowledge, to know, perceive and judge natural things.  This is that “spirit of man” spoken of in Proverbs 20:27, which is the candle of the Lord, searching all the inner depths of the heart.”  This often becomes the doctrines of man as they attempt to establish a religion separate from the Holy Spirit.  But the “spirit of man” does not enable us to discern spiritual things.


Through the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, God gives a greater light, a supernatural light of faith and grace, to those whom he effectually calls to the knowledge of his glory in the face of his dear Son.


This new light does not make the light of the natural man useless or redundant.  Rather this new light directs it to fulfill its true purpose.  This light is Heavenly and not earthy.  The light of the “spirit of man” is the created natural man in whom the Lord shines to reveal his nature and conform us to the image of Christ.


The best idea of this light of glory is that it transforms the soul into the image and likeness of Christ.  This is how we are brought to rest and blessedness.  Grace renews nature or the natural man, and glory perfects grace.  As we grow from faith to faith and from glory to glory, the whole soul is brought to its rest in God.


We have a prophetic picture of this in Christ’s healing of the blind man (Matt. 8:22-24).  This man was completely blind.  Then his eyes were opened, but he could not see clearly.  He saw men like trees walking.  But then, at the second touch, he saw clearly. So, our minds are blind.  Grace gives us a partial sight of spiritual things.  But the light of glory gives perfect sight and understanding.


While still on earth, Stephen saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God (Acts 7: 55-56). 


When God’s plan for the earth reaches its conclusion, that is, when His purposes in history have been fully worked out, all things will have been redeemed and restored to their original condition through Christ.


1:10:  With a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things upon the earth, In Him.


Not just things on earth, but in the heavenlies as well.  Then it will be seen that we ourselves are, in Him, the glorious consummation of it all. 


1:11:  Also we have obtained an inheritance having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will.


This is so amazing.  The Lord inherits as His personal property all that he redeems.  And while this makes us His purchased possession, that is not all that happens, We inherit something too---Him and all that is His.  Nothing can frustrate the will of the Lord.


This scripture has a double meaning.  We are His and He is ours.  We become His property, purchased by His blood, yet since we are “in Him” we become joint heirs of all that is His in glory. (Rom 8; 17; 1 Cor. 3:21, 23).


1:12:  To the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ should be to the praise of His glory. In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth the gospel of your salvation having also believed you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise.


Paul is saying that the Jewish saints were scheduled as the first to bring glory to His Name through trust in Jesus as Messiah.  But that priority in no way excludes you (the Gentile Christians), for you too, after hearing the message of the Truth, trusted in Him also.  So that now having believed the good news of your salvation, you too are embossed with the Great Seal of heaven, the promised Holy Spirit. 


The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are the sons of God (Rom 8; 16). 


1:14 Who is given as a pledge of our inheritance with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.


Thus, God has guaranteed that he will come into actual possession of His purchased property.  But here is something else to the praise of His Glory!  the Holy Spirit Is not only a Seal, but also a down payment guaranteeing our future inheritance!


The Holy Spirit seals us, but He is also an advance on our future inheritance.  We can have heaven’s wealth right now. Since the initial payment is a person, the balance of our inheritance is also a Person---Jesus!  He is our wealth, and we are His.  Our future satisfactions, glory, security, and completeness are in Christ. 


1:15-17:  For this reason I too, having heard of the faith in the Lord Jesus which exists among you, and your love for all the saints, do not cease giving thanks for you while making mention of you in my prayers; that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him.


Paul says, I too play my part.  This letter is addressed to the lower ranks of society, slaves, artisans, uneducated people.  It is the work of the Holy Spirit to illuminate our minds and accelerate our understanding so that we may comprehend and revel in the mysteries of God.  As soon as we received Him the supernatural light of his grace and glory begins changing us from glory to glory.


1: 18-19: I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened so that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe.  These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might.


Paul is praying they will be able to see in the Spirit, so they may behold the intimate details of His plan.  He is saying, I want you to be stirred by the fantastic glory he has in store for His people. 


Many see the plan of God, but few actually live in it.  That takes power.  Paul’s prayer includes a request for that divine supernatural power enabling the believer to:


(1) Live a holy life in an unholy world.

(2) Stand fast against the cunning assaults of the devil

(3) Witness and win souls in obedience to the Master’s command.


All of these require the same dynamic power which raised the Lord to glory.  Jesus’ seated at the “right hand” bespeaks His absolute authority over the spirit world.


1:20-23: Which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead, and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age, but also in the one to come.  And He put all things in subjection under His feet ,and gave Him as head over all things to the church.  Which is his body, and the fullness of Him who fills all in all.


Jesus is exalted over and above all governments and authorities, powers and lordships, and every name that is know, not only in this world but also in the one to come.  Everything has been placed under the dominion of Christ.  And God has given Him, Who is the head of all things, also to be the head of the church, which is His Body.  This makes the church, then, the actual fullness of a Person to Whom everything in existence owes its being. 


Everything that happens to Jesus happens to us.  You and I literally become partakers of

 (a) The life

 (b) The power

 (c)  The program.

 (d)  The glory of God’s love revealed in Jesus Christ.


In his love, Christ is glorious.  No creature, angels or men could have the least idea of it before it was revealed by Christ.  An unseen glory accompanied him in all that he did and in all he suffered.  It was unseen to the eyes of the world, but not in his eyes who alone judges rightly.  Had men seen it they would not have crucified the Lord of glory, Yet some did see this glory.


John 1:14:  The Word was made flesh, and dwell among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.  John bare witness of him… (16) and of his fulness have we all received, and grace for grace.  For the law was given by moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. 


  Pastor Carolyn Sissom

Eastgate Ministries Church

10115 West Hidden Lakes Lane, Richmond, TX

 Scripture from N.A.S and K.J.V.; I entered into the labors of John Owen and C. S. Lovett’s Lights on Ephesians.  Comments and conclusions are my own and not meant to reflect the views of those from whom I entered into their labors.

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