Statement of Faith Current Teaching Teaching Index
The Christian Progression!
Part one

March 2011

          Ephesians shows the great mystery of the Church. The real church is the Body of Christ and believers are members of that sacred body in which Christ is the head.  The Greek word for church is “ecclesia, which means an assembly of “called out ones.”  Christ is calling out a people for His name sake (Acts 15:14).

          In Ephesians Paul presents a picture of an individual lost in utter darkness and brought to God’s Holy Temple in which he is beckoned to enter.  Once inside he is allowed to stay for awhile until it becomes time when he must be sent out again.  This Temple is “a Holy temple in the Lord” (2:2l). We enter this temple and are escorted from room to room in these chapters, one after another, six magnificent rooms in this great temple. They are all “in Christ.”  Let us now examine the progression laid out for us as Christians in each of these rooms.

          From Utter Darkness into the Anteroom or Lobby (Ephesians 1)

          Close your eyes and imagine that you are standing in an open and immense field you have no clue where you are or what you are doing there.  It is utterly dark no light can be seen for miles.  The skies are black with no light shinning through these immense and thick black clouds.  You are frightened, hungry, in desperate need of direction for thick darkness encompasses you.  You ask yourself “what is all of this about?”  Where do I go from here?  Why am I here?  You rush this way and that trying to find your bearings or some kind of help, but none can be found.  Then suddenly you notice a slight glow way off in the distance and you head for it.  As you draw nearer to the glow it becomes brighter and brighter and the darkness seems to fade a bit. 

          You can now make out what looks like a person heading in your direction.  This person has a white garment on and he seems to be shining.  You finally reach him and he instructs you to follow him.  You happily comply and a mysterious sense of peace falls upon you.  As you continue to follow him and listen to his words, the skies start to clear and the darkness is giving way to light.  You then notice that this mysterious man is bringing you to another light, a real bright light – far off in the distance.  As you continue to follow him a large Temple appears shinning like the sun.  As you approach its gate the skies are clear and the darkness has dissipated and you are at rest.  The man tells you that this is the Temple of the Most Holy King of Glory.  He instructs you on how to enter this sacred temple.  You obey his voice and with all reverence you come to the door (Verses 4-7). 

          The door opens into a spacious Anteroom, where you notice that upon the wall is a solid Gold plaque; with a long list of benefits offered to all who enter this Temple, because of their new standing with God through Jesus Christ.

  1. We are saints in Christ Jesus (Verse l)

  2. Blessed in Christ (Verse :3)

  3. Chosen in Him (Verse 4)

  4. Adopted by Christ (Verse 5)

  5. Lavished with love in Christ, the One God loves (Verse 6)

  6. Redeemed and forgiven in Christ (Verse 7)

  7. Revealed His will in Himself (Verse 9)

  8. Everything centered in Christ (Verse l0)

  9. Participants in God’s good plan in Christ (Verse 1l)

  10. Glorified in Christ, sealed with the Holy Spirit (Verse 12-13)

  11. Inheritance in Christ (Verse 14)

  12. Faith in Christ (Verse l5)

  13. Wisdom in Him  (Verse 17)

  14. Hope in Christ (Verse 18)

  15. Power in Christ (Verse 19-20)

  16. Made alive in Christ (2:5-6)

  17. Created in Christ (2:10)

  18. Brought near to God in Christ (2: 13)

  19. Growing in Christ (2:21)

  20. Built in Christ (2:22)

  21. Sharers in His promise in Christ (3:6)

  22. Wisdom of God manifested in Christ (3:l0-ll)

  23. Freedom and confidence through Christ (3:12).

          Was this always your position, you ask? (2:11-13); and an Angel answers No!  Your calling and position have been planned and worked out by God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit before the foundation of the world.  However until now; “You were an alien to the commonwealth of Israel, and a stranger from the covenant of promise, having no hope and without God” (1:4).  For “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace” (1:7).

          Redemption is the greatest work of God. It is far greater than His work of creation. He spoke a word and worlds were formed, but it cost Him the life of His beloved Son to redeem the world. Therefore, should we not glory in our Redeemer?

          The word “redeem” means to buy back, to pay the ransom price. This is what Christ did for you when we were captive under sin. The provision for your redemption is: Christ, Who is our Redeemer! “In whom you have redemption.” 

          While standing in this anteroom reading all the blessings that has now become yours; you hear resounding throughout the Temple a great prayer.  The angel tells you that this is Paul’s great “Apostolic Prayer” (Ephesians 1:15-23)! As you listen, you hear Paul praying for every believer to be given a deeper knowledge of God, that the Church would understand who God is and the great hope that He has offered all believers (verse 17). For it is only through the working of God's spirit that people are able to see and grow in the knowledge of God. As you become enlightened in the knowledge of God you come to know "the hope of His calling" and the "riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints." Persevering faith only comes from seeing God clearly and realizing that He created you an inheritance for His glory (Verse 18).
          You notice that the last section of this prayer focuses back on Jesus; on how the resurrection of Jesus and His seating in heaven, showcases the strength of God (Verses 19-20). Verses 19-20 tell us that God has this same power in His interactions with us. That the life, death, resurrection, and continued life of Jesus only serves to demonstrate how much God cares about us, and is willing to work powerfully in our lives to showcase His glory and love.

          Paul wants every one of us who are believers to realize fully our privileges in Christ the Angel says. He wants the eyes of our understanding to be enlightened that we might behold the glory of Christ. There is no use of showing a gorgeous sunset to a blind person. Even so we cannot understand the greatness of God until the Great Physician heals our spiritual eyes.

