Summary: This is a series on the Book of Ephesians that will be in commemtary form.
IN THE HEAVENLIES
1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus: 2 Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: 4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: 5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, 6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.
Early in my ministry, I was introduced to the writings of Ruth Paxton who served as a missionary to China. She had written a devotional commentary on Ephesians that greatly stirred my heart. From memory, I recall that she had divided Ephesians into three parts while stating as she did that Ephesians was the Joshua of the New Testament and that Joshua was the Ephesians of the Old Testament. She said that Ephesians 1:1-3:21 referred to the “wealth of the believer” and that chapter 4:1- 6:9 referred to the “walk of the believer”. Then she said that chapter 6:10-24 referred to the “warfare of the believer”. I always believed that this was a wonderful way to approach this most wonderful book. You cannot help but read it and be reminded as you do what it feels like to be seated in the heavenlies…
Another way that I have seen it divided is by dividing it into two parts. The first part is the doctrinal portion (Ephesians 1:1-3:21) and the last part is the duty portion (Ephesians 4:1-6:24). This is a common way of dividing Books of the Bible which major on the doctrinal and also on the practical. Another example of this division is the Book of Romans with chapters one through eleven being devoted to the doctrinal and chapters twelve through sixteen being devoted to the duty of the believer.
Ephesians is a very challenging Book in the way that it shows the wonderfulness of God and also the worship and the work of the believer. Never should the believer hesitate to worship and work for the Lord while he is seated spiritually in the heavenlies. Remember where He sits, we also sit…
A Divine Nature Planned by His Sovereignty (Vv. 1-6)
This great Book opens with the writer being identified. Certainly, it must be understood that Christ is the Author, but Paul is the writer whom God chose to exercise what we refer to in Theology as Confluent Inspiration. The term confluent inspiration means that the Lord used the personality of Paul and then blew His holy breath into his writing personality with the result of Paul being used of God to deliver the inspired, infallible Word of God. The Truth is not at all compromised when God did this. The writers of the Word of God were greatly protected, but more than that the Word of God was absolutely protected.
The name Paul means: “little”. Saul was the name that he went by when he was leveling his persecution against the church. Saul is his Hebrew name, whereas Paul is his Roman name. His name was changed in Acts 13:9 and Paul is his name that is mostly used in the New Testament. Paul introduces himself as an apostle. The title apostle had three meanings in the New Testament. In John 13:16 the word apostle is used in its primary sense to describe a messenger. The second way the term is used is in the sense of missionaries, men sent by the church to preach the Gospel. In this sense Paul and Barnabas are called apostles, Acts 14:4, 14; and probably Andronicus and Junias, Romans 16:7. The third way that the term is used and in a stricter sense is when those selected men were chosen directly by the Lord Jesus Christ to serve a particular function. Their commission was given by all authority and with this commission they also had the apostolic gifts for the purpose of authenticating the Gospel to the unbelieving Jews and doing the special work of the church during its infancy to all people groups. This special work was done during a period of time which has been called the apostolic age or the age of the apostles.
Paul certainly knew that he was called to be an apostle and he certainly knew what constituted his commission by the way that he identified himself in his opening salutation. He referred to himself in this manner, “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God,” He understood that Christ had called him while on the road to Damascus and that this call was according to the will of God. This call was a supernatural call in that Christ revealed Himself from heaven to Saul.