Joyce Meyer - Ephesians 1 Bible Study
Welcome to "Enjoying everyday life". I'm really glad that you've joined us today. I'm going to be starting to teach out of the book of Ephesians, and I think it's going to be very, very interesting. I love the book of Ephesians. It's divided up into six chapters, and today we're going to do chapter 1. I won't be able to go verse by verse, but I want to share some very important things with you that are in Ephesians.
One of the things that I love about the book of Ephesians is the first three chapters all basically talk about who we are in Christ, and how much he loves us, and the amazing things that he's done for us. I mean, I believe that you already love Jesus, but by the time you study the first three chapters of Ephesians, you are going to be in love with him in a deeper way. And then the last three chapters of Ephesians all talk about our behavior. And so, to me, there's a very interesting thing that we need to see out of the book of Ephesians, which is the three chapters about behavior are not first.
First, we talk about relationship with God because when our relationship with him is right, and we really see the amazing things that he's done for us, we fall more deeply in love with him. Then changing behavior is not a work of the flesh, something we feel like we have to do to get God to love us, but it's something we want to do because of our great love for him. And so, people absolutely... And I want to make sure that you get this today. You cannot change just by trying and self-effort, or because you're afraid that God won't love you if you don't. Our motive for changing must be because we want to please God, and we want to do it because of the amazing things that he has done for us.
And I think most of you here, I can say this, probably a lot of you watching by TV, you had it backwards for a long time. And so, you were just trying to change, and trying to change, and trying to be good, and trying to behave better, and it became so frustrating because you felt like you were really trying. But, I don't know about you, sometimes the more I tried, the worse I got. And so, it's really refreshing for people, not only refreshing, but vital for people to understand that relationship must come first. Take time to develop a strong relationship with God, know how much he loves you, know who you are in Christ, and then you're going to have good fruit develop out of that.
So, first of all, let me say that the letter was written by Paul. And in all likelihood, he wrote it during his 2-year imprisonment in Rome in about 60 AD. And I think it's good to make a point that, although Paul was in prison, and certainly suffering, and his circumstances were not good, that he was still trying to help other people. So, boy, there's a lesson in there that we could just do a whole teaching on that, you know, he didn't stop helping people because he was hurting. And I actually have stood in the prison where he was. And from what history tells us, the town sewage ran through there. And so, he was not in a very nice smelling or looking place, and yet he's still caring about other people.
So, verse 1, Paul says, "Paul, an apostle, a special messenger of Christ Jesus the Messiah, by the divine will of God (the purpose and the choice of God)". So, I want to start out by saying that whatever we are doing in our life, to the best of our ability, we need to be convinced in our heart that we're doing it by the will of God, and that we're not just doing something because we want to, trying to get God to agree with us and make it work. And I think that's very important. I wonder how many people watching or listening perhaps are so frustrated in your life, and so unfulfilled. And the truth is maybe whatever you're doing is just something you've decided to do, but it's not really the will of God. If you do what is God's will, even if it's less attractive to you in the natural, you'll be fulfilled and satisfied on the inside, and that's much more important than being comfortable on the outside.
So, your will be done, not mine. Part of what we call the Lord's prayer is a prayer that each of us should be praying on a regular basis. Now, I also have a question. During this, I'm going to be asking a few questions, and hoping that you'll take time perhaps later to try to answer them. Are you in the will of God? How much time do you actually spend seeking the will of God? Or how often do you even pray about, "Is there anything I'm doing that you don't want me to do"? I pray that pretty regularly. "God, if I'm doing anything you don't want me to do, please show me, and help me to do what you want me to do, even if I don't particularly want to.
Paul often greeted people, and we see this in verse 2, with, "May grace and peace be multiplied to you through our Lord Jesus Christ". That's found in several places in the Bible as a greeting. So, instead of saying, "Hi, hey, ho. What's up, bro"? He said, "Grace and peace be multiplied to you". Now, honestly, if we saw somebody out in public that we knew and said, "Grace and peace be multiplied to you, brother," they would probably think we'd lost our minds. But, I think that he knew the importance of words. And the interesting thing, and here again this would be a whole teaching, so I can't get into it, but he doesn't say, "Peace and grace be multiplied to you," he says, "Grace and peace".
