Understanding God’s Plan
Book of Ephesians 1:13-23
We could ask ourselves what is God’s plan for humanity? God’s plan first starts with salvation.
1Ti 2:3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour;
1Ti 2:4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.
We must first know who God is.
Isa 45:21 Tell ye, and bring them near; yea, let them take counsel together: who hath declared this from ancient time? who hath told it from that time? have not I the LORD? and there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside me.
Isa 45:22 Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.
Isa 45:23 I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear.
We can understand from this passage that our God is Jehovah and He is also Elohim, the One True God!
The Jews considered God’s name so Holy they would pronounce His name Adonai meaning the unchanging, eternal, self-existing God.
The “I Am”, the covenant keeping God.
It is a shame we do not have that kind of reverence for our Savior today! “Praise His Holy Name”
We finished last week with verse 12 but let’s include it again today.
*****Eph 1:12 That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.
Eph 1:13 In whom “ye” (you) also trusted, after that “ye” (you) heard the word of truth, the gospel of “your” salvation: in whom also after that “ye” (you) believed, “ye” (you) were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,
Remember God wants this entire world to know His truth!
The Word of Truth, it is the “Gospel” of our salvation!
Once we believe the “Gospel”, then and only then can we be sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise!
What is the “Gospel”?
Let’s look at the short version by the Apostle Paul:
1Co 15:1 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;
1Co 15:2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.
1Co 15:3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, “how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures”;
1Co 15:4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:
It is very important that we hear the truth of our existence!
Without hearing the truth of our existence, we will never understand the salvation plan of God.
Rom 10:14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?
God’s plan revolves around someone (The Preacher, The Missionary) presenting the “Gospel” to someone who has not heard it (the Lost).
It is not just the job of the preacher but “the job of every believer” to tell others about the truth of the “Gospel” and the truth of God’s plan!
There is a great importance in hearing the Word of God.
The reading of the Scriptures was a great part of worship in the Jewish synagogues and still is.
Many so-called churches today make very little reference to the Scriptures but teach man-made lessons.
But the hearing must be constant, it must be attentive, it must be with reverence, it must be in faith, and we must try our best to retain what we hear and apply it to our daily lifestyle.
What we do not understand can be learned through much prayer, also in faith.
One advantage of hearing the Word of God is that it brings Holy Ghost conviction.
The Holy Ghost will work in each and every individual who hears the Word of God until they make a choice, so He can also choose to stay or leave.
The Holy Ghost will also work on individuals before they have heard the Word of God as God prepares a place to send His missionaries!
Therefore, the world is trying to silence the Word of God today.
Holy Spirit conviction that can also bring conversion!
Conversion brings commitment and commitment brings the sealing of the Holy Spirit of promise. (sealed in Jesus Christ)
2Co 1:21 Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God;
2Co 1:22 Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.
The Holy Spirit sealed within us, is just a down payment for our redemption!
*****Eph 1:14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.
Earnest means a pledge between us and our God. A down payment with a promise, (a guarantee) of full payment.
In the day of Jesus Christ, it was used as the bridegroom’s betrothal gift to the bride.
Some would say it was the money used to strike a bargain which is false.
In this Scripture it means the gifts of the Holy Spirit given to the saints of God as a part payment of our future glory!
By accepting the gifts of God, we are rescued from condemnation and adopted in the family of God and knowing what our future holds.
Rom 8:23 And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.
Rom 8:24 For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?
Rom 8:25 But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.
As Christians we have been purchased by the blood of Jesus Christ and we belong to God.
1Pe 2:9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:
1Pe 2:10 Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.
That word “peculiar” means that we are God’s “personal property”, being set aside for God’s purpose!
Without hearing the truth of the Gospel and believing, (having “faith in its truth”), we can be gloriously saved and adopted into the household of God, by His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
*****Eph 1:15 Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints,
Eph 1:16 Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers;
As Christians we must grow in the Lord and God gives us this opportunity by getting up close and personal with all His adopted children.
