Preaching Outline of the Letter to the Ephesians Message Twelve

The Letter to the Ephesians  Message Twelve

VII.  Perception.  Ephesians 3:14-21

  A.  We learned of Paul’s reliance upon God and –

  B.  Paul’s Request from God –

Paul began his request from God that believers will be –

    1.  Strengthened

Ephesians 3:16   That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;

Paul also requested of God that believers, through this strength, would be –

    2.  Stable – nothing wavering, every day enjoying the presence of God in us –

Ephesians 3:17   That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,

      a. Christ is in us –  “…dwell in your hearts by faith…”

Colossians 1:27  To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:

We learned last week that Paul is writing  – “That Christ might dwell in your hearts by faith…”  The truth he is expressing is understood by the meaning of the word “dwell” that he used as led by the Lord.  He is helping us understand that Jesus Christ has moved in permanently, He has settled His place in our hearts and our faith can be sure of this.

We should be confident that Christ is in us and that –

      b.  We are in Christ –

1 Corinthians 15:58  Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.

How can I be steadfast? How can I be unmovable?  By remembering that I am in Christ!

Philippians 4:13  I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

1 Timothy 1:12  And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry;

We are vitally connected to the Lord, He in us and we in Him –

John 15:5  I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.

Is your life an example of Godly strength and Godly stability –

Paul bowed his knee in prayer for them that they would be –

    3.  Saturated – ‘…filled…’

      a.  Filled with understanding –

Ephesians 3:18   May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;

“May be able….”  to have the strength to do this thing

“…to comprehend…”  to apprehend, to understand, “I’ve got it”!!

“…with all saints…”   every saint can have this strength and understanding.

“…what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height.”

Filled with the understanding of God’s will in which we live.

In the 1960’s a phrase was coined which defined thinking that is common to man from the time of Adam and Eve – “think outside of the box”.  This is the thought process of breaking through laws, whether natural or societal, or accepted practices, in order to introduce or invent something new. This thinking is encouraged when, let’s say, a current product has become ordinary and people want more.  For example – the clothes washing machine.  Some of you remember, others have seen pictures of the wash tub and the scrub board.  A man in New York was thinking outside of the box and invented the wash scrub board, make life easy of the woman – but not easy enough.  More thinking was done, a barrel with a paddle took the place of the tub and wash board – but while easier, it was still very difficult, time-consuming work.  With the addition of gears and crank handles, the washing machine was introduced – an invention which revolutionized washing clothes, bringing the woman from the river and rocks into the comfort of her own house.

Can a new thing be good?  Of course these things are wonderful, helpful. But we must always remember that God has set bounds, laws, that we are not to venture beyond, to break through the laws of God.  This as we are full aware of led to destruction, the introduction of sin into the world.

God has given us a box to live in and we should seek to comprehend – to know and live within its “…breadth, and length, and depth, and height…”

The ultimate purpose of washing clothes is to make them clean.

The method is of no concern if the purpose is accomplished.

The ultimate purpose of God is His glory.

The method is intrinsic to accomplishing His purpose.

We must understand that God did not –

      establish 10:00 am as the church meeting time.

     Nor establish Wednesday night as mid-week prayer meeting and Bible study.

     Nor establish three congregational songs and a Bible recitation before the message

But we must also understand that He did establish –

     The primacy of His Word being preached and taught.

      The church is an assembly of saved, baptized people covenanting together to carry out His Will according to His Word.

     The church is to take His Word into all the world, preaching the gospel to every creature.

     The church is to baptize those that believe and call upon Him for salvation.

     The church is to teach these believers to know and do His will.

     The believers are to love the world as Jesus loves the world.

     The believers are to pray for those in authority, to pray for one another, to pray for the lost to be saved.

Living within the breadth, and length, and depth, and height, living within the box will bring glory to God and accomplish His purpose.

Thinking outside of the box in the Biblical context has led to such ungodly practices as infant baptism, unsaved church membership, replacement of the assembly of believers – the church – with informal Bible study groups, outreach ministries working outside of church authority, building coffee shops or other similar businesses to remove the hesitancy of ‘attending church’, online, cable, television, and radio ministries taking the place of the church. 

Those who claim to be churches, the people of God, had better be warned against thinking outside of the box that God has established.

We should be living inside the box! 

We cannot add anything to God’s Word and make it better! 

We cannot add anything to God’s will and make it better!

We cannot change God’s plan and make it better!

      b.  Filled with God.

Ephesians 3:19  And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.

It is not a matter of seeking to have more of God, it is a matter of surrender to Him – “Lord, all that I am, all that I will be, all that I have is yours. 

Look at the example of the Macedonians –

2 Corinthians 8:1-5  Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia; How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality. For to their power, I bear record, yea, and beyond their power they were willing of themselves; Praying us with much intreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints. And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God.

They were filled with faith, with trust of God that He would care for them and they expressed their faith and trust through that which can be known by those around us –

Galatians 5:22-25  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

Are you steadfast, trusting the strength of the Lord? Or is your life just a show, like a beautiful tree without a stable root system?

Are you satisfied, knowing that God’s word holds all the answers in practice and principle for you to accomplish His purpose?

Are you submitted to Him in everything? Philippians 4:19  But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

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Preaching Outline on the Letter to the Ephesians Message Eleven

The Letter to the Ephesians    Message Eleven

VII.  Perception.  Ephesians 3:14-21

  A.  Last week we learned of Paul’s reliance upon God and we began to look at –

  B.  Paul’s Request from God –

Paul began his request from God that believers will be –

    1.  Strengthened

Ephesians 3:16   That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;

2 Corinthians 4:16  For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.

Preparing, not the guest room, but the dwelling place of the very special Friend.  The work is too much for the individual, help is needed, and that help can only be given by the Holy Spirit.   The Spirit leads the believer to prepare the inner man not only for the Saviour’s presence, but also His leadership. This is a daily work in the believer.