And I think it's important to realize that peace is something we all really, really, really, really, really want and need. I could ask a million people, "How many of you need more peace in your life"? And most everybody would raise their hand. But you can't really have and enjoy peace until you know and understand the grace of God. And so, if you have no peace and you feel frustrated, then maybe one of the things you should do is do a good Bible study on grace, or get a good book on grace, or get some of my teaching on grace, or somebody else's teaching on grace. But you need to know what grace is. Grace is not only the undeserved favor of God, which that's the first part of the definition. It's God doing things for us that we don't deserve for no reason other than that he loves us. But grace is also the power of God, the ability of God that's made available to us to help us do whatever he asks us to do. And that includes even our daily tasks that we do.
I mean, I think even like when you go to the grocery store, or you've got a real busy day, or raising children, or whatever it is, you need to always be saying, "God, I need your grace to do this. I need your help to do this". So, when we're leaning on God and receiving his grace, then we're always going to have more peace. So, I guess my question is, "Are you enjoying a life of peace"? If you're saying, "Not so much," then you need to get some teaching on grace. Most people think that if they don't have peace, they need their circumstances to change. But really, the main thing that's going to bring peace into our lives is if we're right inside. And when you know how to receive God's grace, then it brings you into the rest of God.
Life cannot be enjoyed unless you understand God's grace. What's going to happen is you're going to be frustrated, frustrated, frustrated, frustrated, frustrated if you don't know how to receive grace. Verse 3 says, "God has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realm". Now, the phrase "In Christ" is found throughout the epistles, and it's a phrase that... I probably read the Bible for years and didn't even catch it. Just a couple little words, what's so important about that? But in Christ is everything because there's a difference in who I am on my own, which is not all that exciting, and who I am in Christ.
For example, I have a cup, and it has water in it. So, whatever happens to this cup happens to the water, amen? So, if I throw the cup, I throw the water. Being in Christ means that we get what he paid for and deserve. We are joint inheritors with him, we're an heir with him. We inherit what he earned through his death and sacrifice and through his obedient life. And it sounds so unfair. Why should I get what I don't deserve? Well, that takes us back to grace and God's mercy. And we receive everything that we receive from God by faith, or by believing.
So, I say, "I'm in Christ," and you say, "Well, no you're not, you're in your studio". Well, my physical body is standing here, but spiritually I am in Christ. As far as my heart's concerned, I'm in Christ. And I believe what the Bible says, that when he died, I died: when he was raised, I was raised. And even as far as him being lifted up on high and seated next to the right hand of God, the Bible even says, and you'll see it a little bit later, that we're seated with him in heavenly places. And so, we are in Christ, and therefore in Christ gives us a lot of privileges and wonderful things that we need to believe. And in God's economy, you always believe before you see.
I like to say that believing is the key to unlocking all of the promises of God. This is the key to my house. Well, I have a house, it's got a lot of stuff in it that I need and want to enjoy, but I need this key to get in the front door. Now, knowing I was going to use this key here today, I said to my assistant, I said, "Make sure I take my key home, or I won't be able to get in my house". Well, see, every one of us, as believers in Christ, we need to make sure that we have our key all the time, that we have our key to the promises of God. And your key is to believe. And it's not according to what you see, it's not according to what you feel.
Once again, in God's economy, we start by believing, and then we see. We're tri-part beings, we are spirits. You're not just the body you look at in the mirror. You are a spirit, you have a soul, you live in a body. And when you're born again, by the grace and the mercy of God, all the wonderful things that you can become and all the wonderful things that God has done for you is deposited in your spirit as a free gift of God. And then he sends the Holy Spirit to work with us throughout our life. He said, "I'll never leave you nor forsake you". You're never alone. You never have to do it on your own. He even says, "I'll bring things to your remembrance when you need to remember things".
And so, the Holy Spirit is sent to help work those things that are in us, through us, and out of us so the world can see it. You see, it's great that I'm saved, but the world needs to see a person who looks saved, who behaves saved, who appears to be saved. They need to see my behavior. But I can't do anything about my behavior until I first know what I have inside of me. You can't produce something you don't believe you have, amen? So, like for example, people say, "Well, I just don't have any self-control". Well, that is absolutely and totally not true. You may not be using your self-control, you may not have developed your self-control, you may not be exercising your self-control, but you have it. You don't say, "I can't do that, it's too hard. I have no discipline, I have no self-control. I'm not patient".