Faith and love are the first signs of the “Babe in Christ” and it should be obvious to others.
No one will know about our faith until we have persevered by the “Grace” of God and actually increased our faith!
No one will know about our love until they have seen it in action. “Love is an action word, not a passive word and certainly not lust”.
That word “wherefore” is another word that teaches us how to study the Bible.
Wherefore means, because of what we have learned from the previous Scriptures (verses 3-14), because as believers, we abide in Christ and we are sealed by His Holy Spirit.
This Church had a strong testimony and the evidence of this truth had reached the apostle Paul.
Being in Christ means we accept all the Doctrine of the “Gospel” of the Lord Jesus Christ and that salvation, being restored in harmony with God, can come only Him.
Our faith must be based upon the Word of God and the truth of His promises, “taking God at His literal Word”!
When we understand what faith is, then we can understand what God says about love.
Luk_10:27 And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.
God’s love toward us must produce a corresponding love toward Him and all others!
We are members of the same family, redeemed by the same blood and filled with the same Holy Spirit!
As Christians we have the same friends but also the same enemies!
We have the same hope and the same fears.
We also have the same promises of the precious things to come! Amen
We will all go to the same New Heaven!
The one thing we all must do is to grow. Standing still is the same as going backwards.
Paul had just explained the blessings of God and these Ephesians were encouraged to grow in the Lord.
2Pe 3:17 Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.
2Pe 3:18 But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.
Sometimes we fail as Christians when we see the bad things of each other before we see the good things we all have as Christians.
Our faith in Christ Jesus is not only to know Him and worship Him, and we can certainly rely on Him!
Faith in Jesus Christ justifies and saves but it is also by His hand we receive God’s pardon and God’s “Amazing Grace”.
It is these things that should bring us to our knees in prayer and it should be obvious that we should first offer thanksgivings to the God of our salvation by the Lord Jesus Christ!
If we never ask of God, then how will we ever receive!
Mat_21:22 And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.
We get foolish most times when we pray for we ask of material things when we should first ask for wisdom.
We should remember the prayer of Solomon.
1Ki 3:9 Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people?
1Ki 3:10 And the speech pleased the Lord, that Solomon had asked this thing.
Solomon prayed for wisdom and it pleased the Lord.
So, what did Paul teach these Ephesians?
*****Eph 1:17 That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him:
We must understand as young believers, these things are much more important than any other thing.
We need a clearer and deeper knowledge of the things that brought us to salvation. We need to grow in the knowledge of God, so we will not be misled by those who would cause us to fall from God’s favor.
Faith grows by using faith to reach out to the things of God!
The God we know is the same God that the Lord Jesus Christ worshiped when He walked upon this earth.
Mat 27:46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?
We have this access to Divine knowledge, why would we not take advantage of it. The unbeliever will never get this opportunity!
God wants us to know Him in a very personal way if not He would never fill us with His Holy Spirit!
As unperfect as we are, we have something perfect living within us!
We serve a God so loving and so wonderful that He wants to hold our hand as we go through this life, so we can be free!
We can never know too much about Jehovah God and He will teach us all that we can handle for there are many things far beyond our comprehension as long as we live in these bodies of flesh.
We can be nothing without God’s wisdom in us!
*****Eph 1:18 The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,
The eye might be the most elegant organ in our human bodies.
If we will undertake to know the wisdom of God, we will begin to see His image in our own eyes!
In reality the eye has direct contact with the soul and it is the soul that needs to be enlightened to the wisdom and understanding of God.
God our Creator is calling out to that eternal soul to take control of that body of flesh.
The eyes of our understanding must first be opened and then God will enlighten them.
Enlighten is to illuminate. God wants us to have a clear picture, to be able to understand the truth of salvation.
That light is the glorious love of Jesus Christ.
1Jn 4:9 In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.
1Jn 4:10 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
1Jn 4:11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.
God has called each believer to stand before Him in righteousness, but that righteousness can only be in Jesus Christ.
