Message NotesPage 1 of 10
Sunday January 18th 2009
To the Church of Ephesus ? Part Two
1). Eph 1:1 ? Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, To the saints who
are in Ephesus, and faithful in Christ Jesus: 2 Grace to you and peace from God
our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
a). Paul in his opening statement to the Ephesians draws attention to his
apostleship, and more importantly that he is an apostle ?by the will of God? ? he
then goes on to address ?the saints who are in Ephesus, and faithful in Christ
b). Last week we had seen the context in which Paul, under inspiration of the
Holy Spirit, had written this letter.
c). We will remember that it had been written some years after he had spent
a substantial period of time in ministry in Asia, particularly focused on Ephesus.
d). Ac 19:9 But when some were hardened and did not believe, but spoke
evil of the Way before the multitude, he departed from them and withdrew the
disciples, reasoning daily in the school of Tyrannus. 10 And this continued for two
years, so that all who dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews
e). Ac 20:29 "For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will
come in among you, not sparing the flock. 30 "Also from among yourselves men
will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves.
31 "Therefore watch, and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn
everyone night and day with tears.
f). Paul?s final face to face admonition to the elders of the church in
Ephesus, when he calls them to come to him at Miletus, recorded here in Acts 20,
comes prior to his imprisonment in Rome ? around 60-62AD.
g). And it is of course during this imprisonment that he writes the letter to
2). We also saw last week that we should see this letter against the background of
not only the thorough teaching of Paul but also the ministry of Priscilla and Aquila,
Appolos, and primarily Timothy ? and the scriptural record we have of the letters
of 1 and 2 Peter and The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which were also sent to the
saints of this region.
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3). And it is in John?s record of the Revelation of Jesus Christ that we find
Ephesus, the first of the 7 churches ?which are in Asia? coming under judgment
following the resurrection/rapture of the Church.
a). Re 2:1 ? "To the angel of the church of Ephesus write, 'These things says
He who holds the seven stars in His right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven
golden lampstands: 2 "I know your works,
b). Within the dispensational history of the Church, represented through the
7 churches and in relation to the judgment of all Christians, also represented
through the 7 churches we see for both a beginning point of unfaithfulness,
associated with the church of Ephesus ? Re 2:4 "Nevertheless I have this against
you, that you have left your first love.
c). This beginning point of unfaithfulness presented through the church of
Ephesus leads to a conclusion in the 7th of the 7 churches, Laodicea, where we
witness a complete disregard for the promised inheritance, the first love, in favor of
a present self-gratification through the things of this world ? Re 3:16 "So then,
because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My
mouth. 17 "Because you say, 'I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of
nothing' --and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and
d). In this we could see, in microcosm, a parallel with any group of Kingdom
believers at any time in the dispensation ? with the potential danger for them
individually of leaving their first love, coming eventually to a terminal point of
exhibiting a complete disregard for their inheritance. This would be poignant for us
e). And as we saw last week, despite the teaching, despite the understanding,
despite the encouragements and the warnings a most sad commentary is given on
those in Asia - 2Ti 1:15 ? This you know, that all those in Asia have turned away
from me, among whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes.
4). This somewhat shocking statement in 2 Timothy comes of course after Paul had
written his letter to the Ephesians and would be completely in line with what the
Holy Spirit had revealed to Paul about the savage wolves who would come in ?not
sparing the flock?, and those that would come from within the church in Ephesus
who would speak ?perverse things? in order to draw away the disciples after
5). So then, with God knowing what was going to take place with regards to the
believers in Asia, characterized in Ephesus where they would leave their first love,
what would be the motivation behind the Holy Spirit?s inspiration of the letter to
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a). Well clearly on one level it would be for the purpose of trying to prevent
those who turned away from doing so.
b). But then knowing that the turning away was inevitable we could see this
letter as an encouragement and an instruction for those, small though their numbers
may have been, who would remain faithful and would resist in the midst of
hostility the pressure to turn away.
c). In this sense we could see it directed at those who would be overcomers
Re 2:7 "He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To
him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of
the Paradise of God."'
d). Those who would overcome ?leaving their first love?.
e). There is for every Christian striving for the prize a constant pressure from
the world, the flesh and the devil to change our focus ? to leave our first love ? the
love of His appearing, and all that is attendant with it - 2Ti 4:8 Finally, there is laid
up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will
give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His
f). Here is the substance of our on-going struggle ? whether it be through
excessive business, fear of the economic situation or issues related to the lust of the
flesh, the lust of the eyes or the pride of life ? the enemy of our soul is determined
to distract us sufficiently that we would begin to drift, thereby leaving our first love
with a view to our complete shipwreck as we would move towards a total disregard
for our inheritance.
g). Contained in the letter to the Ephesians then would be the Divinely
inspired means, the Divine admonishment, the Divine command ? by which, if
followed, we will never drift from our mooring.
