[Included here are sermon notes & application questions from this past Sunday morning at Omaha Bible Church you may listen or download the message here=>Listen – Download]
Ephesians 1 is a man-humbling, Christ-exalting run-on sentence that serves to distill the praise and power of God. It is interesting to note that it is the theological truth of this chapter is the catalyst for this exemplarily praise.
What has God done? He has blessed us (believers v.1) with every spiritual blessing. This is why his praise is so ardent.
Well, why has he done it? What is the basis for giving believers every spiritual blessing?
The first basis point of why and how God can give us these blessings:
1. Election v.4:
Verse 3 ends with the reality of this grand blessing, and flowing into verse 4 is the causal statement of why…”just as he chose us” You could render this, since, or because, he chose us, or elected us.
When did he do this choosing? The text says before the foundation of the world! God brought this about, and he did it not only before we were born, but before the world was even formed!! Notice he did not do this when we believed, but before not only when we believed, but before the formation of the world!!
Some say if you believe election you will be prideful. Where is the pride so far in this text? Who chose who? God sovereignly apprehends sinners who are dead (Eph. 2.1-3). There is nothing but man humbling God exalting theological realities.
Some say that election is unloving. Notice the word that is so closely affixed to this sentence: love. Election is done in love. The tender mercies of God, lovingly preventing those who are running headlong into hell, even electing them unto eternal life; this is done to the glory of God according to his good pleasure.
2. Predestination v.5
Paul is excited based upon unconditional love. Notice who predestines? It is God. The elect (v4) have a destination, namely to sonship. The sinner is unholy and blameworthy and God predestines them. This is not about odds or probability but about certainty!
What does he predestine believers to? Sonship. It is a good to eradicate the feminist mindset here, there are no daughters of God…in the Greek culture that Paul was writing in, the son was the heir. Do you want the inheritance? You want to be a son!!
If someone says they do not believe in predestination, I would ask them, do you believe in grace? Do you believe in Christ? It is in the Bible! AND the predestination is tied directly to the inheritance. How do you know you have an inheritance? It is because the sovereign God has predestined this to occur. So when people want to take away predestination, know that it is time to roll up your sleeves and fight, because they are attacking your inheritance! Don’t you dare touch my inheritance!! The inheritance that Christ has bought and sovereign grace has applied. This is in accordance with the divine will and agenda.
What is the focus of the divine predestination? Verse 5 tells us that God is the focus of this predestination. Since God is God this makes perfect sense. If he was not God then this would be ridiculous…but he is God therefore it is perfectly sensible. God being supreme in his person and actions is perfectly eligible to receive the ultimate honor and glory.
What is the basis of the election? Verse 5 tells us that he does this according to the kind intention of his will, or as in other passages translating this Greek word, this is done in accordance to his own good pleasure. God gets pleasure in predestination, why are people so upset about it? God receives pleasure in this grand doctrine, why don’t you? At the end of the day God does this for his own pleasure because he likes it. God predestines because he likes to. If you do not like predestination then know that you are fundamentally disagreeing with that which explicitly gives God pleasure.
So why is anyone saved? It is clear that it is not because we choose God but that he chooses his sheep, even before the foundation of the world. There is no free will. Free will is as much of a fictional truth as the fictional movie Free Willy! We have a bound will. Read Romans 6. We love sin and find so many creative ways to sin. If anyone is saved it is because of the sovereign elective grace of God. If there is no election there is no salvation.
Part II will be continued next week.
-1- Ephesians 1 is one of the supreme explosions of praise in the Bible. However, it is also one of the most theological. Why must biblical praise be connected with correct doctrine?
-2- In light of Ephesians 1 and Paul’s response, what would you say to someone who stated that theology is not practical? In other words, what is the practical application of the theology expressed here.
-3- In verse four of Ephesians chapter one we see that God has actively chosen his saints. What reaction does this reality bring in your heart? Do you like the doctrine of divine election? Why or why not? How do your preferences line up with God’s?
-4- Could any ever be saved (holy & blameless v.4) if God did not elect and predestine sinners to salvation? Why or why not?
-5-There is little doubt that Paul’s understanding and appreciation of these theological truths fueled his praise. What can you do to enhance and sustain your own amazement and delight in the God who gave his only Son to redeem sinners like yourself?