Summary: The Lord's current position in Heaven, and our position - before and after becoming believers.
BEFORE AND AFTER
Pastor Eric J. Hanson
March 18, 2012
Ephesians is named for the people for whom it was originally written. Ephesus is located on the Mediterranean shore of what is now Turkey at 38 degrees North. The church in the city of Ephesus was quite responsive to the teaching of the Apostle Paul, and they soon became one of the four leading Churches of ancient times. When Paul was leaving there after spending much time (over 2 years) and effort discipling and instructing them, the elders of that great young church came all the way to the seashore with him.
This epistle (letter) was not only intended originally for Ephesus, but was a “circular letter” in that it was carried to all the churches in the province of Asia Minor. The nature of this piece of writing is that of teaching and explaining things about God, along with general instructions that apply to any believers living anywhere anytime. (I Corinthians, on the other hand, deals, at least in part, with local issues that were going on in that city, and some of it is even in answer to questions.)
Paul wrote Ephesians from prison, either in Rome or in Macedonia. It was hand carried from Paul by Tychicus.
This little book can be roughly divided in half, with the first half being Theology (the study of God) and the second half being instructions. Even the first half, however is very personal in its application, as Paul talked about all that God has done, in bringing us into His family.
Today we are zooming in on one part of Ephesians, where Paul described the current position of Jesus Christ, and also the tremendous reality which that opens up for all of us who are “in Christ” by faith.
And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, Which he accomplished in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenlies, 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 has put all under His feet, and gave him to be the head over all to the Church, which is His body, the fulness of Him that fills all in all.
This passage has to do with a thorough understanding of being in God’s resurrection power and seated in Heaven IN Christ Jesus NOW. This is far different and far beyond our normal thinking. Whether we are considering Earthly Powers such as armies and weapons, courts and prisons; or invisible powers such as fallen angels and demons, Jesus Christ is FAR above them. The Father has placed all things of Earth under the Lord’s feet. Jesus fully has the Headship over the whole planet, which God gave to Adam in the beginning, which Adam soon lost to Satan. In Christ, we are also raised above all Earthly powers. That is why the words “in the Church” are included here. We (collectively) are His Body in all the Earth.
This is also why, out on the edge of the expansion of the Kingdom of God, where the Gospel is taking new territory, there are amazing miracles and signs taking place. These range from Muslims meeting Jesus Christ by means of visions, to people being raised from the dead, to tumors falling off from people when they are prayed for in Jesus’ name. Central Africa, Northern India, and Muslims lands seem to be the cutting edge of these realities at present, though I am sure that Jesus is revealing Himself through His Body (all true believers) in every nation.
Now let’s contrast our position without Jesus Christ with our position after giving ourselves over to Him.
Ephesians Chapter 2: 1-10
And you God has made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins; which you walked in, in times past, according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now working in the children of disobedience: among whom also we all had our way of living in times past, in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind. We (believers) were by nature, the children of wrath, just as other people were also.
But God, who is rich in mercy, because of his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, has made us alive together with Christ, (by grace you are saved) and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: so that in the ages to come, He might show the exceeding riches of his grace, in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. By grace you have been saved through faith; and that faith is not from yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of human works, so that no one should boast; for we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.