The Pilgrim Path (4-14-2020)
The Pilgrim Path---Ephesians 1: 3-14
Amazing, this is one "long" sentence in the Greek Text...
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestinated us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fulness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.
---Blessed in Christ---v.3--- I was witnessing to folk at the Pensacola airport many years ago. I asked this man, "Do you know if you died this evening, You'd go to heaven?"---His response, "I'm already in heaven!"---Well, you wonder what "that" is going to lead to...Turns out, his name was Mr. Lowenstein. He was a Messianic Jew. A real follower of Jesus---and he understood this part of Ephesians quite well. He said, "I'm already situated in Heavenly places---with the Anointed One--Jesus." Paul makes this clear---We just need to "live" in the reality of it...
---Blessed in Christ---vs. 4--6--- Before the world began. What do we do today? At work? With the children? With that next project? Remember what HE chose us for---to be Holy...see Ephesians 4: 17--24. And He is available to "carry" us...
---Blessed in Christ---vs. 7,8--- with the costliest redemption---by the blood of the God-Man. Simply lavished upon us---what a word: "lavish"---He has bestowed the riches of His grace upon us, "in extravagant quantities in Christ" (I Peter 1: 18-21)
---Blessed in Christ---vs. 9,10---the aspects of the divine will--- unfolding through the Gospel of Jesus---to bind all things together "in" Him---in heaven and on earth---a New People and a New Place (Jesus, the divine house-manager--putting all-things in order)
"The least glimpse of God's glory in Christ exalts the soul. This knowledge is sweet and joyful. It gives a view of those things that are the most exquisitely beautiful. This spiritual light is the dawning of the light of glory in the heart. There is nothing so powerful as this, to support persons in affliction, and to give the mind peace in this stormy dark world. This light effectually influences the will, and changes the soul into his image (II Cor. 3: 18). It weans us from the world, and raises our inclinations to heavenly things..." Jonathan Edwards (Works, II:12-17)
---Blessed in Christ---vs.11,12 ---heirs by the will of God, predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will...Be encouraged---The Lord Jesus Christ is at work for the good of His Own...Even with a pandemic, economic upheaval, and tumultuous schedule change... He "knows" what he is doing...From Charles Spurgeon: "Even the hairs of your head are all numbered. God weighs the mountains of our griefs in scales, and the hills of our tribulations in balances." From J. I. Packer: "The doctrine of providence teaches Christians that they are never in the grip of blind forces (fortune, chance, luck, fate); all that happens to them is divinely planned, and each event comes as a new summons to trust, obey, and rejoice, knowing that all is for one's spiritual and eternal good (Romans 8:28)."
---Blessed in Christ---vs. 13, 14---Believer's are "sealed" by the Holy Spirit ---and His presence within---reminds us of the reality of future glory---not only that---He enables us to live---to the praise of the Glory of God in the world right now...As J. I. Packer says, "The believer asks for the Spirit's help to see and do what brings glory to Christ , knowing that both the Spirit and Christ himself intercede for him as he struggles to pray for rightness in his own life (Romans 8: 26-27, 34)."
Be not dismayed what e'er betide
God will take care of you;
Beneath his wings of love abide,
God will take care of you.
God will take care of you,
Through every day,
O'er all the way;
He will take care of you,
God will take care of you.
Civilla D. Martin (1905)
Grace & Peace in Jesus Our Lord, Pastor Jason