          Each believer should come to know the answers to the threeWhat’s” in Paul’s prayer the Angel says (Verses 18-19).  Then the Angel asks, do you know;

  1. What is the hope of His calling?

  2. What are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints? Think of Christ’s inheritance in us. He has suns and stars, but He wants sons and saints.

  3. What is the exceeding greatness of His power? What the Church needs today is power. For she is coming way short of her real strength in Christ.

          Now as you are standing contemplating all the mysteries that have now been revealed you hear a calm, authoritative and magnificent voice calling you from beyond the doors that are guarded by the two Cherubs.  The voice bids you to come and the Cherubs open the giant domed shaped doors. You proceed through the doors, very cautiously.

 

The Audience Chamber of the King (Ephesians 2)

 

          You now enter into the glorious “Audience Chamber” of the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords.  Why because we “have access to the Father by one Spirit” (Ephesians 2:18). We would be utterly afraid if it were not for the gracious words resounding throughout the Temple, “You were dead in your transgressions and sins…But because of his great love for us... He made us alive with Christ…and seated us with him in the heavenly realms” (2:1-6). But best of all, you hear this sweet voice say, “You are welcome here, come in!” “Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household” (2:19).

          In this audience chamber, you find that God has made both believing Jews and Gentiles “one” in Christ.”  This is what Christ does for all of us no matter whom or what we are.  Christ makes each one of us a new person and gives us access and approach into the very audience chamber of the King (Verse 4-6).

          It is at this point that you turn your head and see a great mirror.  As you stare at yourself in this mirror you notice that you are looking at a person you do not recognize.  One that looks like you but totally changed!  You are clothed in white raiment with no scars or filth.  Old things seem to have passed away and all what you see seems new (Verse 15; 2nd Corinthians 5:17). As you stand in front of the mirror a sense of awe and wonderment engulfs you.  Then you hear that beautiful voice calling you to come closer.  He proclaims loudly that this new person has been given access to God through the blood of His Son (2:13).  Then the Holy Spirit introduces you, as this new person at the court of heaven. The Father rejoices and welcomes you into His very presence. Then the Angel tells you that God is producing a masterpiece and you are part of that masterpiece.  This masterpiece is called His Church, His bride.  “For we are God’s workmanship created in Him for Good works” (2:10).

          In Ephesians 1:4, we find how God planned and worked in the production of this Masterpiece. We were “chosen in Christ” to be holy and blameless.  Now in Ephesians 2:1-10 we find how it was produced and the materials God had to work with (Verses 1-3); Notice

        We were dead in trespasses and sins (Verse 1)

        You once walked according to the course of this world (Verse 2)

        We walked according to the prince of the power of the air (Verse 2)

        We were all “Sons of disobedience” (Verse 2)

        We all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind (Verse 3)

        We were children of wrath (Verse 3)

          How does God take produce a masterpiece out of such material?  Verse 4 gives us the answer – “But God!” He changes all by His touch! This “But God” is the bridge that leads us out of our dark and hopeless condition (2:4). When all human strength is gone and there is no escaping our troubles and everything looks bleak and impossible remember “But God!”

          What a glorious destiny we have in Him!  hat is a little suffering with a few trials here in comparison to the glory in the “ages to come” (KJV)?  He will show us the “exceeding riches of His grace” (2:7).

          A new revelation now springs forth.  Everything you have so far experienced is the gift from this Most Holy King of Glory. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God” (2:8). Faith is a gift, too. “Faith comes from hearing the message” (Romans 10:17). Faith is the channel of salvation. It is the hand that receives the gift. It connects us with God.

 

          The Throne Room of God (Ephesians 3)

 

          As you continue to follow the voice you find yourself standing at another immense and magnificent door with two stalwart guards.  These guards are the guardians of the Law.  They demand: “Who goes there? Why do you come? What are your credentials?”  You answer feebly, “I am a sinner; I come to see the Lamb.” They sternly ask “what gives you the right to enter.”  With pure humility and holy fear you respond “I have nothing to recommend me for admittance.”  And as you prepare to walk away you hear the voice of the Lamb from within, it is the call of the Son of Grace. “He is one of my sheep. Let him in! My blood covers all. He needs no credentials!” And your new found faith in His Grace boldly carries you past the stern guards of the Law and you find yourself facing the throne of His mercy.  For in Him we have boldness and access with confidence through faith (Ephesians 3:12).

          You now enter and behold the King of Glory! You bow “before the Father, from whom His whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name” (3:14-15).  Ask yourself – is posture a small thing? NO!  It is an attitude of humility, confession and plea. Remember the holiest men in the Bible have approached God in this manner. David, Solomon and Daniel knelt upon their knees. These men stooped to conquer, knelt to prevail.  Remember “A man never stands as tall in God’s eyes, as when he is on his knees.” 

          The Lord then calls you to stand up and come and sit with Him and commune for a while. For it is in this place that we are beaconed to spend time with Him.  This communion is to receive all the wisdom, direction, guidance and strength that has been promised and is needed for our future life in Him; once again we here the Apostle Paul praying.

          In his first prayer (Ephesians 1:15-23) three “Whats” were given.  This time Paul gives us five “That’s” and you notice that the prayer is saturated in the love of Christ (Ephesians 3:13-21).  These five “Thats” show us the importance of remaining in His presence.  

   That they should be strengthened by His Spirit (Verse 16)

   That they might have Christ dwelling in their hearts (Verse 17a)

   That you are rooted and grounded in love (Verse 17b)

   That they might understand what is the breadth, length, depth and height of the love of Christ (Verse 18)

   That they might be filed with the fullness of God (Verse 19)

          After what seems to you to be a short time in His presence, but in the reality of God is not, the Lord stands and with His hand stretched out, He grasps yours and starts to lead you into another room.

 

We will continue with this message next month.  May God richly bless you.

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