Today we finally begin our study of the actual text of Ephesians. The first section, covering 1:3-14, presents Paul’s premise for the entire book. Here we discover that our salvation is the culmination of the purpose and plan of God from before the Creation. Nothing was by chance with Him; all had been been foreseen and provided for. And it was all for our us!
“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, in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory.” – Ephesians 1:11-12
Paul uses some wonderful words in our text that really illuminate and emphasize his point about God’s eternal plan. Here’s a list of some of those words: predestined, purpose, will, riches, grace, lavished, praise, seal, and pledge.
- We live in a world and a culture which is desperately seeking meaning for existence and life. This is true both for each individual and also for the whole civilization.
- The militant agnostic and atheistic community says, “There is no purpose or meaning. We simply exist.” Everything including our lives is controlled by natural, random forces which we cannot changel and which have no interest in life or purpose.
- Facing the hopelessness of such a view, people end up in one of three camps:
- Despair & depression – this is called nihilism, as promoted by Nietzsche. According to the Wikipedia, “Most commonly, nihilism refers to existential nihilism, according to which life is believed to be without objective meaning, purpose, or intrinsic value.”
- Abandon many or all values and morals for a form of hedonism. Atheist Thomas Huxley purported championed this view.
- Invent a “purpose” such as “survival of the species,” the “advancement of civilization” or “evolution.”
- These views of meaning and purpose constitute worldviews.
BUT AN ETERNAL, CREATOR GOD DOES EXIST:
- No doubt, part of Paul’s teaching in Ephesus – Romans 1:20-23
- Artemis and the the other gods of the Ephesians
- were idols, imaginary deities
- these gods had no purpose or plan for the world
- were themselves only seen as humans with super powers, and themselves controlled by “The Fates.”
- The knowledge of the True God was found in the Gospel – with evidence supporting it from nature itself, history, revelation in the Old Testament, and then the coming of Jesus, the Son of God.
HE HAS REVEALED HIS PURPOSE AND PLAN:
- God revealing His purpose and plan is described by Paul:
- From hopelessness to hope – 2:12
- From a mystery to a revealing – 3:3-5
- From being dead to being alive – 2:5
- From darkness to light – 5:8
- Every spiritual blessing is in Christ Jesus
- 1:4 – chose us in Him before the creation of the world
- 1:5 – predistined us to be adopted as His sons
according to the pleasure and will
to the praise of His glory
- 1:7 – we have redemption (debt paid) and are forgiven of sins. This allowed God to be both just and holy while being merciful and full of grace at the same time.
- 1:9 – made known to us this secret (mystery) of what He was doing
- 1:10 – this plan becomes effective when the times have reached their fulfillment
- According to His plan (prothesis) and purpose (boule)
- 1:12 – the Apostles were the first generation of believers who were to the praise of His glory
- 1:13 – we also were included when we believed
- 1:13 – we were all marked with the seal of the Holy Spirit, showing we belong to Him
- 1:14 – and we also received the Holy Spirit as the deposit guaranteeing not only our purchase, but that He will complete the “deal” or redemption of us from death
God’s plan is all for us!
Hebrews 6:17 – God has sworn an oath that He will fulfill His purpose in us!
Acts 2:23 – that is why Jesus had to be crucified… fundamental to God’s purpose!
Romans 8:28 – God is still at work in us
Ephesians 3:0-11 – and we, His church, exist to demonstrate His wisdom to the entire spiritual realm
Our graphic is entitled, “The Bible’s 7 Acts” by Christopher JH Wright who extended the 6-act outline found in The Drama of Scripture, by Craig G. Bartholomew and Michael W. Goheen. It is found at this web link.