2 Corinthians 5:17  Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new

We must have the willingness, through faith, to do the will of God before we know what His will is.  We might prepare ourselves through the Word of God –

1 Thessalonians 5:16-21  Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. Quench not the Spirit. Despise not prophesyings. Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.

As Christians, we begin our new lives with God by faith, trusting Him and His Word. 

We begin to “Rejoice evermore” because we are saved and life with Him is settled forever!

We continue by “praying without ceasing” because we need time with our Lord, we have questions that we need answered, help when in trouble, compassion for others, and as we rejoice and pray –

Grow into being able to “In every thing give thanks” because we have peace that we did not have before.  We have excitement as prayers are answered.  We have friendship with one another in church –

But we need to be careful that we do not say “Lord, I have faith to be saved, and I have faith to rejoice, and I have faith to pray, and I have faith to give thanks, but Lord, I do not want to obey you in this.

Lord, I will obey in many things, but not this.  God knows our weaknesses and so He has commanded us in this also –

“Quench not the Spirit”.  Do not throw water on the fire of God.

“Despise not prophesyings”.  Do not reject the Word of God confirming God’s will for you today.

“Prove all things”.  Obey God and see that His will is best.

“Hold fast that which is good”.  You might say “I trusted God, read His Word, and obeyed His direction, but it sure did not seem good today”!

Remember –

Romans 8:27-28  And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

We have been given help from God that we may know how to exchange wrong for right.  Integrity is only possible when new actions are in accordance with our new nature. By the Word of God, the Bible, we learn what to put behind us, and also what to accept into our lives –

We need help because it is difficult!

Colossians 3:8-17  But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him: ……Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.

Why do we need strength from God?  Because the things that God identifies as wrong are accepted by the world as being right – in their place.  They justify themselves by claiming there is a time for cheating, for lying, for putting themselves first – before anyone else.

Proverbs 17:15  He that justifieth the wicked, and he that condemneth the just, even they both are abomination to the LORD.

Isaiah 5:20  Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!

When the believer, you, say that these things are wrong, always wrong, you will be ridiculed, mocked, shunned.  You will need the strength of God to stand in truth.

1 Peter 4:1-5  Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God. For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries: Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you: Who shall give account to him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead.

Will you desire and pray for His strength today?

Will you read God’s Word so that you can know what is right and what is wrong?

Will you choose to do right instead of doing wrong?

Paul also requested of God that believers might be –

    2.  Stable – nothing wavering, every day enjoying the presence of God in us –

Ephesians 3:17   That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,

      a. Christ is in us –  “…dwell in your hearts by faith…”

Colossians 1:27  To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:

We might ask what is Paul writing about here – “That Christ might dwell in your hearts by faith…”?  The truth he is expressing is understood by the meaning of the word “dwell” that he used as led by the Lord.  He is helping us understand that Jesus Christ has moved in permanently, He has settled His place in our hearts and our faith can be sure of this.

We should be confident that Christ is in us and that –

      b.  We are in Christ –

1 Corinthians 15:58  Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.

How can I be steadfast? How can I be unmovable?  By remembering that I am in Christ!

Philippians 4:13  I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

1 Timothy 1:12  And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry;

We are vitally connected to the Lord, He in us and we in Him –

John 15:5  I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.

Is your life an example of Godly strength and Godly stability?

Are you depending on Him each day?

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Preaching outline for Mothers Day 8 May 2022

Mothers Day       May 8, 2022

God’s Word reveals His will for the woman in the role of a mother.

An early thought in the process of preparing the Mother’s day message began with these verses –

Proverbs 23:22, 30:17b Hearken unto thy father that begat thee, and despise not thy mother when she is old.…… The eye that mocketh at his father, and despiseth to obey his mother, the ravens of the valley shall pick it out, and the young eagles shall eat it.

Following prayerful consideration, I turned to another theme for this day, although I do believe the warning is appropriate.

Now, to continue – with some very basic, Biblical facts that have been ignored in much of the world –

First, she is to be a woman!  (Not a like-gender partner)

I. A woman

    A. Created by God with a purpose.

      1. God created man from dust (earth) for Himself.
      2. God created woman from the man.
      3. God created woman for man (to complete him).

Genesis 2:18-24  And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him. And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof. And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him. And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.

    B. The relationships changed due to sin.

Genesis 3:7-16  And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons. And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden. And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself. And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat? And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat. And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat. And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.

      1. She is still responsible to complete the man.
      2. She is now to be subject to him.  In this –
      3. She is to glorify God in her life.

2 Timothy 1:5  When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also.

II.  A Wife

  A. The authority.

    1. The authority of her father is transferred to her husband at the time of their marriage. Remember – “thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.”

Numbers 30:3-8  If a woman also vow a vow unto the LORD, and bind herself by a bond, being in her father’s house in her youth; And her father hear her vow, and her bond wherewith she hath bound her soul, and her father shall hold his peace at her: then all her vows shall stand, and every bond wherewith she hath bound her soul shall stand. But if her father disallow her in the day that he heareth; not any of her vows, or of her bonds wherewith she hath bound her soul, shall stand: and the LORD shall forgive her, because her father disallowed her. And if she had at all an husband, when she vowed, or uttered ought out of her lips, wherewith she bound her soul; And her husband heard it, and held his peace at her in the day that he heard it: then her vows shall stand, and her bonds wherewith she bound her soul shall stand. But if her husband disallowed her on the day that he heard it; then he shall make her vow which she vowed, and that which she uttered with her lips, wherewith she bound her soul, of none effect: and the LORD shall forgive her.

