Monday, May 11, 2009

Ephesians 1:1-2 -- The Followers of Jesus

Sermon Notes:

2 Tim 3:16 -- All Scripture is God-breathed & profitable
* Even the introductory words of a letter.

Descriptions of the Followers of Jesus

I. The Followers of Jesus Demonstrate God's Sovereignty (v1A)
* Paul (Acts 8:3; 9:1)
** On a mission to apprehend Christians, but was apprehended by Christ (Acts 9:3-6)
** Didn't set out to find Jesus, but was found by Jesus
** Didn't offer his service to Jesus, but was called into service by Jesus (Acts 9:15-16)

* An apostle
** 2 Senses of this term in NT
***General sense (like a missionary; Barnabas, Apollos, et al.)
***Restricted sense (the 12, Hoehner: "an official delegate of Jesus Christ commissioned for the specific tasks of proclaiming authoritatively the message in oral and written form and of establishing and building up churches; This is the sense in which Paul was an apostle).

* By the Will of God
** contrast w/ Matthias in Acts 1
** Paul not chosen by lot or committee, did not choose this for himself.

Paul's salvation and service demonstrate God's sovereignty, as does ours.
God's Sovereignty = His will is not subject to the dictates of another; He is the first-actor, not the reactor; He is the initiator; first move is always his.
* We have been called and equipped for service according to God's will (1 Cor 12:7, 11)

II. The followers of Jesus have experienced God's salvation (v1B)
* 3 descriptions of one group of people: saints, faithful, in Christ Jesus
A. Saints = "holy ones"
* Not the world's definition, or the Catholic definition. God's definition of saint is "faithful/believer in Christ Jesus".
* Justification (2 Cor 5:21)
B. Faithful = "believing ones"
* Many kids of faith, only one kind saves
* Elements of saving faith
***Mind, emotion, will
C. In Christ Jesus
* This and similar expressions, some 200X in Paul
*Union w/Christ, living fellowship
***NT images: husband & wife (eph 5:22-33); vine & branches (Jn 15:1-17); foundation & building stones (eph 2:20-22); head & parts of the body (1 cor 12:12-27)

III. The Followers of Jesus have received God's supply (v2)
Typical Gentile greetings (xairein) and Jewish greetings (shalom); addressed to a mixed body.
Paul makes this distinctly Christian (xaris - grace).
Source? God our Father & the Lord Jesus Christ
*God has shown us grace in providing salvation in Jesus Christ.
* This grace is received as we trust in Jesus Christ as Lord.
* The result of His Lordship is preace with God.
* He becomes our Father.

Conclusion: God has richly blessed us, in His sovereignty and grace with: salvation in Jesus, peace w/God, adoption into His family, making us holy, supplying the faith to believe, joining us to Christ, calling us into His service according to His will.

But He leaves us here "at Ephesus"/"at Greensboro"; our city is much like that one. We are left here for good and for God; to live for His glory; no need to fear being corrupted by the culture -- His saving grace is also a sustaining grace.

Therefore ...
* Let us each one experience this salvation
* Let us each one serve in the way God has called us
* Let us each one live in the grace and peace of God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ

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