Life-Study of Ephesiansby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In this message we shall consider how the church became degraded. Before we do this, let us look at some of the key verses in each chapter of Ephesians.
In 1:5 Paul says that we have been predestinated to sonship, that is, predestinated to become sons of God. In creation, God is our Creator, not our Father. None of us were born of Him in creation. The fact that God has predestinated us, or marked us out beforehand, to be His sons means that we have been predestinated to be born of Him. This implies that God must come into us and that we must receive His life and have a relationship with Him in life. Therefore, to be predestinated to sonship is to be predestinated to be born of God so that He may become our Father and that we may become His sons.
In 1:6 and 7 we see that God has graced us in the Beloved and redeemed us in Him. Having become the object of God’s grace, we have been favored in Christ, and we have redemption through the blood of Christ.
Ephesians 1:13 says that we have been sealed with the Holy Spirit of the promise. On the day we believed in the Lord Jesus, God sealed us with Himself as the Spirit.
In 1:17 Paul speaks of our need for a spirit of wisdom and revelation. This spirit denotes our regenerated spirit indwelt by the Spirit of God.
The closing word in the first chapter of Ephesians concerns the church, which is Christ’s Body, the fullness of the One who fills all in all (vv. 22-23).
By putting these verses together we can see Ephesians 1 in a new way. We have been predestinated, we have been sealed, and we have received a spirit of wisdom and revelation so that we may know the Body. Selection, predestination, redemption, and sealing are not ends in themselves. All this is for the Body. We were chosen, predestinated, favored, graced, redeemed, and sealed for the Body. Furthermore, for the Body we have been given a spirit of wisdom and revelation. In Ephesians 1 the Body is God’s ultimate goal.
In the past many of us heard sermons on predestination and redemption. We have also heard about being graced and sealed with the Spirit. But had you ever heard that God’s selection, predestination, favor, redemption, and sealing are all for the Body?
In 2:4 and 5 we see that even when we were dead in offenses, God made us alive together with Christ. Not only were we sinful, we were also dead. But God came in to enliven us. If He had redeemed us and forgiven us without enlivening us, God would have had a great many redeemed ones who were still in death. Praise Him that in addition to redeeming us He made us alive!
He also created us into one new man (2:15). Furthermore, we have been given access to the Father in the Spirit (v. 18). Finally, we are being built up into a dwelling place of God in our spirit (v. 22). Just as chapter one ends with the Body, so chapter two concludes with the building up of God’s dwelling place. This indicates that we have been enlivened not just for the sake of being enlivened, but for the building up of God’s dwelling place. In other words, God made us alive for the church. His final word both in chapter one and in chapter two concerns the church. At the end of chapter one, we have the church as Christ’s Body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all. At the end of chapter two, we have the church as the dwelling place of God in our spirit.
In 3:8 Paul said that he preached the unsearchable riches of Christ as the gospel. Paul did not preach doctrine, not even the doctrine of the riches of Christ. What he preached was the riches of Christ themselves. Furthermore, in this chapter Paul prayed that we would be strengthened by the Spirit into our inner man so that Christ may make His home in our hearts (vv. 16-17). The goal of this strengthening and indwelling is that we may be filled unto all the fullness of God (v. 19). The result of this is glory to God in the church (v. 21). Therefore, chapter three, like the preceding chapters, ends with the church. This means that the preaching of the unsearchable riches of Christ, the strengthening of our inner man, Christ making His home in our heart, and being filled unto all the fullness of God are not for our individual spirituality, but for the church.
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