Ephesians 1:3-6 Part 1

Our text this morning and next week will be Ephesians 1:3-6,

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, 4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.

This week, as I began to read commentaries about our text, I was saddened to read by some commentators that many preachers have chosen not to preach Ephesians 1. They made the decision to do this because of the doctrines mentioned like: foreknowledge and predestination. Instead they choose to skip over these things and begin at some other point in this book. They failed to be the type of men that Paul encourages the Corinthians to be when he says, “Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.” (1 Cor. 16:13)

Thankfully, there have been many preachers who have courageously taken the risk to consider Ephesians 1 with their congregations. I am sure that initially they may not have seen all the beauty that this opening chapter contains; but listen to how some of them came to describe this chapter:

  • We enter this epistle through a magnificent doorway.

  • This is a golden chain with many links.

  • This is a kaleidoscope of dazzling lights and shifting colors.

  • It is like a snowball tumbling downhill picking up volume as it descends.

  • It is a long winded race horse … careening on word at full speed.

  • It is like the preliminary flight of an eagle, rising and wheeling around, as though for a while uncertain what direction in his boundless freedom he shall take.

To be honest, I have not yet looked upon this text so much that I can see clearly all of these things. I still have many questions. There is much I am still trying to understand. But it is very encouraging to know what we may be able to see in the book of Ephesians if we will determine to look upon what is contained here in this letter.

Having determined together then that we are going to go through this book verse by verse, let me briefly give four things that we ought to do every time we come to it. These are four applications placed at the very beginning of this sermon instead of at the end of it.

First, as we come to Ephesians 1:3-14 we should recognize that we are considering the work of another Person. Let me explain. There are almost no imperatives given to you and I in the first three chapters of this book. It is God’s initiative is set forth plainly, for He is Himself is the subject of almost every main verb in these verses.

  • It is the Father who ‘has blessed us’ (v3),

  • It is the Father who ‘chose us’ (v4),

  • It is the Father who ‘destined us...to be His sons’ (v5),

  • It is the Father who ‘freely bestowed on us’ his his grace (v6),

  • It is the Farther who lavished His grace upon us (v8),

  • It is also the Father who ‘made known to us’ His will and purpose which He ‘set fourth in Christ...to unite all things (v9-10),

  • It is the Father who accomplishes all things according to the counsel of His will’ (v11).

Let us also consider the nouns in this passage and we will find that God is using divine materials to do all of this work. It is God’s love, His grace, His will, His purpose and His plan. From start to finish God the Father has been working to set His love upon us, poured out His grace upon us and is working out His eternal plan. He speaks of this plan when He uses words like: called, the elect, the chosen, predestined, foreknown, etc. Yet, we must humbly admit that these things are hard to understand.