Epistle to the Ephesians
Ephesians 1:15: How does Paul introduce this section?
"For this reason" which is known as a term of conclusion.
Phrases like "for this reason" always beg the question of "For what reason?" The most reasonable association is the incredible verses that have showered blessing after blessing on these saints.
Ephesians 1:15: What had Paul heard (gone about 4 yr)?
Faith in the Lord Jesus and Love for all the saints - faith without love is stringent and love without faith is shallow. Their faith was shown to be real because of the agape love, the same love God demonstrated toward us on Calvary, was flowing forth to all the other saints.
Ephesians 1:13 How had they come to faith initially?
Listened to the Message of Truth, the Gospel of their salvation and they believed it.
Sealed by Spirit of promise (ownership, security, authenticity)
What other assurance did they possess?
Pledge of our inheritance until our final redemption
What would this have done for Paul who was in prison?
Surely he would have been encouraged him but it also stimulated him as we see below.
Ephesians 1:16 What does Paul do for the saints?
Thanked God for their faith (in the Lord Jesus) and love (for all the saints) and prayed for them
What does he pray?
Father of Glory may give a spirit of wisdom and knowledge (this could refer to the Holy Spirit and/or to man's spirit) in the revelation of Him (of God)
What is "true knowledge"?
The Greek word epignosis speaks of experiential knowledge, that is, knowledge gained by experience. It means to not only know it but to understand but to experience God. In other words, it means to be drawn into God Himself and not just the facts about Him.
Ephesians 1:18 What did Paul pray for?
That the eyes of their heart would be enlightened (by Spirit) = illumination
What in simple terms is Paul praying for these saints?
His prayer in simple terms is a prayer for a deeper understanding. He has just told them what they possess because of God the Father, God the Son and God the Spirit has done, but now he wants them to know God in a deeper, more intimate way. Paul begins to pray that the Gentile readers (including us today) would come to experientially and intuitively know God in a deeper way and to fully understand their resources in Christ so that they might live in His power to the praise of the glory of God's grace.
Paul is praying for a deeper spiritual understanding, that "Ah Ha" reaction we have when we begin to really understand and exclaim "I see it! I finally see what you’re telling me, Lord!" That's what Paul is praying for here. Why? Why would he be praying for this "Ah Ha" enlightenment? Remember that the first three chapters are doctrine but the last three begin with how we are to walk. Paul knows that as a man thinks in his heart, his spiritual interior, will determine how he walks. And so he prays that these saints might be able to grasp the breadth and length and height and depth of the great truths in this chapter, so that they might be enabled by the indwelling Spirit and the riches of God's grace to order their steps in a manner which is pleasing to the Lord.
What is the Biblical meaning of hope?
It is not like we commonly use it today "I hope it will rain", "I hope my favorite team wins this weekend".
Biblical hope in simple terms is an expression of the absolute certainty of future good, the absolute assurance that God will do good to me in the future.
In this case it is God's calling - it has "hope" as one of its components.
How does a 1John 3:2-3 help us understand the "hope of our calling"?
We are children of God (adopted as sons, possessors of an inheritance)
But it has not appeared as yet what we shall be ("the hope of our calling")
When He appears we shall be like Him
This hope motivates us to purify ourselves just as He is pure
Ro 8:29 What is the "hope of our calling" the absolute certainty in this verse?
Predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son = completely fulfilled when we see Him for we shall be like Him, perfect and glorified!
Ro 8:29-30 What is process and culmination of our salvation in these verses?
Believers have been foreknown > predestined > called > justified (declared righteous by faith) > glorified
Note: "Have been glorified" is past tense, because God "works all things after the counsel of His will" so what is future to us today is so certain to God that it is described as already accomplished!
Philippians 1:6 What does Paul remind the saints at Philippi that relates to the "hope of our calling"?
The good (God) work had begun in them (and us) would just as certainly be perfected (completed, brought to its intended goal).
When will this "good work" be finalized?
The day of Christ Jesus or as John explains "when we see Him, we will be like Him"!
Philippians 1:21 What do you learn about the "hope of our calling"?
Whether we live or die it is gain for Christ is every believer's sure, final destination
2 Timothy 1:12 How did Paul (writing from a dank prison cell) encourage Timothy?
Paul despite the fact that he was in prison, had been deserted by others and knew that he was being poured out as a drink offering (going to die), had the inner strength in Christ to write that he was convinced Jesus would keep what Paul had entrusted to Him until the day when Paul would see Him face to face. Our hope is not "hope so" but is a certainty!
1 THESSALONIANS 5:23-24
1Thessalonians 5:23-24 How sure of the hope?
God is faithful to bring to pass what He has promised and that for which Paul prays for the saints at Thessalonica ( sanctified entirely, without blame at His coming).
Here are a few of many other aspects of the "hope of our calling" as recorded in the New Testament (See related in depth study of the Believer's Blessed Hope)
THE BLESSED HOPE OF CHRIST'S RETURN…
HOPE THE ANCHOR OF OUR SOUL…
THE HOPE OF OUR FUTURE GLORY…
What is the second component of Paul's prayer for his Gentile readers?
