Ephesians 1:15-23 Paul’s Prayer For The Church’s Growth in Knowledge

Ephesians 1:15-23

Paul’s Prayer For the Church’s Growth in Knowledge

There are two prayers in Ephesians: (1) “that you might know,” 1:15–23; and (2) “that you might be,” 3:14–21. The first is for enlightenment, the second for enablement. – Warren Wiersbe

The idea that knowing is a mind thing or simply the gathering of information is a false one. Biblically, knowing implies action. That one would know implies that one would act upon what they know. This is true. If one truly knows then one must act or it will drive them nuts.

Jesus taught us to pray like this.

“Pray then like this: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:9-10)

For Father to hallow or make his name great is for us to know and act upon the Father’s name being made great. For the kingdom to come and for his will to be done we must know the kingdom and his will and then act on it. There has to be some action done as a result of the learning of the greatness of Father and his purposes on earth.

Paul wants these Ephesians to know more because in the knowing there will be more being and doing.

Why do people not worship Jesus? It’s because they don’t know him. They may be able to say the name Jesus and correctly state some facts about Jesus, but they don’t know him or they would worship him. Their state is 2 Corinthians 4:1-6 in that they are blinded by the evil one and they can’t see and thus know.

So, to know is to do and to be.

We can never get enough of knowing. Let me be clear. We’ve said in the past that you don’t need more bible studies. Many of us have more than enough outlets for bible study. We said that we need to act on some of what we have learned. This is true. However, don’t hear that you need to stop learning and knowing. That is not what we are saying. 

Often, social bugs can attend multiple bible studies and learn nothing and just be hanging out with no outlet for ministry. Often, people can do that thing that seems to be a symptom of the fallen state where we divorce knowing from acting and we become walking encyclopedias of information that just seeks to correct everyone for every nuance of difference in what they have adopted as personal orthodoxy (ex. their personal eschatology, etc.).

We want what Paul prays for here. We want to know more and we want that knowledge of Jesus Christ to increase. We want to sound the very depths of the glory of God in the study of Scripture and the tasting of grace by the Holy Spirit and we want that knowing to produce fruit that lasts!

So, lets dive into the prayer for the church to know Jesus more, and lets make this our prayer.

1. Paul prays that they may grow in their knowledge of the Father v. 15-17

Paul’s reason for praying is their salvation and their love for each other. Because they are in Christ Paul prays that they may grow in the understanding of what it means to be in Christ.

We have been blessed in Christ with wisdom and insight (1:8) to know the mystery of his will.

Here Paul is using the future tense. The implication is that we know and we will continue to need to know and grow in our knowing.

1. We must continue to grow in our knowledge of Father, Son and Spirit. No one has arrived.

2. Scripture understood and applied by the Spirit in our gathered and private lives must be central in our growth

Spiritual truths must be spiritually discerned (1 Corinthians 2:9–16), and this understanding can come only from the Spirit. He wrote the Word; He alone can teach us what it says. – Warren Wiersbe

3. We must be discerning in who and what we listen to and apply

4. We must be discerning about our experiences and evaluate them according to Scripture

2. Paul prays that the church may know the hope they have in being Jesus’ inheritance v. 18

In order to know the riches of this glorious hope, we must have our heart’s eyes enlightened through knowing more of Jesus.

The connection to verse 17 is crucial here because it is how verse 18 happens. “…having the eyes of your hearts enlightened..” is a complex set of words in verse 18. Enlightened is the key word in that it is the participle and describes what is happening to the eyes of the heart due to the knowledge gained by the illumination of the Holy Spirit’s ministry by the word.

Some implications here are big. The idea that my heart has eyes is vital. The idea is that sight is more than physical. The idea is that there is discernment to be had and the heart (biblically the seat of emotions, volition, thinking etc.) needs to see.

The idea that I can’t see as well as I need to now as a Christian is big. None of us see or discern completely clear. We are in need of constant learning and revealing that we may see and know and do.

The reality is that we are in great need of constant illumination to see and know more of the glory of the kingdom that is and is to come in full.

We have the Holy Spirit who gives wisdom and insight, but we are being continually transformed by the ministry of the Spirit and we need constant growth to make us aware of the magnitude of the glories of who we are (identity) and what we are a part of (mission). These things are always muddled due to the fallen nature of our physical existence and the spiritual air around us is in constant turmoil as we fight the spiritual battle around us. It is always a fight to make sense of these two glories we have.

Note two vital observations here:

1. The one in v. 18 receiving the inheritance is “his”. And the “his” in verse 18 is Jesus. This is vital to our hope. 

We learned in verse 11-14 that we receive an inheritance of face to face communion with Father, Son and Spirit, and each other together in Christ in the new heaven and the new earth. But here in verse 18 we discover that we are not the recipients of this inheritance.

Paul prays that we may have the eyes of our hearts enlightened that we may know the hope we are called to.

Our calling into Christ is stated clearly in the rest of the verse. That calling is that we belong to Jesus as his riches as his inheritance.

“…what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints.”

We referenced this a few weeks ago when I footnoted for you a bunch of passages in the gospel of John. John 6:37, 39; 10:22-30; 17:2, 6, 9, 12 are some glorious passages. John records Jesus talking about his mission to rescue and sustain and save those that the Father has given him.

The church is the precious possession of Jesus and he is calling his church to himself from all nations through the proclamation of the gospel and Jesus keeps them all and loses none of them. He died to secure them and keeps them through is powerful work on their behalf.

“Paul prays here that his readers will appreciate the value which God places on them, his plan to accomplish his eternal purpose through them as the first fruits of the reconciled  universe of the future, in order that their lives may be in keeping with the high calling and that they may accept in grateful humility the grace and glory thus lavished on them.”

“Think of it: he owns all the heavens and numberless worlds, but we are his treasures. The redeemed are worth more than the universe. We ought to be delirious with this truth! Paul prays that we will see this with our heart’s eyes.”

1. Remember, through all of the muddled vision on this side of the fall and on the other side of kingdom fully come, we are his possession and kept and cared for and loved.

