Summary: Introduction: Everyone likes a “from rags to riches” story. If you are a child of God then this text is “your story”! Paul boldly declares our riches (richness) in Christ. Let’s go to the ATM (Almighty Treasure Mine) and find out what the balance is in our account.
The book of Ephesians is a goldmine full of great, grand and glorious truths. It has been called “The Queen of the Epistles”. “The Alps of the New Testament” and “The Third Heaven Epistle”. Curtis Vaughn says “It is considered by many people to be the greatest of Paul’s writings.” F.W. Farrar called it “The most sublime, the most profound, the most advanced and final utterance of Paul’s gospel to the Gentiles.” W.O. Carver regarded it as “The greatest piece of writing in all history.” It was John Calvin’s favorite Epistle. It is very likely that John Bunyan was greatly inspired by this letter as he wrote The Pilgrims Progress.
The following pages record a collection of sermon thoughts I have gathered together throughout my years of preaching. These ideas have been gleaned from several sources. There are numerous commentaries that lend great support to one seeking to understand and communicate the tremendous truths the apostle Paul was inspired to write. May you find these thoughts, ideas and outlines helpful to your own ministry.
From Rags to Riches
Introduction: Everyone likes a “from rags to riches” story. If you are a child of God then this text is “your story”! Paul boldly declares our riches (richness) in Christ. Let’s go to the ATM (Almighty Treasure Mine) and find out what the balance is in our account.
I. The Salutation (v.1-2)
A. The Author (v.1): From the pen of Paul came these wonderful words. God had arrested Saul of Tarsus on the Road to Damascus and made him Paul the Apostle. He was given a special and direct commission from Christ. He was endowed with divine power and clothed with divine authority. “No brag just fact.”
B. The Audience (v.1): Some ten years after his third missionary journey, at which time he had planted a church in Ephesus, he writes to these people from a Roman prison cell. Note he calls them “saints” and “the faithful”. Stay in touch with your friends.
C. The Aim (v.2): He wants to spread “grace” (unmerited favor) and “peace” (result of grace). There can be no peace without grace.
II. The Jubilation (v.3-14)
What a majestic hymn of praise. Verses 3-14 are one long sentence in the Greek. The KJV puts periods at the end of verses 6, 12, and 14. This section breaks down into three divisions. It is a virtual goldmine waiting to be harvested. Note:
A. The Sovereign Plan (v.3-6): Look at what the father has done for his children. He has:
1. Blessed Us (v.3): It includes not only the blessing of conversion (salvation), but also “every spiritual blessing”. We have boundless wealth. “Heavenly realms” is referenced five times in the letter. It is where Christ is enthroned right now. Our life and citizenship is there. That’s where our affection should be (Matt.6:33). Because of our union with Him we are blessed.
2. Chosen Us (v.4, 11): How? “In Him”. When? “Before the creation of the world.” Why? “To be holy and blameless in His sight (Rom. 8:1). See also Acts 9:15. Our salvation is traced back to eternity, to God. There is a sharp divide over the doctrine of election. How does one reconcile divine sovereignty with human responsibility? I think one must be very careful to keep a proper balance. We are talking here about an “antinomy”. That word means two parallel principles that are irreconcilable yet both are equally true. God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility are both equally true! Paul addresses this concept in Chapter 2 when he says that God in His grace quickens (makes alive) those dead in trespasses and sins. I cannot explain this but neither am I going to try to explain it away! A finite mind cannot comprehend the infinite mind.
3. Predestined Us (v.5, 11): The word means to mark off in advance or beforehand. In the N.T. it is always used of God as determining from eternity. See Rom. 8:28-35. No doctrine crushes man’s pride like this one. It strips away all trust in the flesh. Salvation is of the Lord! (Eph. 2:8-10).
4. Adopted Us (v.5): We get into the family by way of the new birth (John 3:3 – born from above). Adoption is God’s act by which He gives the newly born an adult standing. Note that all of this is done according to His “pleasure” and “will”.
5. Given To Us (v.6): What? His glorious grace.
B. The Son’s Purchase (v.7-12): As a result of His finished work on the cross we have:
1. Redemption (v.7): This is the release brought about by the payment of a price. Just as God freed Israel from Egyptian slavery, even so, He has removed the shackles from us and set us free. To whom did God pay the price? To Himself! He did so by “His blood”. There is power in the blood.