That they would know the riches of the glory of God's inheritance in the saints
Ephesians 1:11 When did we obtain an inheritance?
Predestined = before foundation of world
Have obtained = past tense of something future! That is how certain the inheritance associated with "hope of our calling" is for believers and why Paul is praying for the saints to know beyond a shadow of a doubt about this truth so that they might lay hold of it by faith and might walk in the light (enlightened in their heart, the center of their being) of this life transforming truth.
Ephesians 1:11 How certain is our inheritance?
If it is according to God's purpose Who works all things out after the counsel of His will, it is absolutely certain.
Ephesians 1:14 What does this truth explain about the certainty of our inheritance?
God gave us His Spirit as a pledge (see Greek word study), the Holy Spirit representing the first fruits (the foretaste of the harvest to come) of our inheritance, and is in a sense God's "earnest money" or "down payment" representing His promise to give us the full amount in the day of Christ Jesus.
Colossians 2:3 What is a present aspect of our inheritance?
In Christ are hidden all treasures of wisdom & knowledge Christ Himself is our inheritance
1Peter 1:3-5 What learn about future inheritance?
For those born again to a living hope
Imperishable, Undefiled, not fade away
Reserved in heaven
When? Until salvation ready to be revealed in the last time
Ro 8:16-23 What explain about our inheritance?
Ro 8:16 children of God
Ro 8:17 heirs, heirs of God, fellow heirs w Christ > glorified with Him (see the "hope of His calling" above)
Ro 8:18 associated with incomparable glory
Ro 8:19 When sons of God are revealed
Ro 8:21 Glory of the children of God
Ro 8:23 Adoption as sons
Redemption of our bodies
Titus 3: 7 What is the inheritance?
Hope (certainty) of eternal life
James 2:5 What is the inheritance?
Heirs of the kingdom
What is the third component of Paul's prayer?
How is the power described? To whom?
Toward us who believe
What is this power according to (proportionate) to?
Working of the strength of His might
Working = energeia; Strength = ischus; Might = kratos
God raised Jesus from dead (resurrection power)
God Seated Him at right hand (ascension power)
In heavenly places
Ephesians 1:21 How is Christ's position explained?
Far above all rule and authority and power and dominion
Every name that is name
This age and the age to come
Ephesians 1:22 What authority did God give Christ?
Put all things in subjection under His feet
Ephesians 1:23 What is He the head over?
To the Church = His Body
IN HEAVENLY PLACES…
Ephesians 1:3 Our blessings are there in Christ
Ephesians 1:20 Christ is there seated at the R hand of God
Ephesians 2:6 Believers are seated there in Christ
Ephesians 6:12 Spiritual forces of wickedness are there
What is the Christ's relationship to spiritual forces?
Far above all
What about believers?
Far above all
What did Luke record in Acts 19:15 that parallels the relationship between believers and the demonic powers?
Jesus I know and Paul I know but who are you?)
Warren Wiersbe sums up Paul's prayer for the saints to know the surpassing greatness of His power they possess noting that…
Dead in trespasses and sins,
Formerly walked according to
1) World - course of this world,
2) Devil - the prince of the power of the air, spirit now working in sons of disobedience
3) Flesh - lived according to the lusts of the flesh, indulging desires b
Titus 3:3 What parallel truth does this verse teach about unbelievers?
We (Paul includes himself) also once were (cf "formerly) foolish ourselves (note)
Enslaved to various lusts and pleasures (cf Redemption = pay a price to set slaves or captives free!)
Spending life in malice and envy,
Hateful and hating one another
How does God describe their spiritual legacy?
Sons of disobedience - sons who are characterized by disobedience
By nature children of wrath (By nature = born that way, see note Romans 5:12) - by their being born into Adam, they were destined for eternal wrath (unless God intervened)
1John 5:19 What is scope of the devil's power?
Whole world lies in his power = rules world system
John 8:44 How does Jesus describe him?
Jews father = devil = Murderer from the beginning = Adam
Does not stand in the truth = No truth in him
Speaks = lie = liar and father of lies
Rev 20:2 What other names is the devil known by?
Dragon = Serpent of old (refers to Genesis 3 when he deceived Eve) = Satan
Colossians 1:13 What did God the Father do for us?
Delivered us (rescued) from domain of darkness (the ruler of which was Satan)
Transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son
Revelation 12:7-9: Who was with Satan? Where?
His angels = in heaven
What will happen to Satan and his angels in the future?
Wage war w/ Michael and his angels
Not strong enough = No longer a place in heaven
Thrown down to the earth (3x)
Deceives whole world
Who is not described as participating in this angelic struggle?
Jesus Christ - He is the Creator, while Satan is but a created being, which is an unbridgeable gap.
What do you learn about Jesus and demons?
Mt 12:22-28 Who is Beelzebul ("lord of the flies") and what is his realm of authority?
Devil = ruler of the demons
Heb 2:14-15 Who does "He Himself" refer to?
Why did Jesus partake?
He had to be fully man in order to die as men's substitute
What did death of Jesus' do to power of devil?
