Introduction to Ephesians

Introduction to Ephesians

Part One

The Expected Life of All Saints in Relation to God

Ephesians 1:1

 

Illustration: Years ago in Lebanon Missouri, which is outside Fort Leonard Wood, Bro Doug Cannady pastored and ran a ministry, out of his Church, to the Soldiers.  He told of a young soldier walking into their auditorium the first time and asking where the saints were. He was obviously from a Catholic background, and Pastor Cannady asked him what he meant. He said, "You know, the saints, the statues of the Saints." Pastor Cannady asked him, "Who made those men Saints? He responded, “The Church,” and then he said, “Hmmm…Men made men saints."

Introduction:  I do not know what kind of image the word “saint” brings up in your mind, but the truth of the Scripture is that all of God’s people are "Saints". Average natural people who have experienced the supernatural work of God and have been set apart by Him and for Him. Now understand, being set apart for God’s purpose does not denote any special exemption from the daily grind of this life.

Eph 1:1 Saints are real people in a real location among us.

Eph. 1:18 Saints are the recipients of God’s power, work, grace and riches.

Eph. 3:8 Saints are still growing and maturing in the Lord.

Eph. 3:18 Saints still pray and are still in need of prayer.

Eph. 4:12 Saints still minister and labor for the Lord.

Eph. 5:3 Saints are still targets for temptation and still have the potential for evil.

You understand …saints are not:

Super-pious humans exiled into convents and wearing haloes and wings.

They are not statues on dashboards ––

The title “Saint” is not given you as you enter Heaven.

The title “Saint” is not earned by performing miracles or conferred on you by the Church for doing sacrificial service or for dying a martyr’s death.

Sainthood is not something that can be conferred by men on other men.

The title “Saint” is the title God has given all His people, everyone of His children.

Saints live in homes and have an address, raise children and pay bills and mow lawns and live real lives.

Saints are people like yourselves who have experienced the gracious saving work of Christ and have been made one of His children and have been given the Bible title "Saint".

It should be understood by every Saint that we have become part of a family of Saints. We have been drawn into a long line of Saints. We have been included  into a family that has a long history and we should desire that heritage. Eph. 2:19

What does a Saint do in our current day for God?

How does God desire a saint to spend his time?

What is the job description of a Saint in relation to God?

 

I. In Relation to God, Saints are made to sit together in Christ. Eph. 2:4-6

A. Being seated together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus is the legal description of the position of every Saint.

Note Vs 6 It has been declared in Scripture that as Saints:

1. We have been ‘‘…raised … up together with Christ."

2. We have been "…made to sit together in the heavenly with Christ."

 

B.   B.   Being seated together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus has practical application for the practice of every Saint.

 

1. Being seated together in Christ implies rest…work is all done, work is finished.

When Paul says we are seated in Christ in heavenly places, it means that in the spiritual realm, all the work and effort to secure us that position is done and we are at rest.

We have to begin here - The key to everything in the Christian life is to understand and remember that it is not our effort, not our work, that merited this favored position.

It was the work of Christ on the cross and God’s resurrection of Him that enables us to enjoy this position.

Note  Eph. 1: 20 Explains how Christ came to be seated in heaven ….God raised Him and placed Him there.

Heb. 1:3 Speaking of Christ explains …Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;

Heb. 10:12 also speaking of Christ Jesus states …12But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;

Why was Christ seated when He was raised?  He sat down because it demonstrated that His work of securing salvation for man was finished.

This is what separates Christianity from every other religion –– Other religions tend to put the burden on man to be good and earn his way to God.  Christianity declares the finished work of Jesus as totally and completely sufficient for our salvation.

 

Illustration: Can't Earn Heaven

An old tale speaks of a man who died and faced the angel Gabriel at Heaven's gates. The angel said, "Here's how this works. You need a hundred points to make it into Heaven. You tell me all the good things you have done, and I will give a certain number of points for each of them. The more good there is in the work that you cite, the more points you will get for it. When you get to a hundred points, you get in."

"Okay," the man said, "I was married to the same woman for 50 years and never cheated on her, even in my heart."

Gabriel replied, "That's wonderful. That's worth three points."

"Three points?" said the man incredulously. "Well, I attended church all my life and supported its ministry with my money and service."

"Terrific!" said Gabriel, "that's certainly worth a point."

"One point?" said the man with his eyes beginning to show a bit of panic. "Well, how about this: I opened a shelter for the homeless in my city, and fed needy people by the hundreds during holidays."