    2. Husband is held responsible –

Exodus 4:24-25  And it came to pass by the way in the inn, that the LORD met him, and sought to kill him. Then Zipporah took a sharp stone, and cut off the foreskin of her son, and cast it at his feet, and said, Surely a bloody husband art thou to me.


    3. She is not inferior to her husband.
    4. She is designed by God to fulfil and different role than the man.

  B. The responsibility.

      1.  To be separated unto God – have faith in God.

Colossians 2:6-7  As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.

      2. To be separated unto her husband – have faith in his faith.
     

          The wife married him and must be able to submit to him.  The pattern of submission is declared by God –

Ephesians 5:22-25  Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;

      a. Submission is evidence of order, not of being inferior in being!
      b. Submission instills respect for God and the authority that He has invested in Fathers, Mothers, Governments, and all in authority.

        1).  Respect for God –

Exodus 20:1,2  And God spake all these words, saying, I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

        2).  Respect for parents –

Exodus 20:12  Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.

        3).  Respect for those in authority –

1 Peter 2:13-14  Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well.

  III.  A Mother

    A. She is to help maintain order in the home. (Note that the husband is ultimately      responsible to God for these things).


    B. She is to love her children and therefore, bring them to the Lord through His Word –

2 Timothy 1:5 When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also.

Timothy’s mother and grandmother concentrated on teaching him the Word of God –

2 Timothy 3:15  And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.

This the true love, bringing the child up to know and love God!

Every woman fulfils at least one of the three roles intended by God for her.  She is a woman, and she should be all that she can be in that role.  If she does not marry and if she does not have children, she should not believe herself to be less than any woman, wife, or mother. 

For the woman that does marry, but does not have children, she also should be thankful of the family that she has, the opportunities afforded to her to complete her husband in the work that God has for them.

For the woman that marries and has children, she should not believe herself to be better than any other, but she is to take her roles seriously and carry them out for the glory of God.

Also, lest you do not have an opportunity to listen to the message which will be preached on Fathers Day, any man also fulfils at least one role, that of being a man.  Let him do it with integrity and dignity.   If he does not marry, or if he marries and has no children, he should be thankful for the life that he has to live for the Lord.

If he marries and has children, he is to take his responsibilities seriously and carry them out for the glory of God.

Mothers – will you dedicated yourself today to be the mother that God will have you to be –

No matter what time of life you find yourself in –

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Preaching outline on Letter to the Ephesians Message Ten

The Letter to the Ephesians    Message Ten   1 May 2022

Two weeks ago we read the first thirteen verses of chapter three and learned of God’s –

VI.  Promise  Ephesians 3:1-13

Through these verses we learned that God revealed His plan –

  A.  To enable all men to come to Him by grace through faith –

  B.  To explain that Paul was called of God to salvation and once saved, to service as he wrote in –

Ephesians 2:8-10  For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

As we saw, he was to declare the message to all men, but particularly the Gentiles.

    1.  Paul was touched by conviction, as they were.

    2.  He was taught by revelation –

      a.  The Authority of this revelation was God.

      b.  The acceptance of this authority was of God

    3.  He was tasked with the preaching of the gospel to the Gentiles.

    4.  He was training others to follow the commission of God –

  C.  To exalt the Lord Jesus Christ

  D.  To ease their concern for him

Ephesians 3:13  Wherefore I desire that ye faint not at my tribulations for you, which is your glory.

Today we turn from God’s promise to Paul’s –

VII.  Perception.  Ephesians 3:14-21

He perceived  (understood) the Greatness of God and the need (emptiness) of men which we see in his reliance, his request, and his regard for God.

  A.  Paul’s Reliance on God

Paul knew that the distance between man and God is infinite.  We can travel forever and never arrive into His presence!  We learn from Paul’s message to those in Athens as recorded in Acts 17 that they could not know God, except that He revealed Himself to them. 

Acts 17:19-23  And they took him, and brought him unto Areopagus, saying, May we know what this new doctrine, whereof thou speakest, is? For thou bringest certain strange things to our ears: we would know therefore what these things mean. (For all the Athenians and strangers which were there spent their time in nothing else, but either to tell, or to hear some new thing.) Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you.

 Paul knew that God was not conceived in the imaginations of man, and even that knowing the truth of God, all of the praying and all of the preaching would be of none affect except that God’s power was in it.  Therefore Paul stated –

    Ephesians 3:14  For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,

In the Old Testament at the rebuilding of the Temple following the Babylonian captivity, Zerubabble was reminded that even though the building was constructed by the labour of men, it was God through His power who enabled them to build it and it was God who would consecrate and establish it as the House of Prayer.

It was through the account given by Zechariah in chapter 4, verse 6 that we are reminded of our need to rely on God –  Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts.

It was through the words of Jesus that we are reminded that while men built the house, it was through His power and for His purpose that it was built –

Matthew 21:13  And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer…..

Paul both learned this truth and he practiced it, relying on the Lord –

1 Corinthians 2:4-5  And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.

He prayed that others would learn and lean on the Lord for power in their lives.

    2.  The picture of what is, but even more, in holiness what should be.

    Ephesians 3:15   Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,

When we think of ‘family’, we should be reminded that ‘family’ began in the mind and heart of God.

