Title: WONDERFUL REASONS TO PRAISE GOD
Text: Ephesians 1:7-14
In the original documents of the Greek, Paul writes his longest sentence of all his epistles in this letter, chapter 1 verses 3-14. In order to grasp the subject matter of this sentence, we need to look at the last 6 words: “…to the praise of His glory.” Paul’s longest sentence is a praise to God. Upon further investigation, we will see he has ample reason to praise God. Read Text.
We saw in our last study that God the Father initiated His plan of salvation by sending His Son to redeem us so that He could adopt us – and this plan to do so began before the foundation of the world. Before light…before there was any earthly matter…before earth time even existed…God was making decisions that would impact the course of history…even your history! Can you begin this lesson with praise to God? By the end of our study our praise should echo even greater.
1. “In Him we have redemption through His blood.” (v.7) What is your understanding of the word redemption, and how is this accomplished through the blood of Christ? (Redemption, apolutrosis, comes from 2 Greek words: apo - it usually denotes separation, departure, cessation, completion, reversal, AND lutron – something to loosen with, a redemption price. So, it means: a departure loosened, a separation reversed by a redemption price, or set free by paying a price.)
Insight: In the O.T. the word referred to someone being set free from slavery or prison. Redeeming this person involved paying a priced called a ransom. Since God redeemed us (set us free from the shackles of sin), He had to pay a price, and it wasn’t with gold or silver…it was with the precious blood of His only Son! 1 Pet. 1:18-19
2. Since the Father and the Son paid such a high price to redeem you, do you have a big debt to pay? how will you ever pay it? (It was freely given out of the “riches of His grace” – you do not owe anything but thanks and a life of grateful servitude.) Since God has forgiven us our debt of sin, what did He do with them? Ps. 103:12; Heb. 8:12
3. Notice the abundant love expressed in verse 8: “His grace which He lavished upon us.” The Greek means: “to be in excess, superfluous, super abound, enough to spare, exceed.” I have only one question: Why?
Insight: Unlike His mercy, which God does not give us what we deserve…His grace gives us what we don’t deserve. We deserve eternal damnation, but because of His great love for us, we receive infinite forgiveness. This grace is abundant and extravagant!
4. “In wisdom God made known to us the mystery of His will.” (v. 8, 9) What do you think the mystery of His will is that He did not reveal previously, but does so now to us? (That God would send His Son to be our Savior and then have the Holy Spirit dwell in us; this was kept secret in the O.T., but it has been fully revealed to us.) Col. 1:26-27
5. Paraphrasing verses 9 & 10, God revealed His will with the view of His administration to do it at just the right time…in the fullness of time. Isa. 46:10; Gal. 4:4-5 How does God view time? How would you describe His administration?
Insight: Many of God’s decisions were made in eternity past, but with His infinite patience, He waited a long time to reveal some of them. He bases the answers to your current prayers with the same vision of your eternity future. You may want some things now, but He sees tomorrow and with His wisdom, administrates with the view that is best for you. Its during these times that you must trust Him with faith that He will do what is best for you. What is mysterious to you today, He sees the very day when He will reveal it to you.
6. Through God’s administration, we have received an inheritance; it’s an inheritance that is both present and future. Explain.
Insight: Presently we enjoy all the rewards of peace with God and being a part of the family of God with all its rights and privileges. And in the future we will inherit the very embrace and presence of God Himself and all the wealth of Heaven. But better yet…our portion of the inheritance is irrevocable! 1 Pet. 1:3-5; Ps. 37:18
7. This inheritance is predestined to work out according to God’s purpose via the counsel of His will. (My paraphrase of verse 11.) What events do you now recognize as God’s hand at work in drawing you to Him when you were saved? Do you see His wisdom in shaping those events to bring you to that point of inviting Him to be your Savior? Isa. 5:19
Insight: Notice verse 12 concludes this thought of God drawing us to Him: “…to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.” That refers to the first, early Christians, but His handiwork in drawing you to Him is also to the praise of His glory, because YOU are mentioned in verse 13. Isa. 45:23, 25
8. To make sure this eternal inheritance goes to those who have chosen Christ, God has put a seal of ownership upon each believer as a pledge of their inheritance. (v. 13 & 14) What is the seal? and how is how is this unique?
Insight: God put His mark upon you, O child of God, and that mark is the presence of Himself through the Holy Spirit. He has identified you as authentically belonging to Him. This once-for-all act assures you that you are entitled to His riches and goodness. 2 Tim. 2:19; 2 Cor. 1:21-22; Gal. 4:6
Can you say, “Praise the Lord” with me? In light of all God has done for us, it’s no wonder Paul ended this section with, “to the praise of His glory!”
With all these wonderful blessings, it’s easy to get sidetracked into thinking about ourselves and what we get out of the deal. We need to remember it’s all about God and glorifying Him.
The tremendous blessings in these verses can only be ours if we actively believe in Christ. There are attempts every day by our archenemy to get us to abandon our walk with Christ. In light of all the blessings in these verses, let’s purpose to finish the race to lay hold of the crown of righteousness that the Lord will award to us on that day. Let’s purpose to live according to God’s will and share the gospel with others so that they can receive this inheritance also.