"Fantastic, that's good for two more points," said the angel.

"TWO POINTS!" cried the man in desperation. "At this rate the only way I will get to heaven is by the grace of God."

And Gabriel said Exactly!!!!!

Let me ask you a personal question: Christ earned, purchased, obtained His seat at the right hand of the Father by living a perfect and sinless life and then dying a sacrificial death and nothing less than that would be acceptable. What do you have that would compare???????? The answer is NOTHING.

Illustration: Song "On Christ the Solid Rock I Stand"

Our being pictured in the Scripture seated in Christ in the “heavenlys” means …We don't have to prove ourselves worthy. Salvation and eternal life aren't conditioned on how many good deeds we've done in the last week. It's an accomplished fact and our sure possession as demonstrated by the fact that we are seated in the “heavenlys” in Christ Jesus.

All the saints are seated at rest in Christ, as all the work of Salvation is accomplished.

2. Being seated together in Christ implies...Relationship…we are welcome in His presence.

Someone comes to your door…depending on who they are:

.. You will step outside to visit with them or

.. you will open the door and insist that they come in and sit down….If you ask them in to sit it would imply:

 

you have a relationship

they have acceptance

they have access

it is acceptable that they are there

 

The fact that He has "made us sit together …in Christ Jesus…" implies that we have as much access and are as welcome in the presence of God as Christ is. That is a bold statement but it is backed up by Scripture.

Eph. 3: 11-12

When you come before God, you can come in complete confidence, knowing that because you have been made to sit in Christ you are welcome before God because of the relationship you have with Christ.

Eph. 1:11 "…We have obtained an inheritance."

We, I think, have a tendency to be hesitant and bashful about coming into the Lord’s presence. We are aware of our failures and shortcomings and we seem to come so often and we seem to always be needy and anxious so we are shy about coming, but:

 

Illustration: Picture this: You come home from work one day and find there is a line outside of your parents’ home

 

··      there is an insurance man wanting to make a sale 

··      the cable TV guy 

··      a man hoping to sell some aluminum siding 

··      there is a guy from the cemetery wanting to give you a funeral plot and sell you one right next to it

··      there is a person waiting in line from MCI and one from Sprint, and one from AT&T and one from WWF….

 

Now, let me ask you a question …this is your father’s house and you have come to speak to your father. Do you get in the end of the line or do you walk right past all those who are waiting in line, and you are not rebuked by your father, you are welcomed by your father because you are his son.

Heb. 4:16 says "… come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”

Being seated together in Christ implies a resolve …we are content in His presence. It implies acceptance of His purpose.

Note the purpose the Lord had in mind when He made us sit together in Him. Vs 7

Vs 4-7 (is one complete sentence declaring God’s purpose in seating us with Christ)

We are examples of His grace Vs 7

We are trophies of His kindness Vs 7

We are demonstrations of His workmanship Vs 10

It ought to be the resolve of every believer that we will sit down to the Lord’s purpose and be content, demonstrating the richness of God’s work in our life. That should be the resolve of the heart of every Saint. We have settled in to the purpose of God.  We are no longer undecided. We are seated resolved, content, in agreement and committed.

Matt. 11:6 And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me. His message was, while I work in your life to fulfill my purpose, just sit down with me and be content and let me work.

Psalm 84:4 Blessed are they that dwell in thy house: they will be still praising thee.

We are still and seated in relation to His Word.

We are still and seated in relation to His Will.

We are still and seated in relation to His Working in our lives.

Illustration: Sometimes His Word and will and working in our life is like the immunization shots we all had to take growing up, aren’t they?  They were no fun.

But in relation to what our Father desires, we are seated in Christ …No debate, no argument, no complaining, no refusing, no whining.  We are seated in full resolve and agreement.

That hasn’t always been the case in all the lives of the Saints.

 

··      Demas…loved the present world over the purpose of God. He could not contently sit down to the purpose of God.

··      Peter …struggled with being content with the purpose of God.  He resisted and denied…he was placed in circumstances that appeared to put him in danger and he crumbled…and cursed, so as not to be identified with the Lord. Do you know what the Lord would say to His Saints?

Psalm 46:10 Be still, and know that I am God:

 

Conclusion: As Saints, our relationship to God pictured with our being made to sit together in Christ,

At rest as Christ has completed the work of our salvation.

In a relationship with the Father through Christ the Son.

Resolved to be content with the purpose of glorifying the work of God.

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