Man separated himself from God through sin, but in doing this, he did not destroy the concept of family set forth by God.  This being true, we understand more about why Satan attacks the family with more energy and hatred than any other institution.  The family has been under attack since the beginning in the Garden of Eden.  Even after these thousands of years, the family unit still brings glory to God.

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Preaching Outline on the Letter to the Ephesians Message Nine

The Letter to the Ephesians    Message Nine

VI.  Promise  Ephesians 3:1-13

As we read the Scriptures and understand the revelation of God from the beginning we must, as the New Testament believers also must, learn that the Gospel to the Gentiles was not an afterthought!  The promises of God were revealed at His appointed time in accordance to His will, and we see in His Word the perfect plan set before the beginning of time.

Remember  –

Jesus came “in the fulness of time…”

Jesus ministered “…my time is not yet come…”

Jesus died “…when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father…”

God revealed His plan –

  A.  To enable all men to come to Him by grace through faith –

Ephesians 3:1 For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you

Gentiles,

To understand Paul’s statement “For this cause…” we must read again the previous verses –

Ephesians 2:18-22  For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

The cause is that men might know that it is God’s will for to be united in Him and being united in Him, to be united with one another –

John 17:22-23  And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.

  B.  To explain that Paul was called of God to declare this message –

Ephesians 3:2  If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward:

    1.  Paul was touched by conviction, as they were.

Acts 9:4-5  And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.

    2.  He was taught by revelation –

Ephesians 3:3-4  How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ)

      a.  The Authority of this revelation was God.

Galatians 1:11-12  But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.

      b.  The acceptance of this authority was of God

(The Gentile church is not an invention of the Apostle Paul as some have claimed.)

Ephesians 3:5  Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit;

Acts 15:14-18  Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name. And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written, After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up: That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things. Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world.

Galatians 2:7-9  But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter; (For he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles:) And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision.

    3.  He was tasked with the preaching of the gospel to the Gentiles.

Ephesians 3:6-8   That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel: Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power. Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;

    4.  He was training others to follow the commission of God –

Ephesians 3:9  And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:

Matthew 28:18-20  And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

Paul was preparing men to prepare others to carry out the commission of the Lord Jesus Christ until He returns.  He was training his generation to train the following generation until the “…end of the world.”

2 Timothy 1:12-13  For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day. Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.

2 Timothy 2:2  And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.

  C.  To exalt the Lord Jesus Christ

    1.  Returning the glorious news of Christ –

Ephesians 3:10  To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God,

  • shouting it back unto all those that gave the first news of His arrival –

Luke 2:8-14  And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

    2.  Reminding us again of how much the Lord loves His church –

Ephesians 3:11-12 According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord: In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him.

Refer to –

Ephesians 5:25  Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;

The Lord loved the church from eternity past, before creation, He loved His church.  In the sense of the infinite, Jesus loved it immediately, and in the sense of time, He loved it in anticipation.

We do not truly understand the infinite, but we who are married certainly understand the immediate and the anticipation of the marriage to our loved one.  Jesus loved and loves the unity brought forth by grace through faith.

Grace brings us peace, but praise God as we grow in Him and daily learn also that grace brings boldness and access to Him.

  D.  To ease their concern for him

Ephesians 3:13  Wherefore I desire that ye faint not at my tribulations for you, which is your glory.

Paul completed this thought by telling them not to worry about the tribulations he was going through – it is all worth it and after all – very temporary.

It is all in His plan – no surprise to God, it is just being revealed to us, unfolding as it were as time moves forward.

Have you submitted yourself to His plan – calling upon Him through salvation?

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Preaching Outline of the Letter to the Ephesians Message Seven

The Letter to the Ephesians   Message Seven   Ephesians 2:4-10

Last week we reviewed the riches of God through His grace which brings peace to us each day.  We saw that –

      a.  He is rich in Power  Ephesians 2:5,6

      b.  He is rich in Provision –   Ephesians 2:7

      c.  He is rich in Promises –   Ephesians 2:8

        1).  Grace. 

        2).  Saved

        3).  Faith. 

This week we continue to look at the riches of God to us through His grace resulting in His peace.

      d.  He is rich in Purpose – His plan works –

        1).  To Exclude pride.

Ephesians 2:8b     Not of works, lest any man should boast.

        2).  To Exalt the Lord Jesus Christ.

Ephesians 2:9 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus

        3).  To Engage man

Ephesians 2:9b-10  …..unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

From the beginning, man has declared religion over relationship.  Man’s pride insists that he add his own works (religion) to God’s offer of salvation (relationship).  God has set forth clearly that salvation is completely by His grace according to man’s faith in Him.  We trust and accept, then we work because we are saved, not work to be saved!

Multitudes of people have said “No one can save me, not man and not God”, but God had stated that “whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved”

Jeremiah 32:27  Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh: is there any thing too hard for me?

Put away your pride, humble yourself before Him and trust God alone for your salvation.  We also learn that –

      e.  He is rich in Presence

Ephesians 2:11-13  Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.

Romans 3:2  Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God.

Psalm 139:7-12  Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me. Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee.

As we consider the riches of God and His Son the Lord Jesus Christ, let’s review His riches in the light of the account of the Samaritan’s notice of one in need –

As I was considering these character traits, I thought again of His provision, being encouraged not only by His unlimited store but also by His infinite kindness which manifest the fulness of all that we are reminded of this morning.

Ephesians 2:7  That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.

Kindness – actions based on attitudes –

Luke 10:30-37  And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee. Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves? And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.