6). What we find in the opening verses of letter to the Ephesians is nothing that we
don?t already know ? the same of course would be said for its original recipients ?
but we must see this repetition after the fashion in which Peter wrote to those in
Asia - 2Pe 1:10 Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and
election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; 11 for so an
entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our
Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 12 ? For this reason I will not be negligent to
remind you always of these things, though you know and are established in the
a). According to the Holy Spirit then, through the pen of Peter, even though
we may know and be established in the present truth ? we still need to be
constantly reminded of it ? for in that truth is the way to find the entrance that will
be abundantly supplied into the everlasting Kingdom. Repetition is always good.
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7). Eph 1:3 ? 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, 4 just as
He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and
without blame before Him in love, 5 having predestined us to adoption as sons by
Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, 6 to the praise
of the glory of His grace, by which He has made us accepted in the Beloved.
a). After the introductory statements and greeting the letter then moves to the
spiritual blessings that we have in the heavenly places, in Christ ? blessings that
would have to do with a future salvation and the reward of the inheritance ?
1Pe 1:4 to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away,
reserved in heaven for you,
b). And it is ?the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ? who has blessed
us with these blessings ? they come to us by the goodness, the grace and the mercy
of God. In this He may choose to give these blessings to whomever He wishes, and
He has chosen to give them to those who would be faithfully obedient, those who
would be overcomers.
c). And in v4 we see that these blessings are given to us - 4 just as He chose
us in Him before the foundation of the world ? after the same fashion, in the same
way, as we were chosen by God, in Christ, before the foundation of the world ?
before a Man had ever been created, so God had also prepared these blessings for
d). The thought then continues in 5 having predestined us to adoption as
sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, 6 to
the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He has made us accepted in the
e). From before the foundation of the world we were chosen in Christ and
predestined to adoption as firstborn sons to exercise the rights of primogeniture
with Him ? and this was done ?according to the good pleasure of His will, to the
praise of the glory of His grace?, by which He has made us accepted in the
f). Accepted = Greek ? ?charitoo? = to grace, i.e. indue with special honor:--
make accepted, be highly favored.
g). So what are we seeing here in all these references to what God has done
for us in Christ from before the foundation of the world?
h). Simply, and astoundingly, that it has always been God?s plan and
purpose that individuals from the human race, which He created for this very
reason, would have positions as firstborn sons with His only begotten Son.
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i). This is God?s purpose ? Isa 46:10 Declaring the end from the beginning,
And from ancient times things that are not yet done, Saying, 'My counsel shall
stand, And I will do all My pleasure,'
j). What God has purposed will come to pass, He will do all His pleasure ?
individuals from the human race will be adopted as firstborn sons and will exercise
the rights of primogeniture with the only begotten Son ? nothing can stop this from
happening. The only question that remains is whether you and I will qualify to
participate in it or not. This is how we should understand being ?predestined?.
8). To continue - Eph 1:7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the
forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace 8 which He made to
abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, 9 having made known to us the
mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself,
10 that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in
one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth--in Him.
a). The letter continues with a reminder concerning the redemption we have
through ?His blood? and how He has made known to us ?the mystery of His will?,
which he did, ?according to His good pleasure which he purposed in Himself?.
b). The mystery of His will is then made clear in v10 - 10 that in the
dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things
in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth--in Him.
c). And here we see the gathering together in one of ?all things in Christ?
with regards to both realms of the Kingdom ? ?which are in heaven and which are
d). And these statements would specifically have to do with rulership ?
Col 1:16 For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on
earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or
powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. 17 And He is before all
things, and in Him all things consist.
e). We are looking at rulership over the earth from the heavens with regards
to the impending change that will occur when Christ and His co-heirs take the
Kingdom ? Christ and His co-heirs ruling from the heavens following the
overthrow of Satan and his fallen angels and Christ and Israel ruling on the earth
following the overthrow of Gentile world power. All rulership then with regards to
the earth gathered together in Christ.
f). And this establishment of a new order of rulers takes place within a
specific period of time ? ?the dispensation of the fullness of the times? ? in other
words the 7th Day, the Millennial Kingdom.
