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Summary:

Intro.:

1. The letters of Paul characteristically follow a certain pattern:

a. What God has done for man (indicative).

b. What Man must do in response (imperative).

2. Recurring phrase in Eph. 1 draws attention to this pattern.

a. "To the praise of his glory" (6, 12, 14).

b. What we are must be the result of what God has done/is doing.

c. This is particularly clear in Eph. 1.

3. Eph. 1:3 ...... Key verse of Ephesians.

a. God has blessed us.

b. God has blessed us in Christ.

c. God has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in Christ.

d. Our blessings are spiritual in nature.

e. Our blessings are not "pie-in-the-sky" but present realities.

4. We want to look at this chapter in 2 sections:

a. 1:4-14 ..... The activity of God.

b. 1:15-23 .... A specific prayer by Paul.

I. THE ACTIVITY OF GOD (1:4-14).

A. What God has done before history (4-6).

1. Predestination of a group for a particular purpose (4).

2. Result--"To the praise of the glory of his grace" (6).

B. What God is doing in history (7-12).

1. 3 spiritual blessings named:

a. Forgiveness of sins (7).

b. Wisdom and prudence/understanding (8).

c. Revealed the mystery of his will (9-10).

2. Dispensing an inheritance (11-12).

C. How you and I can be a part of what God is doing (13-14).

1. By responding to God (13).

2. By living in expectation (14).

II. PAUL'S SPECIFIC PRAYER (1:15-23).

A. POINT: We may more fully appreciate God's blessings!

1. Reason for Paul's thankfulness (15-16).

a. Faith in God.

b. Love toward all the saints.

2. Paul's prayer is a prayer for knowledge (17).

a. Not a prayer for more blessings!

b. But ability to discern implications of ones we already got!

3. Paul prays for understanding in 3 things (18-19):

a. The hope of his calling.

b. The riches of his inheritance.

c. The greatness of his power.

B. Paul expands of this idea of God's power (20-23).

1. That power raised Jesus from the dead (20a).

2. That power enthroned Jesus in heavenly places (20b-21).

3. That power is available to the Church because of its connection to Christ (22-23).

C. What is this power Paul is talking about???

1. Power of God in history?

a. Creation.

b. Exodus miracles.

c. Rise and fall of nations.

2. Power of God in nature?

a. Volcanoes (Mt. St. Helens).

b. Hurricanes (Hugo) or Tornadoes (Xenia).

c. Earthquakes (Calif.)

3. The power of God to transform human lives!!!

a. Power to take broken things and make something beautiful!

b. Power to change hateful, critical people into saints!

c. Power to change prostitutes, drug-addicts, and alcoholics into believers!

d. Power to make people hostile to the Gospel believers (Paul).

Conclusion:

1. When we let God have his way with us = THE PRAISE OF HIS GLORY!

2. Invitation.


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