We see in the Samaritan the meaning of God’s words –

Philippians 2:3-5  Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:

He had the power to help – strength and ability to deliver the man from danger

He had the prestige to help – respected and trusted by the innkeeper

He had the provision to help – immediately and in the future

He had the presence to help – he went to where the need was

He had the mercy to help – he had compassion instead of accusation – using a convenient reason to cross to the other side of the road –

“I am not from here and am just passing through this area.  Being from Samaria, if I do try and help you, the Jews, who despise Samaritans, may think that I am the one who beat and robbed you.  I feel sorry for you, but I do not want to get involved, I don’t want any trouble.”

But we see that the Samaritan had the grace to help by putting his own journey aside, and putting this man’s needs before his own

We are put in mind again of our Lord –

2 Corinthians 8:9  For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.

“…for his great love wherewith he loved us….”

Ephesians 2:5   Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)

Conclusion

      f.  He is rich in Prestige which leads to Praise

Isaiah 45:22-23  Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else. I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear.

Ephesians 2:6   And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: Our eternal life, which has already begun when we turned to God for salvation through His Son, Jesus Christ, is all of Him and about Him.  Thank Him now and every day.

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Preaching Outline for the Letter to the Ephesians, Message Seven

The Letter to the Ephesians     Message Six

IV.  Proof of changed lives.  Ephesians 2:1-13

  A.  Our (mankind’s) Resignation   Ephesians 2:1

Being where they were, as they were, they lived accordingly –

  B.  Our Resolve

  C.  Our Rescue          Ephesians 2:4-13

Last week we were reminded of some of –

    1.  The Positive responses of God –

      a.  When no hope is expected –

      b.  When all hope is lost –

      c.  When hope in God is questioned –

      d.  When no hope of victory over temptations –

      e.  When no hope that God’s plan will be fulfilled –

Ephesians 2:4-5  But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)

God reaches out to us through His power, explaining His working through His Word, bringing help to us and glory to Himself.

    His mercy through His patience and forbearance is emphasized when we realize –

    2.  The Position we were in –

         “…even when we were dead in sins…”

Can you rejoice today in those words, two words that mean everything to us – “But God…” –

Not only might we rejoice in the marvelous mercy of God in our lives, coupled with His Grace and His Peace, but we can rejoice in the fact that God’s present work never diminishes His future ability!  He never has to ‘restock’ or ‘reserve for future use’!  God is not just ‘immense’, He is infinite!  How can our limited minds define the unlimited Person of God? We simply accept and rejoice as we consider the riches of God

    3.  The Praise of His rich grace, peace, and love.

Ephesians 2:4  But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,

Consider the riches of God manifested because of His Great Love –

      a.  He is rich in Power

Notice the declaration given in –

Isaiah 43:13  Yea, before the day was I am he; and there is none that can deliver out of my hand: I will work, and who shall let it?

We are reassured by His power that He has done, and He will do that which He has declared –

Ephesians 2:5,6  Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)  And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:

Without the saving work and power of God, we cannot even raise ourselves up above ourselves through our own strength.  Reformation is temporary –

the old self continues to rise to the surface,

the old memories continue to haunt us, even sometimes terrify us, creating scars which harden our hearts and encourage bitterness at our own weaknesses.

This is the human nature, the natural man that God has saved us from!

There is no Stairway to Heaven – there is the Doorway, “…raised us together….” the Lord Jesus Christ who by faith in Him brings us to God, from death to life, from this world to Heaven, “…to sit in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.”

Praise God for His infinite Power!  Also we know that –

      b.  He is rich in Provision

He is infinite in His provision –

Psalm 50:10-12  For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills. I know all the fowls of the mountains: and the wild beasts of the field are mine. If I were hungry, I would not tell thee: for the world is mine, and the fulness thereof.

Do you praise God that He shares His provisions with you?

Ephesians 2:7  That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.

Have you noticed that one of the most blessed ways God shows His grace and His kindness is through sharing Himself through fellowship and provision?

Exodus 24:7-11  And he took the book of the covenant, and read in the audience of the people: and they said, All that the LORD hath said will we do, and be obedient. And Moses took the blood, and sprinkled it on the people, and said, Behold the blood of the covenant, which the LORD hath made with you concerning all these words. Then went up Moses, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel: And they saw the God of Israel: and there was under his feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in his clearness. And upon the nobles of the children of Israel he laid not his hand: also they saw God, and did eat and drink.

John 21:9-12  As soon then as they were come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid thereon, and bread. Jesus saith unto them, Bring of the fish which ye have now caught. Simon Peter went up, and drew the net to land full of great fishes, an hundred and fifty and three: and for all there were so many, yet was not the net broken. Jesus saith unto them, Come and dine. And none of the disciples durst ask him, Who art thou? knowing that it was the Lord.

Do you praise God for His provision given from His infinite store and through His infinite love?

      c.  He is rich in Promises

Ephesians 2:8,9  For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.

I have a question for you Christian – what qualifies you to call yourself a Christian?  Let’s consider this verse –

        1).  Grace.  Remember that the theme of this letter as stated in chapter one is the grace of God and through His grace, peace with God.  We determine, then, that the grace mentioned here is from God.  The motivation is the glory of God, and the offer is through the grace of God, promised thousands of years before, first made known in Genesis 3.       