2. Remember, pray for the discernment to see and know who you belong to and to grow in the knowledge of such glory.

The second vital observation:

2. The church’s hope is that we will be his people and be brought into the kingdom

Hope is the opposite of despair. Hope creates great optimism. Our great hope lies in not what we achieve but in being Jesus’ people and his treasured possession. This means we have great reason for hope filled optimism.

If you are a despairing person because of our current political and social climate, let me invite you to lift your eyes from the broken morass to the glorious reality of our real kingdom and our real king and our real citizenship. Our great hope lies not in a broken system’s broken solutions, but in the rule of Jesus Christ, his mission and powerful kingdom that is already working through the world like yeast through dough.

Side note: this does not mean we are to disengage from our culture, rather we are to view it through the lens of Jesus’ rule and Jesus’ kingdom and engage it a such with clear hope that Jesus will correct it either through us or when he comes, but either way, it is hopeful and not lost or wasted work.

We have deep and great optimism due to our great and deep hope in being his people.

3. Paul prays that the church may know the immeasurable greatness of his power toward the church v. 19-20a

Paul here uses three words to describe the great power of Father toward his people.

Power – “dunamis” – dynamic and living power

Working – “energia” – energetic power

Might – “kratous” – power that overcomes resistance

Paul prays that we would grow in our knowing of Jesus and be enlightened by the Spirit to know the incredible power that is exercised toward his people.

This is the same power that was at work in the resurrection of Jesus from the dead.

I suppose we will taste that power in the resurrection of our bodies one day, but the assertion here is that this power is being exercised toward us now.

How?

Dynamic – constant change, activity, progress

We are being sanctified and grown in the knowledge of God even when we are unaware of it. Father wastes nothing in his work in us. He works all things for our good in knowing him and advancing his kingdom.

Energetic – vibrant

Father’s work toward us is vibrant and full of energy. There is strength to follow Jesus and stay on the grind when we are tired and weary. His work is never tired and weary. He can fill us and give life to our body and soul and keep us in the fight.

Overcoming Resistance – defeating the enemy and the enemy’s resistance to the gospel

There is no resistance that can win the war. No weapon formed against the people of God can work to its conclusion.  Jesus is caring for his church and will complete her. (See Ephesians 5:22-33)

4. Paul prays that the church may know the glorious position of Jesus v. 20b-23

1. Jesus rules as authority over all the heavenly powers v. 20b-21

Jesus currently sits enthroned above every name and rule. Name signifies purpose and rule signifies power. Every spiritual power whose resistance against the rule of Father now has an enemy that has been unleashed on them and Jesus won’t relinquish that power now or in the coming kingdom.

The understanding is that the church has nothing to fear in the spiritual realm now and never. Jesus rules over his people in his kingdom well and he rules over the rebellious forces of evil he subjected to his created place of torment called hell. Jesus never relinquishes rule.

The end product for us is that we have absolutely nothing to fear!

2. Jesus rules as the head of the church v. 22-23

Not only do we have nothing to fear, we have every reason to be comforted. Jesus has been given to his people, the church, as our shepherd who will lead us well.

Jesus is the Senior Pastor!

The church is never leading itself. As long as the church stays faithful to the gospel and doing the mission Jesus is shepherding his church and raising up leaders and making disciples.

Pastors never have to worry about being “alone” in ministry. Jesus is always present and leading well. Ours is to be about the work, but not fret over it.

We have a powerful and exalted Senior Pastor, Jesus.

David, inspired by the Holy Spirit looked ahead and saw the church’s day when he wrote Psalm 23.

Ephesians 1:11-14 The Blessing of our Sure Inheritance to the Praise of his Glory

Ephesians 1:11-14

The blessing of our sure inheritance to the praise of his glory

Remember, chapters 1-3 will remind us who we are in Christ.

It is vital to remember who we are determines what we do. Our identity as “in Christ” affects everything. We are not our own. We have been bought at the cost of Jesus’ life. So, before we go rushing off into “what” to do (chapters 4-6) let’s drink deeply of our identity and bask in the glory of whose we are and ask for the power of the indwelling gift of the Holy Spirit to prepare us to advance the kingdom through the work. Don’t look past the “why” to the “what”. Enjoy the “why” as the fuel of the “what”.

Paul begins verse 11 with “in him”. We’ve hit this quite a bit, but there is some more worth mentioning. “In Christ” is a central piece to Paul’s theology. We’ve counted 33 times in Ephesians Paul uses the phrase or it’s synonym. According to John Mackay Paul uses “In Christ” some 169 times in his writings in the New Testament.[1] This is huge.

What might this mean for the Ephesians and for us? There is so much more, but here are three quick items these Ephesians and we have as introductory items to help us enjoy being in Christ and to help us get ready for the remaining blessings Paul tells us of in Ephesians 1:1-14 we have as a result of being in Christ.

Radical transformation has taken place (2 Corinthians 5:17)

If anyone is in Christ he is a new creation.

Dynamic unity is a reality (Galatians 3:28)

“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there no male or female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

We have union with Christ and with each other. Vigorous and purposeful unity. Imagine pursuing the type of racial unity of the body vigorously and purposefully like Paul wrote about. We have the capacity and power with which to do this in Christ.

Soul satisfaction (Matthew 11:29)

In Christ we are united with him, and Jesus tells us we find rest for our souls.

“In Christ” is the reality that seats us with Christ and defines who we are and what our role is as the community of the kingdom of Jesus Christ and determines our blessings in Christ.

Let’s finish unpacking Paul’s list of blessings we have in Christ.

  1. We are blessed with a sure inheritance v. 11, 14

In Christ we are blessed with an inheritance that is as sure as the day. This inheritance is sure because it is located in the very person of Jesus Christ.

The words in English “we have obtained an inheritance” is one word. It is passive in voice meaning that our obtaining of any inheritance is the work of Father not us. We did not actively obtain anything by our work. We have obtained, passive voice, an inheritance. It was given and given when we were not looking for it.

We’ll say more about this in a moment.

Predestined

“…having been predestined” is also just one word. It also is passive in voice. This means that the grace of obtaining an inheritance is the glorious gift of Father and is connected to the other passive phrase in this sentence indicating that we have an inheritance because Father has also done the work to predestine us in rescue from our lost state.