We need to believe that we have what God says that we have, and then we will produce what he says that we have. You say, "Well, when"? Well, that's really between you and God, you know? Sometimes, we're waiting on God, but sometimes he's waiting on us. And nobody knows exactly when God is going to do something, but I can tell you this: he's faithful, and he will not fail you. He will not fail you. God is faithful, and he will not fail you. He may not give you what you want, but he will give you the best possible thing that you can have. In Christ, in Christ, in Christ. God has provided everything we need, but have you possessed your possessions? The Bible says that he has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual Holy Spirit given blessing.
So, you can truly say, no matter what your circumstances are, "I am blessed. I am blessed". And then he begins to talk about how much he loves us. And gosh, I wish I had time to do about an hour on each one of these subjects, but we're gonna to be making other information available. Verse 6 says that we are made acceptable in the beloved. So many people today are looking for acceptance. They want to feel that they can be accepted for who they are. They want to know that they're approved of, and loved, and cherished, and nurtured, and that they're special. And God offers all of that to us. I love the fact that the Bible says he has adopted us as his own children because it pleased him and was his kind intent.
Now, you know, honestly, some people that have been adopted find, they think that's a deficit. And they can actually spend most of their life focusing on the "What was wrong with me because my natural parents didn't want me"? But you know, as a natural parent, you get a baby, you get what you get. And some of you are probably thinking, "Yeah, I've got a few that I'm wondering where they came from and how I ended up with them". But you don't get to choose their personality, you don't get to choose what they're going to look like, you don't get to choose male or female. You get what you get. But if you go and adopt a child, you get to pick him out. You can look some things over and pick him out.
Well, all of us have been adopted by God because of his great grace and mercy. Everybody say, "I'm special". Now, as we go through here, it says, "In him we have redemption". That means that we've been bought back from the dominion of darkness through the blood of Jesus Christ. "In him we have the forgiveness of our sins, not according to our merit, but in accordance with the riches of his generosity. In him we have wisdom and understanding". Every day, say, "I have wisdom, and I have understanding". H.A. Ironside stated that, "The divine revelation of Christ, and the things that are to come, and the things that he has done in us should so grip our souls as to cause us to live as pilgrims and strangers in this world, knowing it is not our home. We should look forward at all times to the return of Jesus Christ". Amen?
In Ephesians chapter 1, it talks about the mysteries of God, and how we understand things that the saints of old longed to understand and was never revealed to them. In the Old Testament, people looked forward to Christ, but there was so much mystery in that. I don't know, I like mysteries, and I guess it's okay because God seems to like mysteries. He's got enough of them in the word. So, I just feel like it's part of the nature of God. The mystery of Christ is talked about in Ephesians. The mystery of the Kingdom of God in Matthew. The mystery of the ages, which is Christ in us, the hope of glory, Colossians. The mystery of [url=http://|https://sermons.love/tags/God%27s+will/]God's will[/url], the mystery of the rapture of the church, the mystery of lawlessness, the mystery of Christ in the church. But God will give us revelation and understanding as we seek him to know mysteries. God hasn't told us everything because he wants us to seek him. He wants us to pursue him.
Now, how much do you think you really know who you are in Christ? Do you feel like that you're experiencing the benefits of what I'm talking about, about being in Christ? If not, once again, let me say study relationship with him. Now, I love this, this is one of my favorite parts of Ephesians. It says in here that we have been sealed by the Holy Spirit, marked, branded, and sealed by the Holy Spirit, set aside for the day of redemption. And that the Holy Spirit is our guarantee, a little down payment of all the good things that are to come.
Well, I don't know about you, but if I'm really sensing the presence of the Holy Spirit, and that's just a down payment, I can't wait to see what it's going to be like when I get the other 90%. That's going to be pretty good. But there's some interesting things that you find out when you study this. This sealing is only mentioned two times in Ephesians, and once in Corinthians. These were both centers for the lumber industry in Paul's day. When logs were brought in on the Black Sea and held on rafts in the harbor, lumber companies sent their representatives to choose and mark, or to put their seal or mark on the logs that they wanted. Then those logs would sometimes sit in the harbor for even months before they came to claim them, just like we're sitting here in the world waiting for Jesus to come back and claim us. But because their mark was on those logs, nobody would bother them or try to take them.