Jesus Christ is the perfect Son of God and God expects that same perfection which we will never reach without knowing His Son.
The day is coming when we will be perfect. This is the hope of His returning that then we will be made perfect and acceptable to our Holy God.
Php 3:20 For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:
Php 3:21 Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.
As Christians we are God’s inheritance provided to Him by His Son. We are God’s very own possession!
And as Christians we will share in the inheritance of His Dear Son!
We have a very big God who is also a most powerful God!
*****Eph 1:19 And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,
Eph 1:20 Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,
If we think that there is anything out of the reach of Jehovah God, then we are simply fools.
God cannot sin because He would be less than perfect, and our God is not only powerful, but He is Perfect!
Powerful and Perfect are two of His many names!
It is a fool who rejects the power of God in their lives every day!
To be a Christian is to know and understand the power of God, at least as much as we can understand.
God’s power is far exceeding any power of humanity.
God’s power is far greater than any power of humanity.
That enormous, exceeding, great power is extended to each believer, through the Lord Jesus Christ. This thing we will realize when we join our Lord in Heaven, but we also have part of that power while we yet live on this earth.
Because of what Jehovah God did for Jesus Christ, by raising Him from death, He will through Jesus Christ do the same for each believer!
Yes, by faith we are saved, and our soul will never see death but in the coming of the Lord, He will then raise that old body of flesh to a new body such as He did to the Lord Jesus Christ.
1Th 4:13 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.
1Th 4:14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.
1Th 4:15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.
1Th 4:16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
1Th 4:17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
1Th 4:18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
This is the power of God that comes only through and by the Lord Jesus Christ!
We can see that God will extend His power to each and every believer.
1Pe 3:18 For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:
God intends for us to know life, not death!
What do we give up? Nothing but our death!
**When Jehovah God raised Jesus from the dead, He demonstrated that it is He who holds the power of life!
As God held the power of our old life, God holds the power of our New Life!
Rom 6:4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
**When God raised the Lord Jesus into Heaven, He demonstrates that He holds the power to raise us up into Heaven.
Mar 16:19 So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God.
**God has transferred that same power to His Dear Son who will raise all believers into Heaven!
Joh 14:2 In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
Joh 14:3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
Where the Lord is at, this is the same place we will be one day soon!
*****Eph 1:21 Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come:
Eph 1:22 And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church,
Eph 1:23 Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.
It is only by the power of God that these things can happen.
Php_3:21 Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.
Heb_7:25 Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.
God has given The Lord Jesus Christ the power to rule over all the things in creation old and new.
The truth is, God will give the believer the power to rule with Him!
The truth is, all the kingdom of God has He given to the Lord Jesus Christ!
Joh 17:2 As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.
Joh 17:3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.
As believers we first experience the power of God at salvation.
We then become members of the “Body of Christ”, the Church.
The Lord Jesus Christ paid the supreme price in order for the Church to have life. Therefore, the Church cannot die!
The Head cannot function without the body and the body cannot survive without the Head!
The Church needs Jesus Christ and Jesus Christ needs the Church to deliver them to His Father.
If God has the power to create the church and it is through creation that God makes a new life, then God certainly has the power to work in our lives!
It is God that has opened our eyes to the gross sin of this world and has given us the tools to combat evil, and witness for the good of Christ, the Good News, the Gospel!
The Church is the Body on this earth that God uses to combat evil!
We fail when we do not use the power God has given us to take His Word to the world, every way we can possibly do this.
Jesus Christ as the Head of the Church gives guidance, life, influence on every member.
To make things right He adopts us into His own family, so we can draw our strength from Him.
It is the family where the strength comes for each single individual to go out in faith with the Sword of the Lord (the Word of God).
We must remember we are at war with evil and God provides the things we need!
Eph 6:10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
Eph 6:11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
Eph 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
Eph 6:13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
Eph 6:14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
Eph 6:15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
Eph 6:16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
Eph 6:17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
Eph 6:18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;
We are no good to Christ until we get into this war with evil.
God has a plan and every Christian is a major part of that plan!