The predestining work of Father is in no way connected to any sovereign act of humanity. Humans have no sovereignty. Humans have a sphere of unimpeded activity[2] in which they can operate, but they do not have the power of ultimates and ends (if you don’t believe me, then don’t ever sin again, be sovereign over sin and let me know how that works out). Only Father can rescue from the mess that Adam created before his fall into the slave market of sin that drug us with him.

The surety of our inheritance is based on the predestining work of Father, and therefore, Father has given us his blessing of the Holy Spirit who marks those he has blessed as his children and as those who are the heirs.

So, why all of Paul’s emphasis on Father’s choosing and predestining work in Ephesians 1? Other than this being a redemptive theme and act of grace since Cain and Abel and the means by which the Father rescues some from man’s choosing to rebel in the garden “…the emphasis would have been particularly appropriate for readers from the Ephesus area who were especially prone to fear the decisive influence of other powers.”[3]

This truth counteracts the power of and the lies of the evil forces in the heavenly places these Ephesians feared. Since Christ is seated there and we are seated with him through the sovereign grace of Father, we no longer have to fear our destiny being altered by these spiritual forces and our security on the journey is set.

So Paul reassures these Ephesians and us that we are secure in the predestining work of the Father.

But he has done more.

Holy Spirit

How are they and we to know that we will receive an inheritance through the predestining work of the Father in his kingdom? We received the promised Holy Spirit!

Jesus promised that we would receive the Holy Spirit when he ascended to the Father. As the church waited in obedience the Counselor / teacher / helper / gift giver / empowerer / very presence of Jesus was given to his church and he took up his post as the Third Person of the Trinity as Father and Son with us.

Holy Spirit is the mark of salvation. Holy Spirit is the litmus test on fellowship between believers. Holy Spirit is the reign of Christ among us. We, by his presence, can discern whose each other is and the fact that we are family.

But what does the Holy Spirit guarantee? What does the predestining work of Father guard? An inheritance!

Inheritance (passive voice)

The word means “to assign by lot” or “to make a mark”. The idea is that of one’s portion being partitioned off and marked.

No commentator I looked at touched at all on the question: What is our inheritance? Perhaps because its clear from the context. Perhaps it is because Paul does not explicitly answer that question. Either way we have to ask: what is our inheritance?

We could easily answer that with Jesus’ instruction in the beatitudes, “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5). But Jesus’ instruction is not to be isolated from the metanarrative as though our reward were simply the gaining of things or locations isolated from the larger purpose of the things or locations.

I believe the inheritance is right under our nose and we’ve been talking about it for weeks. The inheritance is not a place absent for the full meaning of the place. Is Jesus right? Duh! Yes he is. But do we just get a new heaven and new earth with no plan or purpose for it? Negative! The new heaven and the new earth where those meek will dwell have a grand and glorious purpose.

That is point 2!

  1. We receive the blessing of an inheritance of a kingdom community united in Christ as the plan for the fullness of time v. 12, 13, 14; 1:10 (read 7-14 as a unit)

We are redeemed, forgiven and given wisdom and insight to know Father’s will wrapped up in his purpose that he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time to unite all things in Christ!

We inherit a community of kingdom citizens as family all located in Christ together, with Christ together, in person with Christ together in the eternal kingdom where we will dwell with Father, Son and Spirit in eternity with no more division or sin or rebellion or any such thing to distort the people, place and relationship to and with Father, Son and Spirit.

Verse 12 uses “we”, indicating, according to most, Paul’s native people, the Jewish folks.

Verse 13 uses “you”, indicating the Gentiles who have also heard the gospel and been likewise sealed with the Holy Spirit.

Verse 14 uses “our”, indicating that Jew and Gentile have now been brought near together as one and together are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God (2:11-22).

Our inheritance is a kingdom of family united together in Christ and will one day have Eden regained where we will again walk with Father, Son and Spirit in the garden in the cool of the day and there will no longer be the rebellion to contend with!

That is our inheritance and that is quite secure due to the predestining work of Father to secure this glorious end for us.

The mission is set.

The mission is secure.

The mission will be accomplished.

We will not and cannot fail.

We are the people of Jesus Christ united under one banner of Jesus Christ.

Unity in diversity is doable. Our fallen flesh prevents this work.

We wrestle with trying to take our “share” from this present world system and its values and we find all kinds of heart ache and distress and disillusionment because its broken and we just don’t want to admit that it is and we love it more than the coming kingdom. And part of the Spirit’s job in sanctifying us is to make us delight more in the kingdom to come than the one that is crumbling around us now. Spirit will get that done!

  1. We will be blessed with full face-to-face Trinitarian fellowship in the coming kingdom v. 14

“…until we acquire possession of it…”

Paul says here that we have the Holy Spirit to seal us as the people of God. But Paul says we have this gift “…until we acquire possession of it…” speaking about the inheritance.

In other words we will have the Holy Spirit as a seal until we get the inheritance.

So, when we get the inheritance we loose the Spirit?

No! We gain even more.

The grand metanarrative of creation, fall, redemption and restoration is how the plan of Father is working out at his direction. We are in the in between time of redemption and restoration. As a result we have transformed souls with broken and sin corrupted bodies that are going to be completely repaired.

We have Holy Spirit in these jars of clay that show the all-surpassing power is from Father and not from us. However, the Scriptures promise a day when these jars of clay will be transferred to the eternal kingdom.

Revelation 21 captures this event!

Revelation 20:11 begins the transition. Jesus is judging after he has conquered the rebellion for the final time. Earth and sky “fled away” and the judgment activity happens in this sort of suspended state.

Chapter 21 begins with, “Then I saw a new heave and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away…”

Then John begins to describe the new heavens and earth.

Too much to deal with now, but we preached through Revelation a couple of years ago. The apocalyptic language John is using we are not familiar with enough to read well, so we need some exposition training. Go listen to the message on Revelation 21. I don’t have time to go over that now. But among the things Jesus gives John to give his church is verse 22-25

There is no temple anymore. Why? Because the Lord God (Father) and the Lamb (Jesus) are there face to face. There is no longer a separation of sin between God and man and no longer any need for Holy Spirit to sanctify and counsel and teach us because what we believed by faith will become sight.