        2).  Saved.  It is interesting to think about how many people are offended by this word.  Christians even try to use other words because they have been confronted by angry hearers so often – “What do I need to be saved from”?  Is there a better way to say it, a better way to approach people in a “kinder, gentler” way? I am afraid that “Christians” have worked out many ways to get people into Heaven without them knowing it!  The word ‘saved’ in the context of salvation of the Lord is used more than thirty times in the New Testament.  Once is enough, but we find this important word is to be used to help people realize they are ‘lost’ and need to be saved!  Once a person understands that he is lost, he will be glad to hear this word ‘saved’.

I have shared many times about the night many years ago we were driving to Sarasota, Florida.  Everyone in the car was asleep and I decided to drive late and reach our destination.  I pulled off at an exit on the interstate to get gas.  I tried to be quiet and smooth in my driving in order to not wake anyone.  They all remained asleep and I continued the journey.  After about 20 minutes, I noticed the compass showed ‘N’ for North.  It should have been showing ‘S’ for south!  I had taken the wrong entrance onto the highway and was going somewhere I did not want to go!  I remained very quiet and began looking for an exit so I could turn around and reach the intended destination. The compass marking ‘N’ saved me from going to the wrong place, and taking others along with me.  I did not get angry at the compass and insist on continuing the wrong direction.  I admitted to myself that I was wrong and based on that admission, turned around to go in the right way, which  I confessed to the family upon our arrival.  The word ‘saved’ is important, it is imperative because people are ‘lost’.

        3).  Faith.  You believe in many things and your exercise of this belief is called faith.  The Scripture defines faith in –

Hebrews 11:1-3  Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.  For by it the elders obtained a good report. Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.

So, what is faith?  Faith is –

          a).  A Promise.  Hebrews 11:1  “Substance of things hoped for”       (Promise,    Title deed)

         b).  A Presentation.  “Evidence of things not seen.”

         c).  A Proof.  Hebrews 11:2,3  The evidence presented by “…things that are seen were not made of things which do appear”

Faith is not mysterious or intangible, it is real and exercised daily.  Is your faith in God?  It is this faith in Him, through His grace that saves us, qualifies us to call ourselves ‘Christians’.

        4).  Gift.  Being saved is a gift from God.

A gift is that which is voluntarily given from one person to another without compensation.  If men could be saved through works of their own, it would no longer be a gift.  Salvation is of God alone and it is not for sale!

God is rich in His Promises –

Romans 10:9-13  That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

Consider the riches of God manifested because of His Great Love –

He is rich in Power, Provision, and Promises.  Have you put your faith in Him today?

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Preaching Outline on the Letter to the Ephesians Message Five chapter 2:4 “But God……”

The Letter to the Ephesians        Message Five

  A.  Our Resignation

  B.  Our Resolve

  C.  Our Rescue

As I read and began to consider this verse, –

Ephesians 2:4  But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,

I thought about the Lord’s mercy and love which could not be described simply as mercy and love. Paul had to express them, not only through his own experience, but also through the truth of the Holy Spirit as he was led, with words that expressed their unlimited abundance, their infinite greatness coming from the very nature of God Himself – His riches and His greatness, “…rich in mercy…his great love… wherewith he loved us….”

And then the truth expressed that His rich mercy and His great love follows those two words that should capture our attention and lead us to reflect on the truth that we do not deserve to be clothed in His abundance of mercy and love, what amazing words they are that we often read over without even thinking about them – “But God”!

    We are blessed by those words –

Ephesians 2:1 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;

Ephesians 2:4   “But God…..”

It will do us good to be reminded of some of –

    1.  The Positive responses of God –

      a.  When no hope is expected –

Romans 5:7-8  For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

      b.  When all hope is lost –

Acts 13:29-30  And when they had fulfilled all that was written of him, they took him down from the tree, and laid him in a sepulchre. But God raised him from the dead:

Two walking to Emmaus

Widow in Nain

Martha and Mary

Even the rich young ruler – “with God all things are possible….”

“…But God…”

      c.  When hope in God is questioned –

1 Corinthians 3:6-7  I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.

Planted, watered, but God gave the increase –

John 1:44-49  Now Philip was of Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph. And Nathanael said unto him, Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth? Philip saith unto him, Come and see. Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him, and saith of him, Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile! Nathanael saith unto him, Whence knowest thou me? Jesus answered and said unto him, Before that Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee. Nathanael answered and saith unto him, Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel.

      d.  When no hope of victory over temptations –

1 Corinthians 10:13  There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

      e.  When no hope that God’s plan will be fulfilled –

Hosea 13:9-10  O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself; but in me is thine help. I will be thy king: where is any other that may save thee in all thy cities?

Israel rejected God, yet God gave them Good News that His promises would stand true –

Romans 11:1-2  I say then, Hath God cast away his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew. Wot ye not what the scripture saith of Elias? how he maketh intercession to God against Israel, saying,

See also –

Revelation 7:4  And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel.

God is still giving Good News – How will you respond?

   We must be reminded though, of –

    2.  The negative side of God’s responses –

Luke 12:20  But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?

Luke 16:15  And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.

God’s judgment remains in place for those who reject His mercy and His grace.  They are intent on loving themselves instead of loving God and through that love, loving others. They are still in the position of being “…at emnity with God….”

Romans 8:7-8  Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.

Can you rejoice today in those words, two words that mean everything to us – “But God…” –

Ephesians 2:5  Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)

Ephesians 2:6  And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:

Philippians 3:20-21  For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.

Our eternal life, which has already begun when we turned to God for salvation through His Son, Jesus Christ, is all of Him and about Him.  Thank Him now and every day.

