Faith Bible Church of Lake Charles
Blessed Beyond Measure
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    She had gone down in history as “America’s Greatest Miser,” yet when she died in 1916, “Hetty” Green left an estate valued at over $100 million. She ate cold oatmeal because it cost to heat it. Her son had to suffer a leg amputation, because she delayed so long in looking for a free clinic that his case became incurable. She was wealthy, yet she chose to live like a pauper.
    Eccentric? Certainly! Crazy? Perhaps—but nobody could prove it. She was so foolish that she supposedly died of a cerebral hemorrhage while arguing about the value of drinking skimmed milk! But Hetty Green is an illustration of too many Christian believers today. They have limitless wealth at their disposal, and yet they live like paupers. It was to this kind of Christian that Paul wrote the Epistle to the Ephesians.
    We’re starting a new series today. We’re going through the book of Ephesians. Let’s read the first three verses.
    Ephesians 1:1–3 NKJV
    1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, To the saints who are in Ephesus, and faithful in Christ Jesus: 2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,
    Another of Paul’s prison letters, he was probably by this time under house arrest in a rented house. Possibly written around the year 62. There’s very little question that the man we know as the Apostle Paul was the human author of this letter.
    Now, to whom is he writing?
    Ephesians 1:1 NKJV
    1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, To the saints who are in Ephesus, and faithful in Christ Jesus:
    To the saints in Ephesus.
    And no, he’s not writing to a bunch of dead people the church officially designated as “holy people” after they died.
    As interesting as this procedure is, we do not find it authorized in the Bible. Nine times in this brief letter, Paul addresses his readers as saints (Eph. 1:1, 15, 18; 2:19; 3:8, 18; 4:12; 5:3; 6:18). These saints were alive, not dead, though once they had been “dead in trespasses and sins” (Eph. 2:1–3).
    And it is clear that they had never performed any miracles, though they had experienced a miracle by trusting Christ as Saviour (Eph. 2:4–10).
    The word saint is simply one of the many terms used in the New Testament to describe “one who has trusted Jesus Christ as Saviour.” The person is “alive,” not only physically, but also spiritually (Eph. 2:1). So who are we in Christ?

    We’re Saints

    The word saint means “one who has been set apart.” It is related to the word sanctified, which means “set apart.” When the sinner trusts Christ as his Saviour, he is taken out of “the world” and placed “in Christ.” The believer is in the world physically, but not of the world spiritually (John 17:14–16).
    Like a scuba diver, he exists in an alien environment because he possesses special equipment—in this case, the indwelling Holy Spirit of God. Every true believer possesses the Holy Spirit (Rom. 8:9; 1 Cor. 6:19–20), and it is through the Spirit’s power that the Christian is able to function in the world.
    Now for the important question: How did these people at Ephesus become saints? The answer is found in two words: “faithful” and “grace” (Eph. 1:1–2). When Paul addresses his letter to the “saints … and faithful in Christ Jesus” he is not addressing two different groups of people.
    Ephesians 1:1–2 NKJV
    1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, To the saints who are in Ephesus, and faithful in Christ Jesus: 2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
    The word faithful carries the meaning of “believers in Christ Jesus.” These people were not saved by living faithful lives; rather they put their faith in Christ and were saved. This is clear from Ephesians 1:12–14, 19.
    The word grace is used twelve times in Ephesians, and refers to “the kindness of God toward undeserving people.” Grace and mercy often are found together in the Bible, and they certainly belong together in the experience of salvation. Grace and faith go together, because the only way to experience grace and salvation is through faith (Eph. 2:8–9).
    The phrase “in Christ Jesus” is used twenty-seven times in this letter! It describes the spiritual position of the believer: he is identified with Christ, he is in Christ, and therefore is able to draw on the wealth of Christ for his own daily living.
    What else does this mean for us?

    We’re Rich

    Ephesians 1:3 NKJV
    3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,
    Each book in the Bible has its own special theme and message, even though it may deal with many different topics. Genesis is the book of beginnings; Matthew is the book of the kingdom; Galatians is the book of liberty. Ephesians 1:3 states its theme: the Christian’s riches in Christ.

