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November 16, 2003 PM


EPH 3:1-6

INTRO: I have a great love and appreciation for the New Testament book of Ephesians. It is a letter filled with Gods purpose; filled with encouragement; filled with very practical help for the Christian life. From the book of Acts we learn great deal about the church in Ephesus. The apostle Paul work among the people of Ephesus for over two years (Acts 19:8-10). It was the elders of the church in Ephesus whom Paul asked to meet him in Miletus (Acts 20:17). It was a church with which Timothy apparently worked for some time (1 Tim 1:3). And, sadly, it was a church which was known for having left its first love (Rev 2:4). This letter is to people living in a superstitious, pagan place ... a letter to primarily Gentile people whose past has been utter sensuality.


A. Eph 1:9-11 - Which he hath purposed in himself

1. in chapter 1 there are some wonderful words related to His purpose

2. this letter begins with marvelous truths and reminders which relate His purpose to us

B. Note some of them

1. at 1:3 - all spiritual blessings ... in Christ

2. at 1:4 - chosen ... in Him

3. at 1:5 - the adoption of children ... according to the good pleasure of his will

4. at 1:7 - redemption ... forgiveness of sins ... his grace

5. at 1:11 - in whom also we have obtained an inheritance


A. Eph 2:1 - The effect plainly stated

1. first, we must remember that out of Christ we were dead in sins

2. we are dead from Gods perspective - recall Lk 15:24 - we were without any eternal hope (Eph 2:12)

3. but in Christ we are alive - it was the act of God which quickened us

B. Eph 2:4-8 - Remember, it was Gods mercy, love, grace which saved us

1. now, both Jew and Gentile have access to the Father - 2:18

2. now, Gentiles can enjoy benefits of citizenship and family - 2:19

3. and all of this is a reflection of Gods grace


A. Eph 1:22,23 - Jesus is the head of the church (which is His body)

1. in fact, the context draws our attention to the preeminence of Jesus

2. that of which Jesus is head must be of great importance

B. Eph 3:10,11 - Through the church the manifold wisdom of God is known

1. I especially like to note v. 11 - connect eternal purpose and Christ!

2. if the church has this connection (and it does), does this not demand from us, from humanity respect, response, faithfulness?

C. Eph 3:21 - Through the church God is glorified

1. if one is apart from the church (the body), he is apart from that which brings glory to God

2. so, Eph 4:1 - we are to walk worthy of our calling as members of body

D. Eph 4:4 - There is but one body, one church

1. and it behooves us to do all possible to be that church - the pattern?

2. we must be devoted to whatever it takes to be the church of which this letter speaks


A. Eph 4:21-24 - Here is the how in a brief statement

1. put off - be renewed - put on ... its that simple

2. perhaps Rom 12:1,2 help a bit here - the renewal has so much to do with the new birth and the new mind which is conforming to the will of God

B. He then writes of numerous things relative to life in Christ

1. Eph 5:8-9 provides a foundation statement to underscore specifics

2. so, he speaks of relationships: of Christians, of husbands and wives, of parents and children ... all under the umbrella of walking as children of light

CLOSE: The letter concludes with a reminder that Christians are in great struggle which requires special armor. Without this armor we cannot stand against Satan ... period. But my closing thought is this question: are you in Christ?

Cecil A. Hutson

16 November 2003

God's Plan of Salvation

You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)

You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)

You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)

You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)

Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!

Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)