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Preaching Outline for the Letter to the Ephesians, Message Four Ephesians 2:1-3 Proof of Changed Lives

Message Four

We have noted the Prologue in chapter 1:1,2 setting forth the theme of the letter to be grace from God and the peace of God that is the result of that grace. Following the Prologue, we learned the lessons from the message on the Praise in chapter 1:3-13; and then the Prayer in chapter 1:14-23.  Today we will begin looking at the –

IV.  Proof of changed lives.  Ephesians 2:1-13

Which we learn by comparing the old nature of man, those that have not believed and trusted in God, with the new nature – that which God creates in those that put their faith in Him through believing the Gospel of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.  We will begin with the old nature which we all had in common –

  A.  Our (mankind’s) Resignation   Ephesians 2:1

Men have rejected faith in God and sought to find peace in pleasure because they do not understand that peace only comes through the grace of God.  They justify themselves by believing that their actions, which are initially undesirable (forcing themselves to overcome their own physical reactions, such as what happens to them when smoking tobacco or drinking alcohol), are necessary for them to be accepted into popular society.  They continue to identify with the Old Testament statement –“…every man did that which was right in his own eyes…” which statement was rephrased later by psychiatrist as “the pleasure principle” and then the popular slogan of the 1960’s “If it feels good, do it”.  No matter what statement is used throughout the ages, the truth is that it is sin being lived out in accordance with man’s sin nature b order to reject accountability (it is not my fault, which excuse has been used since the beginning in the Garden of Eden –

Genesis 3:11-12  And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat? And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.

Genesis 3:13  And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.

  • And which excuse was rejected, then as it is now, because they deliberately chose to follow their own desires, rejecting the commandment of God)

At times, even the most successful feel trapped, but resign themselves to continue on, being encouraged by pride and exercising their choice to please themselves.

Life in Ephesus was no different than life in our time, being filled with pleasure seekers who sought relief from the fear of oncoming death either by diversion or religion.  They were ignorant of the fact that they were already dead, not understanding that existence never ceases, only location changes. 

Those on the earth who have not believed God and trusted Him through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, will continue to live separated from Him forever, not in a land of pleasure, but in a Lake of Fire.

Those on the earth who have believed God and trusted Him through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, will continue to live with Him forever in His presence in Heaven.

Every person who has God-given eternal life through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, at one time, was not living, but was dead through their unbelief.

Multitudes of people believe they are ‘Christians’, that they are going to go to Heaven because their families were ‘Christians’.  They believe that they were never “…dead in trespasses and sins…”

Some believe they are ‘Christians’ because they, knowing that they had been doing wrong, determined to change their lives and live better.  They may have been able to change their habits but they cannot change their nature and they remain dead in unbelief.

They resign themselves to a ‘wait and see’ belief, “I am okay”.

Whatever the reason, whatever the excuse, the Truth cannot be changed – all are or were “…dead in trespasses and sins…”.

The Apostle John warned how wrong and dangerous this thinking, nationality, relationships, or will, is –

John 1:12-13  But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood (Your nationality),

John the Baptist refuted this argument –

Matthew 3:9  And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.

…” nor of the will of the flesh,…” (Your Parents)

Jesus refuted this argument –

John 4:19-20  The woman saith unto him, Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet. Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.

 nor of the will of man, (Adoption, deciding to be a Christian),  but of God.

Please turn to and read –

Luke 16:20-24  And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.

This ‘Rich Man’ is referred to as a good man according to the standard of the world –

He allowed this begger to be laid at his gate each day to beg.

He allowed this begger to receive from that which was off of his own table.

He allowed himself even to be acquainted with the begger – “…send Lazarus…”

This ‘Rich Man’ was, even according to the world’s standard, a better man than the very religious man written about in –

Luke 18:10-11  Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.

And yet this good man went to Hell, separated from God forever because using one’s will to be good does not change one’s nature, only their actions!  He was still under condemnation, separated from God.

God has declared the truth for our good –

 Ephesians 2:1  And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;

John 3:16-18  For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

Romans 3:10-18  As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one….

And due to their resignation to abide in this world led by their own desires they are described accurately by Paul as those that have –

…no fear of God before their eyes.

Being where they were, as they were, they lived accordingly –

  B.  Our Resolve

Ephesians 2:2  Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world,

Men resolve to live according to the circumstances that are before them, not being aware of better things. 

Some struggle to live through the day, seeking rest at night and hoping for another day. 

Others struggle to maximize their circumstances, accumulating as much as they can each day, might it be prosperity, power, position, or praise – they also are hoping for another day.

I like the translation of the word ‘course’ from the Greek word ‘age’.  Both words convey the truth of our living in our present world, as generations before lived in their ‘present world’ and the generations to come will live in theirs.

When I think of a course, I think of playing golf – laid out and controlled beforehand by professionals to keep one on the course.  Many of the fairways are difficult, presenting a serious challenge, but enough are easy to encourage continuous play!  The easy ones are the most deceiving because they encourage you to keep on playing. It has been planned by the most devious of designers –

“…according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:”

In their frustration, from time to time, I have heard golfers scream at the course (“I hate this game” echoing across the fairways), curse the ponds, sand traps, and high grass.  I have seen them throw their clubs, bend them, break them, and even throw an entire bag into a lake.  I have seen them cheat by moving their ball to a better position when they thought no one was watching.  And yet for all of this, they will be paying money to be back on the course next week, after going to the golf store to find better clubs, longer flying balls, more comfortable clothing to help them to be better than they actually are.  They will play in the rain and on windy and cold days.  They complain about dress rules at work, but will gladly wear whatever the club requires to play on their course. Their entire lives are filled with contradictions and hypocrisy.  What resolve they show in this microcosm of society, this course, this life on earth!