I’m sure Holy Spirit is there. He’s an equal member of the Trinity, but the need to seal us as Father’s will be gone. We will be Father’s face to face! Our inheritance of realizing our “in Christ” and fully united with all in the kingdom will be completed and we will spend timeless eternity fulfilling the mandate to subdue the new earth and walk with Father, Son and Spirit.

 

 

 

 

  1. We have been blessed in Christ that we may praise Father, Son and Spirit v. 6, 12, 14

The word “to” indicates purpose. The blessing of being “in Christ” and the blessings resulting of being “in Christ” don’t end in themselves. Those graces are to move us to Romans 11:1 worship that moves us to Romans 11:2 sanctification.

We were made to be living sacrifices who sing of the excellencies of our king. And when we worship like that we will continue to be transformed in our thinking as the Spirit unites us all in one mind under Christ.

[1] John A. Mackay, God’s Order (New York: Macmillan, 1953), p. 97.

[2] The language of “unimpeded activity” is a summary of my reading of Jonathan Edwards on this subject. For a fuller treatment see “Freedom of the Will” by Jonathan Edwards.

[3] D. A. Carson et al., eds., New Bible Commentary: 21st Century Edition, 4th ed. (Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press, 1994), 1225.

Ephesians 1:7-10 The Blessing of Our Redemption

Ephesians 1:7-10

The Blessing of our Redemption

We have been seated with Christ in the heavenly places. We have been transformed by, are with and we know in personal relationship the cosmic Christ who rules the spiritual dimensions and has given us the glorious mission of advancing his rule in the establishing of his kingdom through the church by whom proclamation of Father’s manifold wisdom is made to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. This is a grand thing!

Our exaltation to be in and with Christ is huge. Our mission of Kingdom come and his will being done through the church among all nations is glorious.

Our state was fallen and yet Jesus saved Sauls and made them Pauls. Jesus took pagans and made them saints and faithful.

The blessing of Father’s election to sanctification and adoption as children to his praise tastes good and gracious and kind. We raise empty hands and bring filthy rags as our best offering of our self-righteousness, but trust in the justifying work of Jesus Christ in the place of sinners and we wear his righteousness as our own through faith in Christ.

We remember that Ephesians explains what the Church’s cosmic role is as the Body of the Cosmic Christ. Ephesians reveals the position and job description of the church in effecting God’s new order (kingdom of God)[1]. It answers the question, what does it mean to be in Christ, and what does this demand of us?[2]

Chapters 1-3 are going to tell us what we need to believe about the glorious riches of Father’s grace to us in Christ Jesus and our exalted position with him. Chapters 4-6 are going to tell us the implications / actions required of this grace for the church.

Before we get into our role we get to keep unpacking our spiritual blessing in Christ Jesus in this blessing song Paul has written to the Ephesians. We get to keep discovering our spiritual position that does and will affect our physical position in the advance of the kingdom.

Today, Paul continues to list our blessings in Christ, and these blessings are of magnificent glory.

It is vital to remember who we are determines what we do. Our identity as “in Christ” affects everything. We are not our own. We have been bought at the cost of Jesus’ life. So, before we go rushing off into “what” to do (chapters 4-6) let’s drink deeply of our identity and bask in the glory of whose we are and ask for the power of the indwelling gift of the Holy Spirit to prepare us to advance the kingdom through the work. Don’t look past the “why” to the “what”. Enjoy the “why” as the fuel of the “what”.

7) In him we have redemption (release) through is blood, the forgiveness (pardon; liberty) of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, 8) which he lavished (have more than enough; abundance) upon us, in all wisdom and insight (wisdom and insight together form the idea of discernment – the application of truth together with seeing past the obvious) 9) making know to us the mystery (secret) of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ 10) as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.

What do verse 7-10 tell us about our continued blessings in Christ?

  1. We have been redeemed according to the riches of his grace (which he lavished on us)

After the blessing of Father’s election of a people rescued from the rebellion as a gift to the Son, Paul then expounds on the status of these holy, blameless and adopted children with the fact that we have been redeemed. What is redemption? What is it to have been redeemed?

A story I’ve heard before to illustrate redemption will be of help here.

“In a city on the shore of a great lake lived a small boy who loved the water and sailing. So deep was his fascination that he, with the help of his father, spent months making a beautiful model boat, which he began to sail at the water’s edge. One day a sudden gust of wind caught the tiny boat and carried it far out into the lake and out of sight. Distraught, the boy returned home inconsolable. Day after day he would walk the shores in search of his treasure, but always in vain. Then one day as he was walking through town he saw his beautiful boat in a store window! He approached the proprietor and announced his ownership, only to be told that it was not his, for the owner had paid a local fisherman good money for the boat. If the boy wanted the boat, he would have to pay the price. And so the lad set himself to work doing anything and everything until finally he returned to the store with the money. At last, holding his precious boat in his arms, he said with great joy, ‘You are twice mine now – because I made you and because I bought you.’”

This is just like our redemption!

“Redemption is payment of a price or ransom. The price was Christ’s own blood, and object was our souls. All of humanity was in the slave market of sin and thus powerless to affect self-deliverance, but Christ has purchased his Church with an infinite price as the Scriptures repeatedly attest…”[3]

1 Peter 1:18-19

“…knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.”

Hebrews 9:12

“[11] But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) [12] he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption.”

Because we have been chosen in Christ as a gift from the Father to the Son that we may praise him for his glorious grace he has redeemed us from the slavery that Adam sold us into through the rebellion against Father.

We must remember, apart from Christ we were slaves of sin and following the course of the world system that is ran by the prince of the power of the air (2:2), but Christ Jesus has come and bought us back so that we are twice his, created by him and rescued by him from our slavery to the rebellion and now rebelling against the rebellion.

And to be faithful to the text, we have not just been redeemed, but lavishly redeemed. I was not just rescued from the slave market of sin and allowed to go wander off on my own to figure things out. I was redeemed from the slave market of sin and adopted into the family of my redeemer and made a son and with that redemption I have gained access to an inheritance and purpose that is far above what I could imagine. Our redemption is lavish, more than enough and abundant.

We have been redeemed and that carries implications.