    The Source of Our Blessings

    Ephesians 1:3 NKJV
    3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,
    God the Father has made us rich in Jesus Christ! When you were born again into God’s family, you were born rich. Through Christ, you share in the riches of God’s grace (Eph. 1:7; 2:7), God’s glory (Eph. 1:18; 3:16), God’s mercy (Eph. 2:4), and “the unsearchable riches of Christ” (Eph. 3:8). Our Heavenly Father is not poor;
    He is rich—and He has made us rich in His Son.
    J. Paul Getty, one of the richest men in the world, was worth an estimated $1.3 billion. The weekly income of some of the “oil sheiks” runs into the millions.
    Yet all of this wealth is but “pennies” when compared with the spiritual wealth we have in Christ. In this letter, Paul explains to us what these riches are and how we may draw on them for effective Christian living.

    The Scope of Our Blessings

    Ephesians 1:3 NKJV
    3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,
    We have “all spiritual blessings.” This can be translated “all the blessings of the Spirit,” referring to the Holy Spirit of God. In the Old Testament, God promised His earthly people, Israel, material blessings as a reward for their obedience (Deut. 28:1–13). Today, He promises to supply all our needs “according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:19), but He does not promise to shield us from either poverty or pain.
    The Father has given us every blessing of the Spirit, everything we need for a successful, satisfying Christian life. The spiritual is far more important than the material.
    The Holy Spirit is mentioned many times in this letter, because He is the one who channels our riches to us from the Father, through the Son. Not to know and depend on the Holy Spirit’s provision is to live a life of spiritual poverty.
    No wonder Paul began his Ephesian ministry asking some professed Christians if they really knew the Holy Spirit (Acts 19:1–7). We might ask professed Christians today, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed? If the answer is no, then you are not saved.” “Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His” (Rom. 8:9). Unless you have the witness of the Spirit (Rom. 8:15–16), you cannot draw on the wealth of the Spirit.

    The Sphere of Our Blessings

    Ephesians 1:3 NKJV
    3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,
    Our blessings are “in heavenly places in Christ.” Perhaps a clearer translation would be “in the heavenlies in Christ.” The unsaved person is interested primarily in earthlies, because this is where he lives. Jesus called them “the children of this world” (Luke 16:8).
    The Christian’s life is centered in heaven. His citizenship is in heaven (Phil. 3:20); his name is written in heaven (Luke 10:20); his Father is in heaven; and his attention and affection ought to be centered on the things of heaven (Col. 3:1ff).
    Evangelist D.L. Moody used to warn about people who were so “heavenly minded they were no earthly good,” but that is not what Paul is describing. “The heavenlies” (literal translation) describes that place where Jesus Christ is right now (Eph. 1:2) and where the believer is seated with Him (Eph. 2:6). The battles we fight are not with flesh and blood on earth, but with satanic powers “in the heavenlies” (Eph. 6:12).
    The Christian really operates in two spheres: the human and the divine, the visible and the invisible.
    Physically, he is on the earth in a human body, but spiritually he is seated with Christ in the heavenly sphere—and it is this heavenly sphere that provides the power and direction for the earthly walk.
    The President of the United States is not always seated at his desk in the White House, but that executive chair represents the sphere of his life and power. No matter where he is, he is the President, because only he has the privilege of sitting at that desk.
    Likewise with the Christian: no matter where he may be on this earth, he is seated in the heavenlies with Jesus Christ, and this is the basis of his life and power.
    When she was young, Victoria was shielded from the fact that she would be the next ruling monarch of England lest this knowledge spoil her. When her teacher finally did let her discover for herself that she would one day be Queen of England, Victoria’s response was, “Then I will be good!” Her life would be controlled by her position. No matter where she was, Victoria was governed by the fact that she sat on the throne of England.
    The fact that Paul is writing about wealth would be significant to his readers, because Ephesus was considered the bank of Asia. One of the seven wonders of the world, the great temple of Diana, was in Ephesus, and was not only a center for idolatrous worship, but also a depository for wealth.
    Some of the greatest art treasures of the ancient world were housed in this magnificent building. In this letter, Paul will compare the church of Jesus Christ to a temple and will explain the great wealth that Christ has in His church. Paul has already used the word riches; but you may want to check other “financial” words such as inheritance (Eph. 1:11, 14, 18; 5:5) and fullness, or filled (Eph. 1:10, 23; 3:19; 4:10, 13; 5:18). Paul is saying to us, “BE RICH!”
      • Ephesians 1:1–3NKJV

      • Ephesians 1:1NKJV

      • Ephesians 1:1–2NKJV

      • Ephesians 1:3NKJV

      • Ephesians 1:3NKJV

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