Exulting in Our Blessedness (Ephesians 1:3)

Ephesians 1:3

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…

Paul underscores several truths regarding the Christian’s blessedness…

  1. The SOURCE of Our Blessedness:
    1. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ…”
  2. The SPHERE of Our Blessedness:
    1. “…who has blessed us in Christ…”
  3. The EXTENT and NATURE of Our Blessedness:
    1. The extent of it: “…with every…”
    2. The nature of it: “…spiritual blessing…”
  4. The LOCATION of Our Blessedness:
    1. “…in the heavenly places…”

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The Resurrection According to Peter (1 Peter 1:3-5)

1 Peter 1:3-5

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5 who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

As all the blessings of this passage are ultimately traced back to the resurrection of Christ, notice:

  1. The PRAISE INSPIRED by the Resurrection:
    1. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!” (1 Peter 1:3)
  2. The MIRACLE EMPOWERED by the Resurrection:
    1. “According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again…” (1 Peter 1:3)
  3. The HOPE PRODUCED by the Resurrection:
    1. “…to a living hope…” (1 Peter 1:3)
  4. The FUTURE SECURED by the Resurrection:
    1. “…to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven…” (1 Peter 1:4)
  5. The INDIVIDUALS BLESSED by the Resurrection:
    1. “…you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” (1 Peter 1:4–5)

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To the Saints in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 1:1-2)

Ephesians 1:1-2

1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God,
To the saints who are in Ephesus, and are faithful in Christ Jesus:
2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

As we turn to Ephesians, we are immediately confronted with 3 realities:

  1. PAUL’S AUTHORITY FROM GOD (v. 1a)
    1. “…an apostle of Christ Jesus…”
    2. “…by the will of God…”
      1. Application: Because Paul is speaking with the authority of Christ Himself, we ought to devote ourselves to “the apostles’ teaching” (Acts 2:42)
  2. THE CHRISTIAN’S IDENTITY IN GOD (v. 1b)
    1. “…saints…” (“holy ones”)
    2. “…faithful…”
    3. “…in Christ Jesus…”
      1. Application: As a Christian, who do you believe yourself to be? As a Christian, where do you find your identity? You ought to find your identity in who and what God has made you: Because of His grace, you’re one of his holy ones, you’re a faithful believer, and above all, you’re in Christ.
  3. THE CHRISTIAN’S STANDING BEFORE GOD (v. 2)
    1. “Grace to you…”
    2. “…peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ…”
      1. Application: As Christians, we have a new standing before the living God. It’s not a standing of acceptance by works, but of acceptance by grace alone, apart from our works. Not only that, but our standing before God is characterized by peace, not enmity, hostility, or alienation any longer. All of this is owing to the Father’s purpose, the Son’s sacrifice, and the Spirit’s regenerating power.

Conclusion: As you live in your Ephesus (a dark, pagan, sensual, ignorant culture)…

  1. Remember your ultimate authority: God’s Word (v. 1b)
  2. Remember your identity: You’re a faithful saint in Christ (v. 1b)
  3. Remember your standing: God’s grace and peace (v. 2)
  4. Remember your first love: the Triune God
    1. This is something the Ephesians abandoned (Revelation 2:4).

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An Outline of John 17

As I make my way through John 17 on Sunday mornings, I thought I’d make my outline available for those who might be able to make use of it. If it’s helpful, use it. If not, that’s okay. I’ll be editing this outline here and there as I think and work my way through the text.

1. Jesus prays for Himself (vv. 1-5)

2. Jesus prays for those who followed Him in His day (vv. 6-19)

Why He prays for them (vv. 6-11)

1. They were the recipients of His saving revelation (v. 6)

“I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me…and they have kept your word.”

2. They were entrusted to His care (v. 6)

“…the people whom you gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me…”

3. They were true disciples (vv. 6-8)

“…they have kept your wordthey know that everything that you have given me is from you…they have received [your words] and have come to know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me.”

Keeping, knowing, receiving, believing. All those terms are used in John’s gospel to define true believers. Jesus defines true discipleship in John 8:31-32 in very similar terms: “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

4. They were the special beneficiaries of His priestly ministry (vv. 9-10)

“I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me…I am glorified in them.”

5. They were about to be deprived of His physical presence (v. 11)

“And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you.”

What He prays for them (vv. 11-19)

1. Their preservation (v. 11)

“Holy Father, keep them in your name…”

2. Their union (v. 11)

“…that they may be one, even as we are one.”

3. Their protection (v. 15)

“…keep them from the evil one.”

4. Their sanctification (v. 17)

Sanctify them in the truth…”

3. Jesus prays for those who would follow Him in the future (vv. 20-26)

He prays for their blessedness in the world (v. 20-23)

This blessedness consists in an intimate union with the Triune God (v. 21, 23)

“…that they also may be in us…”

“…I in them…”

He prays for their blessedness in the world to come (v. 24-26)

That we would behold the glory of God (v. 24)

“Father, I desire that they…see my glory…”

That we would bask in the love of God (v. 26)

“…that the love with which you have loved me may be in them…”

That we would be bound to the Son of God (v. 24, 26)

“Father, I desire that they…may be with me where I am…”

“…that…I [may be] in them.”