One, I am no longer my own. I belong to Christ Jesus. I’m part of the redeemed, the church, and I exit to praise him for his grace with the church on the mission of making his name great.

Two, I now have a mission that transcends a mere job. My job now becomes the means of (now this is more than the text tells us, but is a theology of the kingdom and created purpose for man in Genesis 1:26) renewing the whole world from its broken state through the supernatural work of the kingdom through the gospel and bringing all things back under the rule of Jesus Christ as they are restored to health, beauty and freedom.

Our redemption is deep and rich and we could spend an eternity on understanding all of it, and we will some day.

  1. We have been forgiven according to the riches of his grace (which he lavished on us)

We have been pardoned. Forgiveness is the idea of a debt being wiped out.

Justification is the next level of the salvific work of Father where he not only forgives us but credits us with the righteousness of Christ.

But often we forget the glories of justification and hang on ourselves guilt that is truly not ours, although we still sin, forgetting the complete nature of Christ’s work. Not only do we forget we have been credited with the righteousness of Christ, but we forget even the front-end work of salvation, forgiveness.

Forgiveness is the pardoning work in the removal of sins. Justification is the crediting with the perfection of Christ.

Again, it’s easy for the believer to not only forget the justifying work of Christ, but also to hang on themselves their past and present sin.

The text says that he has forgiven us of our trespasses. Those past sins are gone.

Listen to some of what Scripture tells us about our sins:

Psalm 103:11-12

[11] For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; [12] as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.

Isaiah 44:21-22

[21] Remember these things, O Jacob, and Israel, for you are my servant; I formed you; you are my servant; O Israel, you will not be forgotten by me. [22] I have blotted out your transgressions like a cloud and your sins like mist; return to me, for I have redeemed you. [23] Sing, O heavens, for the LORD has done it; shout, O depths of the earth; break forth into singing, O mountains, O forest, and every tree in it! For the LORD has redeemed Jacob, and will be glorified in Israel.

Jeremiah 31:34

[34] And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.

Not only have we been forgiven, but also we have been forgiven lavishly. Our sins have not just been pardoned. Our sins have been done away with to such a degree that the eternal weight of them will never touch us again. Jesus’ payment for them is so complete that we can cry out with Paul in Romans 8:1 “There is therefore now no condemnation is Christ Jesus.”

  1. We have been given wisdom and insight (discernment) (which he lavished on us)

There is a sense in which we have wisdom and insight that we didn’t have because we have been made alive, but there is a sense that we have these and need to continually train the lavished blessings of wisdom and insight we have been given.

Listen to 1 Corinthians 2:14-15 and Hebrews 5:14:

1 Corinthians 2:14-16

[14] The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. [15] The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. [16] “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.

We have the mind of Christ. We can think as Jesus does. This is due to the precious gift of the Spirit

Hebrews 5:14

[14] But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.

We live in a body that is racked from the fall and yet we have the blessing of wisdom and insight, and somehow we must train that wisdom and insight.

How do we train these? We train our wisdom and insight through constant practice in the source of wisdom and insight in the knowledge of Father, Son and Spirit…the Bible.

As we search Scripture and as we live in the spiritual blessing of being alive in Christ we must ask why we have wisdom and insight.

We know we can possess wisdom because we are told to ask Father for it in James and the Proverbs assert that we can get wisdom because the beginning of wisdom is the fear of the Lord.

We can have spiritual insight because we have the mind of Christ and can discern spiritual truths.

But Paul says in this passage that he lavished on us wisdom and insight for a very specific purpose. What is that purpose?

To know the mystery of his will

According to his purpose which he set forth in Christ

As a plan for the fullness of time

To unite all things in him, things in heaven and on earth

In other words, we have been blessed lavishly with wisdom (the right application of truth) and insight (discernment) to know Father’s past hidden (mystery) will of great purpose in Christ at just the right time to unite all things, physical and spiritual, in Christ Jesus.

This is another way of telling the Ephesians and us that we have been blessed with the ability to know the kingdom, know the kingdom has come and what Father is doing in the kingdom. We know, as a blessing in Christ, that the rebellion against the rebellion has begun and we know the orders of the Father and we know what the orders will achieve and we know this truth lavishly.

There is nothing hidden from us about the uniting of all things in Christ in the kingdom.

We know that “the kingdom is the renewal of the whole world through the entrance of supernatural forces. As things are brought back under Christ’s rule and authority, they are restored to health, beauty and freedom.” (Tim Keller)

Father has graciously blessed us with the inside information and power of his kingdom to subdue creation and bring all of creation in the heavens and on earth back under the rule of Christ in complete unity with the curse of the fall reversed. That is what is happening in the advance of the Gospel and the taking back of all things for Christ and by his power.

Jesus taught us this truth that he had given us wisdom and insight into his plan in the kingdom parables. “This is why I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. Indeed, in their case the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled…But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear. For truly, I say to you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.” (Matthew 13:13, 14, 16-17)

And is this not how Jesus taught us to pray? “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:9-10)

We have been lavishly blessed with wisdom and insight into the mission and given the tools to achieve the mission and the command to go to the mission.

Conclusion:

What can we do with these blessings of being in Christ that we have learned today?

  1. We can rest secure in our position of being created, sought and rescued.
  1. We can leave the guilt of our past sins in the past
  1. We can abandon our current sins and the guilt of current failure because the kindness of God to not remember my sins leads me to repentance (Romans 2:4)
  1. We can grow our wisdom and insight into the mission of the Father and can increase our work in the mission.

As we grow in seeing the fine tuned way in which all things are being brought back to submission to Christ Jesus, including the way we pursue daily work and thought. We take back every domain of society by leading, repairing, subduing, transforming and teaching and making disciples in every domain.

We have wisdom and insight into doing this work.

Have you ever viewed your job like this: my job exists because I am a part of repairing this portion of what was broken at the fall, and as an agent of the rebellion against the rebellion I will reclaim this ground for King Jesus and seek kingdom come and Jesus’ will being done here as it is done in heaven.

Try that on. It’s not mind hocus-pocus. That is real kingdom mentality in approaching the domains of society.

  1. We can sing with all of creation because he has redeemed us and will be glorified in us in spite of what it may look like in the moment. Father will win the day!

