Summary: An expository sermon on Ephesians 1.3-14. The sermon is particularly focused on the "Godhead" as presented in the passage. Three more sermons from these verses will follow.
Looking through the Kaleidoscope
Jeff Foster (Cortez, Colorado)
Do you like grand beginnings?
Star Wars; Baseball’s Opening Day; New Year’s Eve/Day; Weddings.
Paul’s letter to the Ephesian church has a grand beginning.
Ephesians 1.3-14 forms just one sentence in the Greek language.
Translators have added a number of periods, breaking up Paul’s sentences into easier-to-read sound bites, but something of the dramatic impact is lost in the translation.
Paul begins his letter with a burst of energy . . . he neither pauses for breath, nor punctuates his words.
This passage has been described as . . .
"As we enter this epistle through a magnificent gateway. It is a golden chain of many links, and a kaleidoscope of dazzling lights and shifting colors.
"A snowball tumbling down a hill, picking up volume as it descends."
"Some long-winding racehorse . . . careering onward at full speed."
"Like the preliminary flight of an eagle, rising and wheeling around, as though for a while uncertain what direction in his boundless freedom he shall take."
Read Ephesians 1.3-14.
These verses are written in the style of a eulogy.
When we hear "eulogy," we think of funerals and the words of remembrance that are spoken, but a eulogy is actually merely a statement of praise (or blessing) spoken in honor of a person.
In the case of Paul and the text before us, the object of praise is God. Paul begins his letter to the Ephesians by praising (or blessing) God for the unsurpassed blessings he gives his people.
In this statement of praise, Paul speaks of the entire "Godhead." Godhead (or "Trinity") is a term that describes the relationship between the three "personalities" of God revealed in the Bible.
Godhead (or Trinity) is a term that describes the relationship between the three Apersonalities@ of God revealed in the Bible.
First, there is God the Father, the Creator.
Second, there is God the Son, Jesus Christ.
Third, there is God the Holy Spirit.
The Father, Son, and Spirit are one, they are God, yet each can also be understood as a distinct personality (or person). They are three while being one.
We do not have to go very far into the Bible to discover that God is a trinity of persons within one being.
In Genesis 1.1 we are introduced to God as the one who conceives and designs the works of creation. "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."
Because he is the mastermind behind creation and the one who generates the universe, we recognize him as the Father of lights from whom derives every good and perfect gift (see James 1.17).
In the first sentence of the Bible, God is presented as the Father and originator of the created world.
In Genesis 1.2 we are introduced to God as the Spirit who watches over the works of creation in his of protector and perfecter. "The Spirit of God swept over the face of the waters" (this is the Holy Spirit).
In Genesis 1.3 we are introduced to the "Word" of God through whose agency God’s will becomes activated. "Let there be light," God said, "and there was light."
God speaks, and his Word goes forth and is accomplished.
In John 1 Jesus is introduced as the Word that was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made and, as John tells us, he became flesh and lived among us as the Son who had come from the Father.
This threefold nature of God is behind God’s statement in Genesis 1.26: "Let us make mankind in our image, according to our likeness."
It is in the New Testament that the concept of the "Godhead" becomes more developed. There are a number of passages that present the plurality of God in the same general context.
Matthew 3.16-17: "And when Jesus had been baptized, just as he was coming up from the water, suddenly the heavens were opened to him and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, ’This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.’"
Romans 8.15b-17: "When we cry, ’Abba! Father!’ it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ."
1 Corinthians 12.4-6: "Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone."
2 Corinthians 13.13/14: "The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with all of you."