Last week we discussed the first 10 verses of Ephesians, and I asked each of you to ponder three questions regarding what we had read, and to be prepared to discuss those answers in this session. So, let’s discuss those questions now:
- How has a richer grasp of the idea of adoption that Paul intended changed your understanding of your relationship with the Father?
- Having been blessed (spoken well of, prospered) by God, what else do I lack in order to be fulfilled?
- How did you bless God this past week?
Before we continue onwards, I want to review the standout concepts from last week:
- From verse 3 – God has already blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realm. There are no blessings that have been held back from us, none that are apportioned only to special people, but all have been given to each believer in Christ.
- From verses 4 & 5 – God’s plan predated creation! We were predetermine / foreordained to be adopted as His children before Adam even fell!
- From verse 5 – We discussed the idea of adoption that Paul would have expected his audience to understand, that is the Roman custom of adoption.
- From verse 7 – The whole purpose of God’s plan is to glorify Christ, and to unite all things together in Him.
With the above in mind, let us move on in the chapter.
Verse 11 –
Q1. What is the inheritance that we have received in Christ Jesus?
There could be two answers to this question, on the one hand, if Paul is referring to the Jewish people with the pronoun ‘we’, then this inheritance could be referring to the land and blessings they had received. If by ‘we’ Paul is referring to the Apostles, then the inheritance would be identified as the universal inheritance of the saints, an eternity of perfect union with God.
Q2. When is a believer sealed with the Holy Spirit?
According to verse 13, believers are sealed with the Holy Spirit when they first believe in the Gospel. The Holy Spirit indwells every believer from the moment of salvation, it is not a secondary, optional experience as many Pentecostals believe. Nowhere in Scripture is it taught that the baptism of the Holy Spirit, as expressed in Pentecostal theology, explicitly taught, but is ‘proofed’ by ignoring the context of various scriptures (such as Acts 8:12-17), and claiming that they support their presuppositions. In context, Acts 8:12-17 does not tell us that those who were baptized understood the Gospel, just that they were ‘baptized in the name of Jesus’. While not conflicting with their application of the Scripture, it hardly supports their claim, whereas the rest of Scripture states that all believers, post Pentecost, receive the Holy Spirit upon genuine faith in Christ.
Q3. What is purpose of the sealing of the Holy Spirit?
He guarantees our inheritance until we acquire possession of it.
Q4. Paul gives two evidences that he has regarding the believers at Ephesus, for which he gives thanks, what are those evidences of being in Christ?
He has heard of their faith in Jesus, and their love toward all the saints. Faith in Christ is, obviously, a prerequisite for being counted as a follower of Jesus! But notice that Paul choses to use their love for all the saints as the second of his two qualifiers for giving thanks to God for them. Why does their love for the saints cause Paul to give thanks for them? Read John 13:25. Our love for one another is an outward expression of our love for Christ since He is not here for us to love on, we love on those whom He loves, our fellow believers. Read Matthew 25:36
Q5. How will you express your love for Christ by loving others? (Key distinctive of our group)
Carrie, tell us once again about the ‘Hug it Out’ initiative.
Paul prays that the believers at Ephesus would be granted the Spirit of Wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Christ. That their hearts would be enlightened to know the hope to which the Father has called them, and would know the riches of the inheritance in Him. The next item that Paul asks is that they would grasp the power of God that works on the behalf of the believer, the same power that raised Christ, the same authority that seated Christ at the Father’s right hand, and the same power that gave Jesus a name above all names. The Father’s absolute authority and power placed all things in subjection to Christ, and that same power and authority is in effect in the lives of those who are followers of Christ!
Questions to Ponder:
- You have been sealed with the Holy Spirit as a guarantee of you inheritance of salvation, how will you bless God this week for His provision of assurance of your position in Christ?
- How will you show your love toward your fellow believers this week? Will you partner with us as we sacrificially love on one another?