Isaiah 44:21-23

[21] Remember these things, O Jacob, and Israel, for you are my servant; I formed you; you are my servant; O Israel, you will not be forgotten by me. [22] I have blotted out your transgressions like a cloud and your sins like mist; return to me, for I have redeemed you. [23] Sing, O heavens, for the LORD has done it; shout, O depths of the earth; break forth into singing, O mountains, O forest, and every tree in it! For the LORD has redeemed Jacob, and will be glorified in Israel.

Creation is personified as singing over the salvation work of the Lord. And I’m not so sure it’s personification. I have too much Tolkien and Lewis in me. Jesus may cause creation to sing when it’s fully restored, and I am not going to be out-sung by no tree. Let’s worship the Lord Jesus with gusto!

[1] Parenthesis mine

[2] Kent Hughes, Preaching the Word: Ephesians, (Wheaton; Crossway, 1990), p. 15.

[3] Kent Hughes, Preaching the Word: Ephesians, (Wheaton; Crossway, 1990), p. 30.

Ephesians 1:3-6 The Blessing of Our Election in Christ

Ephesians 1:3-6

The Blessing of our Election in Christ

 

Remember, our study in Ephesians is part of our study through the Pastoral Epistles so that we may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, the church, a pillar and buttress of the truth (1 Timothy 3:15). We have a vision/mission: For the glory of God (Psalm 115:1 “Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name give glory…”) we will build the church (Matt. 16:18) both local and global (Matt. 26:19)(vision) by being and producing radical followers of Jesus Christ (John 15 abiding)(mission)(ethos not process).

 

To accomplish the vision God has given from Scripture for his glory in the building of the community of his Kingdom, Father has been mobilizing workers to this mission of being and producing radical followers of Jesus for 12 years now, and he has grown it and expanded it by pioneering work in our people group, mobilizing works to some 11 different nations, sending folks to plant a fellowship in Portland, engaging local evangelism, working with local ministries and weaving into the fabric of our community to be a kingdom agent in solving our challenges and making disciples. Now Father is growing it and expanding it still more.

 

And lest we loose sight of whose we are and what we are here to do, we keep our eyes in the Manual and make sure the Manual dictates what we believe and our application of it.

 

We remember that Ephesians explains what the Church’s cosmic role is as the Body of the Cosmic Christ. Ephesians reveals the position and job description of the church in effecting God’s new order (kingdom of God)[1]. It answers the question, what does it mean to be in Christ, and what does this demand of us?[2]

 

So, last week we saw the blessing of Father to transform servants like Paul. We saw the blessing of Father to give grace and peace to those who are saints and faithful in Christ because of Christ, and we saw how he has blessed us by placing us in Christ.

 

This week, Paul begins expounding on those remaining 33 times he uses “in Christ” (or its synonym) to make clear our blessings in Christ and our role in bringing about his kingdom and its demands of us. But Paul starts in a strange place for some.

 

No matter the glorious nature of this text and no matter the grace expounded in this text there is a weight and “cloud” that I personally feel in preaching through this text. That weight and “cloud” is not because the text causes me consternation or that I reject the notion of the text. I embrace the truth found in this text, understand it to the best of the capacity granted by the teaching of the Holy Spirit from his word, and I glory in it and taste the grace of God in it.

 

However, the way some fight and get angry over and refuse to have fellowship with me/us over such passages causes great weight and a “cloud”. Heck, I’ve even not been allowed to teach in some places because of our embracing of such texts and our fellowship with our beloved Presbyterian brothers and sisters who embrace the glorious reality of Father’s gracious election. That cloud really never goes away.

 

Just know there is nothing of ill will or intent on the part of TRCC or myself in preaching such texts. If you are a member, we have gone over this in our membership class and I know we don’t divide over this issue. But for some reason I feel the weight and “cloud” of the way some reject or get uncomfortable over such passages.

 

I wonder how many view Ephesians 1:3-6 as the spiritual blessing that Paul says it is. Many may secretly wish the bible never said such things, and seek to find passages that, when taken out of context, contradict these passages.

 

Many avoid passages like these in their devotional readings because having to think and adjust is not devotional, its difficult, and we all know that devotional readings should make me feel cozy inside not actually move me to Christ-likeness. Right? (Can you feel the sarcasm?)

 

The reality is that avoiding these passages helps us forget the garden and the deception that propagated the rebellion “you will be like God”. The reality is that avoiding such passages helps us forget the consequences of Adam’s folly “the day you eat of it you will die”. We just don’t want God to be God. We want to be him, not a creature made by him, and we sure don’t want to admit that we are broken and evil creatures under the wrath of God apart of the justifying work of Jesus Christ.

 

Perhaps we are like the tenants in Luke 20:9-18 who don’t want the owner of the vineyard to actually run the vineyard, so we beat and shame his servants and kill his son that he sends so that we can have the vineyard. But the truth is that “The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces, and when it falls on anyone, it will crush him.”

 

So, the challenge is not to exegete the texts. The texts are not complicated Greek with some crazy grammatical structure and multiple definitions to words that are determined by context. The text is quite straightforward.

 

The challenge is that Paul is operating off of a theological framework regarding the nature and state of man that he will expound some in chapter 2 that he assumes his readers know because he lived with them and taught them for 3 years in Ephesus. So, Paul just launches into our blessings in Christ believing the foundation of their state apart from Christ is laid well.

 

This may not be the case for modern readers of Paul.

 

So, let me tell you my story with some of the Passages of the Old Testament and from Paul telling my story for me. This is Jesus’ story of redemption, and everyone who as believed the gospel shares this story if we will be honest.

 

Everyone’s story who is “in Christ” Ephesians 1:3-5

 

Here’s our story from the text of Scripture:

 

Genesis 6:5

The Lord knew that my wickedness was great and that the intentions of my heart were only evil continually.

 

Psalm 14:1-3

The Lord looked down on me and saw that I didn’t understand my state and that I was not seeking after him. I was not doing good just like everyone else.

 

Psalm 51:5

Not only was I not good, even in sin did my mother conceive me.

 

Its not like I just learned bad behavior. I was conceived in a sinful state.