Rendered powerless him who had power of death
What is the deliverance available to believers?
Freedom from fear of death
John 12:30-33 What does Jesus mean by "now judgment is upon this world"? (When in His life does this event occur?)
The judgment in context refers to God's judgment of Jesus on the Cross bearing the sins of all mankind. Sin was judged in the Substitute and the result was death for Christ but justification for the believer.
Who is the ruler of the world and what is his end?
The ruler of this world is Satan who will be cast down (cf Rev 12:7-9 where "thrown down" is used 3 times). (Comment: At the Cross "sentence was pronounced" against Satan, but it will not be until sometime future when this sentence is carried out. Revelation 12:7-9 describes the first "installment" of this sentence when Satan is thrown down from heaven to which he still has access. The second "installment" of the sentence is when Satan is bound in the abyss for 1000 years so that he is unable to deceive the nations, as described in Revelation 20:1-3. The final "installment" of the sentence occurs when he is cast into the Lake of fire at the end of the 1000 year period, as described in Revelation 20:7-10 - see notes Rev 20:7, 8, 9, 10).
John 12:32-33 How is Satan's power defeated?
At the Cross
A few other parallel passages on the fate of Satan…
Luke 10:17 And the seventy returned with joy, saying, "Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name." 18 And He said to them, "I was watching Satan fall from heaven like lightning."
1John 3:8 the one who practices (present tense = habitually) sin is (present tense = habitually) of the devil (his spiritual father, cf John 8:44); for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose, that He might destroy the works of the devil.
Ephesians 2:4 How Paul introduce the contrast with their former state?
But God (see note)
Titus 3:4 How does Paul introduce the contrast?
But when (see note)
In short, God stepped out of eternity and into time and intervened in their dead lives
Ephesians 2:4 What motivated God to save us?
He was rich in mercy because of His great love with which He loved us
What does Paul explain in Titus 3:4?
Titus 3:4 – Kindness of God our Savior, love for mankind
God saved us (See study of sozo, the verb for saved)
He saved us when we were dead (note repetition which emphasizes that salvation is unmerited favor) in our transgressions - dead to spiritual truths of God and helpless to save ourselves!
Made us alive together with Christ (note)
Raised us up with Him (note)
Seated us in the heavenly place in Christ Jesus (note)
Ephesians 2:7 What will God do for believers in the future?
In ages to come will show surpassing riches of His grace in kindness to us in Christ Jesus -- Believers will be an eternal display of the grace of God. This miracle of transforming grace will be the subject of eternal revelation.
Constable writes that…
Ephesians 2:8 How does Paul describe salvation?
By grace = Grace is the foundation for our salvation.
Through faith = Faith is the instrument or channel or means by which one accesses the grace of God and receives salvation.
Constable writes that…
What is faith (or verb "believe") according to the respected lexicon authored by W E Vine? (Click for Vine's definition online)
It is not just mental assent
Surrender to truth
Conduct resulting from surrender
Ephesians 2:5 What aspect of salvation does Paul emphasize (repeat)?
Our state of death (and helplessness to save ourselves) in transgressions
The contrasting truth that in spite of our being dead God saved us by grace - this serves to highlight the undeserved nature of grace and our inability to do anything to earn it.
Ephesians 2:8 What does Paul add to explain salvation "by grace through faith"?
That not that of yourselves
It is the gift of God
Ephesians 2:9 How are are men not saved?
Not the result of works (note)
Salvation is not by works since its basis is grace and its means of reception faith. Paul's point is that no one will be able to boast that they have done anything to merit their salvation and the conclusion is that all the glory will go to God for "so great a salvation".
Titus 3:5 What does Paul add to explanation of salvation?
According to His mercy = washing of regeneration and renewal by the Holy Spirit (note)
EXCURSUS ON GRACE
What is God's grace?
Grace of God has glory which is praiseworthy.
Grace is that which is freely bestowed on sinners in the Beloved (Christ Jesus)
Grace of God is rich and is that attribute of God which allows our trespasses to be forgiven
These Scriptures validate the familiar acrostic --
God's Riches At Christ's Expense.
As noted below believers will be an eternal testimony to the grace of God.
Grace is unmerited favor coupled with divine enablement.
Grace flows from God’s nature through Christ and is irrespective of the worth or merit of the one loved.
Vance Havner once said that someone spelled out "grace" as…
JOHN 1:1, 14-17
John 1:1, 14-17 What do you learn about grace?
Grace and truth were realized in Jesus.
Gods grace is seen in the OT, but not realized until Jesus.
Acts 15:11 What do you learn about grace from the context?
V7: Jews heard the word of the gospel and believed
V11: Grace excludes all human achievement ("the yoke") in relation to salvation. The Jews and Gentiles are saved through the same grace
How is grace described?
Gospel of grace - The gospel has grace, grace to save. Paul earlier (Ephesians 1:13) had stated that his Gentile readers had listened to the message of truth, the gospel of their salvation, believed it and were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise.
How does Paul explain salvation?
How does faith affect one's walk?
Eph 2:10 what relation of salvation to works?
Has you life changed from the "former" things.