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g). And once again we see the emphasis that all this is because of Christ, is
for Christ and is in Christ ? and has been God?s purpose from unspecified ages
9). Also within this same timeframe, ?the dispensation of the fullness of the times?
we will obtain an inheritance that is in Christ - Eph 1:11 In Him also we have
obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who
works all things according to the counsel of His will, 12 that we who first trusted in
Christ should be to the praise of His glory. 13 In Him you also trusted, after you
heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having
believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who is the guarantee
of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise
of His glory.
a). Again here we see that we have been ?predestined? to obtain this
inheritance, and again we would understand predestined as used here in the same
way as we saw it in v5. The reward of the inheritance will be given to redeemed
Man, that is unalterable, but whether we will be numbered amongst those who
receive the inheritance is subject to alteration.
b). We see those who have exercised faith in the inheritance, the adoption,
all that is promised in Christ because of having heard ?the word of truth, the gospel
of your salvation? ? having as a result been ?sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise?
c). Joh 16:13 "However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will
guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever
He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.
d). It is the work of the Holy Spirit that is the guarantee of our inheritance,
turning promise into absolute certainty - 2Co 1:20 For all the promises of God in
Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us. 21 Now He who
establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us is God, 22 who also has
sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.
e). And this guarantee we have as we wait patiently for the day when ?the
purchased possession? ? the earth, is redeemed.
f). The redemption of the earth, our inheritance, takes place in a time that we
know as the Tribulation, the final 7 years of Daniel?s 70th week - Re 5:1 ? And I
saw in the right hand of Him who sat on the throne a scroll written inside and on
the back, sealed with seven seals. 2 Then I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a
loud voice, "Who is worthy to open the scroll and to loose its seals?" 3 And no one
in heaven or on the earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll, or to look
at it. 4 So I wept much, because no one was found worthy to open and read the
scroll, or to look at it. 5 But one of the elders said to me, "Do not weep. Behold, the
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Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the scroll and
to loose its seven seals."
g). The redemption of the inheritance with regards to the earth, about to be
set in motion here in Revelation Chapter 5, is the antitype to the redemption of the
inheritance that we see in the Book of Ruth in respect to Ruth and Boaz and that
which had been lost.
h). The redemption of the inheritance is in Christ, the promises are in Christ
and the guarantee of their veracity is witnessed by the Holy Spirit - Ro 4:13 For
the promise that he would be the heir of the world was not to Abraham or to his
seed through the law, but through the righteousness of faith.
i). Ga 3:29 And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs
according to the promise.
10). These first 14 verses of Ephesians Chapter 1encapsulate, in summary form,
the ?gospel? entrusted to Paul - Ro 16:25 ? Now to Him who is able to establish you
according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the
revelation of the mystery kept secret since the world began.
a). And should be seen within the context of the ministry he had amongst the
Ephesians detailed for us in the meeting he had with the elders of the church of
Ephesus at Miletus - Ac 20:20 "how I kept back nothing that was helpful, but
proclaimed it to you, and taught you publicly and from house to house, 21
"testifying to Jews, and also to Greeks, repentance toward God and faith toward
our Lord Jesus Christ???.25 "And indeed, now I know that you all, among
whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, will see my face no more. 26
"Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men. 27
"For I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God.
b). So why does the Holy Spirit see fit to set out again that which those in
Ephesus already knew? And why would He see fit to draw our attention to these
very same things?
c). Well we would begin to see the answer in what Paul says next to the
elders in - Ac 20:28 "Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among
which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God
which He purchased with His own blood.
d). And what He writes to Timothy within the context of Ephesus ?
2Ti 1:13 Hold fast the pattern of sound words which you have heard from me, in
faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. 14 That good thing which was committed
to you, keep by the Holy Spirit who dwells in us.
e). ?Take heed?, ?hold fast? ? all with regards to the gospel of the glories of
Christ. So why is there a need to take heed and hold fast? Because if we don?t we
are in grave danger of leaving our first love. And we may only conclude that the
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majority of those in Ephesus and in Asia failed to put into practice the Holy
Spirit?s charge; resulting in all having ?turned away? and the consequent judgment
seen in Revelation.