 

Romans 5:12-14

I was conceived in sin because of Adam and the resultant counting of Adam’s rebellion to my account.

 

That is what Adam’s exercise of volition got me. Adam got me death. “The day you eat of it you will die”. Cain will kill Abel. Rebellion against God would be the normal default for all sons of Adam and daughters of Eve. The ground will break. The sky will break. Everything will be at odds with its Creator. Including his image bearers.

 

 

Ephesians 2:1-3

I was dead toward God and walking according to the Prince of the power of the air who is at work in the sons of disobedience. I was the walking dead! I was not in a neutral state. I was a servant of my master, the Devil. My soul was unfeeling and incapable of doing good and deciding ultimate good. I was, in my dead state, a willing participant in the rebellion.

 

2 Corinthians 4:1-6

I was blinded by the rebellion and the active work of my master, Satan, and I couldn’t see the light of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ, so I walked in blindness groping around for what ever I can find that I thought may satisfy me.

 

Jeremiah 17:1, 9

Sin was written on my heart with a diamond point and my heart was, as a result, desperately sick and it couldn’t be tamed by me or any other man.

 

Ezekiel 36:24-27

But God being rich in mercy would take me from my wandering and sprinkle clean water on me and clean me up from my idols and give me a new heart and a new spirit by removing my heart of stone and putting in me a heart of flesh and placing his Spirit in me and causing me to walk in his way and obey his rules.

 

John 1:12-13

By a response of faith to the action of Father to take me from my wandering and cause me to be born again, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. He has made me his child!

 

The rebellion caused my death and gave me my sentence to death. I was deserving of nothing but the death promised to my parents and all of their decedents if they rebelled. All of us were dead and in our sin that we inherited from our dad, Adam.

 

But we learn in our text today that Father, desiring to be merciful to highlight his grace as well as his justice blessed us in Christ with our election to life to rescue us from the just sentence of death in order that he may be praised for his glorious grace (1:6).

 

These texts tell my story. These texts tell your story.

 

Father, in his grace, chose us before time 1:4

“…even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world…”

 

Father’s grace to us to rescue us from the rebellion took place before time and antedated human need. This makes Father’s work free of influence by any decision he would foresee me making because I would not be capable of making it due to my rebellious state.

 

This truth changes my worship. I don’t worship because it’s good for me. I don’t worship because I made a good decision and my lost friends just couldn’t see the logic in the whole thing and remain, due to their folly, in sin. I worship because that is what is due Father for rescuing me from the rebellion when I could not or even would not rescue myself.

 

Listen to the words of one of my favorite songs we sing:

 

Not what my hands have done can save my guilty soul

Not what my toiling flesh has borne can make my spirit whole

Not what I feel or do can give me peace with God

Not all my prayers and sighs and tears can bear my awful load

 

These guilty hands are raised; filthy rags are all I bring

And I have come to hide beneath your wings

These holy hands are raised, washed in the fountain of your grace

And now I wear your righteousness.

 

Thy work alone O Christ can ease this weight of sin

Thy blood alone O Lamb of God can give me peace within

Thy love to me O God not mine O Lord to thee

Can rid me of this dark unrest and set my spirit free

 

These guilty hands are raised; filthy rags are all I bring

And I have come to hide beneath your wings

These holy hands are raised, washed in the fountain of your grace

And now I wear your righteousness.

 

Thy grace a lone O God to me can pardon speak

Thy power alone O Lamb of God can this sore bondage break

No other work save Thine, no other blood will do

No strength save that which is divine can bear me safely through

 

These guilty hands are raised; filthy rags are all I bring

And I have come to hide beneath your wings

These holy hands are raised, washed in the fountain of your grace

And now I wear your righteousness.

 

I praise the God of grace I trust His truth and might

He calls me His I call Him mine my God, my joy, my light

Tis He who saveth me and freely pardon gives

I love because He loveth me I live be cause He lives

 

These guilty hands are raised; filthy rags are all I bring

And I have come to hide beneath your wings

These holy hands are raised, washed in the fountain of your grace

And now I wear your righteousness.

 

Thanks be to Father, Son and Spirit for his work to rescue us when we could not and would not rescue ourselves.

 

Father’s reasons for choosing his people are in himself and full of love 1:5b

“…in love he predestined us…according to the purpose of his will…”

 

Father is love as well as rightly doing justice. Far from arbitrary and cold, Father’s rescue of a redeemed humanity as a gift to the Son is full of love for us and love for the Son[3].

 

What are the stated purposes of Father’s election of a redeemed humanity?

 

The Purposes of Election v. 4-6

 

Sanctification v. 4

One of the false notions about the doctrine of election is that if people are chosen then they can do whatever they want and it does not matter. That argument sounds good if Father operated off of fallen human logic, but he does not operate on faulty and fallen logic. Father operates off of truth and he is the source of truth and the word is our record of Father’s truth.

 

The Scriptures here tell us that “…he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that (purpose clause) we should be holy and blameless before him.”

 

In other words Father’s choosing of a redeemed humanity has, as one of his stated reasons, to take an unholy and reproachful 20-year-old unregenerate mission-less guy like me and make me holy and blameless.

 

One of the glorious facets of the Gospel is that Father takes sinners and, as we talked about last week, he turns them into saints and then proceeds to actually cause their behavior to come in line with his truth.

 

Exodus 20:2 – The indicative comes before the imperative and you can never reverse the order.

 

Father graciously chose Abraham when Abraham was not looking for him, and when his people were later rescued from Egypt and brought in to the desert to worship this is what Father told them as he gave them the Law. “I am the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery…”

 

Then, and only then, does Father give them the law. The Law does not precede the indicative. They are his people because he chose them to be his people and therefore he gives them the law not to become his people if they can keep it, but because they are his people and need to learn what it is to imitate him in holiness (and of course to reveal the truth of the Gospel through the law and the need for the Christ to come and keep the law, die for sinners, rise for their salvation and empower the completion of the Abrahamic Covenant in the Great Commission through the preaching of the gospel to all nations).

 

If the imperative came before the indicative then we would have to keep a standard to become his people. But thanks be to Jesus Christ that he chose us before the foundation of the world and the imperative came after the indicative to train me to be a son.

