22. Ephesians 1:1-6 Introduction~The Blessings of Redemption XXII. IN THE HEAVENLY PLACES IN CHRIST
November 27, 2017
Ephesians 1: 1 “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To the saints who are at Ephesus and who are faithful IN CHRIST JESUS: 2 GRACE to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing IN THE HEAVENLY PLACES IN CHRIST, 4 just as He chose us IN HIM before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love 5 He predestined us to adoption as sons THROUGH JESUS CHRIST to Himself, ACCORDING TO the kind intention of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His GRACE, which He freely bestowed on us IN THE BELOVED.” (NASB)
IN CHRIST JESUS vv. 1
IN CHRIST vv. 3
IN HIM vv. 4
THROUGH JESUS CHRIST vv. 5
IN THE BELOVED vv. 6
I’ve meditated on these “IN HIM” or “IN CHRIST JESUS” phrases more times than I can count. What does it mean to be IN HIM? By meditation, I don’t mean emptying my mind of all thought, but filling it with the thought of HIM. I allow my mind to be renewed to the standard which which has been set by the Word of God. When I pray, I pray His Word and the promises found therein. And most of all, I meditate on The Words of our LORD which He spoke:
Jesus Is the Vine—Followers Are Branches
John 15: 1 “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch IN ME that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit. 3 You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. 4 Abide IN ME and I IN YOU. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides IN THE VINE, so neither can you unless you abide IN ME. 5 I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides IN ME and I IN HIM, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not abide IN ME, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned. 7 If you abide IN ME, and MY WORDS ABIDE IN YOU, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples. 9 Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide IN MY LOVE.”
Our Father God wants us to be free from all the entanglements of this world, in the world but not of world. It would give Him great pleasure, and he would be Glorified if we would choose to give ourselves over to The True Vine. The branchces of a grape vine intwine themselves around each other, even around The True Vine. They are all one in the same, healthy and producing good fruit. Many Believers become followers of the many traditions and doctrines of men. Unfortunately, they aren’t abiding completely in The Vine. Preachers come along preaching enticing words, words itching ears long to hear.
2nd Tim. 4: 3 “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires,”
James 1: 13 “Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone. 14 But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust.”
In verse 14, the phrase “when he is carried away” is one Greek word-Thayer Definition: exelkō-“1) to draw out 2) metaphorically lure forth: in hunting and fishing as game is lured from its hiding place, so man by lure is allured from the safety of self-restraint to sin.
InJas_1:14, the language of the hunted is transferred to the seduction of a harlot.” Ask Sampson:
Satan has been enticing mankind since recorded history, as in The Garden of Eden. Now in these last days he has wormed his way into pulpits, pitting one preacher against another. The result we see right before our eyes and we accept it, and if someone does want to address the elephant in the room… Ostracized. Some of the branches are being torn away from The True Vine, but this isn’t because of The Vine. James, the brother of our LORD said we’re “carried away and enticed by our own lust”.
I’m sure that there’s no one specific reason, it could be power, money, prestige or not ABIDING IN HIS WORDS. But the fact remains, Got The Father is not glorified…men are. So what will happen? According to Jesus, if they’re not bearing fruit into the fire they go. I can’t say what that means, but there is a very strong implication.
We wonder, “why isn’t our church growing in number? Why isn’t the congregation growing spiritually? We have our staff meetings and board meetings. We’ve come to the conclusion that it must be location. You know what they say location location location, that’s got to be the problem. We also think that the congregation is disobedient and we blame them. And it becomes obvious in the sermons that are preached. But the root of the problems is that elephant in the room.
“If you abide IN ME, and MY WORDS ABIDE IN YOU, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.”
So what will happen? According to Jesus if we’re not bearing fruit, into the fire we go. I can’t say what that means, but there is a very strong implication. That’s the part we need to figure out on for ourselves, with the aid of the Holy Spirit. Do nothing apart from HIM.
All I can suggest is that we do what He said, remain IN HIM, and let His WORD ABIDE IN YOU. Now there will be some pruning, and pruning can sometimes be painful. He said The Father as The Vinedresser must do this, why? So that we can bear more fruit. Fruit is not the guilt trip layed on many of us every Sunday morning. “If you’re not winning souls you’ve got no fruit!!!”. That is a kind of fruit, but not so in this context. Fruit is the natural development of the character of Christ our lives. So, if we could learn to rest IN HIM winning souls will supernaturally occur…He said it best.
Matthew 11: 28 “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” To be continued…