11). This direction given by the Holy Spirit and the attendant warning we also find
within the context of the 5 warnings of the Book of Hebrews ? the first warning
dealing with our attitude to the same subject matter. In order to set this warning in
its proper context we are going to read the whole of Hebrews Chapter 1 and go
straight into the warning at the beginning of Hebrews Chapter 2 ? Heb 1:1 ? God,
who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the
prophets, 2 has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed
heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; 3 who being the
brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all
things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat
down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, 4 ? having become so much better
than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than
they. 5 For to which of the angels did He ever say: "You are My Son, Today I have
begotten You"? And again: "I will be to Him a Father, And He shall be to Me a
Son"? 6 But when He again brings the firstborn into the world, He says: "Let all
the angels of God worship Him." 7 And of the angels He says: "Who makes His
angels spirits And His ministers a flame of fire." 8 But to the Son He says: "Your
throne, O God, is forever and ever; A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of
Your Kingdom. 9 You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; Therefore
God, Your God, has anointed You With the oil of gladness more than Your
companions." 10 And: "You, LORD, in the beginning laid the foundation of the
earth, And the heavens are the work of Your hands. 11 They will perish, but You
remain; And they will all grow old like a garment; 12 Like a cloak You will fold
them up, And they will be changed. But You are the same, And Your years will not
fail." 13 But to which of the angels has He ever said: "Sit at My right hand, Till I
make Your enemies Your footstool"? 14 Are they not all ministering spirits sent
forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation? 2:1 ? Therefore we must give
the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away. 2 For if the
word spoken through angels proved steadfast, and every transgression and
disobedience received a just reward, 3 how shall we escape if we neglect so great
a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed
to us by those who heard Him, 4 God also bearing witness both with signs and
wonders, with various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to His own
a). ?We must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard? ? The
things detailed in Chapter 1 ? things concerning the King and his coming
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Kingdom, things concerning angels, things concerning God?s plans and purposes
from ages past at first spoken of by the prophets and in these last days spoken of by
the Son ? that very thing that we saw in the first 14 verses of Ephesians. Because if
we don?t we will drift away, we will leave our first love, causing us to neglect, to
disregard the ?so great a salvation? ? the salvation of our soul ? which through the
use of the phrase itself denotes the greatest thing that God could devise for
redeemed Man ? Which, if we do so, will result in us receiving a ?just reward? ?
receiving exactly what we deserve at the Judgment Seat for our unfaithfulness.
b). This is why the Holy Spirit has Paul begin his letter to the Ephesians in
the way he does. His focus is on Christ, just as ours should be - Heb 2:6 But one
testified in a certain place, saying: "What is man that You are mindful of him, Or
the son of man that You take care of him? 7 You have made him a little lower than
the angels; You have crowned him with glory and honor, And set him over the
works of Your hands. 8 You have put all things in subjection under his feet." For in
that He put all in subjection under him, He left nothing that is not put under him.
But now we do not yet see all things put under him. 9 But we see Jesus, who was
made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory
and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone.
c). Heb 12:2 looking[from the distractions of this world] unto Jesus, the
author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured
the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of
d). At the risk of being repetitive if we don?t keep God?s purpose with
respect to the 7th Day, witnessed in Christ, ever before us there is every likelihood
that we will drift, and if we drift without a change of direction we will eventually
and inevitably come to a point where we will no longer have regard for our high
calling and our inheritance. And at that point we will be the embodiment of the
e). God has not provided the warnings and repeated the details of His
purpose just to fill the pages of the Book, but for us to realize that this is an ever
present danger for us unless we take note of the admonishment of scripture.
f). If we ever come to a point where we feel we know enough about the
Kingdom that we don?t need to hear it again but want something else instead, or
are no longer in awe of what God has made possible then our mooring is already
loose. And we have probably started to drift.
12). It is at the point in the letter to the Ephesians where, having laid out again in
summary form that which had already been taught over years of ministry, that the
Holy Spirit directs Paul to pray for the saints there ? a prayer that has as its focus
the desire that all in Ephesus and implicitly all those who are seeking the Kingdom
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would be settled and steadfast in a continuing manner with regards to the promises
of God with respect to the age to come - Eph 1:15 ? Therefore I also, after I heard
of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, 16 do not cease to
give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers: 17 that the God of our
Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and
revelation in the knowledge of Him, 18 the eyes of your understanding being
enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the
riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the exceeding
greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His
mighty power 20 which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead
and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all
principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named,
not only in this age but also in that which is to come. 22 And He put all things
under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, 23 which is
His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.
a). This is not just a prayer for understanding [which it certainly can be for
those who know nothing and those who want to know more] but also a prayer for
those who know the truth and are established in it that we may ever be filled with
the awesome wonder of God?s promises, that we would never grow tired of them
so as to set every fiber of our being towards the acquisition of them as we continue
in patient endurance.