 

Ezekiel 36:24-27 – We get justified, receive a new heart of flesh in place of a heart of stone, we get a new spirit, and we get the Holy Spirit all of which causes us to walk in the way of the Lord Jesus in delight not duty.

 

This glorious new covenant promise that Ezekiel preaches about helps us to see Father’s action of cleaning up his people.

 

When Jesus saved us he justified us and gave us a transformed soul that now delights to follow Father’s way. This new “us” now combats our fallen flesh to bring it into line and action with the standards of being one of Father’s beloved children. The bible calls this “sanctification”, and it is the precious gift of those who are in Christ.

 

What else does Paul say is a purpose for Father’s elective work?

 

Adoption v. 5

In all of the Old Testament God is only referred to as “Father” 14 times, and according to some OT scholars these references are rather impersonal.[4]

 

But the gospels record Jesus using “Father” more than 60 times in reference to God. This was Jesus’ “go to” when referencing the Father. The lone exception is when on the cross he teaches about the happening moment through the Messianic passage of Psalm 22 which begins “My God, My God…”.

 

Jesus used the common Aramaic word that a child would use to address their daddy, “Abba”. This was huge. Jesus was, by example, living the reality of what he came to make a reality for all who would repent and believe the gospel.

 

This became the understanding of those who wrote under inspiration the New Testament. Listen to Paul’s words:

“For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,” (Romans 8:15, 16)

 

“But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” (Galatians 4:4-6)

 

J.I. Packer is the reason you will often hear me say “Father” when most just simply say “God”.

 

Listen to Packer’s summation on God’s Fatherhood through our adoption as sons and daughters:

“If you want to judge how well a person understands Christianity, find out how much he makes of the thought of being God’s child, and having God as his father. If this is not the thought that prompts and controls his worship and prayers and his whole outlook on life, it means that he does not understand Christianity very well at all. For everything that Christ taught, everything that makes the New Testament new, and better than the Old, everything that is distinctively Christian as opposed to merely Jewish, is summed up in the knowledge of the Fatherhood of God. “Father” is the Christian name for God.”[5]

 

Do you have the “Spirit of Adoption”? Do you sense that God is your Father? Do you think of him and address him as Father or distant and unfeeling God?

 

Hear John 1:12-13 “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.”

 

If we can’t come to him as Father, we may not have him as our Father. He is Father, and if you have not believed in the gospel that makes God, Father, then repent of the lie of the rebellion keeping you from knowing Father as “Abba”, and believe the good news.

 

One of our glorious blessings in Christ and being seated with Christ in the heavenly places is that we are adopted as children and brought into the family and thus have all of the family resources to do the family work of subduing all nations with the good news of the family, Jesus.

 

One final purpose Paul states for Father’s good elective work is found in verse 6.

 

Worship v. 6

“…to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the beloved.”

 

Our election for sanctification and adoption is “to” the praise of his glorious grace.

 

If these passages don’t bring us to praise, which Paul here says they are to do, then the problem lies with us not the bible or the clarity of Scripture. But we must understand that the text here is not ambiguous.  

 

The “to” here in verse 6 is the over-arching purpose clause for verses 4 and 5. That is its grammatical purpose. He chose us to sanctify us. He predestined us to adopt us. He sanctifies us and adopts us so that we might praise him for his glorious grace.

 

Father’s ultimate purpose in our sanctification and adoption is that holy children may worship him for his glorious grace.

 

Remember, our status due to Adam’s rebellion is that we are dead. But in Christ we have been made alive that we my sing of his grace and offer our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is our spiritual worship.

 

Conclusion:

If passages like this cause consternation I have one application for you that will give you a framework to make it all come together.

 

  1. The completion of the Great Commission is guaranteed through the work of the kingdom in the community of his kingdom, the church.

 

We do not have to wonder if Father will call forth his church from the nations as we go. It will happen. There is no failure in our actions to make Jesus big globally and locally. We may have temporary set backs, but the kingdom is not set back.

 

Actually engage in evangelism by meeting people cold and going gospel on them. Be observant and take note of the eyes and the emotive and physical response to the gospel. Take note of who, when and how transformation takes place.

 

Actually get in front of a hardened and died in the wool Muslim and befriend them and watch Holy Spirit stir the conversation to the gospel. Take note of who, when and how transformation takes place.

 

You will quickly become aware of Who is actually providentially guiding this glorious gospel work. You will quickly come to agreement with Paul in Ephesians 2 that people are alive but truly spiritually dead.

 

You will be amazed at the ones who believe and under what circumstances they believe. It will be backward of what you think about how and who.

 

You will discover the freaky reality that Holy Spirit sometimes gives dreams to them before you meet them about you coming with the “book” and sure enough you end up there with the “book” and they believe.

 

Do you really think that is because we are driving some process?

 

Some of my heroes, the Moravians, understood this well. These guys sold themselves to the new world to preach the gospel and watch the Spirit call forth the elect from the new world.

 

I am a great, great, great, great, great grandson of their gospel labor.

 

These gospel believing, doctrine of election loving missionaries would indiscriminately preach the gospel and simply take the fruit that the Holy Spirit gave and begin walking them through the bible in their language. At some point Chief John Jolly heard and believed because of the work of Moravians like Anna Kleist Gambold who is memorialized in Chatsworth, Georgia at “Spring Place Mission”.

 

And then Father does really cool things like allowing the fruit of Moravian missionary labor to sit down and eat dinner with a Moravian descendant who happened to be in the capital that evening and through providential networks got to come have dinner with us that particular evening. And we ate together, shed a tear or two in joy together and worshiped together because Father, apart from any good thing we did, saved us in Christ Jesus, sent us out to the nations and we providentially end up worshiping together among the nations.

 

Father, Son and Spirit are worthy of our worship.

[1] Parenthesis mine

[2] Kent Hughes, Preaching the Word: Ephesians, (Wheaton; Crossway, 1990), p. 15.

[3] (See John 6:37, 39; 10:29; 17:2, 6, 9, 12 and the use of the perfect tense verb and the theme of Father giving the Son a redeemed humanity)

[4] Kent Hughes particularly

[5] J.I. Packer, Knowing God (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1973), p. 182.