Summary: The analysis of every spiritual blessing in Ephesians 1:3 teaches us about our spiritual riches.
Last week I began a series of sermons on Ephesians 1 that I am calling, “God’s Supreme Purpose.” The Apostle Paul’s emphasis in chapter 1 is not on what we must do for salvation, but rather on what God has done for us in Christ. Ephesians 1 teaches us that we have been chosen and adopted by the Father (1:4-6); that we have been redeemed by the Son (1:7-12); that we have been sealed with the Holy Spirit (1:13-14); that we have been given resurrection power (1:19); and that we have been given eyes to see the lordship of Jesus Christ (1:15-23). These are the spiritual blessings we learn about regarding God’s supreme purpose for believers in Ephesians 1.
Let’s read about every spiritual blessing in Ephesians 1:3:
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 1:3)
“The Mystery of the Missing Owner” read the headline on an unusual section of the Chicago Tribune on Sunday, February 6, 2005. The supplement was actually a legal notice published by the Illinois State Treasurer’s Office seeking to give money away to rightful owners of the contents of abandoned safe deposit boxes, forgotten bank accounts, security deposit checks, uncashed paychecks, and dividend checks.
More than a billion dollars was owed to nearly five million people and businesses that the Treasurer’s Office could not trace. The front page of the supplement listed the names and last known addresses of 10 individuals or couples each owed over $100,000. And what followed were 116 pages packed tightly with names from Lucilee Aakeberg to Leonard E. Zyzda – 113,000 names of people all owed more than $100 in cash and/or stock!
It seems hard to imagine that people could be unaware of their rightful treasures. Yet, that is precisely the condition of many Christians. The Apostle Paul may have seen that in the Ephesian Christians too, and so he began his letter to the Ephesians by reminding them of God’s supreme purpose for believers. And that began with an explanation of every spiritual blessing that belonged to every born-again believer in the Lord Jesus Christ.
The analysis of every spiritual blessing in Ephesians 1:3 teaches us about our spiritual riches.
Let’s use the following outline:
1. The Author of Every Spiritual Blessing (1:3a)
2. The Recipients of Every Spiritual Blessing (1:3c)
3. The Source of Every Spiritual Blessing (1:3e)
4. The Extent of Every Spiritual Blessing (1:3f)
5. The Timing of Every Spiritual Blessing (1:3b)
6. The Location of Every Spiritual Blessing (1:3g)
7. The Condition for Every Spiritual Blessing (1:3d)
I. The Author of Every Spiritual Blessing (1:3a)
First, let’s look at the author of every spiritual blessing.
Paul said in verse 3a, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ….” These words begin the longest sentence in the Bible. In Greek, this sentence begins at verse 3 and ends at verse 14. Verses 3-14 are also the Bible’s longest doxology. Commentator John Stott says, “In the original Greek these twelve verses constitute a single complex sentence. As Paul dictates, his speech pours out of his mouth in a continuous cascade. He neither pauses for breath, nor punctuates his words with full stops.” He summarizes what commentators have said about verses 3-14, “A gateway, a golden chain, a kaleidoscope, a snowball, a racehorse, an operatic overture and the flight of an eagle: all these metaphors in their different ways describe the impression of color, movement and grandeur which the sentence makes on the reader’s mind.”
Verses 3-14 show us God’s supreme purpose for the Church. These verses are Paul’s outline of God’s master plan for salvation. They are divided into three stanzas, each stanza ending with the phrase “to the praise of his glory” (or a variation of that phrase in 1:6; 1:12; 1:14). Paul taught that God’s supreme purpose was to create for himself a new body, the Church. Thus, the Church was planned by God the Father (1:3-6a). It was purchased by God the Son (1:6b-12). And it is preserved by God the Holy Spirit (1:13-14).
Getting back to verse 3a, Paul began by saying, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ….” The Greek word for blessed is eulogetos, from which we get eulogy, a speech or writing in praise of a person or thing. Only God is worthy of our supreme praise, eulogy, and blessing. And that is so because of who he is and what he has done.
Pastor James Montgomery Boice comments as follows:
I have been a pastor in one place or another for more than two decades, and during that time I have probably put together between 1,300 and 1,400 worship services. These services have had various elements, all important: the sermon, Scripture readings, hymns, prayers, congregational responses, and other items. I value each of these. But as I have reflected on the worship of Christian people over this long period, I have come to believe that one of the most important aspects of all the various parts of worship is hymn singing. Why? Because it is in hymn singing that the congregation itself actively voices praise to God.