And so, I want you to understand, as far as what the enemy sees in the spirit, you're sealed, you are the property of Jesus, amen? You are approved of by Jesus, and you are guaranteed. Well, we've got the seal of God on us. We're Marked and branded as the property of God, and I love that. I absolutely love that. The Holy Spirit is our guarantee. What you have now is not all that you're going to have. God's going to continue to do more, and more, and more in you. Wow, then in verses 15 through 20, we've got one of the great apostolic prayers of Paul. And I love to study the prayers of the apostle Paul.
First of all, he prayed that we would know God, that we would have revelation concerning who God is. We don't need to just know about God, we need to know God, and there is a difference. And the only way you can come to know him is through stepping out in faith under the principles of God, and experiencing his faithfulness and his goodness. I'm sure you all know that there's some things that used to really bother you or be hard for you. You've experienced God's faithfulness in those areas, so now if that same thing happens to you, it's like it's no big deal to you.
Well, there's other things that you're still dealing with and going through, but eventually, if you stick with God and don't faint and give up, you will have that same freedom in those areas. Secondly, he says, "That we might know the hope of our inheritance and our calling". Or that we might know who we are in him. I did a whole series on this one prayer one time. Know God, know who you are in him and what your inheritance is, the Bible says. And then I love the third part, "That we might know the power available to those of us who believe".
How many years I was a Christian, a pitiful, pathetic Christian with no victory, no joy, no peace, had no idea who I was in Christ, and had no idea that I had any power. I'd heard that God was powerful, but nobody had ever told me that I was powerful. And so, I want to make sure today that you know that you have power dwelling on the inside of you. The same spirit that raised Christ from the dead is in you. You have resurrection power in you. And you might think, "Well, I sure don't feel like I got any power". Well, wait a minute. We're gonna go back to our key, we're gonna start by believing, amen? So, every day you say, "I can do whatever I need to do. I've got God's power in me. He loves me. Great things are going to happen in my life". And the more you come into agreement with God, the more you're going to see those things unfold in your life.
And then lastly, verses 21 through 23, I love this, "Christ is far above all other authority or rule, not only in this age, but in the age and the world to come". Well, if he's above it, I must be above it because I'm in him, remember? If I pick my cup up, I pick my water up. "Everything is under his feet," the Bible says. Well, guess what? Then that means it's under our feet because we're the body. He's the head and we're the body. Some of you are arms, some are legs, some are feet. I'm a mouth in the body of Christ. We all have a variety of gifts, and God uses us in different ways. But together, we make up the building that God lives in. He lives in us individually, but he lives in us corporately. Everything is under his feet. The church is the completeness of Christ, and each of us are a part of him.
Now, let me just end with this. Not too long ago, I asked Dave to take me to a movie that was a cartoon called "The good dinosaur". Well, I'm sure Dave thought, "Why in the world do you want to go see that"? But being a good husband, he said, "Honey, if you want to go, I'll take you". Well, I like to see those movies sometimes because they really end up having a good message in them, sometimes. And so, in this movie, the baby dinosaur had lost his father dinosaur. The father had gotten killed. And so, the little baby dinosaur lived in fear all of his life. And he was being chased by what he called, "Critters". You can tell where this is going, right? We're all being chased by critters, or the critter. And he wanted his dad to come back and take care of him.
How many times have we said, "Oh God, if you were just here. Oh Jesus, if you would just come and sit on the edge of my bed and talk to me. If I could just see you"? But his dad wanted him to know that he had inside of him what he needed to meet any challenge because his faather was in him, his genes were in him, part of his nature was in him. And so, at the end of the movie, they made a statement that I took for myself, and I want to share it with you today. The father dinosaur kind of appeared in the spirit to the son, and he said, "Son, you have me in you and much more. Now, go get those critters".
And so, I want to say to you today you have your Father in you. The God of the entire universe lives in you, and he loves you, and you're special to him. And he's got a plan for you, and he has gifted you, and equipped you. And the devil does not have to walk all over you. He may try, but you have the greater one living in you. So, let me say this to you today. Son, daughter of God, you have God on the inside of you. Now, go get those critters. Thank you for joining us today.