All of us were on that course, in that age of the world

Ephesians 2:3  Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.

Next week we will learn of the wonderful message Paul wrote about –

  B.  Our Rescue

Ephesians 2:4  But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,

Ephesians 2:5  Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)

But Today, the question is before you – if you are saved by grace through faith, are you thankful that He has moved you from the old life to the new?

Today if you are not saved, you are still in this old life, there is hope for a better life, it is in the Lord and only in Him.  Will you turn to Him today?

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Preaching Outline on the Letter to the Ephesians, Message Three The Prayer Ephesians 1:15-23

The Letter to the Ephesians         Message Three

We have noted in the first two messages the Prologue, introduction, in verses 1 and 2, followed by the Praise in verses 3 through 14.  Today we continue by looking to the –

III.  Prayer.  Ephesians 1:15-23

A.  Things that we may affect in the lives of believers –

Ephesians 1:15,16  Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints,  Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers;

Paul desired that they might continue to grow in grace and peace, knowing God more each day, realizing that they would be blessed and be a blessing to others, and that their testimony would be carried along according to the command of the Lord – “…to all nations…”

Your testimony is an encouragement to others as they see and hear of your –

    1.  Faithfulness

        a.  In Living – being a Godly influence to others.

        b.  In giving – your testimony in giving will encourage others to trust the Lord and be confident in giving.

2 Corinthians 9:2  For I know the forwardness of your mind, for which I boast of you to them of Macedonia, that Achaia was ready a year ago; and your zeal hath provoked very many.

Your testimony is an encouragement to others as they see and hear of your –

  2.  Loving  “…love to all of the saints….”

    a.  Witnessing – Loving God and others in sharing with them of their need of salvation.

    b.  Teaching them in learning of God through His Word.

    c.  Training –  The Lord sent forth witness two by two that they may encourage one another and confirm the truth to those to whom they spoke.

Your testimony is an encouragement to others through your faithfulness and love in all of the areas of life, and then also you help them by teaching them about –

    3.  Dying –   This is not a thought that occurs to us often, but our love for God and for others should encourage us to be a testimony in dying!

2 Timothy 4:6-8  For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.

How was Paul able to have this attitude –

Do you remember the first time you traveled by air?  Were you nervous?  Did you wonder why so many of the passengers were so calm, looking forward to the flight, enjoying the time?  It is because they often traveled by air.  The fear had been removed by experience.  When we understand life as Paul did, we will view death as he, and multitudes of saints, did –  Look at his testimony –

Galatians 2:20  I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

1 Corinthians 15:31  “…I die daily…”

Philippians 1:21-23  For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour: yet what I shall choose I wot not. For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better:

Paul had learned not to hold on to the things of this life, for they are only temporary.  We should live for that which is of eternal importance.  Faithful believers help us know how to be faithful, how to love God and others, and they even teach us how die well!

Remember – “fear hath torment”.  It will stop us in our tracks!

This brings us to that which he was praying for them –

B.  Things that we may know.  The –

    1.    Sovereignty – Ephesians 1:17a  That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory…

                                                 Praying that we may have –

    2.  Spiritual understanding –

Ephesians 1:17b ….may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him:

Praying that we know God working in us to the end that ye may know the and understand –

    3. The Significance and Source of  His grace and peace –  Ephesians 1:18,19a  

      a.  The eyes of your understanding (through) being enlightened;

      b.  …..what is the hope of his calling,

      c.  ….what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,

      d.  what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe….

All of these blessings of grace in our lives are from Him and about Him, and that this understanding should lead us to –

    4.  Submission –   Ephesians 1:19b   That we may recognize His grace and peace in our lives.

The power which He used creating all things –

….according to the working of his mighty power,

  • is used in the salvation of each man, woman, boy, or girl who calls upon Him in repentance for forgiveness and salvation!  It is the changed life, the very beginning of your resurrection from being condemned and dead in sins to life everlasting.  Do you realize as a child of God that nothing has to be added to you, from the time of salvation to the moment of resurrection – we are on the way!

Colossians 2:9-10  For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:

Praise God –

1 Corinthians 2:9  But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.

Through all of the working of His mighty power we may know the –

 C.  Things that we may receive with Him –

Ephesians 1:20-23  Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,  Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come; And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.

We see Who He is and where He is, and we should realize that we will be with Him –

John 14:3  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.

His Place – ‘…heavenly places…’

His Position – ‘…above all principality’  King of kings

His Power – ‘…and power and might…’  Lord of lords

His Presence – ‘…and dominion…’

     His Praise – “…and every name that is named…”

And all of this only through His Power, infinite power!! 

Now –

Paul reminded the Ephesians that God has changed us with this same power – Our salvation is being compared with this power of God, raising Jesus from the dead!!

We must admit that it is absolutely impossible for us to bring someone back from being dead, no matter how much we try, how much we desire, what we do, using every means available to us, we cannot bring someone back to life. 

We also cannot bring ourselves back from death and we know that we are dead in trespasses and sins. 

This is why the preaching of the cross without the preaching of the resurrection is fruitless. 

Acts 4:33  And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all.

Romans 1:4  And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead:

1 Peter 1:3  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

Hebrews 12:2  Looking 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 is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Again, The same power that raised Jesus from the dead saves us from eternal separation from God.  This is why it was so important to Paul to remind and encourage the saints, and us, that all we may know and all we may receive is through the power of God, that which no man on earth can accomplish.

Conclusion –

Psalm 116:12-13  What shall I render unto the LORD for all his benefits toward me? I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the LORD.

Can you call Him blessed today?  Is He your Saviour?

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