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The unsearchable riches of Christ

The unsearchable riches of Christ #2

An exposition of Ephesians. Pt. 2 — Gospel blessings summarised.

Scripture: Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ, Ephs 1:2.

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Having considered the AUTHOR and the ADDRESSEES in verse 1. We turn to the second verse where is given us a summary of the blessings of the gospel.

This verse is still part of Paul’s greeting to the church at Ephesus. Is it not worthy of our notice that Christians ought to greet each other by celebrating what they enjoy through the gospel. I am sure that if such words as these were the first out of our lips when we met, we would be less inclined to exchange words that would in any way work against the cause of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Progressive revelation is a principle which God employs when revealing His truth to us. It lies at the heart of all good teaching practice. What is to be revealed to us in this epistle is shown to us in embryo in this second verse. There is more than just a hinted of all that is to follow in the epistle. Thus the Lord prepares our minds and channels our thoughts toward the great truths that will be dealt with in depth later on.

Consider first of all:

Grace be to you, and peace. These are the two key words to understanding the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. One serves as the foundation stone and the other as the head stone. Grace underlies all of the gospel and peace is the chief end of the gospel.
The words grace and peace remind us of:
1. The undone and worthless state of each one of us. God deals with us on the basis of grace. The word means  “Free Unmerited Favour.” God stoops down very, very low to bless us, not according to our merits for that would mean damnation, but on the merits of another, even Jesus Christ.
2. The folly of those who hope to merit heaven. The religion of most  “Protestants” differs very little from that of Romanists. It is a religion of getting to heaven by their own works. This is not the gospel.
3. The state of enmity that exists between God and the sinner. In our natural state, there is no peace between us and God. There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked, Isaiah 57:21. Sinful man is the enemy of God. Eph 4:18, Col 1:21. Being in conflict with God, man is in conflict with all around. Titus 3:3. He is especially in conflict with himself. He seeks to rule himself when it is God’s prerogative. Man’s discontentment but increases as he continues in disobedience.
4. The state that exists between God and the saint. Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, Romans 5:1. The word peace comes from a Greek word which means to join together. Reconciliation has taken place through the blood of Christ’s atonement. And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled, Col 1:20-21.
Thus these two words touch upon the core of the gospel.

From God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
1. God the Father, the First Person of the Trinity, is the One from Whom the blessings proceed. In the work of redemption, God the Father initiated the plan to save His people. In doing so, He acts as our Father. God is only the Father of those He calls His spiritual children, those upon whom His blessing falls. He is not the spiritual Father of all men. Here is that special relationship that He has with His redeemed ones.
2. God the Son, the Second Person of the Trinity, is the One by Whom the blessings are purchased. The Saviour undertook to purchase redemption for His people by becoming their surety and substitute. Hence, His incarnation is referred to in this verse. He is the Lord Jesus Christ. Her is Jehovah (Lord) become flesh (Jesus), the Christ.

How these blessings are conveyed to us is demonstrated, rather than stated in this verse.
Paul is pronouncing a blessing upon the saints at Ephesus. The preaching of God’s Word is the means by which God’s grace is bestowed upon His people.
Let us learn the importance of attending the means of grace, chiefly, the preaching of God’s Word. It pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe, 1 Cor 1:21.
Let us learn the importance of personal study of God’s Word.
Let parents diligently instruct their children in God’s Word.

The Unsearchable Riches of Christ #1

Studies in Paul’s Epistle to the Ephesians #1: The Author and the Addressees

Scripture: Ephesians 1:1.

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It is my prayer that as we begin our study of this treasure of gospel doctrine that we come to know and to love the Saviour  much better.
This epistle stands at the apex of gospel revelation. It has been termed the “crown and climax of Pauline theology.” It is an epistle that centres upon the revelation of the riches of Christ’s grace and love. It takes us from the darkness and alienation in which sinners once dwelt (2:1-3) to the riches of grace of which the believer will partake in glory (2:4-10).
We will consider verse 1 in our first study.

Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God.

1. Paul is in prison in Rome as he writes this epistle. He is where we leave him at the end of The Acts of the Apostles. Paul’s evangelistic ministry is practically over. During his labours he demonstrated that the gospel was indeed the power of God unto salvation. Heathen religion had to give way before its truth. Places where once darkness ruled supreme had been conquered by the gospel and the truth of Christ now held sway. All over the region called Asia, the standard of the gospel had been triumphantly raised. No greater example of the triumph of the gospel existed than that of the church in Ephesus.

2. Paul was an apostle. He was a man set apart for a special mission and endued with power for that mission. Acts 9:15; 13:1-4. His enduement was above that of ordinary workers and that was displayed at Ephesus, Acts 19:11-12.

3. Paul’s apostleship was of God. He served the Lord Jesus in the will of God. Paul ever set forth his divine call. This was because of the attack upon Paul whereby his apostleship was questioned. 1 Cor 11:5-6, 12:11-12. This subject comes up in his Galatian epistle as well, 1:1-2, 11-12.
So in the opening verses of this epistle he lays stress upon his divine appointment. He is speaking to them by the authority of Christ. It is to such men alone we should listen. The stamp of authority today is the preaching of the Word of God. To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them, Isaiah 8:20. God’s men must be called and must execute their duties faithfully.

To the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus.

1. The epistle is believed to be more of a circular letter, written to other churches in Asia as well as to Ephesus. Thus, it is to the faithful in Christ Jesus. It is to be noted that in this epistle there is no mention of local issues or people or places. This is because it was also being sent to other churches and therefore such local references would have been inappropriate. This means that we, who are not of that region or indeed, of that era, may read and benefit from this epistle.

2. Note the description of a Christian. Saints. The word means holy ones. A Christian is one who is holy.

3. These holy ones are in Christ. This is not a man-produced holiness. Man is a sinful being capable only of sinning. Jer 17:5. Rather it is a Christ-produced holiness. Man is incapable of holiness. He must be saved, washed and made holy by the power of Christ working through faith.

4. A Christian is faithful. The word means the opposite of unbelieving, John 20:27. It characterises God, 1 Cor 1:9; 2 Cor 1:18.
The Christian is faithful to Christ, His Word, His name, His cause. How offended some are when questioned on whether they are truly saved but they show no faithfulness to Christ!
Faithfulness demands a dying to self. Gal 1:4, 4:5-7. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts, Galatians 5:24.

5. Here is a reminder of the power of the gospel. Ephesus was a sinful city, given over to idolatry, Acts 19:26. But how mightily the gospel changed the region, Acts 19:10, 18-20.