Sound Teaching

This is the teaching site of the West Side church of Christ in Fort Worth, TX. Unless otherwise indicated, all materials were written and prepared by Stan Cox

Index by Subject

Mining the Scriptures: Ephesians 1:11-14

Image

The context affirms our reconciliation with God through Jesus Christ. It is through His shed blood that we obtain redemption, and as stated in verse 11, an inheritance.

The text also indicates that we obtain that inheritance as those who are “predestined according to the purpose of Him…” This refers to God, and it was His plan before the creation of man to redeem (our “adoption as sons”, cf. verse 5) through Jesus Christ.

In other words, God chose before the foundation of the world those who would go to heaven. His choice was that those who believe would be redeemed (cf. Mark 16:16). Predestination here refers to the group God chose to save. It is your choice whether you wish to be a part of that group.

For those who are predestined, those who are a part of that group, salvation is surely promised by our God.

Mining the Scriptures: Ephesians 1:7-10

Shovel4

Verse 7 is a wonderful, concise statement revealing the way God redeemed man. It is through the blood of Jesus. As the perfect sacrifice, Jesus paid the penalty for our sins, that we might not die for our transgressions. This gift of the Son is the extension of God’s grace to man.

This gift granted is the result of God’s wisdom and prudence. The word prudence is defined by Strong as “intellectual or moral insight.” The problem of sin is a difficult one, solved only by Divine wisdom and action. We can’t save ourselves. Salvation comes from God’s wise and prudent gift of his Son Jesus.

Jesus’ sacrifice is the culmination of God’s scheme of redemption. He came in the “fullness of time.” God determined to save man at that time, in that way.

Jesus’ sacrifice is for all men. In Christ, “all things” are gathered together. There is no distinction between in race or gender. All are eligible for salvation — “In Him.”

Mining the Scriptures: Ephesians 1:3-6

Shovel4

Typically, the apostle Paul begins his epistle with praise to God. He proclaims God to be the font of all spiritual blessings, and affirms these blessings are accomplished in the person of Jesus Christ. In Jesus’ life, death and resurrection the favor of God is complete.

What is interesting in this text is Paul’s reference to foreordination and predestination. This means that God’s scheme of redemption was a fait accompli before the universe was ever created.

When we talk about predestination, we must understand such predestination is not individual in nature. The affirmation that God chose us individually would negate the concept of free will and personal responsibility. It would make passages such as Mark 16:16 — (“He that believes and is baptized will be saved, he that believes not will be condemned”) — nonsensical.

God predestined that those who were among the sanctified —those who were among those adopted as sons — would be accepted. He gives us the choice as to whether we wish to be in that group or not. God is no respecter of persons.

Mining the Scriptures: Ephesians 1:1-2

Shovel4

Paul begins his epistle to the Ephesians with a few long sentences that are challenging to understand because of their complexity. One sentence covers verses 3-6. Another verses 7-10.

The first two verses of the epistle, however are simple.

Paul starts by identifying himself as an apostle of Christ, and affirms that his apostleship was from God rather than usurped. This was a common claim made by the apostle due to attacks levied by Judaizing teachers.

Paul next identifies his readers as saints. The term signifies a special relationship with Christ, as those who are separated to a life of godliness. Paul regarded the Christians in Ephesus to be faithful to God.

To such brethren, Paul pronounces a blessing. Grace and Peace. There is nothing difficult here, but the sentiment is sublime. God’s undeserved favor, extended ultimately through the death of His Son, is the means through which true Peace is obtained. This shows that the ultimate gifts can come only from God, and, that God indeed has granted such gifts to those who proclaim their fidelity to Him.

Mining The Scriptures: Ephesians 6:1-4

Shovel

 

Ephesians 6:1-4

Here the Holy Spirit reveals instructions to children and fathers.

First, children are to obey. The simplicity of the reason would certainly appeal to a child, “for this is right.”

Additionally, Paul records the promise of Deut. 5:16, “that it may be well with you.” It is the wise child who heeds and obeys the counsel of his parents. God is pleased, and many pitfalls that other young people fall into are avoided.

Second, the admonition to fathers. “Do not provoke your children to wrath.” This does not mean to not make your children mad. Rather, the provocation would be because of wrong action on the part of the father. In contrast, the godly father is to “bring them up” or grow them into godly men and women through training and nurturing. God’s word supplies the father what is needed in this. We are to follow God’s instructions rather than our own philosophies on childrearing.

Mining The Scriptures: Ephesians 1:22-23

Shovel

 

Ephesians 1:22-23

Our text is often used as a proof text showing that God does not approve of denominations and the creeds of men. The church is the body of Christ. There is only one body, and therefore the concept of denominationalism is without scriptural precedent. Jesus is head over one body, not many. Too, Christ is head, and is given all authority. As such, man made creeds are inappropriate, usurping a dominion reserved only for the Lord.

Though this application is valid, these final two verses, in context, serve as the end of a paragraph that has as its theme the exaltation of God and Christ (starting with verse 15). The power of God for our redemption works in Jesus Christ, a fact proven through our Lord’s resurrection. When God exalted His Son, He sat Him on the throne in Heaven, a place of dominion over the church and all things. In this God’s great scheme is fully accomplished.