Ephesians concerns the mystery of the church in the plan of God. The letter calls believers to walk in love, holiness, and wisdom within their local church congregation and in the world. Paul reveals that this mystery concerns earthly, present matters, as well as matters in the invisible realm, both in the present world and in the world to come. The clear message of these first three verses is that as believers in Jesus Christ, we have been set apart for the purpose of knowing and serving God. Below is the outline we will follow:
- Set Apart for Service (v.1)
- Set Apart for Salvation (v.1b-2)
- Set Apart for Spiritual Blessings (v.3)
Paul would write that he had been set apart to serve God as an apostle “by the will of God”. But it is not just Paul who has been set apart for the purpose of serving God. God has set apart every believer to serve Him. We serve not begrudgingly but joyfully because of the salvation he sovereignly bestowed on us.
Paul calls this Ephesian church “faithful in Christ Jesus” and communicates grace and peace to them from God. In verse 3 God makes an incredible promise to the followers of Jesus Christ, he promises them every spiritual blessing in Christ. From v.3 to v.14 Paul explains in detail all the spiritual blessings that God has given to his children.
God blesses us with every spiritual blessing in Christ so that we may in turn bless and glorify Him, the giver of every good and perfect gift. We bless God by offering up “a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name.” We bless God when we “do not neglect doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is pleased” (Heb. 13:15-16). We bless God when our hearts overflow with joy in Him because of His abundant grace towards us in Christ.
- Do you know someone who has been to military basic training? What has been their or your experience?
- Read Ephesians 1:1-14
- What insight, principle, or observation from Sunday’s sermon did you find to be the most helpful, eye-opening, or troubling?
- What are the two ways that Paul describes these Christians in Ephesus? What does his description of them mean?
- What are the two things that God the Father has given to His people (Ephesians 1:2)? Define each of them the best you can.
- What is a spiritual blessing (Ephesians 1:3)?
The Heart of the Matter
- What is the difference between earthly and spiritual blessings?
- Why do people often doubt God’s sincerity in giving us the best? What is reflected in these first three verses? Give 3-5 adjectives to describe what God has done for us? Provide another 3-5 adjectives that describe how we should respond to Him?
- Since all the spiritual blessings are in the heavenlies, it is important for these blessings to impact our earthly life right now. Name a few ways this can be done in your life.